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My 7 yr old male longhaired cat abruptly fell ill 3 days ago (this was Sun. morning- it is now Wednesday). He went into hiding and would not eat or drink. He was also very lethargic and did not want to be bothered (he is usually very very social). He was also throwing up bile every time he tried to drink something.

On monday, we were going to take him to the clinic after I noticed he had not gone to the bathroom since the prior afternoon, but he ended up coming out o hiding to say hello. He drank a fairly normal amount of water & and urinated. He stuck around to get loves for a few minutes, but then retreating to the bathtub. I imagine he went there for convenience (water & litter in the same place), a little peace & quiet (I have 2 young kids), and to beat a fever.

We elected not to take him to his appt. because he seemed to be improving & I didn't want to put him through the stress unless it was absolutely necessary (the vet is sort of long drive).

Since then, he has been coming out of hiding more often & sticking around longer. He's typically falling to the loor & exposing his belly whenever we pet him. However, he is still hiding regularly (not like him at all). I believe he had a fever on Monday evening (his ears were warm), but there has been no sign o that since. He is still drinking & urinating (he defecated once too), but he won't eat. I've given him wet food, but he just licks the gravy- no solids. He is still lethargic. I was satisfied with the gravy consumption temporarily because I figure he's still getting a little something from it, and I know sometimes these things resolve themselves in time. He seems to be getting better little by little, but I won't relax until he's eating & acting normal again.

How urgent do you think the situation is? Should I continue to look for improvements or a few more days or take him in? I should add that he has a history oMy 7 yr old cat abruptly fell ill 3 days ago (this was Sun. morning- it is now Wednesday). He went into hiding and would not eat or drink. He was also very lethargic and did not want to be bothered (he is usually very very social). He was also throwing up bile every time he tried to drink something.

On monday, we were going to take him to the clinic after I noticed he had not gone to the bathroom since the prior afternoon, but he ended up coming out o hiding to say hello. He drank a fairly normal amount of water & and urinated. He stuck around to get loves for a few minutes, but then retreating to the bathtub. I imagine he went there for convenience (water & litter in the same place), a little peace & quiet (I have 2 young kids), and to beat a fever.

We elected not to take him to his appt. because he seemed to be improving & I didn't want to put him through the stress unless it was absolutely necessary (the vet is sort of long drive).

Since then, he has been coming out of hiding more often & sticking around longer. He's typically falling to the loor & exposing his belly whenever we pet him. However, he is still hiding regularly (not like him at all). I believe he had a fever on Monday evening (his ears were warm), but there has been no sign o that since. He is still drinking & urinating (he defecated once too), but he won't eat. I've given him wet food, but he just licks the gravy- no solids. He is still lethargic. I was satisfied with the gravy consumption temporarily because I figure he's still getting a little something from it, and I know sometimes these things resolve themselves in time. He seems to be getting better little by little, but I won't relax until he's eating & acting normal again.

How urgent do you think the situation is? Should I continue to look for improvements or a few more days or take him in? I should add that he has a history of pica.

Answer
The danger with cats not eating is that they can develop a "fatty liver" which can become fatal if left untreated.

The fact that he was vomiting bile is suspicious for liver/stomach issues that might be the underlying cause of him not eating to begin with.

He could have a low grade pancreatitis which cats often do. It's sometimes hard to find in cats so the vet must go by symptoms, and he has those.

I would definitely take him to the vet- the sooner the better.
You don't want to wait in this case.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT

Expertise

PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!

Experience

I have over 35 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love.

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Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

Education/Credentials
Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 550 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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