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My cat is 7 years old, male neutered and is mute. He is one of three at home. We have had him since he was a kitten. He has always had Nutram dry food.

Recently we noticed he was throwing up, then stopped eating and has been losing weight. We took him to the vet where they kept him for three days, shaved him, did blood tests, took several xrays, gave him an enema, and then said they don't know what's wrong. The answer after paying them $1,600 was that he's a mystery cat!



We live in a small northern Ontario community with limited veterinary services. We are not complaining about the fees. We just want answers and need help to save our cat before it's too late!

He is now down to six pounds. My wife tries to coax him, even just getting a teaspoon of watery critical care food into him is an achievement. But now he is not drinking much water as far as we can see. He just lies down, apparently sleeping but eyes nearly always wide open.

After eating a little he makes a chewing motion and and stops eating and backs away from the offered spoon.

We are desperate as he is now just skin and bones but we love him and will never give up on him.

Please help with any clues or suggestions.

Thank you!

Answer
Rory,

Based on what you've described I'm very concerned about this kitty. I'm wondering if he's got a painful mouth based on the fact that he tries to chew, stops eating then backs away from the spoon of food... I would also wonder about his thyroid but I would imagine that the veterinary staff screened him for hyperthyroidism. The odd signs that you're seeing also make me wonder whether or not he's managed to get into something poisonous. Unfortunately I'm not a veterinarian so I can't make any diagnoses, but I would certainly suggest getting an opinion from another practice if at all possible because this kitty sounds seriously sick to me. If your kitty was overweight prior to losing his appetite I would also be concerned about hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) because kitties who start out overweight then stop eating suddenly with weight loss can be prone to this condition.

I'm also wondering if your household has been tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV as both of these conditions can have some odd symptoms prior to diagnosis. FIV or kitty AIDS is definitely a better case scenario than Feline Leukemia which would significantly shorten his lifespan... FIV kitties can live normal lives with proper medical care and FIV is nowhere near as contagious as Feline Leukemia which can be passed from cat to cat simply by sharing food/water bowls, using the same box or even grooming each other... FIV is considerably harder to pass from cat to cat - typically if your cats don't fight and give each other bite wounds you shouldn't worry too much about transmitting it from an infected cat to a healthy cat.

I would also assume that this kitty's kidney and liver values have been closely looked at through his blood tests, but again this is something to consider particularly since this kitty eats a dry food diet. Cats are actually different from other mammals in that they are designed to get the majority of their liquids from their food rather than drinking water. Most cats on a dry food diet don't get adequate hydration. Today's domestic kitties evolved from Egypt where there isn't much fresh water so their systems evolved to get the moisture that they needed from their prey (which is about 90% water) so putting your kitties on a canned food diet could help to make them healthier.

This is still a fairly young kitty so I would agree that you shouldn't give up on him just yet... If one vet clinic doesn't have the answers perhaps another will. I wish that I could say this sounds like something that I've encountered before but it doesn't. Please keep me posted on this kitty and for now I send positive thoughts and hopes your kitty's way. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me again at any time - I'm more than happy to help in any way that I can.

Kind regards,

Ali

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Ali

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I am the proud guardian of 5 mixed breed cats ranging from 12 weeks to 13 years old and one purebred ragdoll. I have 20+ years experience working with mixed breed cats from a variety of different situations. I have fostered cats/kittens with special needs/behavioral issues. I have rescued/rehabilitated/re-homed a variety of stray/abused cats. I can offer advice on managing feral cat colonies, rehabilitating strays and finding them forever homes. I can help you to determine whether a cat is stray or feral, there IS a significant difference. Improperly introducing a new cat/kitten can result in aggression between newly introduced cats because cats are territorial by nature and they don't like sudden changes in their environment. To learn more about a peaceful way to introduce a new cat into a home with other cats please check out my previous answers on this subject. Proper nutrition for cats can be confusing, I recommend checking out catinfo.org which was created by a veterinarian (Dr. Lisa Pierson) who takes a common sense approach to explaining feline nutrition. Cat behavior and instincts are different from those of humans, I can help you understand your cat's needs so that you can meet them adequately and have a balanced, psychologically and physically sound kitty. Cats vary in personality, energy level and intelligence, different approaches may be required to achieve results in terms of training and interaction with your feline companion. An intelligent, high energy cat must be kept busy or they will make their own fun. I am NOT a licensed veterinarian and I can't offer medical advice. If your cat is ill/injured my advice is always the same: get prompt medical treatment provided by a veterinarian. If finances are an issue I will try to find resources in your area that can help with medical costs or make other choices to ensure the welfare of your cat.

Experience

I have fostered feral and stray cats, rehabilitated and homed cats that many people recommended euthanasia for. I am willing to make an effort to do the research and ask questions because I care enough to find solutions to behavioral problems rather than giving up. I have an interest in the use of alternative therapies to help provide the best possible care for all cats and I can say in all honesty that I've seen some incredible things happen for some incredible cats and their human caregivers when the right alternative therapeutic modality is used by a qualified veterinarian with expertise and experience in the field.

Education/Credentials
I've earned my diploma as a veterinary assistant with honors.

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