Q: Very Sick Kitty

March 7, 2012 | By Jillian | 3 answers | Expired: 1424 days ago


I can't figure out what's going on with my cat, and my vet is getting stumped, but time is running out for her. I'll be as thorough as possible and hopefully you'll have a few more ideas we can look into.

Comrade is around 10 years old {anywhere between 8-13 is more accurate} and we've had her just over three years. Before she let us get near her, she lived at least a year outside in the alley {and we're certain she had been abandoned}, but that's as far into her history as we know. She had tested negative for FIV and feline leukemia.

She's been a pretty healthy cat, her only ailments ever being from stress before, stress being something she's easily prone to. She's always had chronic allergic conjunctivitis and when we found her she had a bowel infection. Her weight was always pretty stable slightly under 9 pounds, which is a healthy weight for her.

A month and a half ago she started having diarrhea and we noticed she had lost weight. Took her to the vet where she had a nasty GI infection, presumably due to stress {which there's been a lot of at the house in the four months we've had the foster dog}, and had lost almost two pounds. Her weight was then at 6.7, and she was treated with Zeniquin and Pro-Pectalin while we were told to give her an additional month to try to put some weight on her.

Her diarrhea never improved and she didn't appear to be gaining any weight. Two weeks ago more symptoms started turning up, so we scheduled an appointment. While waiting for that appointment, she began looking much thinner and developed more symptoms.

Symptoms :

Increased thirst - she actually drinks very little from the four water dishes we have out for the cats, which she always drank from before, and now seeks out odd sources. Primarily she drinks from our water glasses {something she's always done}, but is obsessed with getting in the sinks, tub, and toilet. Soapy water doesn't deter her. I've recently put a glass next to the kitchen sink as a peace offering, but she'll only drink from it if she sees me re-fill it. Otherwise she opts for soapy water if there's anything in there, or wants to lap the almost dry sink basin if there's not.

Increased appetite - Comma never use to eat much. Just enough here and there to maintain her weight, but she's not that into food. Now suddenly she wants to eat everything. Jumping on counters as we're preparing food, continually coming back to the cat food until it's gone, and suddenly likes things she never did, like yogurt.

Increased energy - she is constantly restless. She's uncomfortable and keeps running around trying to find better spots to lay, or windows to look out of. Also, the counter jumping isn't something she use to do.

Poor grooming - in two weeks I haven't seen her groom herself. Her fur is still soft, but not the rabbit-soft coat she use to have. She also has fairly severe cat acne around her mouth and it's now on her back paws, though we never see her scratch at it. We clean her stainless steel dishes regularly.

Loss of interest - she was never fond of cats and would typically hiss or growl or swat or run away if one got close, or if she was hungry and just feeling moody. Now she'll walk up to them, sniff their faces, and keep walking.

Vocal changes - her voice has changed, became softer and pathetic sounding. She meows at very random moments and just keeps going.

She's now down to 5.4 pounds and tested positive for ongoing GI infection and a UTI, and has a watery eye. Her blood tests showed no hyperthyroidism, chronic renal failure, or diabetes. Her kidney and liver are normal, only her white blood cell count is high - very high, probably due to the infections. But we don't think this covers everything and neither does our vet. Comrade starts a strong antibiotic today, but we don't know where to go if that doesn't work. At the rate she's losing weight, we have a month, maybe two to figure it out. Any suggestions?

Readers' Answers (3)

Mar 07, 2012

It sounds like Inflammatory Bowel Disease to me...not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS is just a functional problem with the bowels and doesn't have any pathology associated with it. With IBD there is inflammation and ulceration of the intestines and it can be very dangerous. It's an autoimmune disease and is very hard to diagnose with blood tests. Often it's diagnosed based on symptoms after everything else is ruled out. I mentioned in my other response to feed a diet that the pet is not used to to avoid an inflammatory response. I forgot to add that there are also foods made with rabbit and lamb that are good to avoid allergic responses, although lamb isn't as rare of an ingredient as the others. They usually treat it with Prednisone and an antibiotic/antifungal like Metronidazole. Most cats will have pancreatic involvement so a good pancreatic enzyme can also be added to the diet along with the vitamins and minerals I suggested in your other question. Add an insoluble fiber to her diet to help counter the diarrhea. It should help bulk up her stool and slow things down so she has a better chance of absorbing nutrients and water.

Thumbs Up: 3 | Thumbs up!

Judi D.

Mar 07, 2012

Would she benefit if she is given fluids? Have you ever done a sub-q on a cat before? It isn't that hard if the cat cooperates. If there is any dehydration going on, it might give her some assistance. It's not that expensive if you do it yourself, too.

Thumbs Up: 2 | Thumbs up!

Mary C.

Mar 08, 2012

I agree with the other posts, I have no other suggestions to try but was wondering, did the vet rule out cancer?

Thumbs Up: 0 | Thumbs up!

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