Can a vaccine make my cat into a temporary loner?
November 16, 2008 8:46 PM   Subscribe

CatFilter. Can a distemper shot make a cat ... well ... standoffish?

Our two cats had their annual vet visit yesterday morning. They hate to go, but it's only once a year and they forgive us quickly enough. They both got their vaccinations as per normal (rabies, FLV and distemper). They've been their typical, odd little selves since then.

Until this evening, that is. One of our cats, the girl of the pair, has been acting very hide-y since early this evening. When we were downstairs, she hid under the ottoman. Upstairs in our office, she has parked under my wife's desk. When we pick her up to take her elsewhere, she darts right back under the desk. Basically, she seems to be in a really bad mood, wanting to be left alone like Greta Garbo.

This is very much not like her. So ... to repeat ... can a distemper shot make a cat standoffish? If so, can the reaction be delayed almost 36 hours or so?
posted by grabbingsand to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
Also, she threw up on the way home from the vet ... forgot to mention that, but a quick CSI-ing during clean-up revealed that the thing that didn't want to stay down was a small leaf (looked like an oak, swallowed whole). She's done this previously with baby spinach that's fallen from counter to kitchen floor. Scarfs it down, realizes she didn't want it, gives it right back. As such, we didn't think much of the leaf incident yesterday.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:53 PM on November 16, 2008

She is displaying typical behavior of a cat that is not feeling well. Feel the inside of her ears, do they feel warm? If so, she may be running a fever.

If she doesn't start coming around by mid morning, I recommend giving your vet a call.
posted by JujuB at 8:56 PM on November 16, 2008

Inside of her ears are not warm, actually. Cool, really. And she just ate some of the proffered food we brought up, but is not so keen on the water dish.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:08 PM on November 16, 2008

This doesn't sound to me like a cat being affected by a vaccine. This sounds like a cat that's holding a grudge about being poked painfully.
posted by Class Goat at 9:14 PM on November 16, 2008 [4 favorites]

Your cat is standoffish because she was ripped from her sunny catnap on the ledge where she was happily dreaming of catching fish, and was instead abruptly shoved into a cage, driven to a strange, smelly, unfamiliar place, and stabbed with a needle wider than her eyeball. And now she feels sick. The good news is, it can't be helped, its a kitty right of passage, and she'll get over it. Pain has no memory. But if she's not back to normal in a few days, then she'll need to go back to the strange, smelly place. Until then, put the cat carrier back where it came from and make your lap available.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:36 PM on November 16, 2008 [6 favorites]

KItty hate shot. Kitty hate world. Soon kitty will be okay and back to cuddling and demanding pets. Kitty is okay.
posted by The Whelk at 11:04 PM on November 16, 2008 [3 favorites]

There are theories that vaccinations in children can cause autism, so your fears might not be entirely unfounded. When in doubt, don't vaccinate. Alleviate his tight nerves with Rescue Remedy and plenty of deep tissue massages especially along the head and spine.
posted by watercarrier at 2:34 AM on November 17, 2008

Make that *her* tight nerves.

posted by watercarrier at 2:35 AM on November 17, 2008

Wife here. Thanks for the answers - the thing is, she was utterly normal until 8:30 last night, and then she decided we were made of space aliens. If she'd ever in her five years done such a thing before, then I'd be less worried, but this is 100% not this cat. She's eating and drinking, but still acting, for lack of a better descriptor, like someone high on pot and paranoid. She will eat and stay in the same room with us though, so at least there's that. We're off to the vet at 9am to make sure that she's not running a temperature or harboring any aliens.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:26 AM on November 17, 2008

Last month we took our 2 cats in to get their shots. One of them came out of it normal, the other was a little wonky. Turned out he was having an allergic reaction to the shot which resulted in a few revisits to the vet so he could get some steroids and get pumped full of water under the skin to reduce fever.

Anyways, yeah good idea on taking her back to the vet.
posted by o0dano0o at 6:43 AM on November 17, 2008

Cat update: She had a fever, and now she's also got antibiotics. The difference between seeing our usual vet and the one we saw on Saturday: "She has a rotten tooth" vs "She needs her teeth cleaned." So, maybe it's the vaccines or maybe her tooth has gone off, there is no real way to tell, and in the meantime she's acting more like herself and we'll be giving her 1.6 cc's of Clavamox 2x daily. AND her teeth cleaning appointment has been moved up to Monday.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:45 AM on November 17, 2008

As a side note, watercarrier's concerns do not, to me, hold water. There are two levels of correlative assumptions there, based on the fact that some vaccinations might have had a negative effect in humans, which isn't even applicable to the current formulation of those vaccinations.

I'm glad to hear the kitty is feeling better! Good luck with the teeth cleaning.
posted by mikeh at 7:05 AM on November 17, 2008

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