The Prodigal Cat
May 30, 2012 10:18 PM   Subscribe

My cat came home again! Now what?

We finally tracked down our missing cat after a 6-week walkabout. He seems fine, except that he has lost quite a bit of weight. Is there anything that we should keep in mind as we get him settled back in? Should we feed him normal amounts of food, or let him free feed for a while? Do we need to do anything special on the liquids front (pedialyte?)

Should we take him to a vet? He is up to date on all of his shots (except, maybe, the leukemia one). He appears to be completely uninjured.

Slight complicating factor is his chubbo of a sister who likes to smack him around a bit.
posted by munichmaiden to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yay! I love a happy ending!

I'm not your vet, so this isn't medical advice.

You should probably take him in, along with a stool sample. Your vet might notice something you have not, will be able to assess his body condition and get you on track with a food plan (if needed).
posted by Nickel Pickle at 10:26 PM on May 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

This happened to one of mine, once. She had fleas and worms when she was recovered, but the vet didn't even want to see her since she was up to date on everything; I just went in to pick up some flea drops and some worm pills.

If the cat's not up to date on the leukemia shot, you'll probably want to get him tested for that and make sure all cats in the household are up to date on all their vaccinations.

When this happened to me I just called my vet and followed the vet's advice.
posted by Arethusa at 10:33 PM on May 30, 2012

Aww, congratulations on getting kitty back! One of mine did that once, and we freaked out. He came back dehydrated, skinny, and sunburned!

I'd say yes to the vet! At least a phone call. Kitty may look fine, but you don't know what he's been in contact with and what bugs he may have picked up along the way in his adventure.

As far as feeding him, my instinct would be to take it easy the first day (feed him little by little, offer lots of water, don't let him binge) so the food doesn't mess with his digestive system. But in the end, if he's eating, that's always a good sign!
posted by Opal at 11:04 PM on May 30, 2012

Depending on where you live and what sort of bodies of water are around, if he doesn't gain enough weight back you also might want to have him checked for water-borne bugs like Giardia. Your vet could probably figure out whether or not it's worth testing for.
posted by MonsieurBon at 11:50 PM on May 30, 2012

I also suggest taking him to the vet to be safe. One of my (previously indoor only) cats had a similar adventure, and while she didn't pick up any diseases or parasites, she did lose a ton of weight, and I had to give her IV fluids for about a year afterwards.
posted by Anoplura at 12:07 AM on May 31, 2012

Have the vet check her. Most probably she is fine, but may have gotten fleas or worms, as others have said. If she is not acting weird that is a plus. One of my kitties was missing for a couple of days and when he came back, hid for a week under furniture until he gradually started acting normal again.
posted by mermayd at 3:28 AM on May 31, 2012

I'd take her to the vet for a checkup.

Glad you're happy to see her - I read your headline as "Oh crap, The Cat Came Back."
posted by tel3path at 3:53 AM on May 31, 2012

Yay! I'm so pleased for you.

I'd go to the vet just for my own peace of mind. Also, if you haven't already, you may want to look into micro-chipping.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:10 AM on May 31, 2012

Have your kitty checked for FIV, particularly of big sis likes to fight and might ever draw blood. Just to be safe! And yay for reunited families!
posted by pazazygeek at 6:16 AM on May 31, 2012

Aside from the excellent advice above, give him a full course of Bene-bac to balance his gut flora after the worm treatment has done its work (or even if you don't end up doing that part).
posted by batmonkey at 7:53 AM on May 31, 2012

Another vote for a visit to the vet. And feed him regular amounts of food and non-adulterated water. If he's underweight, a slow weight gain is better than gaining too much weight.
posted by deborah at 1:37 PM on June 1, 2012

Response by poster: Ok, thanks all! We're new here, so no vet yet. I have calls in and am trying to get an appointment. I've been putting out wet food (normally they get dry) to try to up the moisture he is getting. Mostly he is just his same old self. But, yes, vet seems in order. Thank you all again. A great resource, as always.
posted by munichmaiden at 12:25 AM on June 2, 2012

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