Help me help my puddy cat.
July 29, 2012 3:21 PM   Subscribe

How can I help an injured kitty?

I look after my folks' 15 year-old cat when they're out of town (say hi to Puddy). Yesterday, I went in to feed him and he was fine. Today when I went in, I found him lying down in the room with his litter box and he had peed on the floor twice. I knew something was up when he didn't jump up to greet me. His right front paw was curled up in front of him and he can only move by shuffling around. He tried to get up and yelped and sat back down. However, after I'd been there for a while, I went to the washroom and came back out to find that he had climbed the stairs by himself and was moving around more, albeit with difficulty.

I called the emergency vet line and they had me feel around his paw and leg. While I did this, he didn't yelp or flinch, which they said was a good sign. If there was swelling, it was minimal. They told me he probably didn't need to come in to emergency, but that it would be a good idea to take him to his (fantastic, amazing) regular vet tomorrow.

So I'm going to wait until tomorrow morning to take him to the vet, but I'm going to sleep over and keep an eye on him until then. He has ample food, water, and his comfy bed in close proximity to his litter box and he can't get out of the room he's in. They also recommended that I ice his paw if he'll let me, so I'm going to try that.

Obviously I'll take him to emergency if the situation worsens but he seems to be better than when I arrived. Anything else I should be doing to keep him comfy and chilled out?
posted by futureisunwritten to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds like a potential serious injury that may have neurological involvement. I would take him to the vet right now, be very careful moving him. Call your parents, they deserve to know what is going on and to make this decision with you.
posted by virginia_clemm at 3:27 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with virginia_clemm--this sounds serious, could be something neurological or the cat might have thrown a clot (saddle thrombosis). I'd take him to the emergency vet if you can. Hugs to both of you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:31 PM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

PhoB- saddle thrombosis was my first thought, too.
posted by virginia_clemm at 3:32 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree: take him in, and call your parents. Also, and this is difficult: at 15-years old, there are steps that I wouldn't take for life-saving that I would with a 5-year-old cat. Do you know your parent's wishes in the event of a worst-case scenario?

I'm hoping for a good outcome for you all.

(I say this, having just had 4-yr-old Bruce teh Kitteh just returned from 3 days of life-saving emergency vet procedure... take him in.)
posted by theplotchickens at 3:37 PM on July 29, 2012

I'd take him in. The peace of mind is worth it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:40 PM on July 29, 2012

Cats hide pain. His improvement might just be that.
posted by jwells at 4:03 PM on July 29, 2012

Doesn't saddle thrombosis affect the BACK legs? This kitty has a front leg problem that seems to be getting better with minimal intervention. The emergency vet line is happy to have Puddy see his regular vet tomorrow. Don't over think that.
You've done all you can to make sure he'a comfortable. Good job! Keep an eye on him tonight and take him in tomorrow morning.
posted by SLC Mom at 4:24 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I agree that this is a serious situation, and that if it were my cat I would want to be consulted. However, the OP did not ask whether to take Puddy to the emergency vet. The emergency vet doesn't think it's an emergency. Note that 'emergency' would imply not only that the situation is serious, but that there is some useful action to be taken within a narrow window of time.

When our cat was suddenly unable to walk, we spent thousands of dollars on emergency vet bills, MRIs, etc., and wound up with a diagnosis of 'idiopathic vestibular ataxia' -- which we were very happy to receive -- but as far as I recall, no particular treatment. (The little bugger did spontaneously improve, and managed to stagger around for 4 more years.)

I imagine Puddy is glad to have a human in the house at this difficult time. Best wishes to you both!
posted by feral_goldfish at 4:29 PM on July 29, 2012

Another vote for the ER. Doc on the phone can only go with what you tell them. Triage on the phone is an art. Better be safe than sorry especially with a senior cat. Hopefully its a minor injury but the symptoms you've described are worrisome.
posted by OsoMeaty at 4:51 PM on July 29, 2012

Call your parents, give them all of the information and let them make an informed decision.

Not to sound cheap, but if it were my cat, and the ER vet said it could wait until the morning, you chose to bring the cat to the ER anyway, I would be upset at the $350.00 ER charge.
posted by JujuB at 6:16 PM on July 29, 2012

Cats can sprain "hands" and "arms" the same way people do. Our tubby Siamese sprained his front paw falling from a 3ft high shelf (he's a klutz and we didn't expect him to climb pretty much ever) and when we took him to the vet he didn't limp or make a sound. The vet explained a lot of the time cats will hide their symptoms when under stress, like being at the vet, so he gave us some kitty painkillers and called it good. Could be the same in your case. You can't put a cat in a cast for a sprained "arm" so you might get the general advice "don't let him walk on it more than necessary."
posted by fiercekitten at 8:53 PM on July 29, 2012

Response by poster: Hi all. Thanks for your concern and great advice as always. Rest assured my folks were my first point of contact after I found Puddy in a bad way. I look after him about 4 months a year while they're down south, so I'm used to being his caretaker. We know there are likely going to be some hard decisions about Pud's care in the not-too-distant future and as much as we dread the arrival of that day, we're all on the same page regarding his care in his senior years.

Anyway, Pud made an emergency visit to the vet and all is well. Broken paw, saddle thrombosis/neurological disorders, and diabetes have all been ruled out and he shows no sign of nerve damage. The vet thinks he probably took a big leap (yep, sounds like our guy, still running and jumping around like he's 5!) and hurt himself. He's on a puddy cat anti-inflammatory/painkiller and is eating and drinking like a pro, but I'll be staying close by until my folks return next week to keep an eye on his progress.
posted by futureisunwritten at 6:06 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yay for Puddy!

Poor guy, probably freaked himself out a bit in the bargain.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:49 AM on July 30, 2012

Glad Puddy's doing OK!
posted by OsoMeaty at 9:12 AM on July 30, 2012

Glad he's okay! Big snuggles for puddy.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:04 AM on July 30, 2012

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