Does my cat just have a cold?
February 10, 2015 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Symptoms: been off his food 2 days. Sleeping a lot (more than usual) in one spot. I picked him up and he sounds congested.

When I pick him up, he seems alert. Sniffing things, looking around. I filled up his water jug and he sat and watched it gurgle. He is definitely still taking water and peeing in his box (I've witnessed both multiple times).

My gut instinct is that he has a cold or a stomach bug, and he'll be fine. However, I don't want to be a negligent owner and he will get a doctor's visit asap if necessary. Is this vet visit worthy?

If he wasn't drinking, he'd have gone today, but given regular drinking and urination, I'm not overly concerned. Should I be? Should he go to the vet tomorrow?

posted by tippy to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are his eyes phlegmy or watering? That's a major symptom in our old girl.
posted by bonehead at 7:29 PM on February 10, 2015

From Perodicticus potto:
Any pet that is lethargic and refusing food should have prompt veterinary attention. I work for a large veterinary hospital, and if an owner reports that their pet is showing these signs, we offer them an appointment the same day even if it means having to squeeze them in as an extra. I would not leave an animal with these symptoms overnight.

(The issue with cats not eating isn't so much "fatty liver disease"; it's simply that cats don't refuse to eat unless they're feeling very unwell. )
posted by salvia at 7:41 PM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

By "off his food" do you mean he's eating less, or that he's not eating at all? Cats can get very very sick very very quickly if they don't eat - liver-failure levels of sick.

When you pinch his scruff, does it collapse back down quickly (as it should), or does kind of stay in the pinched-up position? That can mean he's dehydrated (it's easy for cats to get dehydrated). He's peeing, so that's good.

But with the not-eating thing, yeah, I'd bring mine to the vet for that.
posted by rtha at 7:42 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

See this thread from earlier. I'd take him in tomorrow morning if he's not eating.
posted by barnone at 7:43 PM on February 10, 2015

Yes. You should be concerned and he should go to the vet.
posted by nanook at 8:09 PM on February 10, 2015

Cats can get very very sick very very quickly if they don't eat - liver-failure levels of sick.

Yes, take him absolutely as soon as possible, especially if you mean he is not eating, and not just barely eating.

I also just vaguely thought my cat was not eating and just staying in one spot due to a virus and by the time I took him in he was very very sick ( which came as a shock to me, I thought I was just being extra catious), and it was going to cost a very expensive surgery for not great chances of saving his life, then his surgery got bumped only a few hours (this was at an all night emergency vet) and it was more costly and also less likely by that point, so he was put to sleep. I wish I had known how serious not eating was at that time, I really had no idea, but now that it's too late, I see that statement everywhere.
posted by Blitz at 8:17 PM on February 10, 2015

If he's not eating please go to the vet ASAP. As others have said it's a big deal - I think a lot of cat owners don't know about it until it's an issue ( me included), because humans, dogs etc can go a little time without food. Not cats.
posted by zutalors! at 9:19 PM on February 10, 2015

Thank you, salvia, for saving me the trouble of copying and pasting my earlier answer. No, this cat should not go to the vet tomorrow. He should go today.

(And people, enough with "he might get fatty liver disease." A cat that has lost its appetite is ALREADY SICK.)
posted by Perodicticus potto at 10:24 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

A lot of people don't know that a not-eating cat is already really sick, and saying in what way (liver problems) can emphasize that; I think it's worth saying more than once, you know? Most of us don't work for vets, after all!
posted by rtha at 10:56 PM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]

A little late to the party, but when in doubt, call the vet. Even if it's after hours, your regular vet should provide an emergency number to call in its outgoing voicemail message. A vet tech can give you advice over the phone as to whether or not you should bring your pet in.

I hope your kitty is ok.
posted by Koko at 6:34 AM on February 11, 2015

Cats are hard to read. I had a cat with a raging upper respiratory infection, which didn't show any signs of slowing down or changing diet. The only way I knew was that he sneezed (only twice) and then developed a disgusting secondary eye infection. As predators, cats hide signs of weakness, even if their humans wouldn't take advantage of it.

So yes, go to the vet. If you're worried about finances, the CareCredit card helped me tremendously when my cat got expensively sick. It covers vet appointments and had a six month zero interest policy. It really helped to have a window to pay down the cost without the worry about interest accumulation.
posted by gilsonal at 7:11 AM on February 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

2nding the CareCredit card. Same experience here, and I kept the account after I'd paid it off as an actually-usable pet insurance. And yes, take the cat to the vet today.
posted by eclectist at 9:23 AM on February 11, 2015

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