Seeking input about an unwell stray cat
January 21, 2021 12:33 PM   Subscribe

We've acquired a cat and he doesn't seem quite right.

My wife and I have unexpectedly acquired a stray cat who was found by a friend on the side of the road. He appears to have multiple problems. Acknowledging that you are not my veterinarian, any reasonably informed input is welcomed.

He appears to be just out of kittenhood, maybe 6-8 months old. He weighs just under 2 kg and is emaciated. We've had him for 3 1/2 days and he has improved somewhat and seems more alert, but goes through periods where he seems stunned or not quite there.

His back legs don't have any strength. He's not paralyzed because he moves his back legs and his tail, but he can't walk.

He breathes more quickly than seems normal. When you pet him, there's a weird "crinkly" feeling under his skin, as though layers of the skin are disconnected or something.

He doesn't appear to be in pain and in fact seems quite content. Sleeps most of the time and purrs a lot, seems to love attention. He eats and has peed and pooped since he's been here.

We both have extensive experience with cats but aren't veterinarians. We'd prefer not to take him to a vet other than for a pre-identified condition. (Did this with our dog several years ago, went through five vets and $3000, got five opinions, all of which were wrong).

If you have experience with a cat with any or all of these symptoms, help us to make this cat as healthy as possible. Thanks.
posted by Joan Rivers of Babylon to Pets & Animals (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Purring can actually be a sign of pain in cats - they do it to self-soothe. I don't think it's in any way responsible to try to internet-diagnose a cat incapable of walking whose history you do not know. Take the cat to the vet.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:37 PM on January 21 [32 favorites]


Based on your description, especially the fact that he can’t walk, it sounds like there’s something seriously wrong with him. Please, take him to the vet.
posted by leslietron at 12:41 PM on January 21 [31 favorites]


Please take the cat to a vet.

If you are concerned about expenses, are there any shelters or SPCA/Humane Societies in your area? Where I live the Humane Society has a mechanism through vets where you surrender an animal so it gets medical care.
posted by dazedandconfused at 12:45 PM on January 21 [12 favorites]


My feeling is that you have acquired a cat of unknown origin who may have pre-existing conditions and may also have an owner and that you should take it to a vet. Everything you described could have multiple sources but I wanted to share that in my experience cats often don't "show" any pain -- my very sick cat didn't, until the very end, appear abnormal in any way.
posted by sm1tten at 12:48 PM on January 21 [5 favorites]


Take it to a vet. You can take it to a vet without taking it to five vets for $3,000.
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 12:48 PM on January 21 [16 favorites]


Crinkling is often little pockets of air in soft tissue. That combined with breathing fast would concern me a great deal. Are there any signs of a puncture wound? This issue sounds like it needs the eyeballs of an experienced practitioner, no matter how familiar someone else's problem might be. This is 100% vet territory. I'm sorry for your previous experiences, I understand how frustrating that is. But - it's time to vet.
posted by Dashy at 12:52 PM on January 21 [7 favorites]


nthing vet. restless_nomad is right - cats will purr sometimes when they are in distress as well as when they are happy. This cat needs medical attention.
posted by bedhead at 12:58 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I'd say that's a pretty clear consensus; off to the vet we go.
Thanks for your input.
posted by Joan Rivers of Babylon at 1:03 PM on January 21 [20 favorites]


Cats are really, really good at hiding pain. Breathing quickly is definitely a way that cats sometimes show it. That, and increased comfort-seeking (more and more intense kneading, mostly) were the only signs my elderly cat gave that he was in pain when he had extensive abdominal tumors and intestinal blockage. Please take this cat to the vet.
posted by duien at 1:04 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


Please let us know what you find out from the vet, and hope the kitty will be well.
posted by mermayd at 1:12 PM on January 21 [9 favorites]


A stray animal who is emaciated may have brain damage. I owned a dog who'd been basically starved and generally ill-treated, he was lacking in intelligence and had severe epilepsy. The shelter was overly-optimistic about his suitability as a pet. This cat may not be able to become well, and definitely requires a vet, ideally one with common sense.
posted by theora55 at 2:27 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


Thank you! Please let us know how it turns out.
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 2:42 PM on January 21 [3 favorites]


Thank you for caring about this poor creature. Please let us know what you find out from the vet. Fingers crossed for recovery.
posted by Dolley at 5:11 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


The vet believes it is primarily or completely starvation that is affecting this cat. He's putting him on an antibiotic in case he has any infections and has kept him for the weekend for observation. So he may may make it, but we still don't know.
posted by Joan Rivers of Babylon at 12:46 PM on January 22 [15 favorites]


Thank you for the follow up, PLEASE keep us posted and may Bastet grant that he becomes fat and happy.
posted by cyndigo at 2:14 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


This cat was unfortunately too far gone to save, and he died at the vet on Sunday morning.
Thanks for your concern.
posted by Joan Rivers of Babylon at 6:45 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Thank you for putting yourselves out there and doing what you could for this poor kitty. Thanks, too, for following up with us. You have my gratitude, fwiw.
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 7:24 AM on January 25 [5 favorites]


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