My kitten (9 weeks) is acting weird today - help!
June 8, 2007 2:57 PM   Subscribe

My kitten is acting very listless and her inner eyelids are half closed. Anyone else experience this?

I'll dispense with the obligatory "should I see a vet" but I want to ask first if this something anyone else has seen. My kitty is only 9 weeks old and today she is burning up and her third eyelids are half shut. Her heartbeat is strong and she is reacting fine so she seems aware but her inner eyelids are almost half shut and she feels warm. Before I panic, could this be an allergy? (mine are raging right now)

I'm not rushing to the vet yet but this came on in maybe 6 or 8 hours so my wife and I are concerned.

(I know she didn't bite an electrical cord)

Please reply if you have seen this.
posted by jtoth to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Unlikely to be an allergy. It sounds more like an infection, especially with it coming on so suddenly.

If you notice that she's purring and take that for a good sign - don't. Cats in distress will purr. Get her to a vet ASAP.

(I've seen something similar in a cat years ago, and yes, he was quite ill.)
posted by rtha at 3:07 PM on June 8, 2007

If she is burning up, that's really bad. Kittens can die easily. Don't waste time on here. Get her to the vet before they close for the weekend!
posted by Jess the Mess at 3:13 PM on June 8, 2007

Your profile shows you're on the east coast. Another 6-8 hours will be the middle of the night. Please go to a vet NOW.
posted by scody at 3:17 PM on June 8, 2007

A Fever is VERY BAD. Go to the vet now.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:19 PM on June 8, 2007

on re-read, sorry for any confusion: my comment stemmed from your reference to 6 or 8 hours, which I took to mean that you'd give it another 6 or 8 hours before you and you and your wife were concerned. Regardless, please go to a vet right away.
posted by scody at 3:29 PM on June 8, 2007

When we brought our 9-ish week old kitten home from the SPCA last summer, she very quickly got sort of listless, eyelids half closed and eyes all crusty, and very sneezy and snotty. We we're pretty concerned about it had a new kitten vet appointment anyway. The vet said that kittys from shelters are a lot like kids in daycare. Most of them come home with a cold, and that it really isn't a big deal. So depending on how long you've had her and where she came from, that might explain it.

That said, the fever does seem worrisome. Nthing take her to the vet. If she's really sick, they'll be able to make her better. If it's just a cold then you cuddle her and feel a little silly for being an overprotective pet parent.
posted by mostlymartha at 3:42 PM on June 8, 2007

Nthing go to the vet. That said, depending on where you got your kitten from, you might consider whether or not she was tranquilized. I've heard that some pet stores and pet mills, in particular (sorry, not judging, just positing) sedate their puppies and kittens to make them more docile and cuddly to prospective buyers.

Also, when I was in college, a temporary roommate of mine sedated a cat I was keeping for my roommate, whose room she was renting for the summer. She'd brought her cat with her, had gotten some tranquilizers for her cat for the plane ride, and decided that because her cat and my roommate's cat weren't hitting it off so well, she'd just pop my roommate's cat half a downer. He responded to it exactly as you describe - listless, inner eyelid hanging down, very warm, etc. It took her an hour to confess to having drugged him up, after I'd spent that hour calling every vet in the phonebook trying to find one open on a Sunday. My roommate's cat improved over the course of about 8 hours or so, thankfully. It was a grand way to start things off, really.

Good luck at the vet.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 4:04 PM on June 8, 2007

I had a kitten do this a couple days after coming from from a shelter. It turned out to be a serious infection, something which apparently was making the rounds at their shelter. What they'd neglected to mention is that most of his littermates had already died. That was a long scary week of forcing medicating into his limp body, and waiting for him to either get well or stop breathing. The vet called every day to check on him because she really wasn't certain he'd pull through. Around he 8th day he suddenly woke up and went straight into full-on KittenPower! mode. Whew.

Get that kitten to a vet. You'll be glad you did, even if it turns out to be nothing.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 4:17 PM on June 8, 2007

Response by poster: So far, she is playing with her toys and acting very playful in general. Her eyelids seem to be getting more normal. I appreciate all of the replies so far and we are very reactionary (trust me) but I hate to plop down the cash and deal with the headache of getting her rushed over there on a Friday night just to realize it was a cold or something else as benign.

Given that this came on so fast, my main concern was that she may be allergic to something in the house that we use or something to that effect. If the symptoms get worse we will rush her to the 24-hour animal hospital.

For now (and we both appreciate all of the concern) I'm just asking if anyone has had a similar experience with these symptoms.
posted by jtoth at 4:17 PM on June 8, 2007

Glad to hear she's better. I was thinking after I posted that she might have eaten something that she reacted poorly too or perhaps, as you say, maybe she's allergic to something. I get not wanting to spending money you don't have and my SO is more of the wait-and-see-type, too.

You might think of keeping her out of the kitchen or bathroom for a while in case she's rooting around near chemicals or cleaning stuff. Did you clean recently? Maybe she licked some water out of the tub, toilet, or sink? Anyway, best of luck.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 4:54 PM on June 8, 2007

Please take this kitten to the vet. Most urban areas have 24-hour vet clinics, and you usually don't have to wait too long.

Yes, it's a hassle, but kittens have weak immune systems, and you're her parents.
posted by lunasol at 5:03 PM on June 8, 2007

Yes, my cat had his inner eyelid push-up and fever. We went to emergency veterarian's place and found that he had a very bad ear infection that was pushing up against his eye. The progress of the inner eye went from normal to close to shut from the early afternoon to the late evening. (Hence the emergency visit.) He was given antibiotics and his eye started to return to normal in a few hours. He didn't stay overnight, but we were encouraged to hydrate him for the next few hours. He still had to be on some drugs, and some regular ear cleaning, but he was well quite soon. (This was a couple years ago, so he was about 12.) He's fine now. I won't tell you how much it cost, but suffice it to say, even though this cat has also had cancer, there has been another pet in my life that cost me many times more. Most expensive guinea pig in history.
posted by typewriter at 5:04 PM on June 8, 2007

By the way, I think you meant you are very 'responsive,' not reactionary.
posted by thinkpiece at 6:30 PM on June 8, 2007

A tip for the future. Buy yourself a cat care book that has a thorough, cat owners troubleshooting guide to symptoms of ill health and injury in the cat. This will help you decide quickly and rationally whether your cat needs veterinary attention.

Ask your vet to recommend one!

I hope your kitten is ok :)
posted by Arqa at 6:51 PM on June 8, 2007

Response by poster: No, I meant 'reactionary'. We didin't want to jump the gun on this because when it comes to our pets we tend to do that and sometimes wind up paying a lot for the veterinary visit over something that turns out to be no big deal.

With 6 animals in the house, it's reactionary, believe me ;)

(kitty seems to be okay so far, she's acting completely normal but the eyes are still not looking much better)
posted by jtoth at 6:52 PM on June 8, 2007

Cats have a "third" eyelid called the nictating membrane. When it is showing (appearing as though the cat's eyes are half closed), it is an indication that the cat is not feeling well. That with a fever warrants a visit to the vet.

I understand that it would be a shame to have to go through all the trouble of taking your cat to the vet and find it's not serious. I would encourage you to take your cat to a vet because it seems you're worried enough about her to post here.

If you decide to wait, keep an eye her to see if she is eating and drinking normally. Check her litterbox and see if she's eliminating and ensure her stool is normal. Any discharge from her nose/eyes could indicate a respiratory infection. Lethargy, lack of interest in food, etc. will definitely require a vet visit.

Good luck.
posted by loquat at 9:32 PM on June 8, 2007

The hydration will be the most important part. Kitties can go from 60 to zero fast if they're not hydrating. You may have to use an oral syringe.

I use Cat Owner's Home Vetrinary Handbook

From my reading and your description of the symptoms it could be a head cold or chest cold - a systemic illness. If she droops at all, or starts panting, get thee to a vet.

At my peak I had 7 cats - I know the torture of "all that for a cat?" and sometimes riding it out and sometimes not.

Cats are tough, though. Good luck!
posted by lysdexic at 10:30 PM on June 8, 2007

Give a call to your regular vet's answering service or the emergency vet's office. Just like pediatricians, part of their job is fielding after-hours calls from anxious "new parents" worried about hints of illness their vulnerable little ones. They can advise you whether her symptoms are urgent, and what to be watching for in the meantime. It's free, and so valuable. More than once I've been amazed at how generous those folks are willing to be with their time and counsel.

Fever in a cat is dangerous. Cats aren't just tough, they're too tough. They don't reveal illness easily, so "reactionary" is kind of justified when a cat becomes sick enough to actually show outward signs of illness. Playing while feverish is not necessarily an accurate reflection of her health status. If you're still wary of taking her in prematurely, monitor her temp closely. If she goes to over 102 or the fever last more than a day or so, call the vet immediately no matter how peppy she seems.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:40 AM on June 9, 2007

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