Listless Cat
July 22, 2004 9:52 PM   Subscribe

More Cat Filter. I Was recently adopted by a small black tom cat. I had him neutered two days ago and he seems listless. More inside.

Kitty was neutered, had his shots (rabies, fvr-cp-c, leukemia) and treated with Revolution for fleas. He is eating and pooping and his eyes are bright and clear and his coat is shiny and smooth but he just has no interest in anything but being held like a baby and sleeping. Is he just getting over the treatment? All Google tells me is that they recover quickly. I really do not want to subject him to another visit to the vet if it’s not needed, but how long is it until a neutered cat is back to his old self?
posted by arse_hat to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
He likes being held? Sounds like a good cat to me. Enjoy it while you can. My female cat suckled at my armpit when she was a kitten (oh, so tenderly!) and then grew up into a big, grumpy, pissing jerk.
posted by interrobang at 10:16 PM on July 22, 2004

It's very common for kitties to be low energy after all that ruckus. The shots themselves can cause listlessness, but pair that with surgery and you'll have one droopy kitty for a week or so.

As long as he's eating well, I wouldn't worry about this.
posted by frykitty at 10:36 PM on July 22, 2004

...seriously, though, cats are very sensitive to humiliation, and medical procedures are a huge affront to their dignity. If your cat doesn't recover from this in a couple of weeks, there might be something wrong.

My cat didn't recover from her historectomy - really - until all her fur grew back in. This sounds normal to me.
posted by interrobang at 10:58 PM on July 22, 2004

Is he just getting over the treatment?

Yes. The surgery was two days ago plus he's been exposed to the toxins in a flea treatment plus he had shots and he's feeling listless ? The shots are enough to knock him down for a day. They hurt. Then you have the trauma from a surgery. They cut him with a knife--he has to heal, it may be a small incision by your standards but he has a small body--it's a much bigger deal for him. It hurts. General anesthesia alone is enough to put a cat out of it for a few days. Recovering from it hurts, too. You did good by him in everything you did but add it all up and it's understandable he's down for a few days. He's recovering from a lot of different stresses. You are expecting miracles to think otherwise. Give him a week.
posted by y2karl at 10:59 PM on July 22, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks all.
Intellectually I figured he was probably OK but I really want to do right by Kitty. He worked hard to move in here. Followed me whenever I left my house for a few weeks then slept on our front porch for a week before just walking in one day and refusing to leave.
posted by arse_hat at 11:30 PM on July 22, 2004 [2 favorites]

Apparently he had good instincts in picking a home. He'll be fine.
posted by lbergstr at 11:42 PM on July 22, 2004

I had him neutered two days ago and he seems listless.

I don't mean to quip, but that pretty much seems to follow, doesn't it?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:21 AM on July 23, 2004

how long is it until a neutered cat is back to his old self? : Never! You may have neutered him for birth control, but the procedure also causes a personality change; sometimes small, often large. Cut off your nuts, and get back to us after you adjust to new levels of various hormones.
posted by mischief at 3:50 AM on July 23, 2004

Wasn't the idea of cutting his nuts off to facilitate behaviour change? (Besides being socially responsible of course.)
posted by biffa at 4:26 AM on July 23, 2004

He could also just be adjusting to living inside - different environment, and all that. But I think generally, the above advice is sound.

I am really just commenting because I am really impressed by your affection for this cat and wanted to say kudos. Oh, and enjoy the snuggling while you can, although it might last - our kitty was adopted as well, and she is the snuggliest cat I have ever met, probably because she is grateful, like your cat might be.
posted by livii at 5:48 AM on July 23, 2004

My cat Franny, whom I've mentioned here before, nearly died a few years ago from lipidosis, a liver disease. (We had to feed her through a tube in her stomach for a while.) When she recovered, her personality changed entirely. Whereas she had been aloof and stand-offish she was now sweet and affectionate. This lasted for several months after she had recovered. When I told that story to the vet, he said "you saved her life. She was being grateful."

My point is, don't be surprised if this new behavior lasts a while then changes again. And congratulations on your adoption.

(Also, what's his name?)
posted by jpoulos at 5:58 AM on July 23, 2004

Response by poster: His name is just Kitty. When he first started to follow me I of course just used the generic. By the time he decided to stay he was responding to Kitty so we decided to leave it at that.
posted by arse_hat at 7:01 AM on July 23, 2004

I'm just soooo jealous. I move internationaly, that makes having a cat totally impractical. And I like cats.

Neutered males, in my experience, are the most relaxed cats on the planet. I've known several that really seem to want to be kittens, and pretend their human is Mom. I don't doubt there are exceptions, but I've not met any of which I was aware.

I would only worry if he doesn't show a desire to get playful within 10 days.
posted by Goofyy at 8:06 AM on July 23, 2004

My aunt and uncle did this, too. They also had a dog named "Doggy." Then they had a kid and actually called it "Baby" for almost a year before giving into the people who told them how horrible it to have a child and not give it a name. I thought it was hillarious.
posted by ChasFile at 8:07 AM on July 23, 2004

I try to restrain myself from wandering too far afield in Ask, but as it's relevant to the off topic at hand: I have a cat named "Pending." Because the choice of his name was pending for so long -- about a month -- that saying "His name is pending" eventually became "His name is Pending." I approve of generic name choices if the creature seems to like them.

Oh, and yes, your cat's fine. Surgery is a big deal, and cats recover from it by acting exactly the same except meeker and sleepier.
posted by majick at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2004

My cat was listless after getting all that done too. He also is allertgic to fleas which can be a major problem. Now I give him baths and buy flea control when I got the cash.

I always thought there was no cat like mine. This animal.... it loves me. Kind of odd. I'm not saying "oh it loves me im projecting my emotions onto this poor cat" but seriously, this cat meows at my door all night when I am not home.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:32 PM on July 23, 2004

Response by poster: Kitty update I just got off a 90 minute conference call and he was more his old self. He followed me as I paced around the house and he murmured a stream of helpful suggestions the whole time.

In the past I had female cats and knew what the response to spaying was. In researching neutering, every animal care website I could find said with today’s microsurgical techniques that male cats recover from surgery very quickly. My vet said the same thing. They did not tell me that he would be so totally tired out.

For future reference: As long as his eyes, nose and mouth are normal, he is eating and pooping and there is no odor or discharge from the surgical site don’t worry if your cat is sleeping 23.5 hours a day, floppy, weak, listless and tired. He is just sleeping off the physical and emotional trauma.

Thanks to everyone for the information and support.
posted by arse_hat at 1:54 PM on July 23, 2004

heh, I have a cat named Cat. He is playful but not affectionate. I'm glad your kitty is doing better.
posted by Grod at 5:21 PM on July 23, 2004

It's far more likely that he's listless from the vaccinations and flea treatment than from the neutering (personally, I don't do surgery and vaccinations together, I think it's too much strain on the system). I know people like to think differently, but neutering a cat is normally a very simple, straightforward procedure, done under a short-acting general anaesthetic (which wears off very quickly and has few, if any, of the longer-term effects of a longer-acting, inhalation anaesthetic), and cats normally don't even notice it once they wake up - you won't be seeing effects from the actual neuter yet, testosterone will still be in his system. If the incision (which should be tiny) looks okay, odds are that he'll be back to normal very soon. If he's still listless in a few days, a call to the vet might be in order.
posted by biscotti at 9:37 AM on July 24, 2004

Response by poster: biscotti. I agree with you. I will never again subject an animal to more than one procedure at a time.
posted by arse_hat at 1:53 PM on July 24, 2004

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