Cat hurt his leg and now not eating/drinking

Kristen HallockApril 4, 2013

My 13 year old cat was 95% healthy on Easter Sunday. He did have a mild upper respiratory infection. But the symptoms for that were mostly sneezing.

On Monday morning he was not up and waiting to greet us in the morning. We found him downstairs in the basement sleeping on the couch. Which is not completely abnormal. But most of the time he is waiting for us when we come downstairs.

Monday night I got home from work and as soon as I got in the door I heard the cat crying and crying. He was in the kitchen and sitting lopsided. I stood him up and it was obvious to me that something was bothering him with one of his hind legs/paws. He was not putting weight on it and would immediately sit down. My husband brought him that night to the emergency vet. The x-rayed him and everyone is confident that he has no broken bones. They said it was a "soft tissue" problem. They put a splint on him (for his comfort only) and sent him home with buprenorphine 2x a day and told us to take him to our normal vet on Friday.

The next day(Tuesday) I called our normal vet and they said to make sure he eats. So that afternoon i fed him with a syringe. I managed to get about 1/2 can of wet food in him (innova Evo). I also noticed that his paw was very swollen. I was told I could remove the splint. I removed it and his leg is still very tender.

Wednesday I decide to bring him to the vet since he will not eat or drink and just lays on a blanket all day long and doesnt move. They were worried about his breathing now because he has green boogers coming out of his nose all the time. They said he wouldnt eat if he cant smell. They gave him subQ fluids and prescribed antibiotics, plus another painkiller since the first one doesnt seem to be alleviating his pain all that much. He still wont eat. I get a few large syringes full of food into his mouth each day. But he hates it. I am not sure if I should continue doing this?

This morning he moved from his blanket to his litter box (right next to each other) and he peed. But then he laid right down in the litter box (not on the pee though!). Still no eating or drinking (unless I make him by syringe feeding him). The vet said there should be some improvement after 48 hours on antibiotics. That would be tomorrow. The joint on the back of his "hock" is tender and swollen according to the vet. They arent sure why. And he is a 100% indoor cat so we arent sure how he injured himself either.

I guess I am looking for some feedback on whether you think there's a chance my cat will start eating again on his own? Should I stop the 1st painkiller to see if it makes a difference with getting my cat to eat or drink on his own? I dont know if this sickness/injury means we should think about putting him down. It just seems so sudden since 4 days ago he was fine. But I dont want him to suffer either if its just going to end with him dying.

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You absolutely need to ask the vet these questions. Please do not stop pain meds without the vet's input, your cat would suffer. While awaiting your vet's return call, try offering a little pedialyte or similar electrolite solution. You need to keep him well hydrated. Did the vet show you how to syringe food and liquid into his mouth? If not, you need to aim the syringe ACROSS the tongue, NOT toward his throat. Little bits at a time. You'll be spending considerable time at this until his sinus clears and he decides to eat on his own. What other diagnostics has the vet done besides radiographs?

I've had cats who were too ill to eat for several days at a stretch. It took all my patience to get sufficient hydration and nourishment into them. Had they gone longer the vet would probably have recommended a feeding tube. Eventually they became interested in their food again. By then I was a basket case. Patience and keep at it.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 7:52PM
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Keep your cat on the pain meds, and keep feeding him. Cats won't eat what they can't smell, so immediately before you feed him, put him in a steamy bathroom for 15-30 mins. The steam will drain his sinuses so that he can smell the food. It'll also help to warm the food slightly in the microwave to REALLY bring out its aroma. Be careful not to get it too warm, or you may burn his mouth (which will REALLY put him off food).

If your cat isn't drinking, you should take him back to the vet and have the vet teach you how to administer subQ fluids at home to keep him properly hydrated.

Did the vet consider the possibility of a blood clot in his hind leg? That can be extremely painful.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 11:11PM
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Kristen Hallock

Thank you. I will try the steamy shower thing tonight. I didnt think he was better yesterday. He didnt want to eat or drink. I did get him to eat a little by syringe feeding him. Luckily he started out weighing over 15 pounds so he wasnt a skinny minny to begin with. This morning I woke up and there was a fresh pee spot in the litter box and the cat was back laying down on his blanket. So that was a good sign!

My husband brought him to the vet today and she was pleased with how he looked. She was able to massage his foot/joint and commented how 2 days ago he wouldnt even let her touch it. She didnt insist on doing full blood work, but she mentioned it and my husband figured we are in this almost $1,000 already so we might as well. He tested negative for feline leukemia and for something else too, but he didnt remember what. So pretty much we arent sure whats wrong with his paw. She thinks he could just have gotten an infection there, and then the URI flared up because he was stressed out. He's anemic she said, but i guess that doesnt mean the same thing for cats as it does for humans. Overall his bloodwork was good. She thinks he will get better and once he can smell again he should eat.

I forgot to mention that he did drink from the regular water bowl this morning too! I am happy he seems to be doing better but I will be happier when he starts eating on his own.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:50AM
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