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Battousai87's avatar

My cat has been acting funny lately, what can i do to help her get back to normal again?

Asked by Battousai87 (440points) August 3rd, 2010

I think that my cat, Ruby, is depressed. My brother just moved back home along with the three kittens (less than or around 1yr old). We have two other cats who are older around 10 we think. It started off fine the cats didn’t like the kittens and they would growl and so on when they came near but nothing major.

Then suddenly one of our older cats started acting weird. Since it’s started she just finds a place to curl up usually tucking herself away somewhere, basement, porch, etc, right in the middle of things usually somewhat hidden. Now as far as I’ve seen today she hasn’t eaten, drank anything, or used the litter box. She wont’ eat dry treats, or moist treats, she wont eat her cat food, she won’t eat friskey’s canned cat food (which she used to devour on the rare occasions she got it.

She won’t purr no matter what I do. She used to purr the instant you touched her, and would always be looking for attention sit next to you and purr for as long as you just simply rested your hand on top of her. She used to constantly try to clean my hair and doesn’t seem the least bit interested in it now.

She just finds that hidden spot, and sleeps, and if she’s awake she stares around wide eyed, but it’s like she isn’t really seeing anything. It’s so upsetting, and I don’t know what to so for her. I looked up how to help a depressed cat, but none of the things I found seem to get any response at all from her. I don’t know what to do please help, suggest possible problems, and possible solutions if you can. I will keep you all posted here on how it all works.


PS – she did catch and eat a fair portion of a mouse about a week ago. Not sure if it matters but there it is in case it does. Oh and her ears seem hotter than usual too. Please help :-(

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27 Answers

syz's avatar

You need to take her to your vet, asap. Cats that stop eating can develop hepatic lipidosis, a life threatening condition. There’s also the possibility that the kittens are carriers and may have infected her with something.

marinelife's avatar

Let me second @syz. This is a serious condition.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Battousai87's avatar

I was going to try to take her to the vet tomorow (Wednesday) or the next day (thursday) since i only just noticed that she seemed to not be eating anything yesterday (monday). Should i try to bring her in immediately? I’ve found some sites which diagnose her symptoms as a form of depression which is why i havent’ brought her in yet because i dont know if a vet can do anything for depression…can they?

misstrikcy's avatar

Please.. take your cat to the Vet without Delay!! Dont wait, do it immediately!

Try not to diagnose her symptons off the Internet. I know we do it, for us, and more often than not we get it wrong.

Battousai87's avatar

Ok, i will take her ASAP. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what it could be that i might mention the the vet? How about any other questions about my cat’s symptoms ie are there any other things i should be looking at on her to tell the vet about that might help the vet to find the problem?

syz's avatar

“Depression” is not a diagnosis. Get her checked out.

The vet will do a physical exam, and based on his/her findings, will suggest additional diagnostic tests. Just be sure to give a through and accurate history, including the exposure to new kittens.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, get her looked at and evaluated asap.

If she recieves a clean bill of health then perhaps it is a stress related adjustment depression.

2 years ago I lost my 10 yr. old goose that was the ‘wife’ of my now 12 yr. old gander for all those years.

He was experiencing loss related depression and the vet prescribed Ignatia Amara, a natural product that helps with grief and emotional upset.

He did very well on this product for 6 weeks while I searched out a new mate for him.

Now he and his second wife are very happy together. :-)

misstrikcy's avatar

Just tell the vet everything you have told us.. everything! Print off your question and take it in with you as there is plenty of info for the vet to go on.

Your vet is an extremely intelligent person… stop doubting.

Buttonstc's avatar

When my 14 yr. old cat stopped eating and drinking it was due to liver failure. It eventually showed up in the blood tests.

Don’t assume that it’s depression until any PHYSICAL causes are ruled out.

Not drinking is the critical clue here. Animals may be off their food a little but not drinking is SERIOUS.

Get her to the Vet NOW.

Pandora's avatar

She sounds sick, not depressed. Like already stated, she needs a vet. Rats carry many illnesses, she probably caught something of of it.

SamIAm's avatar

warm ears indicate a fever! vet, asap!! let us know how she is please!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think animals get depressed the way humans get depressed. Their brains are too simple for that kind of thing.

I agree with everyone, there is a physical cause behind it.

Zyx's avatar

God I hope you guys caught this in time, my cat wasn’t eating and he turned out to have herpes. Vet said he might have had it his whole life, but it was still going to kill him. He’s almost completely recovered now because I spent a week forced feeding him.

Battousai87's avatar

Zyx how did you force feed your cat? (just in case). OK update time. I just got back from the vet she and i left some blood behind, hers for blood work and mine for…well for her to give them the blood work. She was very dehydrated, the adrenaline from the vet visit brought her back to somewhat the way that she was but she seems to be regressing again now that we just got home. She got a shot of fluids from the doctor (basically a jumpstart to get her forced hydrated again. She ate three treats but nothing else yet since we got home. She’s in iso in the bathroom with her litter box, food, water, and a hastily made cat bed for her to spend the night with. the evil kittens are sequestered in their quarters (my brother’s room) so they won’t pester either of the old cats (ruby in the bathroom in iso, and smudge my other cat who is perfectly ok with having the house together for the time being). her bloodwork will be back tomorow. i’ll keep posting updates as i get them. thanks everyone

Zyx's avatar

Got some liquid cat food and kept his mouth open (apply slight pressure at the jaw, doesn’t need to be a lot if you’ve got the right place), inserted the food with a dropper. That was on recommendation of the vet, and expensive nutrient stuff.

Buttonstc's avatar

They term assisted feeding is a little more accurate. But that’s the right idea.

You need to go to whatever pharmacy carries childrens ORAL syringes. The type for giving them liquid medicine. Call around to find out who has them.

Get some baby food. Use just the all meat kind. You want maximum nutrition. You can also try Fancy Feast canned cat food. It’s like Kitty Crack. Sometimes if they refuse everything else this will get them eating. Make sure it’s the canned type not dry.

Also get some yogurt for the first few feedings since she’s got an empty stomach and heavier stuff might make her throw up and dehydrate her more.

Go to the store for those items first and I’m going to look in my bookmarks for the sites that helped me when I had to do this with my cat.

The kids oral syringes are the most effective way to get food into her. That’s what my vet gave me and it worked great.

Go get the stuff I listed now and I’ll have those sites posted by the time you get back.

Buttonstc's avatar

Look at the boxes on the left side of the page. Click on the one that says


When you get to that page look in the middle for the section labeled ASSISTED FEEDING.

There are also links in that section for other places with more detailed instructions.

Read it over thoroughly and stay calm. They’ll guide you through the whole process.

You can also do some reading on

Buttonstc's avatar

You’re also going to need some large bath towels and a warm damp washcloth.

The way the vet tech showed me was to use a countertop at a comfortable height. Wrap the cat up in the towel. This usually quiets her.

Use very warm water to dilute the food (except for the yogurt) to a thin watery gruel.

Just be sure not to tilt her head back or try to squirt it in from the front to avoid choking.

Use the natural gap between the teeth on the side. Squirt a little and let her swallow it. Go slowly and it should be fine.

Afterwards that damp washcloth comes in handy for cleaning up the face.

For the first several times give her the yogurt but only a syringe full. An hour later try another.

If she handles that ok without throwing up then move on to adding a syringe of diluted cat food.

Each time you put her back make sure she has a little canned food in a dish in case she decides to eatbon her own. Also plenty of fresh clean water.

After a few days my cat just resumed eating on her own.

BTW. Don’t be alarmed by all the other medical info on that site. You don’t know whether any of that applies to your cat or not. Just read the feeding tips and ignore the rest.

Good luck. Any other Qs feel free to ask.

Battousai87's avatar

i’ll probably see if i can wait a little bit longer before assisting her with her eating. Tomorow bloodwork will come back and maybe that will have an answer. if not then assisted feeding it is. thanks buttonstc

Battousai87's avatar

ok bloodwork came back ok. Liver and kidneys both normal. white blood cell count normal. one line of white bloodcell something or other indicates that it’s possible that she could be at the very beginings of some sort of virus, not enough to prove anything.

brought her back today to get her temp checked, she still has a fever. i had the vet give her a shot of antibiotic, another shot of fluids (she’s still not eating and not drinking), and they took whatever they needed to test for toxoplasmosis (something that cats can get from eating mice). they took a urine sample today to do a urinalysis with and that’s about it.

she again had improved a lil after the vets (i suspect adrenalin has a lot to do with it). she was under the bed all day not eating and not drinking. though she did take some cool whip off my finger when i offered that. she just came out from under the bed and is much more responsive than before but still no where near back to normal, and still won’t purr, and still hasn’t pooped yet. there you go that’s it for today’s update, the resultes from the toxoplasmosis test will be in tomorow, and there is an antibiotic to take care of it if it comes back positive.

Buttonstc's avatar

If it were my cat, I would begin assist feeding even if it were only yogurt. It’s a good counter measure to antibiotic treatment and it will provide needed fluid since it’s mostly water.

If she goes without food much longer, there is a DEFINITE risk for Hepatic Lipidosis.

Cats really cannot go without eating anything at all unlike dogs or other animals.

Hepatic Lipidosis is nearly impossible to reverse and it will (not might) kill her.

Try warming up some milk or chicken to see if she will take that.

But you need to get food into her somehow. Many vets are hesitant to recommend assist feeding because if done wrong can cause aspiration into the lungs. But if you follow the instructions on the crf site and put it in the side of the mouth and allow her time to lap it up it will be fine. It’s really not as hard as most people think.

Just wrap her up in a towel and it should be ok.

Battousai87's avatar

ok, so the short update here is that Ruby is doing quite well now. Well she is still skinny, she hasn’t put the weight back on yet, but she is eating, drinking, pooping, and purring again.

The results from the taxoplasmosis didn’t indicate that she definately had it or not, but since the antibiotic shot she got was effective we have her taking an oral antibiotic. it’s a liquid, in a seryinge like thing that we squirt in her mouth much to her displeasure, but oh well.

Thanks for all of your health. i almost did have to resort to the assisted feeding suggestion, but thankfully she started eating from my hand kibble by kibble before it got to that point. thanks everyone!

Buttonstc's avatar

That’s wonderful news. Thanks for the update.

If you want to get her weight back up, try some of the canned Fancy Feast. As I mentioned, a lot of people needing to entice the cats to eat have labled it “Kitty Crack”.

When my Smoochie stopped eating completely after her spay, she ended up weighing around 4 pounds or less.

That’s pretty low for an adult cat and she was alarmingly skinny.

After assist feeding for two or three days with the special canned food from the vet ( $2.50 per can ) she was drinking normally and eating some kibble but not like before.

That’s when I remembered about the Fancy Feast. Well, I bought a couple of assorted twelve-can packs ( MUCH less costly than single cans or another vet visit.

That did the trick. Soon she had all her old energy back and started putting weight back

Now she’s all back to her normal, happy and fresh little self.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Great. Thanks for letting us know!

Pandora's avatar

Yeaaaahhh!! I’m glad kitty is well again. :))

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