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Cat depression?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I've got two fabulous 6 year old cats, one is very well adjusted, loves to play, very happy, loves my company, just super. Her brother, however, has always been a little emotional. He has always loved to eat, and has in the past year or so really come out of his shell. I got them both when they were 1, and they came from a home with 20 cats, so I understand that there was trauma associated with that.

Recently I had to take the boy (Max) to the vet, because he didn't seem like himself. Well, he's got a slight liver problem and he needed dental work. Even had a tooth pulled. When he came home, he wouldn't take the antibiotics... threw the liquid up, wouldn't eat, hid under the bed. Going to the vet was also, clearly, trauma. But because he couldn't take the antibiotics, he got a severe blood infection, and had to be kept at the hospital for three days.

Well, he's been home for 3 1/2 days, and he's displaying all the classic signs of depression. Loss of appetite (though if I break out the tuna, he'll still come to that), won't sleep on the bed with me, hides under the bed or in the bathroom most of the time, not grooming himself, lethargic. He used to RUN to the kitchen as long as I was in there, even if it was just to do dishes. He still purrs when I hold him and pet him, which is encouraging, but for the most part he just doesn't seem to enjoy life.

I know 3 1/2 days isn't a long time, but has anyone else experienced this before? I don't know how long it will take to get him out of his funk.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much!
post #2 of 13
I can't say I've experienced all that at the same time with one cat yet. I don't really have much advice, but just a couple things to say.

In the future, have you thought about getting a injectable form of antibiotic. He can't throw it up, and he can't fight with you about swallowing a pill.
Also if your worried about struggling with the needle, or if you are scared of them, they have long lasting antibiotics availible too which the vet can administer for you. No I don't know if that is appropriate for the dental situation, but I just wanted to make that known incase you weren't aware.

My Asim, has anxiety and depression problems. When I'm not around he's a different cat, when NO one is around, he's a very different cat.
I can not advise you on anything, but would like to say that you should speak with your vet about this, tell him that you are VERY concerned, so you can x out any phsycical health problems, and perhaps work on behavorial modification, if this persists.

As far as food, you must get him to eat some how, and you must call the doctor about that asap! Have you tried the "kitty tuna?" I know people tuna is BAD for cats, but I don't know if kitty tuna is. Have you tried mixing some really cheap yummie wetfood in with a little bit of real tuna?
Please tell us more on this situation, I'd like to help you as much as possible.

If you want more advice, you can try this place, people there are very knowledgeable.
Click on the link for
Cat Health Board
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the speedy reply! I'm confident that this is a behavioral issue and not a physical one, as he's just been to the vet and had all this done to him. When he was at the vet for the infection, he was there for three days, being poked and prodded (i.e., IV'd, blood tests, he also needed an enema) and the week before he'd just had his first anasthesia and a tooth pulled! I know I'd be unhappy after having all that done to me too.

He seems to be eating a little, but not while I'm around. I know this because the litter box is evidence. I hate this, because I can't even give him the love because he's under the bed!

I know that cats can get depressed, and that you can take one to a 'kitty shrink' but I really would rather not have him out of the house again, as it has clearly had such a negative affect.

In my ideal world, someone on this board would post a note saying they've been through the same thing and that it can take a week or so for the cat to get out of this funk. A girl can dream, eh?

As for food, he's always preferred dry to wet, and now that he's on Hill's, their wet food smells horrendous. I've always preferred NutraMax, it's the only stuff that doesn't smell disgusting. At this point, though, I'd just be happy to see him back to his old self, rolling around the floor, playing, etc.

Thanks again for the help
post #4 of 13
Rachel - give him some more time. He has been through a lot lately and as we all know, kitties do NOT like any change in their routine!
I hope you will tell us how he is managing. There could still be some residual effects from the dental issues there.

Give Max some kitty pets from me (when you get your hands on him)
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Well, actually it looks like I should have posted this on the health site after all, as I decided to take him to a fancy-shmancy vet in Manhattan (I currently live in Astoria, Queens). While he seemed not *too* bad at the outset (they did find he had 105 degree temperature-- ACK!-- and jaundice, related to the worsening of the liver condition, once they actually took him away from me to be examined more closely, they found that there was an absess near his colon, which could mean a whole HOST of issues. They put him into ICU overnight to stabalize him, because they will have to anasthetize him in order to operate on the absess. Keep in mind, he really was fairly healthy 2 weeks ago (or at least certainly wasn't *this* bad)-- and if he had been this sick, he was at the other vet only 5 days ago. I'm having a hard time believing all of this could have happened so quickly. *sigh*... so the infection has clearly risen its ugly head again, and one of the reasons for that is because the vet only had him on them for 3 days and never sent me home with more.

At this point I don't even know if he will pull through, but after dropping a whopping $5K+ once this is over (as an estimate), having him in the hospital for 5 days, and trying to make my other kitty at home understand and stop meowing so much, it's been a ROUGH 24 hours.

Thanks to those who've posted, and I'm seriously beginning to think there should be a message board dedicated to past Vet experiences. There's just not enough information out there about which vets are better than others.

post #6 of 13
Wow! How stressful, frustrating, and scary! I sure hope your poor kitty pulls through smoothly.

I have had similar problems with my vet. I finally ended up driving my cats to a vet that is about 25 miles away. The drive is hard on them, but these vets are willing to listen to me and take me seriously and seem more willing to stop and think instead of rushing to a conclusion.

My thoughts are with you.
post #7 of 13
Not that I'm defending the vet... (CURSE all the bad ones...)

Infections in cats are notoriously had to pinpoint, even for the most experienced and well-meaning vets. This is because cats are prone to hiding illness and pain instinctively... (ie/ programmed by genetics to do so because a sick or weak cat is easy prey in the wild)

On the other hand, the compromised liver function SHOULD have set off warning bells that merited further investigation... You did great, by the way, by persisting and then getting a second opinion.

Healing energies to your cat (and you... the stress must be awful!).
post #8 of 13
Please let us know how you make out with your kitty.
We are rooting for him!
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Well, unfortunately, Max didn't pull through and he just couldn't fight anymore. I had him euthanized this morning, after the hospital called to tell me he wasn't stabalizing, and declining rapidly. Between the liver problems, an infection and a very large and painful absess, it was just too much. It was horrendous, the single most difficult and painful experience of my life, but thankfully the new vet was great, and I truly believe they did everything they could to save him. However, they weren't able to get a final diagnosis because they were so concerned with stabalizing him, so I'm planning on having a necropsy performed, so that I can get some resolution and know what exactly were the causes of his all-too-rapid decline (when I saw him this morning he was yellow... a week earlier he was white). My best friend rushed from work and missed it by a few minutes, but I couldn't wait any longer as he was howling (and he's never been a vocal cat, except for those gloriously loud purrs he made).

I'm happy to know that he's no longer suffering, and that his sister is here with me, happy and healthy. I did a little shopping for her afterwards (shop therapy, and a good way to get her some new things-- compensating for the loss? perhaps, but I just need her to be happy).

Well, I should go now and give her some more love. My eyes are quite puffy at this point anyway, and it's been an exhausting day.

I want to thank EACH AND EVERY ONE of you for your kind words and thoughts. This site is the single best resource for cat lovers, and I'm so incredibly grateful that I found it.

post #10 of 13
Rachel, I'm so sorry that Max didn't make it. We were all pulling for him, even if we didn't write in and say so. You did the best you could for him, and he knew that. Let your precious girl kitty comfort you. I'm sure she will need some comfort too. Try to remember the good times you shared together, and know how much love you shared in his five years with you.

post #11 of 13
I am so sorry to hear of Max's passing... poor love, and my deepest sympathies to you. Thank you so much for letting us know what happened although it must have been painful for you... I really appreciate it.

Healing energies to you and yours.
post #12 of 13
My heart is breaking. I am so very sorry for your loss. I know how much it hurts to have to put down a cherished cat. You have my sympathy and I am sending all of my warm thoughts your way.

You might want to visit the Bridge forum to share your story about Max and his loss.
post #13 of 13
Dear Rachel,
I just joined on tonight and read your story. My thoughts are with you as I have gone through the deaths of several cats and I know exactly how you are feeling. Time is the best healer and the memories you have of Max!!! Start a scrapbook of him when you feel up to it, it is good therapy! And, give the little sister extra loves and kisses... she probably knows he is missing! Again, my thoughts are with you!
Take care,
Carpentersville, Illinois
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