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Cat having abdominal spasms

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm worried about my 1.5 year old tabby male cat. I got him as a feral 4-month-old who was a little undernourished. He started washing his fur properly after about a month, and only started kneading about 6 months later. He rarely sits or sleeps near me, but regularly purrs, rubs against my leg, and plays at night with me. I let him outside supervised for an hour a day. I'm with him mostly full time as I'm retired. I treat him very well, but often he gets mildly aggressive [biting me or scratching enough to break the skin]: sometimes it's completely out of the blue when I'm not paying him any attention, other times when I'm patting him, and sometimes when we play. Mostly when we play he keeps his claws in.

He's had all his shots and been neutered, but periodically gets diaherra. This is when I first noticed his spasms. The pattern has been: he gets clingy -- VERY UNUSUAL for him -- he cowers and wants to cuddle into me for 20 min, and while I held him, his abdomon had little spasms [it's the same vibration I feel when he's straining, like when he stretches. But in this case, he has no obvious visible muscle movement. It will spasm for a few seconds, then stop, then repeat for the whole time he's cuddled into me. Then he hides to sleep about 8 hours, and in the litter the next day, I'd find diaherra. ]

The vet puts him on Metronidazol, and after a few days, his diaherra stops. This has happened 3 times [the third time, they also gave him a dewormer. The first and 3rd time, they did a fecal exam and found nothing].

I had been thinking the tremours were from a digestive problem, but the strange part is that when I watch him lay down when he's still wide awake, and stretched out, his legs regularly move. I've put my hand on him and I feel that same tremour/spasm coordinating with the involuntary leg movement that I did when he's had diaherra, except there's no clinginess, diaherra or hiding to sleep for hours. When he's falling asleep and stretched out I also see his legs bobbing/jumping. The jumping is not at all like when he's dreaming and his paws are twitching; this is all 4 legs, straightened in a relaxed looking extension. We wondered if he's just over-stretching when he lays/sleeps, but it doesn't explain the tremours I feel when I lay my hand on him. He has a very protruded abdomen too, so I wonder if something is wrong in there, tho the vet said it's just fat -- he's 13 lbs.

He stopped liking any canned food I'd give him around 6 months [he had been on Felidae, then liked Wellness for a while, then nothing canned pleased him, so he's been on a mix of Nutro kibble and T/D]. I used to give him topical Advantage flea treatment, but switched to oral Program.

The tremours are not like a seizure because his face/head/ears/eyes all look normal; it's only because I watch him a lot that I notice, and since he's not "sick" I'm mystified. I wonder if something in him got damaged when he was undernourished: I believe he ate a lot of bugs to stay alive, since he catches and eats every fly, spider, worm, woodbug or any other small thing in the house. [He watches birds and squirrels, but he hasn't caught one yet].

The leg movement, which I believe is a symptom of the internal tremours, likely happen every time he lays down. I also notice when I hold him for a minute or two, though he's content and relaxed, that his whiskers go foreward coordinate with his body straining a few times in a minute, like when he's straining to expel a bowel movement. It seems involuntary.

Are there any tests I can get done on him to diagnose him?
post #2 of 4
Has he ever had an x-ray done? That might give an idea of general organ positions and shapes. If it doesn't show anything, an ultrasound may be needed or suggested. Is this something that's been going on his whole life or is this a recent change? Also, how long ago did you switch foods?
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
I didn't know if it was worth investigating thru xray and ultrasound yet. I switched to kibble over 6 months ago.

I don't know when the trembles actually started because he's rarely resting near me. I'd only noticed when I put my hand on him when he first got clingy. I assumed it was due to pending diaherra, but now I check him when he's resting and the trembles seem to happen when he's laying down or dozing. It's hard to get near him much, as he rouses when I disturb him, but I observe his legs bobbing almost every time he lays down in a stretched position.
post #4 of 4
I think it's worth getting an x-ray to check for more obvious problems with internal organs and even some of the bones. I would definitely ask your vet about it.
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