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Symptoms of a stroke or Seizure in elderly cat?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
This morning I went to go feed my 19 yr. old female cat when I noticed she was very unstable on her feet, her head was tilting to the right side, and her eyes wher moving back and forth very fast. Her eyes stopped and now she is falling to her right side and her back limbs seem to be very weak. She is just laying in her bed and is hesitant to get up because she is wobbly. Is this a stroke or a seizure? Has anyone else experienced this? If anyone knows anything about these symptoms please respond.Thanks.
post #2 of 46
My 17 year old went thru a series of stroke-like episodes, each time more pronounced than the previous one. What you are describing sounds very similar to what I saw with Shep. My vet diagnosed either a brain tumor or stroke. This went on for over a year before she became completely paralyzed. A brain tumor can grow a little bit at a time and cause similar paralysis conditions as a stroke. Without a MRI or exploratory surgery, it is impossible to diagnose. We chose not to diagnose Shep due to her age - we would not have done surgery had it been a brain tumor and there isn't any real treatment for stroke.

It is very hard to see them go thru this, but it doesn't mean its the end. We were able to manage Shep's disabilities by changing her surroundings. Her litter box was close to where she stayed. We fed her in her bed. We used massage therapy on her to help with the stiffness of little used limbs.

Call your vet ASAP. I'm not a vet by any means and do not want to mislead you with similarities that may not be real.

Sending you positive vibes that you can discover what has happened and keep your baby comfortable.
post #3 of 46
My 11 year old Cat with Crf did that. First her back legs didnt work then a few days later she could only flick her tail. She had to be Pts. The Vet thought the Crf had caused it. They said it might be a stroke and there was nothing they could do. I also had a Catthat had Seizers and she died at age 11. She had no use of her back legs for over a year and would drag them behind her. Then one day she had a real bad one and died. my brother called me at work and said she died. Your Cat sounds like it had a Stroke.
post #4 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the information. Boobala was having strokes. She was put on the anti-dizzy medicine, but it did not seem to work and her condition just got worse each day. She passed away in her sleep on May 20th. She was 19. We will miss her so much.
post #5 of 46
Aww, I'm sorry for your loss.
post #6 of 46
So sorry about your Cat.
post #7 of 46
I am so sorry that you lost your baby!
post #8 of 46
I'm so very sorry for your loss.
Rest In Peace, Boobala
post #9 of 46

I want to thank you for the information.  My little Siamese girl, Murphy, obviously has had a bad stroke. She's 19 and won't eat or drink, plus I am fairly sure that she is blind, she yowls when she wakes up and it is a frightened yowl which isn't Murphy. I have been keeping her hydrated and warm.  I cried my eyes out last night because I know the end result of what has happened.  My Mom gave Murphy to me 19 years ago for my birthday. Mom died in 2000 and losing Murphy is going be like losing my Mom all over again.  Murphy also tolerated constant drenching of tears when my Mom died and she did her best to make me happy again by bringing me mice to play with...one of them she placed on me when I was sleeping and I rolled over and it flipped on the floor just as the Rottweiler we had was laying down.  Needless to say I got up the next morning to a mouse pancake with bulging eyes....what a way to go. 


Again, thank you for the information.  I won't put Murphy through any more trauma and force her to go through being an invalid just to satisfy my selfishness and the need to hang on to her.  It's always a hard decision and this blog has really helped me make it.

post #10 of 46

Hi Loverbear and welcome to TCS!


Loverbear, you've posted your story into a very old thread....and the original poster of it hasn't been around for many years!


I have some advice for you...and, it is advice that I would take myself - it is what I would do - if I were in your shoes.


First, it is NOT selfish to give Murphy every opportunity to recover to whatever extent she may be able to - and - frankly, from what you wrote, it doesn't sound like that's the case....unless she had this stroke some time ago and you've had her treated and she hasn't responded.


I think you should read this thread: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/247354/possible-stroke-really-really-worried-about-lovely-old-kitty


One needs to think very clearly when making an irrevocable decision. Are you sure you've given her every chance available to you? When you say "I'm fairly sure that she is blind"....have you had her examined? You seem to have already decided what her outcome will be: "I know the end result of what has happened".


If I knew you personally and were a friend, I would say all of this to you...because no friend would want their friend to go through life with serious regrets.


If you want to continue the conversation and post back, it might be better to start a new thread - and more helpful if you can provide the facts of what has happened with as much detail as you can...focusing on the facts will also help you get through this very difficult time much easier.

post #11 of 46

We are sure my 15 yr old, Pounder, had a stroke... He is eating and drinking ok and moving his arms and legs but cannot stand up and walk...

If anyone has any advice, Please let me know...

post #12 of 46

I have had several elderly cats, the oldest was 23 when he passed and I have one currently that is 18 or 19. When cats get that old they often get like older humans and get forgetful, stiff joints, and the same type of symptoms expected in old age. There isn't much you can do for a pet that is elderly (or geriatric) other than keep them comfortable and try to make things easier for them. Sometimes cats get neurological issues with their spine that can result in weakness...this isn't a stroke and the cat can generally recover to varying degrees. If it was a stroke, then you need to determine if your kitty is suffering. Recovery from strokes can be a guessing game as most have some recovery over the months following a stroke. If your cat seems to be OK and not in pain or distress, then I would concentrate on providing support for your cat as much as possible. I have a very difficult time with putting my cats to sleep and try to do anything to put off the dreaded ride to the vet, typically with tears running down my burly face.

   If your cat seems to be OK and not suffering, I would do whatever I could for it unless it is suffering with no chance of improvement. I'm sure you have done everything possible that you know, and the people online here usually have great advice. Thank you for taking care of your kitty and your concerns about it, I wish you the best possible outcome!



post #13 of 46
Originally Posted by Carolyn Greer View Post

We are sure my 15 yr old, Pounder, had a stroke... He is eating and drinking ok and moving his arms and legs but cannot stand up and walk...

If anyone has any advice, Please let me know...

What makes you think it's a stroke?  Just not being able to stand and walk is not necessarily a sign of a stroke.  As a matter of fact, this is not a typical stroke sign. 


Have you taken him to a Vet? It could be something like a potassium imbalance.  Can he hold his head up?  Is he having ANY other issues...vomiting, loosing weight, excess drinking, urinating, etc.  Anything at all out of the ordinary your Vet need to know about. 

post #14 of 46
Took my 18 year old cat to emergency vet this morning. They say he had a stroke. Eyes dilated and he walks wobbly. Doesn't want to eat or drink. Cries out when I try to pick him up.
post #15 of 46

Please let us know how you and your cat are doing. A stroke isn't necessarily a death sentence by any means. While your cat is considered elderly or geriatric, it probably still has a few good years left if it can overcome the stroke. Give your cat comfort as much as you can...you will feel better about doing it regardless of the outcome. I hope for the best for your kitty and hope to hear something positive about it's diagnosis. I wish you the best!



post #16 of 46
He takes food and water from a syringe. But doesn't want to be touched. Why would his whole body hurt if he had a stroke?
post #17 of 46
Originally Posted by Hymne View Post

He takes food and water from a syringe. But doesn't want to be touched. Why would his whole body hurt if he had a stroke?

He may not be in pain, just doesn't understand what is happening, so is "cryng out" when touched.  If you have any questions on this,though, perhaps it's best to contact the Vet who saw him and ask what the issue might be with this behavior.  That way, just in case he IS in pain, they can prescribe something for it.  (But normally if a cat is in pain, they wthdraw from the scene)

post #18 of 46
Thanks. I will follow up with vet. He's in pain and I need to know why.
post #19 of 46

Typically a stroke doesn't cause pain, as far as I know unless there are spasms of his muscles. I am certainly not disputing a Vet's opinion, but the symptoms you describe can also result from a physical accident, such as a spinal injury. A cat in pain will often have dilated eyes and react to pain during movement . Often a cat will have two different size pupils when they have a stroke, but it depends on the area of the brain that is affected. Often a stroke will only affect one side of the body...has your cat shown weakness on both sides of his body?

   The reason I bring this up is because I had an elderly male cat, age 20-21, that had the same symptoms and it turned out to be an issue with his spine and arthritis, which he somehow aggravated by jumping down off of a kitchen counter. It took a month or so but he fully recovered. I thought it was the end for Pete, but he lasted another three years after his condition first showed up...hopefully you will have a similar outcome. Have his symptoms improved at all? Is he still eating and drinking at all without the syringe? Keep giving him food and water by any means possible to prevent any complications? I wish you the best as I know everyone on the site here care for their kitties selflessly and hate to see cats in distress.

post #20 of 46
I agree with what the others said- usually there is no pain after a stroke. I really hate to say this, but if it was a stroke, as your vet said, you might want to mentally prepare yourself for it to happen again. We just went through this with my 18 year old cat Frannie a couple months ago. My sister in law is a vet and this is the advice she gave me. As harsh as it sounds, in the end, I am glad she gave me some warning because Frannie had a bad second stroke and seizure about 8 days after the first one. I hope this is not the case for you and your kitty. I'd give the vet a call tomorrow and see what they have to say about the pain.
I'll be thinking of you both and sending positive vibes.
post #21 of 46
He became a little more active last night, but this morning he is lethargic again. Still not eating and only lying on one side.... he tries to turn with great difficulty.
post #22 of 46
Thanks for everyone's input. I took him back to another vet this afternoon... he had a high fever and a bad infection in his left back leg. A lot of pain. They gave him antibiotics and pain meds and put him on a drip for the night. Might not have been a stroke after all...
post #23 of 46
That is good news! Well, not that he has a bad infection, but that it is something treatable. Antibiotics usually work pretty fast, so he should be feeling much better in a few short days. You have done an excellent job observing him and persisting with the vet when you knew something wasn't right. I am a little surprised the vet didn't find such a nasty infection at the first visit. But, cats are masters at hiding pain and masking illness, so it does happen. Pease continue to update us and let us know how he is doing.
post #24 of 46
They even took his temperature and it was normal... unless they did it the wrong way? Anyway it was a different vet today at my local animal hospital. Thank God I took him in again. I miss him so much right now and hope he feels much better tomorrow.
post #25 of 46
Originally Posted by Hymne View Post

They even took his temperature and it was normal... unless they did it the wrong way? Anyway it was a different vet today at my local animal hospital. Thank God I took him in again. I miss him so much right now and hope he feels much better tomorrow.

I am so glad YOU knew something was still wrong with him and took him to be seen again.  Let's hope it was this infection all along rather than a stroke, and that he'll be 100% back to normal once the antibiotics kick in. 



post #26 of 46

I'm glad to hear it is an infection instead of a stroke, as a stroke doesn't have a real treatment, other than possible surgery. I like old school vets that have been around for decades...they really know thier stuff. My old black cat Pete, RIP at 23, developed a similar problem and we thought it might have been a stroke. The vet argued with me that the symptoms didn't match those for a stroke...mostly the pain and reluctance to be handled., The vet found a tiny spot smaller than a match head that was causing him great pain in his leg, despite me saying that there was no way the problem could be an injury! I'm nearly 60 and the vet is easily 70, but he is the greatest vet I have seen with compassion that you won't find in any of the new school Vet clinics.

   You know your kitty better than anyone and you stuck to your guns regarding your cat's diagnosis...by doing so you have probably saved your cat some serious suffering and maybe saved his life! :cat:  Keep up the good job...your cat isn't done with you yet!!


Jim   bigeyes.gif

post #27 of 46
Thanks Jim. In this case the second vet was a very young girl, but she quickly saw his problem and treated him with as much tenderness as possible. But she struggled a little with the drip because he was so dehydrated and his veins very flat. Hopefully he is in better shape tomorrow.
post #28 of 46
I really need some input about my furbabie I wrote about a couple weeks ago. She has been being treated sympathetic ally for the lack of movement in her hind legs and non use of left paw. Vet started her onisor no response, then depo-metrol with laser treatments but she still can't walk although she is moving more. Vet suggested Neuro vet $ 275
Edited by lsr71751 - 8/31/15 at 5:53pm
post #29 of 46
For 1/2hr. He didn't offer much. He wants to do MRI $3000, and still might not show problem. We just spent $4000 in april and then $500+ 4 weeks ago from the death of two other fur babies. We are tapped out. I am heartbroken and an emotional wreck. When I read this blog it sounds like fuzzy might have had a stroke. My vet has her on an antibiotic and of course the coquin, she did a feline leuk-neg wants to continue laser and antibiotic, but stop steroids. Please can someone advice--i am wore out emotionally and physically. Have my own health issues as well!!!
post #30 of 46
Good news. My furbaby Mr Mot is back home and doing much better. No signs of a stroke any more. Please people... follow your gut feeling. You know your baby best!
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