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loss of 'balance' with the hind legs?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have a young feline (3-4 years of age) who seems to occasionally loose balance with her back legs. Does any one have any ideas? She'll be standing, walking or running, when her back end just falls down. Happens only occasionally - first couple times just thought she was being a clutz. Just noticed it this weekend. She is a scardy cat, because of the new feline, hasn't been leaving our room much. I carry her in to the mud room where the litter boxes are, and put her food and water on the washer twice a day and shut the door so she can't be ambushed. I noticed she's a little bit dehydrated and have put water in our room. I'll will call the vet tomarrow (Memorial day - and I don't think it is enough of an emergency). She doesn't seem to be in any pain, and I hate to take her to the vet 'cuz she just about has a cardiac arrest out of fear.

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!

worried mommy,

Heather V. Havel
Michigan - USA
post #2 of 11
Your post brings a few questions to mind...

1) Has there been any change in this cat's litter box habits? Are you seeing more or less the normal amounts of urine? Have you also seen diarrhea?

2) How about eating? More or less than normal?

3) Is this cat vomiting more so than normal? (Cats are notorious pukers, but more than you've experienced in the past if yours falls into that category)

4) Weight loss? Notice any of that?

5) Fur coat? A bit oily, but maybe some dandruff flakes in the fur?

You've mentioned that this cat is a "scaredy cat" so this may or may not help you with the problem you are having, but cats have a reaction to fear or stress in much the same ways we humans do...with a slight bit of difference.

When cats become scared or are under physical stress (an unknown infection or other illness of the body), the liver puts a great deal of a glucose-like substance into their blood. This substance then becomes available for the cells of the muscles to use in the instance they need the quick burst of energy. This is known as "The Fight or Flight" response. Cats who are frightened by the car ride to the vet and the subsequent visit will likely show extremely high blood sugar levels when tested at the vet.

Now, this all being said - allow me to get to the point of why I am telling you...

When you have a cat that is pretty much frightened and stressed ALL the time (I know this because I have such a cat, a pretty little Lilac Point Siamese named Mara) sometimes the glucose issues can cause problems with the kidneys - because it is the kidney's function to remove all this excess glucose from the blood and in extreme amounts, they can't do their job efficiently - the consequence is that the muscles become weakened and in some cases can be permanently damaged by it. For some reason, in cats, the back legs are a prime target for this to take place. The liver, also functioning on over-time, is prone to problems as well.

Please take your kitty in for an exam, stress or not, and let the vet assess the situation with blood work, urine labs and a thorough examination - including your descriptions of her environment and the changes to it recently, as well as detailed descriptions of the physical symptoms you mentioned...weakness in the rear legs, dehydration.

As a side note, with Mara, I had to ask my vet to come here to the house for her. She is sick for days after a car ride, and I simply cannot subject her to it. Knowing my situation with her (and trust me, this is not a happy story) he readily agreed to do so.

To help reduce her stress, I give Mara 4 drops of Bach's Rescue Remedy every day. It is a flower essence suspension that can be purchased at many health food stores, and I believe there is also another brand that can be found in most pet stores. I'll try to find the name of that and post it here for you if you are interested. While I can't say it has helped noticably in Mara, she seems less prone to totally freak out. This has not stopped the health problems that have occured and I may be forced to take a more drastic approach to this if we can't get her healthy again.

Please let me know how you go along...I'll be worried until I hear from you again.


post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your reply, we will be vistiting the vet on thursday to do a very complete exam, blood work and possibly some x-rays.

Unfortunitly, this sounds like Pandora - plus her kidney enzymes were up in one blood test but we tested her 6 months later and she was fine...

We have 6 cats. She is constipated, and another cat has recently adopted us. Pandora is terrified of her and will not go to the litter box, but is carried into that room and food and water are made available. So essentially she visits the litter box twice a day. =(

I don't think she is eating enough, but have nothing to compare it to, since we feed all of our cats from one bowl. She is eating though.

She has not vomited. Fortunitly, she is not a vomiter - have 2 others who commonly do, but as far as I know she has never vomited...

She has always been tiny - never had a weight problem. She isn't too thin but has lost a bit of weight.

Her coat is wonderful. She is one of those cats who always smells good - reminds me of baby powder. I wish she could teach a couple of our other feline friends this little trick!

We live way out in the boonies - and with all the tests that are prob. going to be done - it prob. is best to take her in... I feel bad doing it though, because she is so scared. (Looses control of bodily functions, etc

Is there a name for this or a place I can go for information?

I'm wondering if I should keep her quiet or if I should let things stay as they are to not mess up the tests....

Thank you VERY much!

Heather V. Havel
Michigan - USA
post #4 of 11
Hi Heather,

Yes, I know all too well how the 'fraidy cats act in both the car and at the vet. Mara will soil herself too, and it just breaks my heart because she is so fastidiouly clean about her litter box habits and her grooming. *sigh* But, as this site is such a great place, we can offer each other support while trying to work through this...together. We've tried medication, stress-reduction therapy, acupuncture, massage, calming essence, low-volume background sound (I bought her a CD of those sounds supposed to help you relax and sleep but we program the CD player to skip the bird sounds...*grin*), isolating her in the upstairs and not allowing the other cats access there, and just about everything else under the sun. She is not now, nor has she ever been a candidate for re-homing. She is just too afraid of anyone or anyplace but me and under my bed.

There is a web site devoted to the Bach's Flower Essences here:


You might also try doing a search at Alta Vista (or your fav site) on Calming Essence, (the name of the other brand) and see if there isn't someplace on line you can buy it locally.

I would leave her routine as it is until after the test results come back. Once health-related issues have been addressed if necessary, then we can concentrate on making her feel a little less stressed. There are some techniques that might help if you've an open mind...

I'm here to help if I can,

post #5 of 11
I wish I could help ease your mind a little. There are a handful of things it could be. It is best to get the bloodwork and exams out of the way to get to the bottom of it.
I know what it's like to have a skiddish cat. I have a 3yr old who is the same way. I tried the rescue remedy but it had no effect on her. She is in the process of going to an RX. I had thought of trying to find her a home where she would be the only cat. I just can't do it though. She has been with me all 3 years and with her personality it may kill her to leave us.
It is hard that sometimes we have to stress them out to help them. Maybe once she is medically feeling better she wont be as afraid. I really hope she gets to feeling better soon. I hope you come back and post once she has been to the Dr.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
I took Pandora to the vet today. Did a very complete exam. Doesn't look like she is in any pain, but the vet can see the weakness in the hind quarters when she jumps. Took a lot of blood and doing almost every test know to feline We should get the tests back tomarrow. Actually, she did quite well at the vets. I was very impressed. Vet believes the problem isn't skeletal, but is muscular or nerve. We are also doing a kidney panel... So hopefully something fairly easy to 'fix' will come up and that will be it!

Thank you for all of your help!

Heather V. Havel
Michigan - USA
post #7 of 11
Hi Heather,

I'll be looking forward to hearing what your vet has to say. Let me know when you hear something?

Until then, sending best wishes for something simple and easily treated,

post #8 of 11
I had a cat a while back who would become paralyzed in her back legs for about two weeks every other year or so. I took her to many vets, none of whom ever figured out what caused it.

Regarding her being a scaredy cat, you might try the following process that I used to introduce a new cat to our crew, one of whom is a tremendous scaredy cat.

Each morning I would lock the scaredy cat into "his" room. There was a good hiding place, a litter box, and food and water in the room. In the meantime, the new cat had the run of the house. Then at night, I put the new cat in his own room, and let the scaredy cat have the run of the house. This went on for 2 months (yes, 2 months!).

By the end of 2 months, the scaredy cat was less frightened in general...I guess the security of having his personal room that none of the other humans or cats bothered helped him come out of his shell a little. AND, the scaredy cat was quite curious about the new guy, and had become used to his smell.

After two months, I began sitting with the scaredy cat in his room with the door open, making sure the new cat could see him and vice versa. Within a week of this, the scaredy cat no longer hid when the new cat came by. I stayed there to make sure there was no aggression.

Even though it took a rediculous amount of time to introduce the two, they now get along fine! I think if I had tried to introduce them right away (or even after a few weeks) the new one would have been aggressive to the scared one because he is so scared.

I'm sorry for writing such a very long note, but you might try starting over with the new cat and follow this long procedure. If it worked for my scaredy cat, it might work for yours as well!
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Just talked to the vet. All of the tests have come back except for the toxioplasma (prob. spelled wrong - it's the one that pregnant women have to worry about). She has tested positive to the Corrona (prob. spelled wrong too) virus (the vet says that just means she has been exposed and not to worry too much), and she has a kind of high red blood cell count which could mean that there is something wrong with her heart - but prob. not. Every other test, including the kidney and liver profiles, came out great... She is, as I write, getting x-rays to eliminate the possibility of a pinched nerve or disk or anything like that. If that comes out fine I'm not sure what the next step is...

Sandie what does RX stand for? I thought perscription but doesn't make sense...

Gayef - what test results pointed to this prob.? so that I can make sure all of the bases are covered.

thank you everyone for all of your help!

post #10 of 11
Heather, RX is prescription and no, I am not sure why they use the RX since it does not seem to make sense. I will ask the vet I work with on Wed though.
I sure hope they can find exactly whats causing this. Please let us know what the x rays show.
post #11 of 11
Hi Heather,

The test results that were abnormal in Mara were the liver/kidney values: ALT, AST, BUN, Creatinine, Amylase...her glucose levels were also extremely elevated, but this could be due to the stress of the carrier, the car ride and the vet visit.

Most all cats will test positive to the Corona viri - and unless the kitty is displaying active symptoms, your vet is right, there is nothing to worry about there.

I would be interested in hearing more about your vet's thoughts regarding the nerve or muscle problem with your Pandora.

Continued best of luck to you and yours,

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