I am at my absolute wit's end with my cat situation. This is going to be very long, but I don't know what else to do, and I am really hoping someone has been through something similar and will be able to help me.
I have a 7 year old Russian Blue, a neutered male named Rain. A little over a month ago, I noticed that he wasn't emptying his food bowl like he normally does. When I would watch him at his bowl, it was clear he was trying to eat, but something was causing him pain or discomfort. He would pick up the food, try to crunch it up and either swallow a tiny bit after much work or just let it fall out of his mouth. I tried feeding him soft food as well, but he would just lick the juice up. If he got a flake in his mouth, he would smack a couple of times and filter it back out of his mouth.
After a week or two of this, I took him to his usual vet (of six years) who said that he had gingivitis that was probably causing the problem. She prescribed Metacam and gave him a fluid injection, then told me to come back in a week for a cleaning. I gave him the Metacam once a day for two days, during which time his eating improved, but on the third day, I noticed that the bottle said "For Dogs Only," and after researching and seeing all the horror stories about renal failure, I stopped giving it to him and took him to another vet.
The second vet said she didn't think his teeth looked bad enough to keep him from eating, but did bloodwork (which appeared normal) and then cleaned his teeth. She said there was diarrhea while he was under anesthesia and it was very smelly, so she prescribed some stomach antibiotics and sent him home. By the next day, there was no change, still not eating, so I took him to a different vet (mostly because I didn't get great vibes from the one from the day before). This vet was much better, gave him another fluid injection, a steroid and B12 shot, and sent him home with some prednisalone, telling me to keep giving him one of the stomach antibiotics. I did this for a week, and for two days he ate pretty well. On the third day, he stopped eating again. He had a strong appetite and would meow and beg for food, but no matter what I would give him, he was unable to eat it successfully.
The next week, I took him back to this same vet who gave him another fluid injection, another B12 shot, and referred me to a veterinary dentist about 2 hours from here. The earliest they could see me was 2 days later. They did mouth X-rays and found a tooth with resorption, which they extracted. This doctor said he didn't think the resorption was severe enough that it should've been keeping him from eating. He said he had considered TMJ, but while Rain was under anesthesia, the vet was able to open and close his jaw manually without resistance or apparent discomfort from Rain. They sent home a pain reliever to be given twice a day for four days. That night, and the next day, Rain ate better than he had since before this all started. The day after that, though, he was already tapering off and by the third day after the surgery, he was back to more or less not eating at all again.
I suspected maybe the tooth extraction site had gotten infected, but he wouldn't let me look in his mouth, so I took him to a fifth vet yesterday (because the third vet, who I liked, is closed for the week) and this vet did more blood work and checked his mouth for signs of infection. The blood work came back with very low readings in all the places where a starving cat would be low, but other than that, it was normal. He also said he saw nothing in his mouth that should've been keeping him from eating. He said he thinks Rain has become anorexic because he is used to the pain when he eats so has decided to avoid it by not eating, and told me to give him Metacam again, and gave him a B12 shot to stimulate his appetite. I didn't want to give him the Metacam, but he is so thin and hungry and has lost so much weight, I don't know what else to do.
I gave him a dose of the Metacam yesterday afternoon and again today and so far there has been no noticeable change. I have pureed some canned cat food which he licks up reluctantly. He is more eager to eat it when I dip one of the medical syringes that I used for his pain medication in it; he licks the pureed food off of the syringe. I am happy to have him eating something, but I am not satisfied with any of the solutions I have been given, especially the one from yesterday that claimed that the whole thing may be psychosomatic. It seems obvious that he is in some kind of real physical discomfort when he tries to eat. The Metacam is doing nothing, so I think I am going to stop giving it.
Here's a video I took last night of him trying to eat his dry food, the same food he has eaten his whole life with no trouble:
Other than the almost complete inability/unwillingness to eat, there have been no obvious symptoms. A little diarrhea here and there, maybe some excess eye gunk, and he did throw up once the other day, but that's it. I am taking him again tomorrow and asking to have him referred to a specialist at a vet school 3 hours from here, because he is becoming dangerously thin already and I don't know how much longer I can deal with this.
Thank you so much for your time and any help or experience any of you may have with something like this. This cat is my best friend in the whole world, and the last month, watching him go through this and not being able to help, has been one of the worst months of my life.