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8 year old male cat showing strange symptoms - crouching, twitching, humping, cleaning.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

hey everyone,

 

my 8 (soon to be 9) year old kitty, Christopher Robin, has been exhibiting some strange symptoms and I'm not sure what to do. 

 

It all started a few weeks or maybe a month ago when I noticed that he was trying to hump his sister more frequently, and would take his penis out more frequently. (He had always done this occasionally, but the frequency noticeably went up. Also I had only seen his penis a handful of times in his whole life, but now I see him taking it out sometimes a few times a day). 

 

I also noticed that he sometimes seemed sort of 'twitchy' in his hind legs, particularly if i pet him in that area. (He would sort of kick them or his body would 'spasm' slightly). 

 

After monitoring this for a little while I checked his gums and saw that he has a gum infection around one tooth and the gum is red and swollen (even though he had a dental cleaning 9 months ago...). I thought maybe the strange behaviors were a result of discomfort from the tooth and booked him a vet appointment. 

 

We went to the vet where they examined his tooth and said that there was no way to tell whether the behaviors were related to that or not until they extracted it. They gave him a general exam (listened to his heart/lungs, took his temperature, felt his body) and said everything else seemed normal except that his lymph nodes seemed large, but said that seemed like a normal reaction to the gum infection.They prescribed a painkiller and sent us home, scheduling a tooth extraction.

 

That evening and especially the following day, I noticed that my cat started licking himself a lot in a sort of frantic way. I also noticed that his twitching/spasming got significantly worse, and now it seemed that he was sometimes sort of uncomfortable in his lower body (crouching in a weird way and more frequently licking his penis, both after humping and after urinating). I contacted the vet and they said these were not known side effects from the medicine. 

 

When he was still behaving that way the following day (lots of frantic licking but not in one particular part, just all over his body, as well as sort of crouching, humping, uncomfortable lower body behavior), i took him back to the vet. Another vet examined him (felt his legs, etc), and they did a full blood panel. The vet said that all of the results were normal (though we're still waiting on the thyroid result which won't come back until tomorrow night) and that his behavior was most likely stress related. She prescribed a natural supplement meant to help relieve stress (Zylkene), and sent us home. 

 

I have spent the last 48 hours or so at home with him, trying to keep an eye and see what he's up to. Have added the supplement to his food, and spent a lot of time petting and cuddling him, trying to help him relax. It has not yet been that long, obviously, but I am concerned that these symptoms may not be as simple as stress. I noticed this morning, for example, that he was twitching as soon as he woke up from a restful sleep by my side (a time when I would think he would be particularly relaxed). 

 

I also noticed that his breath has gotten quite bad, though that of course could be from the gum disease. 


I've scoured the internet but am not finding much about this combination of symptoms. Has anyone experienced this type of lower body discomfort/agitation with their cat? Could this be a result of stress or tooth pain? Or is there anything else I should look out for?

 

A few more notes (sorry that this is so long, I'm just trying to give the most possible information):

 

1. I am aware of Feline Hyperesthesia, and some of the symptoms do seem to be like that, but the humping, penis licking, overall cleaning don't necessarily seem related.

2. He has probably been somewhat stressed on and off in the last month or so as I went away for 2 weeks between Christmas and New Year's and I also had a visitor staying with us for a few days about a week ago. Still, I'm not sure this would cause penis licking, etc.?

3. The symptoms did seem to get worse after the vet visit which might point to stress, but it doesn't seem to make sense to me that all of these would be stress-related? He has never been a stressed kitty before, either.

 

If anyone has experienced some or all of these symptoms with their kitties or have any ideas about it, I would greatly appreciate that. He is scheduled for a tooth extraction on Friday, Feb. 1, and I kind of would prefer not to take him back to the vet before then if that is indeed causing him stress, but I don't want to neglect anything urgent and I am generally concerned about what could be going on.

 

Thanks so much for reading!

post #2 of 8

Wow there really is a lot going on with this little guy! 

 

Unfortunately I don't know what could be causing this combination of symptoms. The most obvious thing I would think of with his sexualized behaviors would be to have him neutered. But, given his age and that the vet didn't say the same thing I'm guessing he already is. If he isn't, start there. 

 

It could very well be his way of channeling how he feels because of his tooth infection. I'd be inclined to  agree with the vet that there is no way to know until the tooth comes out. It could also very well be stress related. Have you tried a Feliway diffuser as well? They work really well in helping to alleviate stress. 

 

The other other thing I can think of is if he got into anything toxic. The spasming and twitching could be the result of consuming something poisonous but I don't know that it would explain all his symptoms, or why it would be so prolonged. Just to be on the safe side here is a link to 101 things that are harmful to cats: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/174854/101-things-that-can-harm-your-cat . Double check and make sure he hasn't had access to any of these things. 

 

I think so long as he continues to eat, drink, and use the box normally there isn't anything more the vet can do until Friday. It sounds like they did a pretty comprehensive exam and that his blood work looks okay. I would just continue to watch him really carefully like you have been. If his symptoms change, he starts vomiting, has diarrhea or becomes lethargic I would take him back in ASAP. 

 

Above all trust your gut. You are the person who knows him the best, and if he seems really distressed and you think he needs to be seen then err on the side of caution. He is lucky to have you looking out for him!

 

I hope the extraction goes well on Friday. Please keep us posted on how he is doing. 

 

Good luck! 

post #3 of 8
Sounds like a severe urinary tract infection or stones in the bladder, or even kidney stones, to me. Hasn't the vet taken a urine sample or done any x-rays? I recommend you take him back and have a urine sample taken, and an x ray done of his bladder and kidneys.

Poor kitty, I hope he is feeling better soon.
post #4 of 8

You didn't mention if he has been neutered or not, and that could make a difference.  It does not sound like Feline Hyperesthesia to me, the only thing that does is the twitching part.  Is he using his litter box normally?  If not, then I would definitely suspect a UTI as Otto suggested, but seems to me the Vet would have checked for that when you mentioned these issues to him.

 

it could be something like a small piece of litter of other tiny object that has worked it's way under the skin that covers his penis.  That certainly would cause excessive licking, although not sure if it would cause twitching or not.  dontknow.gif

 

As far as stress goes, stress can certainly do strange things!  If you suspect this IS mainly due to stress, I understand harp music is very calming to cats.  You might get him his very own CD smile.gif

 

Let us know if he improves after that extraction, or if you figure this mystery out.

 

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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

thanks so much, everyone. he is neutered, and was long before he'd ever exhibited any humping or other such behavior, so i'm pretty sure it's unrelated to that. i don't think he has had access to anything poisonous, but what would be the way to check if he had? would that show up in blood work? 

 

i actually decided to move the extraction up to tomorrow, and to have the vet take urine and xrays prior to it. i guess they hadn't taken a urine sample last week because that would require him to stay at the vet's office for a while until he urinated, but since he has to stay there for an extraction i asked that they do it on the same day to try avoid the stress of multiple vet visits. based on the test results i will have to decide whether they should continue with the extraction or not. i'm inclined to say that since the blood work was okay that they should just pull the tooth and at least eliminate that as a possibility for what's going on, and hopefully reduce his discomfort, but at the same time i'm uneasy about them putting him under general anesthesia and doing something that causes a risk of infection without a more definite clean bill of health.

 

if anyone has any thoughts or feelings about this, please share them! i must say that it's very difficult to make these kinds of decisions. 

 

also should i be worried about him going under at his age? (will be 9 in february). he's been under three times before, the most recent time 9 months ago when he had a dental cleaning, but i can't help but be really anxious about this, especially as he gets older.

 

in general, if anyone has any tips or advice for how to reduce anxiety with relation to cat health, i'd really appreciate it. Christopher Robin and his sister, Squish, are the first pets i've ever cared for, and i feel that my attachment to them and anxiety surrounding their well being can be too high. it's hard to know which conditions are serious and which are not, what to expect as they age, etc. 

 

Thanks again for your kind words and support.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayadot View Post

thanks so much, everyone. he is neutered, and was long before he'd ever exhibited any humping or other such behavior, so i'm pretty sure it's unrelated to that. i don't think he has had access to anything poisonous, but what would be the way to check if he had? would that show up in blood work? 

 

 

I'm not sure how they would check. I was just trying to think of anything it could possibly be. In my mind, I was thinking maybe you had a plant or something that was toxic that he was getting into- not enough to be fatal, but enough to make him sick. How they would check is something to ask the vet about for sure if there is any reason to believe he may have gotten into something harmful. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayadot View Post

 

i actually decided to move the extraction up to tomorrow, and to have the vet take urine and xrays prior to it. 

 

I think this is a really good idea, and that otto and mrsgreenjeans may be onto something with their suggestions. It's all worth asking the vet about and doing the urinalysis. 

 

I know how anxious you feel about all this- I get that way with my two same as you! Mine are still very young (2.5 and 6 months) so I don't have much experience with anesthesia or the associated risks. You may want to start a new thread asking about age and anesthesia- since it's a more specific question you may get more feedback. Also, here are some old threads you could look through on helping to reduce stress and anxiety: http://www.thecatsite.com/newsearch/?search=reducing+Anxiety&type=all . I have found the Feliway diffuser to work really well, but have never really tried anything beyond that. 

 

Sending vibes that all goes well tomorrow vibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifGood luck Christopher Robin! 

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks again. Just got back from the extraction (they ended up having to pull 2 teeth, poor little guy). So far so good I hope. They took xrays which look generally okay but he does seem to have a little arthritis which could be contributing to discomfort (though I don't think this could be related to his penis issues?) and checked his urine and bladder which are hopefully okay (they sent out the urine for additional testing). 

 

I have a question about the meds they sent him home with, but I will post that to a new thread as it's more specific. 

 

Thanks again and here's hoping for a swift and easy recovery for him!

post #8 of 8
Thanks for the update! He'll feel so much better with those teeth gone. I'm glad they did the x ray and took the urine sample, and sent it out for a culture. Let us know what you find out.

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