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Sickly Cat?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Me and my girlfriend moved into a new place at the end of January this year and at the beginning of March and after a lot of nagging on my girlfriends part, we decided to adopt a cat. I have had no experience with cats what so ever and have always been a dog person, but my girlfriend had grown up with cats so was very keen to get one.


We went for a white, domestic short-haired 6 month old boy which we called Colin. He was a rescue cat who lived with 2 of his siblings in a small flat and the previous owner had to give them up if he wanted to stay living there. That was pretty much all the back story we had. Before we picked him up he was staying with a foster family and when we went to visit him they said that he had began to pull some fur out from the base of his tail. He was fine in the carrier on the way back and seemed very keen to explore when we arrived home. 


A few days after having him home, my girlfriend was getting him ready for bed (I was asleep) and she woke me up to tell me that he wasn't settling down. I went downstairs and he was very agitated, peeing on the floor of which was bloody, we know now it was cystitis. Obviously none of us knew what was wrong with him so we had to take him to the emergency vets, they explained what was wrong with him and that it was probably due to the stress of the move.


He was on a course of various tablets for the cystitis after this and we haven't really had a problem since...


Meanwhile, he got into the habit of pulling his fur out on the base of his tail, sometimes stopping for a week or so then pulling it out again almost when it got to a certain length. Back to the vets again where they said it could be an allergic reaction to a flea bite. I wasn't very convinced as being a white cat, I haven't seen any evidence. He had some steroid tablets to stop his itching which seemed to do the job for a bit.


A few weeks ago we had to take him to the vets again for some shots and he seemed to develop a scabby patch on the back of his left leg which he loves to lick and of course, pull fur from. Usually he is totally fine at the vets but this time he really hissed at her (I've never seen him like that before). He had his shots and I was given some cream for his leg to put on him and we went back home. I gave him something to eat when we got back and he pretty much threw it straight up, I called the vets as I thought it had something to do with the shot he had but they didn't seem too concerned. He has kept his distance almost since this vet episode, running away from us (except feeding time), another cystitis episode and generally being quite strange. Usually he is very playful and affectionate and loves sitting on our laps.


So what is bothering me is that it seems he is always sick with something, if he isn't having a fur pulling episode he is sick with something else. I just want to ask anyone else if it is normal for a cat to be so sickly as I'm almost at my wits end!


Just want to add that he is (and always has been) an indoor cat. Could he be missing his brothers & sisters even after 3 months?

post #2 of 3

Hi and welcome! Thanks for saving this kitty!


Cystis is unfortunately a persistent condition.  Cats with it often (in fact, I think it is fair to say usually) will continue to have episodes, often when stressed.   I unfortunately have struggled with this with one of my cats and know how frustrating it can be. Some suggestions for dealing with this condition and minimizing or potentially eliminating episodes are:


-Diet: If AT ALL possible feed an ALL WET diet. More water means less irritation.  If possible, a low carb and grain free wet will be most beneficial. I'm not 100% sold on perscription diets for reasons that aren't really relevant here, but they do exist for this condition too and are worth trying. Have multiple water sources available to him.


- Schedule and environment: It is very important that this is kept consistent to the extent that you can. Feed him at the same time every day.  Play with him at roughly the same time every day.  If possible, come home and leave the house for work at around the same time every day.  Don't make unnecessary changes around the house. Don't have unnecessary guests.


-Play with him every day a minimum of twice a day, a minimum of 15 minutes each time. If AT ALL possible, play with him more.  Rotate his toys so he won't get bored.  As your budget allows, occasionally introduce new toys.


-Make sure he has scratching posts, window perches, and a kitty condo if at all possible.  Make absolutely sure that he has hiding places of some kind if he wants them.  


-Make sure he has at least 2 litterboxes and that the boxes are cleaned every day.  Most sites advise to clean them at least once a day but with a cat with cystis I'd clean them at least 2 times a day.


-Try Feliway. It can take at least a month for this to work.


-You can consult with a vet about various medications for while he is having episodes. 



It unfortunately also sounds like his pulling his hair out might be something he persistently does. I don't have suggestions on how to cope with this. Hopefully others will chime in.


Honestly, since both conditions sound persistent, I think a shift in your thinking, if you can make it, might be helpful.  If possible I'd try to think of him not as being sick, but of these just being chronic conditions that he has and that you will always need to manage. Put differently, for better or worse, this is his normal. I know it is hard but being angry or frustrated about this won't help.


If you have any further questions about the cystis I can probably help answer them.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks tulosai!


It seems like he's been a bit more jumpy and aloof since the last time we went to the vets, almost like he's giving us the cold shoulder for taking him!


The first time he had it, I read up on cystitis in cats so I'm a lot more prepared for it now then before. We give him wet food with a bit of added tap water, two bowls of water (one plastic one ceramic) in different places round the house to try and get him to drink more. We are going to get him a water fountain to both entertain him and encourage him to drink more. I know that if he is completely blocked up in that department then its an emergency!


If anything it is the fur pulling that distresses me the most, I try and distract him when I catch him doing it but I know I can't watch him all the time. Like you said I guess we'll just have to live with it for now and I know that me getting stressed by it isn't helping the cats stress (if he is indeed stressed) levels!


When we don't play fetch the string with him he likes to entertain himself by chasing balls of paper/foil around and likes to hide them in shoes :) We did start using the plug in Feliway diffusers the first time he had an episode which worked for a bit but then almost plateaued. I bought some herbal relaxing drops to put in his food yesterday so I'll see how they work.


But if anyone can shed any light on the hair pulling thing then that would be great! To look at him, he doesn't look like your average stressed out cat but to be honest, I don't know what a stressed cat looks like!

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