Concerned about cat's fever and vet's lack of concern

Anne2021

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My cat, Josie, has been doing a lot of scratching about her ears and twitching of her ears for several weeks coinciding with the arrival of a newly adopted cat, Bailey. She also lost some hair behind her ears, which appears to be starting to grow back in the last 7-10 days or so. I figured it was stress based on their relationship, but I took Josie in to the vet today to get her checked out. It wasn't the vet that I usually see but another vet in the same office. I told her about the stress Josie is under and expressed my concerns with Bailey's behavior as the cause, but I wanted to be sure she didn't have ear mites or something else. She didn't seem to care about the stress Bailey is causing Josie. She did see some irritation and inflammation in the ears, especially the left one. She mentioned possible allergies, which have never been an issue before, and said it will be getting colder soon so that should help (?). She offered drops for her ears (that's going to be interesting as Josie has resisted like crazy and prevailed thus far today - she had ear mites a year and a half ago and apparently remembers the process of getting the drops). The vet did not think she had ear mites and didn't take a specimen. I didn't really think she had ear mites. Then at the end of the appointment she noticed they don't have Josie's microchip number in the computer, but they have Bailey's. I don't know why they don't have it. They should. So she scanned her and says, hmm, her temperature (which the scanner read) is 103.4. The vet says, it must just be elevated from the stress of being at the vet office. Shouldn't she have taken her temperature rectally as part of the exam instead of incidentally to get her chip number? Shouldn't it be part of the overall health picture, not shrugged off? As far as Josie's stress, she suggested I lock Josie in a room part of the day to give her a break from Bailey. Or get diffusers to alter Josie's mood. Josie was a well-adjusted, happy, peaceful cat before Bailey came. I am trying to make the situation work, but this vet put all the onus on Josie without a single question or remark about Bailey - other than suggesting I get Bailey more toys she can play with alone (I have spent a mint already and that doesn't work with a cat like Bailey). I'm just concerned that this vet doesn't care about Josie's current health situation. Am I just being overprotective? Overly concerned?
 

mrsgreenjeens

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It does seem strange that they didn't take her temperature at the beginning of the exam. That's just normal protocol, at least for every Vet visit we've ever had. BUT, a cat's normal temperature is much higher than a human to begin with, so 103.4 isn't really too high, and very likely could be attributed to the stress of the visit. A temp of 104 is when it gets worrying, or sustained temp of 103.5 for a few days.

From what you are describing with the twitching of the ears and hair loss, it could be an ear infection, or allergies, although I don't understand what colder weather would have to do with helping out? I guess she's thinking maybe pollen allergies or something like that? Often food allergies present with a lot of head and neck itching, but since she DOES have inflammation in her ears, not sure that would indicate food allergies.

As far as Bailey goes, did you go through cat introductions with her? Kittens can definitely get on the nerves of adult cats if they are just put together without proper intros, and even afterwards, just because of their different energy levels. Josie definitely needs to be able to "get away", even if it's higher ground where Bailey can't quite reach. Not sure how old Bailey is yet, but kittens can't usually jump as well as adults until they are several months old, so if you can give Josie someplace high up that doesn't have accessability for Bailey, that would be great, unless you really want to lock one away from the other (not always feasible).
 
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Anne2021

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mrsgreenjeens, thank you for taking the time to reply.

As far as the introductions, we did follow instructions of how to handle introductions and I think that went fairly well. It took nine days to do it slowly and integrate them to be in the same room together going forward after that. Josie turned two in September and Bailey was found as a stray in July, at which time the humane society estimated her at two, so they are about the same age. They are both brown/black tabbies and Josie is about 8.75 pounds and Bailey is about 9.8 pounds so Bailey is a little bigger. (Bailey just keeps putting weight on weekly so I bought a good pet scale to keep track of things. She even put on weight at the humane society because they had her listed as 8.62 and by the time I adopted her October 1 she was 9.0 pounds. Not sure what is going on there. Josie's weight rarely fluctuates). I shared about my problems with Bailey in a post a couple of weeks ago -
New high energy cat is exhausting me

Not sure if the link will work or if it would take too much time to read, but she is two years and a few months. She can reach everything Josie can reach. Josie is playful, friendly, I would even say polite (can you tell she is my baby and just about as perfect as can be ;) - but seriously, we had no problems, she never hissed at the other cats, never growled, was a bit hyperreactive to noise and sudden shocks, but all around happy, healthy, well-adjusted cat). I have had other cats before and when my young adult daughter took our two seniors to whom she was bonded to live with her, I thought Josie and I had room in our hearts for a new friend. Well, everything I read said don't get an older cat - though that is what she was used to. So I thought perhaps one her age to play with... I found Bailey at the humane society. (If someone had written a description of her after knowing her, I would have quickly moved on to a different cat). Bailey needs a LOT of stimulation - I mean a LOT. She wants to play and play and play. She wants to play until she is panting like a dog and then play more before she even catches her breath. She would do this whenever she is not sleeping, I think. I was trying 45-60 minute sessions 2-3 times a day, but I can't keep up. I am overstimulated and exhausted. We had a quiet life with quiet play that was interspersed throughout the day when Josie was in the mood and would quietly come to me and "ask" in her own sort of way. Bailey needs it. She follows me around all day. If she can't get to me, she shadows Josie. Josie and I get almost no time alone together during the day. Bailey wants only a little affection. She is okay with being petted a little, but she does not like to be held. And she doesn't really even want to sleep near me for the sake of companionship because she will move across the room to sleep as soon as she knows you are not going to play. Then she jumps up as soon as you change rooms to see if you are going to play again. She does this to Josie, too. If I don't give her enough, she starts things up with Josie. Josie likes to play chase, but it usually ends with Bailey going to far and Josie crying out. No one scratches or bites. They are both good-natured girls. But Josie has to hiss and "scream" to get my attention often to intervene and make Bailey stop.

I feel like I have destroyed Josie's home. Everything is upside-down. She sits on the stairs now or in a neutral position upstairs sometimes where she can keep an eye on where Bailey is - like when I am moving around a lot doing housework and no one is planted in one place. Josie seemed to be trying to establish boundaries and a relationship for a while - the way she would gently tap Bailey's head to say - "no" or lick her face and so forth. In the last two weeks, it seems more like Josie is just done. Most of the time when Bailey comes over now, she hisses and smacks her (no claws) and walks away as if to say - I don't want to be with you - leave me alone. I'm really not handling this constant demand for attention very well myself. I keep thinking - I want my life back. But I keep trying because I don't want to turn her back over to the humane society. Yet I feel like Josie lives under constant stress and that's not fair to her and I don't want her health to fail because home isn't home anymore.

I don't see this desperate NEED for stimulation as something Bailey will outgrow for a long, long time. It seems to be more of her set personality.

As to the allergies and the weather, I don't get it either. Josie is an indoor cat with occasional short trips outside on a leash with me. Windows are shut most of the time because my son can't stand the dry air and it's always worse if we open the windows this time of year. It honestly just seemed like the vet didn't care. I would like one of those vet offices that treat your pets like they are part of your family.
 

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Just a quick note that I have experience with the cat pheromone diffusers, and in my case they really did help our two brother cats get along better. From online store Chewy, a friend gifted us with a wall plug-in diffuser, formulated to simulate the pheromones of a mother cat, and it was soothing to our kittyboys. They stopped annoying each other so much, and play-fights devolved less into real fights. The smaller brother cat who was the most stressed, became less stressed over about a 3-4 week period. I use the refills continually.
I learned the hard way, not to plug it into an outlet low on the wall, near the baseboards, as both cats are attracted to the smell, and would try to bat at the unit and knock it off the wall. I have it in the kitchen now, in an outlet above the counter, where they don't jump.

Good luck! It's stressful when cats aren't getting along. Sadly, some cats never "make friends" with each other... but often, they learn to tolerate each other. I say, keep trying!

~ KittyboyGrandma
 
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Anne2021

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Just a quick note that I have experience with the cat pheromone diffusers, and in my case they really did help our two brother cats get along better. From online store Chewy, a friend gifted us with a wall plug-in diffuser, formulated to simulate the pheromones of a mother cat, and it was soothing to our kittyboys. They stopped annoying each other so much, and play-fights devolved less into real fights. The smaller brother cat who was the most stressed, became less stressed over about a 3-4 week period. I use the refills continually.
I learned the hard way, not to plug it into an outlet low on the wall, near the baseboards, as both cats are attracted to the smell, and would try to bat at the unit and knock it off the wall. I have it in the kitchen now, in an outlet above the counter, where they don't jump.

Good luck! It's stressful when cats aren't getting along. Sadly, some cats never "make friends" with each other... but often, they learn to tolerate each other. I say, keep trying!

~ KittyboyGrandma

Thank you for this, KittyboyGrandma. I guess what's got me concerned is the thought of forcing a happy, well-adjusted cat who trusted me into a lifetime of tolerating and trying to avoid a stressful roommate every day for the rest of her life (they're both two). It seems like quality of life for all of us is just gone and now we're just tolerating and never happy. I think of people and how with us there are just some people and personalities that we would not be able to live with in our homes all day, every day. Yet we expect it of cats. It doesn't seem fair somehow. The guilt is overwhelming - I either ruin Josie's quality of life (and to be honest, mine) or I have to find a way to re-home Bailey and hope she is better off because I don't see myself as being able to make her happy either.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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On the behavioral issues with Bailey, sounds like you have gotten lots of good tips on your other thread, so I'll leave that as is, now that I know she is an adult vs kitten and that they DO appear to get along other than one is more boisterous than the other. I've had that here in my household as well. Mine males are the same age (now 12) , and one swings from the chandelier while the other is a couch potatoe. My exuberant guy once jumped from the upstairs banister down to the lower level. I watched the whole thing from the kitchen and almost had a heart attack :eek2:. I keep telling him it's a good thing he's cute, otherwise he'd be out the door (of course, I'm really just kidding and he knows it since I've been saying it for 12 years now :lol:)

As far as Josie goes, did you manage to get those ear drops into her ears yesterday? If you don't think you got good service from the other Vet, perhaps you can call your regular Vet and ask to be seen again by them.
 
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Anne2021

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On the behavioral issues with Bailey, sounds like you have gotten lots of good tips on your other thread, so I'll leave that as is, now that I know she is an adult vs kitten and that they DO appear to get along other than one is more boisterous than the other. I've had that here in my household as well. Mine males are the same age (now 12) , and one swings from the chandelier while the other is a couch potatoe. My exuberant guy once jumped from the upstairs banister down to the lower level. I watched the whole thing from the kitchen and almost had a heart attack :eek2:. I keep telling him it's a good thing he's cute, otherwise he'd be out the door (of course, I'm really just kidding and he knows it since I've been saying it for 12 years now :lol:)

As far as Josie goes, did you manage to get those ear drops into her ears yesterday? If you don't think you got good service from the other Vet, perhaps you can call your regular Vet and ask to be seen again by them.

Hi! My adult son and I tried yesterday repeatedly in two major efforts with multiple tries each. She was determined not to get them. I've got to admire the strength of her resistance. I didn't think we could do it. I called a new vet office I was thinking of switching to about seeing her and they don't have any openings until Saturday. I grabbed the appointment, but knew I had to keep trying in the meantime. So my son and I gave it another shot using a large blanket instead of a towel to wrap around her. It worked! I don't know if it all went in her ears or not, but hopefully tomorrow will go better.

I hadn't mentioned it yet, but Bailey may have a health issue as well. She plays hard and pants hard. I was concerned about the level of panting she was doing and sometimes how quickly it begins. (I have never seen any panting to this level, though I've had a lot of cats including a couple who panted a little after exceptionally long or intense play sessions). I had Bailey into our vet 11/8 - the usual vet I see at that office - and she offered to do an x-ray even though she didn't expect to find anything. She left it up to me and did it at my request. She ended up seeing something suspicious and thought it might be bronchitis. So she sent it to a radiologist. That report came back with no bronchial abnormality, but suspected mild cardiomegaly (heart enlargement). The radiology report suggested echocardiogram, EKG, blood pressure, and lab work. The vet didn't push for these but said lab work would be easy enough, including a proBNP specifically for heart. We did that and a total health profile and they were normal. She didn't push for more testing, but when I asked about it, she mentioned the office in town I would have to go for the Echo if I wanted it. She wasn't concerned because she did not hear a heart murmur. So, as things are progressing here, I just don't feel like I can make any decisions without Bailey's full health picture. She seems to get winded faster, though she still has strong desire and seems to have over-abundant energy to play. She is putting on weight at a rate that concerns me and I don't know why. I went ahead yesterday and made an appointment at that office with the vet that does the Echo/cardiac workups. We see her next Wednesday and then the Echo that Friday. That's the office I made the appointment with today for Josie for Saturday. Even though it appears we will be able to get the ear drops in, I thought I should keep it to see if they appear to be helping and to re-check Josie's temperature, as well as to get their take on if stress could be at the root of this.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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oh my goodness! Well, you certainly have your hands full. Glad you and your son have something worked out that gets those drops in Josie's ears at least. Keep us posted on how those visits go.
 

KittyboysGrandma

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Thank you for this, KittyboyGrandma. I guess what's got me concerned is the thought of forcing a happy, well-adjusted cat who trusted me into a lifetime of tolerating and trying to avoid a stressful roommate every day for the rest of her life (they're both two). It seems like quality of life for all of us is just gone and now we're just tolerating and never happy. I think of people and how with us there are just some people and personalities that we would not be able to live with in our homes all day, every day. Yet we expect it of cats. It doesn't seem fair somehow. The guilt is overwhelming - I either ruin Josie's quality of life (and to be honest, mine) or I have to find a way to re-home Bailey and hope she is better off because I don't see myself as being able to make her happy either.
I totally understand, and was once in a similar situation (though my second cat was a kitten, and two years younger than my adult cat... and they were both females, which in my personal experience turned out not to be a good combo). I'm really sorry that you are going through this, and how hard it must be for you and Josie. My only other advice would be to give Bailey up to a no-kill shelter in your area. The staff should have the experience to place her with a family with whom she is more suited, and you'll feel happier, knowing that she is safe and happy, while you and Josie resume your peaceful lives. <3
If it were me, I'd avoid rehoming her with a friend or family member. 1) To avoid feeling guilty when you inevitably hear about her, and 2) In case she continues to have behavior "issues," which might impact your relationship with her new owner.
All my best wishes to the three of you, whatever choice you make!
 
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Anne2021

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Well, update - I am definitely switching to the new vet's office. They took Josie's ear issue seriously. They did swabs that looked for ear mites, bacteria, and fungus. They came back with evidence of bacterial infection. Since she has had the ear drops for three days, they can't know if the drops have been helping or not, so I am to finish the remaining four days and re-check. I can take her in for a re-check next Wednesday when I take Bailey in to be seen for her suspected mild cardiomegaly. Josie's rectal temperature today was 101.5, which is normal, so I am relieved about that. They did seem surprised that the vet office I went to on Tuesday didn't do swabs or take her rectal temperature. Things with the old office have just been stacking up and they finally broke the camel's back. It was so nice they way Josie and I were treated today, too.
 
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Anne2021

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I totally understand, and was once in a similar situation (though my second cat was a kitten, and two years younger than my adult cat... and they were both females, which in my personal experience turned out not to be a good combo). I'm really sorry that you are going through this, and how hard it must be for you and Josie. My only other advice would be to give Bailey up to a no-kill shelter in your area. The staff should have the experience to place her with a family with whom she is more suited, and you'll feel happier, knowing that she is safe and happy, while you and Josie resume your peaceful lives. <3
If it were me, I'd avoid rehoming her with a friend or family member. 1) To avoid feeling guilty when you inevitably hear about her, and 2) In case she continues to have behavior "issues," which might impact your relationship with her new owner.
All my best wishes to the three of you, whatever choice you make!
Thank you for this, KittyboysGrandma. I will follow through with getting the full picture on Bailey's health next week (suspected mild cardiomegaly on an x-ray), and then proceed from there. Rehoming is so emotionally painful.
 
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