Eating related muscle contractions and trembling

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
So I’ve got a really weird situation on my hands and my vet and I are stumped trying to figure it out. For a few weeks now Moose has had two weird things going on, I initially noticed them when he was on doxycycline but it’s possible the trembling has been going on since before then as it’s usually invisible and only detected by touching him. He has been off the doxy for 2.5 weeks. It was liquid form and followed by a large wet food meal with extra water everytime so my vet doubts it’s from that, but with the timing I don’t know…

1) He trembles whenever he eats wet food. It’s not a “excited shake” as he is frankly quite bored of and unenthusiastic about the two specific wet foods he gets, and I am going to try adding new ones. His whole little body trembles/shivers while he eats. If he stops eating for a second it stops and starts up right again as he continues to eat. Sometimes it persists for a bit after eating but that’s rare. The wet food is not cold, and it ONLY happens with wet food! Not dry food, not 50/50 wet dry mix (most of the time)… only wet food.

2) After eating he will go about his business and if he lays on his side he will have these weird contractions for up to 30 minutes on and off after eating. I first noticed this on the 26th. They are mostly visible in his legs but do seem to be full body… just a slow tensing and relaxing of muscles, not violent or anything, but slow, subtle, and rhythmic. Sometimes he will jut his head forward as if he is having acid reflux, and sometimes it looks like he’s slightly bobbing up and down. It almost looks as if his whole body is trying to “push” the food through his system, like he’s “riding the waves” of the contractions. So he just lays there, having these odd subtle movements while his muscles contract, at times less subtle than others, and then eventually it stops completely until after his next wet meal. This also only happens after wet food! He has wet 3x per day and dry 1x per day.

His urinalysis was perfect. His blood work was perfect. His UPCR is normal. His mouth and teeth look great. He is high energy and totally normal otherwise though he has been acting a bit more like a crazy teenage boy cat recently and at times tries to dominate my female senior cat (not aggressively but he’s tried to dominantly bite her neck a few times, ect), and he is only 11 months old. I also highly doubt it’s FHS. Because it only happens after wet food we are not inclined to believe it is neurological or a virus/disease of any kind. We are currently trialing him on 2 weeks of Sulcrate incase it is a GI issue and I have probiotics too but I stopped giving them for awhile incase they were the issue, but clearly they aren’t, so I’ll start him back on them.

I don’t know what to think. Obviously I don’t want to stop giving him wet food as feeding dry only could open him up to a whole slew of other issues. Researching online shows me a million possibilities from normal to severe. There are also a few people whose cats seemed to have done this and grown out of it with time. At this point I am inclined to just give it time and see if he grows out of it as he doesn’t seem distressed or in pain and is normal otherwise, but it stresses me the heck out. The vet thinks it’s really odd but given his perfect labs she doesn’t seem too concerned either, he just saw her on Wednesday for an exam and said labs. I don’t even know what further diagnostics would do more good than harm, he’s petrified of the trip to the vet even on gabapentin and I’m also dealing with some new health issues in my senior girl so the mix of everything is a lot right now. Has anyone experienced anything like this before?? Or any ideas?? It’s so weird…
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
22,921
Purraise
34,434
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
HI and yes, this is weird. Is he OK otherwise, eating/drinking/litter box habits all good? Was he eating wet food before the doxy without the trembling? It is possible that his digestive tract is still messed up from the antibiotics, and for whatever reason the wet food causes issues that the dry does not. Dry food will absorb acids more easily than wet food, should that be his issue. Check the ingredients in the wet food to ensure there is nothing in there that could pose a problem, especially since I recall he is allergic to chicken (from one of your previous posts).

Tbh, if it were me, I'd test giving him some dry food moistened with water and see if the trembling happens. If it does, then for now, I would feed him the dry for a while and re-introduce wet food down the road. If it doesn't, then there is something in the wet food that is causing him problems. For the short-term you can remedy this by giving him moistened dry food - better than all dry.

Sometimes, the only option is to experiment until something works.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
HI and yes, this is weird. Is he OK otherwise, eating/drinking/litter box habits all good? Was he eating wet food before the doxy without the trembling? It is possible that his digestive tract is still messed up from the antibiotics, and for whatever reason the wet food causes issues that the dry does not. Dry food will absorb acids more easily than wet food, should that be his issue. Check the ingredients in the wet food to ensure there is nothing in there that could pose a problem, especially since I recall he is allergic to chicken (from one of your previous posts).

Tbh, if it were me, I'd test giving him some dry food moistened with water and see if the trembling happens. If it does, then for now, I would feed him the dry for a while and re-introduce wet food down the road. If it doesn't, then there is something in the wet food that is causing him problems. For the short-term you can remedy this by giving him moistened dry food - better than all dry.

Sometimes, the only option is to experiment until something works.
He used to get the “happy tail shakes” before wet food when I first got him, like would go CRAZY at feeding times, because he had been (IMO) underfed before I adopted him, but those have since stopped now that he’s getting more adequate amounts of food. He is still keen on meal times but doesn’t go absolutely bonkers like he used to. I am not sure if he used to tremble at all before the doxy because I was never in the habit of petting him while he ate until this started and they are basically invisible. My guess is it wasn’t a thing beforehand though. Unfortunately asking the rescue won’t do much good either as he was in a cat lounge with a ton of other cats for 5+ months so nobody would have been petting him or obsessively observing him during meal times there either. I noticed the trembling while eating because he was trembling after getting his doxy dose one night. His wet food was immediately followed by that so I tried to comfort him with pets and he continued to tremble, so from there I got into the habit of monitoring him and it continued with every wet food meal regardless of if the doxy was involved (it was a 1x per day dosage). At first I thought he had a negative association with the wet food as it always followed the meds, but now it’s been long enough off the doxy that I doubt that. The muscle contractions started later on, for awhile it was just the trembling.

He is super normal otherwise. Has a good appetite. He poops every day. Pees multiple times a day. Extremely active, tons of energy, more energy than I know what to do with sometimes as he’s only interested in wand toys and playing with me for so long. He clearly wants to play with my other cat but she’s not interested and just gets annoyed with him when he’s being that hyper. I want to get him a young friend but the timing isn’t right yet, especially with these issues plus the issues that have recently come up with my senior girl (still under investigation but that may be a whole new thread in a week or so).

There is no chicken in any of his food. He’s been on FirstMate Turkey and Rawz Duck/Turkey wet as of late, but I also have some Farmina Lamb/Pumpkin/Blueberry and Feline Natural Lamb/Salmon on the way since he’s getting visibly bored of Turkey. I have some Stella and Chewy’s duck duck goose freeze dried that I occasionally use as a topper, but I could test what a full rehydrated meal of only that does as well as the soaked dry. I will try both and let you know how it goes. I just ordered so much more wet food though LOL, hopefully he doesn’t have to stay off it too long.

The kicker is he was on the doxy for suspected chlamydia. He has small persistent strips of visible conjunctiva poking out of his upper eyelids and when lifting the eyelid up the conjunctiva was quite pink. The 28 days of doxy made no real visible difference so it’s possible he never even had chlamydia at all and the doxy was for nothing and did nothing but cause problems. We have an appointment on the 26th with a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist (who my vet consulted with previously regarding his eyes, who suggested the doxy as treatment) so I will bring this all up with her too and see what she has to say.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
Here is a video of the muscle contractions from the first night they started (2.5 weeks ago). Maybe they’ve gotten less intense or maybe it’s just because of how he’s lying down with his legs hanging off the ledge, but they have not been this pronounced since and are usually much more subtle. The weird rhythmic tensing/relaxing pattern is always the same though.

- YouTube
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
22,921
Purraise
34,434
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
The video is blocked unless someone signs into YouTube. You may need to change the access for those who don't subscribe to YouTube.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
The video is blocked unless someone signs into YouTube. You may need to change the access for those who don't subscribe to YouTube.
Oops. Accidentally had it on private instead of unlisted. Should be fixed now.
 

Alldara

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
5,696
Purraise
9,816
Location
Canada
They visually checked his teeth or hes had a dental xray?

I ask, because Nobel had cracked teeth that were not visible on mouth examination by a vet and he acted fine and ate fine. Its not an uncommon situation which is why dental x-rays are so important for truly diagnosing if there's an issue.
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
16,752
Purraise
23,272
Location
Nebraska, USA
That IS strange! I would bet it is something GI related, but only with wet food?! some kind of allergy? I woudl do as said above and try wettened dry food and see if he does it. you are right, he doesn't look distressed at all. Could it be some kind of hiccup? Swallowing too fast? Msybe get one of those bowls that slow them down and see. Please tell us if you ever find the reason!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
A Alldara Visually. It would seem really strange that if it were a tooth problem he is only feeling it while eating wet food, though, as he has no issues with dry or water and doesn’t look like he’s manipulating the placement of the kibbles or anything. I also brush his teeth almost daily and he shows no sensitivity with it. Definitely something to keep in mind and investigate further though if it doesn’t resolve with food changes, ect.

di and bob di and bob This is what I’m inclined to believe too. The contractions definitely look like they could be digestive/reflux related, maybe wet food passes through him too fast? Idk. That wouldn’t explain the trembling though, but maybe something about the texture and feeling of eating wet food bothers him? Or just the anticipation of the upset tummy? I don’t know lol. His dry food is the same brand as one of the wet foods and they contain basically the same ingredients (just less of them in the wet), which makes me believe it’s not an allergy. The only difference is the protein in the dry but his other wet food contains that protein so ???? Lol. I should also mention he has never had diarrhea or vomited, ever. He has never even coughed up a hairball. I will DEFINITELY keep this thread updated, especially if I find the reason/it resolves, finding posts all over the internet of people who had a similar issue and never came back with an update on what happened or how they solved it drove me absolutely insane lol, the best I could find was that it happened mostly in young cats and “oh he stopped doing it around 1.5/2 years old!!” when others came asking what had happened with it.

I am currently testing different combos/preparations of food and recording his reaction to them and will have other wet foods to test mid next week. Instead of updating one by one I will give it some time and compile a list so it’s easier for people to compare. I will also mention for the record that if he does not tremble while eating, he does not have the muscle contractions afterwards (at least from what I’ve observed so far and I’ve been watching him pretty obsessively during and after meals). I did try the soaked dry food “cereal” and he did not tremble or have contractions afterwards…. However even after soaking the dry in hot water for 45 minutes it was still hard and crunchy, so the texture never became comparable to wet food, it was just dry food in water lol.
 
Last edited:
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
Ok I said I wasn’t gonna update one by one BUT JUST BECAUSE THIS WAS UNEXPECTED I WILL THIS ONE TIME…

He had “dry food cereal” AKA dry food soaked in water for lunch because I wanted to give him a break from the shakes. First time he had it yesterday there was zero trembling during or contractions afterwards so I thought we were onto something. Well, he started reluctantly drinking the broth (?) and immediately starting trembling but not as strong as usual. Ughhh. He was super super uninterested in it and I had to go pour the water out in order for him to continue eating it. Trembles continued but they still were much weaker/less pronounced. Still had the usual muscle tensing/refluxy looking movements afterwards too, but also less pronounced.
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
16,752
Purraise
23,272
Location
Nebraska, USA
Well, it sounds like at least you know it is something to do with the physical act of eating. either the mouth,the esophagus, the stomach, or the small intestine. Something involuntary, something not particularly painful if he doesn't cry,or run, or hide. This is REALLY starnge!
 

fionasmom

Moderator
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
13,631
Purraise
18,022
Location
Los Angeles
You are more than welcome to post updates any time that you want as it helps others to follow the progression of the thread.

This is a very strange problem.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
He is also a suckler. So he will suck on my shirt for anywhere from a few seconds up to ten minutes whenever he wants to cuddle. He’s not a huge cuddler in general but whenever he does, it comes with a suckle session lol. I would imagine that uses his tongue/swallowing, ect. in a similar way to eating wetfood, he always gets very drooly during it and I end up with big wet patches on my shirt lol, but he’s never ever trembled while doing that, he just purrs happily, which of course come with the purr vibrations, but those are a very different thing.
 

fionasmom

Moderator
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
13,631
Purraise
18,022
Location
Los Angeles
My Chelsea was a huge kneader and suckler. She would start to knead a blanket and then take it in her mouth; I knew that she had lost her mom too young.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
So he is still trembling while eating and having contractions/acting as though he has some reflux and is uncomfortable after all canned meals, he even let out what sounded like a burp the other night, *but* the trembles have felt weaker than they usually are many times, and are always minimal/light while eating a new food, the Farmina Lamb/Pumpkin/Blueberry… the contractions after eating this are also very minimal (the ones he had were tiiiiny) in comparison and he overall looked a lot more comfortable afterwards. No stretching out with his head lowered while on his side or anything, which is what he usually does. I haven’t tested it much yet but it is the only chunky/non-pate food up for offer, so maybe it has something to do with that? I don’t know. It’s also possible that the Sulcrate/probiotics are starting to help more now, or that he’s just slowly getting over whatever was causing this, or maybe just a fluke.. too early to say. I also keep intending to put his food plate on something so that it is raised, I’ve done it a few times but generally keep forgetting, so I really need to start doing that consistently and see how it helps.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
Okay so the last few wet food meals have been great. There’s been three since my last post. The weird muscle contractions have been extremely minimal if they’ve even occurred at all. The trembling has generally felt lighter/less intense. After dinner last night he didn’t even go lay down on his side in his usual post wet food position at all again, so no contractions noticeable then, and he instead went to play/watch moths out the window so he seemed comfortable and happy and unbothered. After that he layed down for a few minutes and had the slightest little leg movements but nothing like the intensity of before. This happened after a mix of his usual wet foods last night so it’s not just a positive change after eating the Farmina now.

BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY I AM SO HAPPY TO REPORT that I JUST fed him his lunch/his 2nd wet meal of the day and he was *almost* not trembling at all. I thought he wasn’t trembling at all at first but I kept my hands on him almost the whole meal and he was, but it was so very faint and subtle I could barely feel it. Like so so minimal and soft, absolutely nothing like before and a huge difference from even the lighter trembles with the Farmina. This was also during a mix of his usual wet foods.

He’s been on the Sulcrate for about ten days now so it would seem odd for it just to be making a big difference now, he’s supposed to stop it in 4-5 days ish and it’s an antacid/protectant type of thing so it’s not like it’s supposed to take a lot of time to work, so we’ll see what happens when I’m out of it, but maybe it’s just a time thing too and he’s finally getting over whatever caused this (looking at you, doxy). No clue really though. I guess we will know for certain once he’s been off it for a bit but for now I’m hoping these positive changes continue and he keeps getting better even once off the Sulcrate.
 

fionasmom

Moderator
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
13,631
Purraise
18,022
Location
Los Angeles
Sulcrafate usually does act very quickly which is one reason it is used. So hopefully this may be resolved and the medication has nothing to do with it.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
Sulcrafate usually does act very quickly which is one reason it is used. So hopefully this may be resolved and the medication has nothing to do with it.
Yep I hope so! I don’t think we’re out of the woods quite yet because he was trembling the usual amount with breakfast, but with lunch it was insane how light/barely noticeable they suddenly were— if that happens again with dinner in 5-ish hours I’ll be beyond excited.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19

Biomehanika

Toxoplasmosis Mind Control Slave
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 19, 2024
Messages
264
Purraise
697
WELP. He trembled during dinner and made a few refluxy throat noises/movements afterwards as usual again, so not out of the woods unfortunately, but overall there’s been improvement so fingers crossed for another little to no tremble meal soon.
 

silent meowlook

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 10, 2014
Messages
3,684
Purraise
6,985
Getting into this late. Has he been scopes for esophageal ulcers or stomach ulcers? If he was my cat, I would try to avoid any extra ingredients in cat food, such as fruits or vegetables. I would feed a canned diet with limited ingredients. I would also feed small meals and make sure the Carafate is dissolved into water like a thick slurry and given 1 hour before or two hours after meals or medications. Also, and food should be served room temperature.
 
Top