Fast Breathing, Poop Issues, Meowing At Night. Body Twitching Too.

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by Astidham, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. Astidham

    Astidham Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 5, 2018
    There are multiple things happening with my cat and I don’t know if they’re related or what they mean...

    Charlie is a neutered 10 month old domestic shorthair that I adopted from the shelter about three months ago. He’s super sweet and affectionate and very very attached to me (he follows me everywhere and sits behind the toilet when I use it), and he is also very playful and energetic. About a month ago, I came home from work and I noticed he was acting very lethargic, crying when I picked him up, and breathing really fast constantly – not after he played, when he was just sitting around. I took him to the vet and they thought they heard a heart murmur but he was too stressed from being at the vet to tell for sure. They took x-rays of his upper half and said his heart looked slightly enlarged but it was nothing to worry about and sent me home with pain medication to give him every 12 hours.

    He stopped crying when I picked him up and got his energy back, but he is still breathing at a very rapid pace all the time. The vet looked at his gums and they didn’t seem pale to him so they didn’t think he was anemic, but can’t be sure without a blood test. Charlie also sometimes poops both in and out of the litter box – think 3 of the 4 turds are in the box and 1 is behind it, on the rug, a combination of both, and probably smeared around. I clean the box religiously and it is in a private place where he has multiple forms of escape. Also, not anywhere near his food and water and I have never changed the litter or the box on him.

    He also meows and cries at night. He likes to pounce and chew on my feet under the blankets so I kick him out of the room, and he meows at the door for about an hour and comes back a few times throughout the night to do it again. He meows a lot all the time, but he sounds frantic at night and won’t stop. I tried using the squirt bottle when he was in bed and it worked for a while but he isn’t so impressed by it anymore and continues hunting my feet.

    LONG POST SHORT – he is acting strangely and I’m not an experienced cat owner, and I really want my fur baby to be happy and healthy. The vet told me that the next step to figuring out what is wrong with him is lab work and I don’t want to put him through the stress of any more vet visits than I have to. Any thoughts?
     
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  2. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    Thank you for being concerned.....rapid breathing can mean too many things to really diagnose. If his heart was slightly enlarged, make sure to have a follow up x ray to see if there are any changes in 6 months or so. If he starts coughing like he is trying to get a hairball up that can be heart problems.
    It could indicate a respiratory infection, watch him to see if he develops runny eyes or nose. To me, it sounds like he has an infection, but without knowing his white blood cell count or temp. it is hard to know. Kittens often get feline herpes virus (not passed to humans) and could develop fast breathing but usually have runny eyes. It wouldn't hurt to start him on some L-lysine treats with an immune builder, I get mine on Amazon. He may be just excited, kittens are a ball of energy, the jumping on your feet will stop as he gets older. Just say NO very loudly, or even hiss at him to show your displeasure. If he is frantic to be with you, I would let him, several loud NO's and firmly putting him away from your feet should give him the idea. As a last resort, grab him by the skin on the back of his neck, not the neck itself, and tell him NO while holding him still for a minute, that is what mama cats do to install discipline. Physical punishment such as squirting with water or slapping does not work with cats like it does with dogs, it just makes them afraid of you and they get timid.
    The lethargy concerns me much more, that is not normal for kittens. I would definitely get a blood test if he does it again. You might change his food to a different brand, he may have allergies, and it wouldn't hurt. As for the missing the litter box, I would get a high sided one on Amazon, or even a covered one, (I remove the door) that would take care of that problem. Good luck, please come back if you have more questions or this does not help, there are many here with much experience!
     
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  3. Margret

    Margret TCS Member Top Cat

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    1. May I be the first to welcome you to The Cat Site, the best community of cat lovers on the internet! :welcomesign::hithere: We hope you and Charlie will be members of our community for many years to come.
    2. Have you ever watched Charlie when he's pooping? My Jasmine likes to actually sit on the edge of the litter box with her rear end hanging over the box itself, and sometimes she misjudges where her rear actually is. If that's it I recommend buying one of those litter catcher mats to go under the box, because this isn't really a behavior problem that you can fix, just a fact of life.
    3. I've never found a squirt bottle to be effective. Charlie doesn't think that he's pouncing on your toes; he thinks he's pouncing on a marvelous cat toy that seems to appear magically whenever you go to bed. The most effective solution I've found is a loud "Ouch!" followed by an aggrieved "That's me you're putting your claws into!" You may even want to sit up and pull your foot out from under the covers to rub it, just to get the point across. It may take a few nights, but eventually Charlie should get the hint. If it takes too long, start hissing as well, like an angry cat. He should understand that.
    4. It sounds like you have a good vet, so I hate to suggest this, but it may be time to switch to a mobile vet, one who comes to your house. Or if you don't want to switch entirely, perhaps you could get a mobile vet to visit just to draw some blood for the lab tests, making it plain up-front that you aren't asking him or her to be Charlie's primary care physician. Frankly, it sounds like Charlie really needs those lab tests, no matter how stressful it is for him, but a mobile vet is the only way I know of to effectively reduce that stress. I might suggest a mild sedative, but I suspect that it would mess up the lab tests; ask your vet about this possibility.
    5. We'd love to see some pictures of Charlie! We're all suckers for cat pictures here (for some odd reason :think:), but especially for kitten pictures.
    Margret
     
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  4. Astidham

    Astidham Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 5, 2018
    Thanks for your input! I forgot to mention, when I adopted him he had a runny eye and the shelter thought he had an upper respiratory infection and sent me home with a few days of antibiotics. The infection appeared to be gone once the medicine was done so I thought nothing of it. His eye started to look runny again about two/three weeks later and he got another round of antibiotics and healed again. The lethargy was during this time but also once he was healed, which concerns me.
     
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  5. Astidham

    Astidham Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 5, 2018
    Thanks Margret!

    I have seen him poop (he likes to wait until I’m in the bathroom to use his litter box that’s also in the bathroom) and he doesn’t hang on the sides of the box. He just squats down in the box with his butt in one corner. I’m going to try buying a new box with higher sides and maybe that will help!

    The mobile vet is a good idea! I’ll look for some in my area. He just gets so stressed in the car and at the vet that I hope it’s not making him feel worse.
     

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  6. Astidham

    Astidham Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    97E312BE-2E46-4B08-A657-6622D2811DDF.jpeg The little stinker drives me crazy at night but then he falls asleep holding my hand and I forget how much sleep I lose
     
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  7. Margret

    Margret TCS Member Top Cat

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    Thanks for the pictures; Charlie is totally adorable! One other thing you could try would be some Feliway sprayed in the cat carrier, or even the car. https://www.feliway.com/us You can get it on chewy.com for a reasonable price: feliway Look at all the options on that page; I only just noticed the Feliway Calming Travel Cat Wipes, which may be the best way to go. If you don't want to wait for a Chewy order to arrive you can try calling local pet shops; many of them carry Feliway.

    I forgot to mention earlier: many people are unaware of the importance of depth in a litter box. The litter should be at least two or three inches deep, and some litter boxes aren't really deep enough to accommodate that much litter. So when you get that box with higher sides, add a bit more litter as well, to take proper advantage of the extra height.

    Also, regarding lifting Charlie by the scruff of the neck, that works well for kittens (which I realize Charlie is). For full grown cats, however, it can be quite dangerous. Once Charlie gets bigger you should avoid doing this. You can hold him still by the scruff, but don't lift.

    Margret
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  8. pushylady

    pushylady Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's so lovely! :loveeyes:
     
  9. Astidham

    Astidham Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 5, 2018
    Updates:

    Charlie was sleeping on his back and while I was petting him, I noticed a lump on his belly directly in the middle of his legs. I’m not sure if it’s new or if he’s had it, I’ve never noticed it before but with all the other things going on I wasn’t sure if it was significant or not.

    I also noticed the other day that when he’s awake and laying down, he has this whole body twitch. It’s almost like a pulse. Every 2-3 seconds, his whole body tenses up and then relaxes over and over.

    Has anyone seen either of these things in their cat?
     
  10. Astidham

    Astidham Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 5, 2018
    ***It’s a squishy lump on his belly right in between his back legs. And to explain the twitching more, he doesn’t do it after running around like a maniac or anything, I’ve noticed it when he is relaxed and laying down on my lap. It looks like the muscles in his legs and his abdomen tense up for a second and relax again. He hasn’t gotten into anything toxic
     
  11. pushylady

    pushylady Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Canada
    That's a bit of a worry finding a lump like that, plus the twitching sounds strange. I'm not sure what's going on. I've added the twitching to your thread title to hopefully get the attention of anyone who has experienced this before.
     
  12. Astidham

    Astidham Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 5, 2018
    I took Charlie to the vet and they have no idea what’s wrong with him (still). He tested negative for FIV and heartworm so they’re trying putting him on steroids because asthma MIGHT be a possibility. At this point they’re just trying to rule things out and don’t actually know what’s wrong with him.
     
  13. Timmer

    Timmer TCS Member Kitten

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    Jan 10, 2018
    There is a test they can do through blood work to see if your kitty has heart disease. You did say he had a slightly enlarged heart so that might be worth looking into, and getting that lump biopsied if the vet thinks that is appropriate. One of my cats has an enlarged heart, too, and the other cat has a heart murmur but they are both fine. It might be something your kitty will outgrow like the biting your feet at night. Is Charlie getting enough stimulation or play? I would not lock the cat outside the bedroom at night. You will never get any sleep. Cats hate closed doors. Maybe try doing some aggressive play a couple of hours before bed, if you have time. Before you go to bed offer him a light snack. That sometimes calms them down. I have a bengal that cries in the night. I haven't had a good night's sleep in 8 years but yet....I love him and he rules the house! :-)
     

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