My male cat has a swollen abdomen, and I am feeling extremely anxious today

LizaS33

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I live in a rural area. My usual vet is on holiday, and I can only get an appointment for my cat with another vet some distance away for tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, I am going crazy with worry, and am very paranoid and obsessing about whether something could be wrong with my baby. I would appreciate it if anybody can give me some insight on potential afflictions, or at least just set my mind at ease.

I in fact don't even know if the swollen abdomen on my cat is unusual or a cause for concern. My boyfriend reckons that he is just chubby and that I am being neurotic.

Just as background - we adopted this male cat and had him neutered about 8 months ago. He is of indeterminate age (we reckon about 10 years, but he has had a rough life as a feral). He has unfortunately been diagnosed as FIV+, but is in good general shape and is on daily Interferon medication. He is very lovable and my cuddle bunny and I have bonded greatly with him in this time. He is an indoor cat with access to an enclosed courtyard area for some nature and sun.

He has been dewormed prior, but we did notice a rice-spec at his bum some 4 weeks ago and immediately dewormed him again with Antezole deworming paste.

His appetite prior to the last deworming session was off-the-charts, in that he freely ate when he wanted to. I feed him Orijen Cats & Kittens dry food as well as 2 x Weruva wet sachets or Sheba tins per day, plus an occasional snack. I have realized that he was eating in the order of 400 calories per day (± 150 more than he requires). We have recently made adjustments to this free-feeding schedule.

What is my biggest concern is that, even though he has noticeably picked up a bit of weight in the past months, I do believe that his tummy appears to be much larger than usual since the past weekend. I did experiment with a new cat wet food (Weruva's Trulux Steak Frites) just a day or two prior to this, so I don't know if this is connected.

Urine output appears to be normal. He is seemingly defecating normally with solid healthy output. No perceivable nausea and no vomiting.
What is adding to my concern though is that:
- Since the last deworming session, I have noticed that his appetite has decreased by about 20%. He is still however eating within a normal calorie parameter.
- Furthermore, I have noticed that he is more hesitant now to jump on furniture, and is definitely acting more like a lazy couch potato - I have to coax him into taking a walk or playing.

His coat has also always been rather dull and uneven. He has a normal thick coat over his head, neck, chest, and front legs. His coat is very thin on his flanks and hind legs, with downy-like fur against the skin.

Since taking note of this rather large abdomen, I have been reading up on Google about frightening diseases such as FIP, enlarged organs, and cancer which can cause the appearance of a bloated tummy, and it has me understandably stressed out. Would very much appreciate it if anybody can share alternative possible scenarios, or whether you, in fact, do think that the belly fat in the photos taken earlier today appear to be unusual or are a cause for concern.

Thank you kindly, from this anxious kitty mama...
 

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di and bob

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First of all, take a deep breath and try to calm down, although I completely understand how upsetting this is. he doesn't look bad, I have seen distended abdomens MUCH worse. It really could be that he is gaining weight and is getting less active because of it. as long as he is eating, using the litter box, and not hiding, that is very good, when a cat quits all those, that is an indicator of not feeling well. If he is ten years old and has FIV, that is great he has made it to that age. an older cat has a greater chance of living longer with the disease than a kitten. My cats have leukemia and have lived far beyond what they were supposed to, so don't give up hope. I am a big believer in DMG, a supplement to build up a cat's immune system, and LifeGold a supplement to help with a cat with cancer. I get mine on Walmart and Amazon online. once again, he DOES NOT look horrible, wait to worry until you find out for sure what is going on. Bless you, for giving that cat a chance at finding a home and love.....
 
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LizaS33

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First of all, take a deep breath and try to calm down, although I completely understand how upsetting this is. he doesn't look bad, I have seen distended abdomens MUCH worse. It really could be that he is gaining weight and is getting less active because of it. as long as he is eating, using the litter box, and not hiding, that is very good, when a cat quits all those, that is an indicator of not feeling well. If he is ten years old and has FIV, that is great he has made it to that age. an older cat has a greater chance of living longer with the disease than a kitten. My cats have leukemia and have lived far beyond what they were supposed to, so don't give up hope. I am a big believer in DMG, a supplement to build up a cat's immune system, and LifeGold a supplement to help with a cat with cancer. I get mine on Walmart and Amazon online. once again, he DOES NOT look horrible, wait to worry until you find out for sure what is going on. Bless you, for giving that cat a chance at finding a home and love.....
Thank you so much for your compassionate response! I do feel a bit better, hopefully, the vet will determine tomorrow that he is just a bit chubby.

I had to send my beloved Candy, an Exotic Shorthair, to the Rainbow Bridge last year, and the pain of her passing is still too great. It will be too much to bear if something has to happen to Gryskat so soon thereafter. :(
 
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LizaS33

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Thank you all!

Unfortunately, my worst fears were confirmed, and he does have moderate Ascites. I am awaiting lab results, and have already started making preliminary enquiries on sourcing Remdesivir in my country should the vet be positive of a FIP diagnosis. If it is not FIP, we'll have to travel further to do the whole array of tests.
 
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