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Cat can't move tail or legs.

Species: Cat
Breed: short haired asian s
Age: 1-2 years
My girlfriend's family saved a cat viciously attacked by dogs in the street in Jakarta.
The cat was thrown by the dogs and seems to be exhibiting signs of paralysis in her hind quarters (she doesn't move her tail or hind legs). They stopped the bleeding the first night. It has been almost 3 full days since they rescued her and she has yet to defecate or urinate. She will not eat, but will drink small amounts of milk.
My girlfriend is scared to take her to a vet because she says in Indonesia many of the vets are scammers operating with fake licenses.
What should they do for her?

Thanks for any ideas / help.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh dear. I am so sorry to hear that this poor little cat is having such serious problems.

If she has not urinated in 3 days this really has me concerned. It sounds like she may have a serious injury to her spinal cord.

I'd like you to try something (that is, if you are with the cat right now.) What I'd like you to do is to pinch really hard on her back toes on each leg to see if there is any response. If you are not able to get any kind of response then it is very likely that there is a spinal cord injury.

Sometimes if a spinal cord injury is treated with steroids within the first 24 hours we can see some improvement. But, after three days the chances of recovery are small.

If she hasn't urinated in 3 days she is in serious danger of rupturing her bladder.

While I can't say for sure without examining this little one, I am afraid that she may not recover. She is likely in a significant amount of pain and this is probably why she is not eating.

I understand that vet care may be awkward in Indonesia but it sounds like the best thing for this little cat would be to have her humanely put to sleep.

I'm so sorry for the bad news.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie,

my girlfriend says that when she squeezed the cat's foot she cries loudly like it hurts her. But she won't move the leg.
What can this mean?
Where do we go from here?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

OK...this is a good sign. This means that she has feeling in the leg which means that she may not have a spinal cord injury.

This is good news. But still, whatever is going on it is very serious.

My next thought is that she could have a fractured pelvis. If a cat has a mild fracture in her pelvis she can heal with rest. However, if there is a fracture that is causing her to not be able to move her legs or tail or urinate or defecate then this is likely something that won't be able to heal without surgery.

It would be wonderful if you could find a vet who could take some xrays of her pelvis.

It's also possible that she has some serious internal damage to her organs. If a small animal is shaken by a large animal they can get something similar to shaken baby syndrome where organs are severely damaged. Most animals do not survive this.

I really wish I could help you more with this. No matter what the issue is, this cat needs to see a vet. She is in extreme pain and it is not fair to leave her in the state she is in. But I do understand your concerns about vets in the country.

While there is a chance she could survive, from what you have described those chances are not good. Plus, if she does not have help to empty her bladder soon it can rupture (or it may have already ruptured) and that is a horrible way to die.

If you do find a vet, feel free to respond to me if you would like my thoughts on their opinions.

Dr. Marie.

Customer reply:

OK, I forwarded your message.

I expressed the urgency of the situation to her.
They will try to find a good vet today in Jakarta with x-ray capabilities. We don't know who she belongs to or if she's a stray but it seems she's in our path for a reason.
Thanks for your fast responses.
I'll let you know how it turns out.

Oh, she's a white short-haired beastie.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Please tell your girlfriend thank you so much for trying to help this little cat.

I'd really like to know how things work out.

If there is any difficult decision making to be done while at the vet's feel free to post back again and I'll see if I can help.

Dr. Marie.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie,

Ok here is the update.
The cat can walk!
My girlfriend has been fasting and praying for the cat (I've prayed too) and the cat suddenly jumped out of the basket and walked a bit and urinated.
So she can walk now.
The family still refuses to take her to a vet. I'm in another country so I can't just take her myself. I offered to pay, etc. but they are adamant.

SO here is where we are now.
She urinates daily, tries to walk but the father puts her back in the basket to rest. She still has not defecated.
My gf says it's because she has eaten very little. Can that be the case?

What do you recommend having this new information.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Well this is good news! I am a firm believer in prayer and have seen animals healed through prayers.

The lack of defecation can definitely be because she has not eaten much. But it is also possible that there is a pelvis fracture that is obstructing the colon or rectum. It's also possible that the pain from the injury is stopping her from getting into the position to defecate.

My advice still would be to have her examined as the vet could prescribe medication for pain. Even though she's walking she's likely still in pain.

Definitely keep her as quiet as possible and do all you can to encourage her to eat.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.