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Cat is very quiet.

Species: Cat
Breed: Domestic Shorthair
Age: 2-5 years
My cat is a neutered male who has just turned two years old. He is an indoor/outdoor cat and is up to date on all his vaccines - including Rabies & Luekemia. Up until a month ago he was a very social and active cat - he loved to hunt (especially rodents - mice, voles, moles). He was never a lap kitty, but could be very persistent when he wanted love on a daily basis - head butting, etc.

About a month ago, Prince changed. He rarely wants to go outside. When he does go outside, he won't jump over the fence or even crawl under the gate to get to the green space. He doesn't want to be pet - ever. We originally thought he might have hurt his back because he's moving slowly and prefers just to sleep on my daughter's top bunk. However, it's been a month so we took him to the vet.

His bloodwork came back fine - white blood cell count within normal range. His x-rays also came back okay showing no damage to his spine or joints. The vet has said that Prince is not behaving like an animal in pain so with no issues showing on the x-rays he didn't prescribe any pain pills.

The vet has actually now told us that it's just seasonal allergies and maybe asthma.

I've owned cats my whole life (40 years) and I have never seen allergies or even asthma manifest like this. Allergies have always included skin issues or sneezing, etc. and Ashtma has always included coughing, hacking, or wheezing.

This just doesn't "feel" right to me. My husband thinks I'm making a big deal out of nothing, but I'm really worried. It's just such a drastic change in his personality. Do you have any ideas or suggestions?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hmmm...this is an interesting situation. When I have an owner describe a drastic change in attitude like this I do feel that there is usually a medical reason for it.

It's good that his tests have come back as normal...but then that is frustrating!

To me, what you have described certainly could be a sign of pain. Cats will do all they can to hide their pain. Often though they will just decrease their activity. The logic is, "If it hurts to move, then I'll just move less."

If this were my case I would likely try a one to two week course of pain medication and see if this makes a difference. One of the problems though is that we don't have a pain medication for cats that is actually licensed for use for more than a few days. But, I would feel very comfortable using something like Metacam at a low dose. You may want to ask your vet if they would be willing to prescribe a short course of pain medication just to see if that makes a difference.

Cats can get asthma, but they almost always cough when they have asthma. What you have described doesn't sound like allergies at all.

It's not a bad idea to have a fecal exam done to look for parasites. The symptoms are not typical, but given that he hunts and goes outside, this is not a bad idea.

I'm afraid I don't have any other answers for you. If he doesn't improve after the pain medication another thing you could do is to ask for a referral to see an internal medicine specialist. These vets deal with the unusual cases that the regular vets haven't been able to figure out.

I hope he feels better soon!

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. AskAVetQuestion.com 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.

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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.