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Thumping back legs.

Species: Cat
Breed: Maine Coon
Age: 2-5 years
My cat started throwing up Sunday. Yesterday he started thumping his back feet and continued to throw up all day. He has withdrawn.
Any ideas? He thumps both feet, maybe every 15 minutes.
Thank you


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Katie. Those are strange symptoms. Can you tell me more about how Hobbes thumps his feet? Does he just suddenly stomp his back feet down? When he does it, does he do it repeatedly? Is it possible he is scratching? Also,

Does he seem to have any trouble jumping up on to things?

Is he eating ok?

I'm just trying to understand the thumping as this is not a normal symptom I'd see in cats!


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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.

Customer reply:

I've never seen anything like it. When he's lying down, he pushes out one or both feet and thumps on the surface. When he's walking, he acts like something is stuck to one foot at a time (nothing is). He isn't scratching, and he jumps just fine. He's not eating. He is drinking water.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Interesting. So, it sounds like he is suddenly jerking his back leg or legs.

Any time a cat does not want to eat there is a medical reason for it. If a cat is not eating and vomiting and this goes on for more than a day then I always, always recommend a vet exam. When we combine those symptoms with the strange leg symptoms, an exam is definitely recommended.

I can think of a few possibilities, but I must admit that the thumping has me stumped. I've seen some cats thump their back legs because of pain at the end of their spine called lumbosacral pain. However, this wouldn't cause vomiting and should also cause him to have difficulty jumping.

I've also had cats do strange twitching and flexing movements with their back legs because of fleas. (I guess the itchiness just makes them feel really uncomfortable). However this shouldn't cause vomiting and lack of appetite.

A serious heart condition called aortoiliac thrombosis (or saddle thrombus) could cause a cat to lose some feeling in their legs. This can cause vomiting and a lack of appetite too. I am really hoping this is not a saddle thrombus because usually it is a fatal condition. Cats with saddle thrombus will have very cold feeling back feet. Feel the temperature of Hobbes' back feet compared to his front. Usually if there is a saddle thrombus the difference is quite obvious.

It's also possible that some abdominal cramping could be causing his feet to kick out, but I can't say that I've ever seen that before!

I'm sorry I don't have an exact answer for you, but what you have described would have me advise to have a vet see Hobbes as soon as possible.

I really hope he is ok. If you get an answer from your vet on what is causing the thumping, please post back and let me know.

Dr. Marie.



Customer reply:

Thank you very much. I'll take him to the vet when I can find him. (He's strictly indoors.)


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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.