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Wobbly drooling kitten.

Species: Cat
Breed: Tabby
Age: 3-6 months
I have a 6 month old tabby and a few days ago he started walking almost bow legged on his rear legs.. he would walk about 6 feet then stop for a while then go again.. he still had sense of touch and knew when he needed to use the box, didnt meow or show signs of pain when we looked at his legs. starting last night, he started drooling profusely and will hardly walk anywhere. this morning when i saw him he was still drooling and on his front legs he is trying to do the same thing as he does on his back ones as far as his walking. we did have a problem with hobo spiders a few months ago so im wondering if he got bit (didnt see any bite marks or wounds) or what could have happened. Thanks


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh dear, it sounds like there is something serious going on with Tiger.

This is going to be a hard question to answer without examining him but I can give you a few ideas.

While hobo spiders can bite a cat, the symptoms don't match what you are describing. Usually if a cat has a venomous spider bite there will be a wound that is very obvious and extremely swollen and purple looking.

What you are describing with his walking sounds like it could be something called ataxia. This is often the result of a spinal cord injury. If he goes outside, then it is possible that he has sustained some brusing on his neck or upper back as the result of an accident.

I get worried when I hear of an animal that has hind leg weakness that is spreading to the front legs. This can sometimes be a sign of rabies. The drooling would fit for rabies as well. Rabies is always fatal and is extremely serious. It is also a danger for any person who is in contact with the cat. To get rabies he would have to have been bitten by another animal.

Has he had any flea treatment recently? Some over the counter flea products can be toxic to cats and can cause neurological signs such as wobbliness and drooling.

Are you sure he is going to the bathroom ok? If he is not able to produce urine it may be that he has a urinary tract blockage. I have seen cats walk very strangely when they have pain in their bladder.

And finally, does he have access to any recreational drugs? Cats will eat marijuana and can have symptoms like this.

In any case I think he should see an emergency vet. My main concern is for the possibility of rabies. In my area rabies is quite uncommon but in some areas it is much more common. If a cat with rabies bites a person it can be fatal, so this is not something to take lightly.

Hopefully he can see a vet today!

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.

Customer reply:

no drugs in the house, we have two children so all forms of household chemicals are locked up. as far as injury, he is a 100% indoor cat, he has recently learned how to climb up the kids bunk bed so we were thinking he could have jumped from too high. but with him not meowing when he is touched i wasnt thinking it was that bad, with vets around here on weekends the price is well over 500.00 to have him seen, is there anything we can do until monday or is this something that must be done immediately? also we have another cat (we got both of them from the humane society) that has no signs of anything so should we isolate him from tiger?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Interesting...jumping from the bunk beds could account for a spinal injury. The only thing that doesn't fit is that a spinal injury shouldn't really cause him to drool.

I wish I could give you some advice on what to do at home, but I don't think I can because we don't know for sure what is going on. If he is still eating well and if you are sure that he is urinating ok then it is probably ok to keep him isolated in a bedroom until Monday when he can have a visit that is not an emergency.

However, if his appetite is down then I do think he should be seen.

I really hope he is ok!

Dr. Marie.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I just had one other thought...it may be that Tiger has something called a liver shunt (or portosystemic shunt). This is a condition where the blood vessels do not travel properly through the liver. As a result, the liver cannot do its work to detoxify things in the body.

Cats with this problem can be wobbly and drooly. They sometimes do something called head pressing where they stand next to a wall and press their head into it.

Unfortunately a liver shunt is something that is often not fixable. In some animals a surgery can be done, but it is very expensive and not always effective. If your vet does suspect a liver shunt some cats can live well on a special type of reduced protein food and also some medications.



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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.