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Old 05.08.2012, 21:46
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Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

I've just given myself a real scare by typing the words 'cat is unstable on feet' into Google...

Tabitha has been struggling to get up on the sofa for the last few days, and has also fallen off it a few times (not because I've made her jump or stretched out my legs not realising she was there).

This evening she seems a little unstable and when I picked her up to help her on the sofa she felt.. funny. Lighter than usual (not that that may be a bad thing) and kind of 'floppy' in her joints (normally she puts up a fight when she's picked up, but tonight there didn't seem to be much resistance in her legs or back - she didn't like being picked up but she just didn't feel as 'stiff' as normal).

On the other hand, she's just polished off half a bowl of food in a short amount of time, and when I went to check on her she moved under the bed at a respectable speed (she likes it under the bed, so this isn't worrying me).

She has this ongoing problem with her waterworks which apparently can affect her back legs.

And as I said, I just googled 'cat is unstable on feet' and am now worrying she's had a stroke, got something called vestibular syndrome or diabetes...

I think I want to check with her vet, but I'm not sure whether to do so in the morning or to watch her for another few days and seeing how she goes. If I'm honest this week is not an ideal week to be going to the vets (family here, emergency meeting with ASLOCA and then a friend coming to stay), but then neither is next week so...

She's still enjoying her food, purring when I brush her fur and seeking out my company in her particular 'well, if you happen to be in this room I suppose I'll come and hang out in here too for a while' kind of way... which are three positive signs.

She yowls when I pick her up (which she often does) and is a little cautious sitting down (which she has been for some time) and then there's this loss of balance and 'poise' you expect from a cat and the funny joints feeling... which are four concerns, two of them new.

I know no-one else can tell me what is best for Tabitha, but I'm just wondering if anyone else had a cat showing similar symptoms (especially the joints) and what it was, as that might help me decide when to get a vets advice.
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Old 06.08.2012, 00:57
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

I'm sorry to hear about Tabitha.

I'm not a cat owner - hopefully those more knowledgeable in things feline will chime in soon.

But in the meantime:

My first rule: when in doubt, call the vet. Whatever is going on, a phone call may put your mind at ease. The vet on call is there for exactly these kinds of situations, and he/she is the person best placed to advise you.

I do have a fair bit of experience with canine geriatric vestibular syndrome, if that's any help. Some general comments, based on my experience with dogs:

VS can look like other conditions during an acute attack, including seizures. The after effects of VS can also look like several different things, including a nerve or joint injury. And sometimes what you describe is 'just one of those things' and the animal recovers almost spontaneously.

It will be important for you to observe carefully what is happening - the more detail you can give the vet, the easier it will be for him/her to determine what is going on.

Whatever is going on, if you are present during an acute attack the most important thing is that you do not panic. Try to keep your voice calm, speak soothingly to your cat. Try to get your cat in a safe position where she is less likely to injure herself - especially away from stairs.

Try to note what is what is happening during the acute phase: Eye movement - are there horizontal back-and forth movements, or are the eyes moving up and down? Does your cat collapse? Does she vomit? Does she loose control of bowels/bladder? Is she aware of you? Try to time the phase.

After the acute phase, is your cat's head held as if tilted to one side? Do you see signs of ataxia ('drunken walking') or a tendency to walk in circles?

Once the acute phase has passed - or your cat is stable - call the vet and discuss whether the cat should be seen now, or whether it is advisable to wait. After discussion, as long as my dog has stabilized my vet has usually decided that watching and waiting is the best thing - but let the vet decided that in Tabitha's case. Never hesitate to call the vet's after hours service - the vet on call is the best person to advise you.

Be aware that not all vestibular attacks show all the classic signs, and as mentioned some conditions that may look like vestibular syndrome are actually something else. Your observations will help the vet to better understand what is going on.

Keeping all paws here crossed for Tabitha - whatever it is, hope she recovers soon.
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Old 06.08.2012, 01:10
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

A cat with long term diabetes will start to eventually walk in what is called a "plantigrade" position, google it.

My Chiquita is a diabetic cat. Before I had her diagnosed as a diabetic, she was drinking massive amounts of water, also she had lots of dandruff and unkempt fur. If your cat is not drinking massive amounts of water, she's most likely not a diabetic cat. Weight loss and loss in muscle tonus is also common in diabetic cats. How old is Tabitha anyways?

All I can say is, bring her to a vet tomorrow, not the day after. It's best to have signs of illness checked out a.s.a.p. If Tabitha is diagnosed a diabetic, please PM me, I have extensive experience in the matter.
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Old 06.08.2012, 11:06
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

I am very sorry to hear this
How is she doing today?

I have two cats and I can understand hopw you feel, it's orrible when one of them is sick.

Back to Tabitha. How old is she?
Maybe she just felt trying to jump somewhere... but I would definitely call the vet and book an appointment.

Please let us know as soon as you have any news about.

Good luck!
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Old 06.08.2012, 11:25
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

So sorry to hear this. Don't know much about cats, but I hope it's nothing serious. How is she today? Ebby says "paws crossed".
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Old 06.08.2012, 11:30
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

I don't know much about veterinary medicine but vestibular syndrome sounds more likely to me, but the fact that she has lost weight could be a sign of diabetes. ANyhoo, there is treatment for both. Give a big hug to Tabitha from all of us here, take her to the vet as soon as you can
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Old 06.08.2012, 11:52
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

Thank you everyone.

Tabitha seems better this morning - she made it up onto the bed and sofa, and when I picked her up she put up a fight, which is like my cat! She also had what my family call a 'funny five minutes', when she started attacking a pen on the bed, then my feet, then her tail... which is something she used to do when she was younger but not so much now. She did jump of the bed in the middle of this and stagger a little on landing though. She is now hiding under the bed, but that is where she spends most of her time... She also ate all her dinner. However she was yowling in the night in the litter box.

I rang the vets, and the assistant said it sounded like it would be a good idea to bring her in for a check-up, so she's got an appointment tomorrow at 4pm. I feel reassured that the assistant did not say 'Take her somewhere today, here is the emergency number to call.'

Tabitha's possibly 10 (someone asked). I'm not quite sure as when I adopted her in 2005 she had been brought into a vets as a stray who had been injured. She had clearly been owned previously as she had a collar (which had caused the injury) and had been spayed. But they weren't really sure how old she was, partly because she was so malnourished - first estimate was 6 months old, the next was 3 years old. On her pet passport we put she was born in 2002. But she could be older than that.

I've never rung the emergency vet, because in my area the emergency clinics seem to be quite thinly spread and I don't drive... I don't have anyone nearby I could ring up and say 'I need to take Tabitha to the vets 20 miles away'... especially not at 9 pm on a Sunday night in the middle of a thunderstorm!
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Old 06.08.2012, 12:19
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

I'm glad Tabitha seems a little better today. You did the right thing getting an appointment at the vet's for her.
I hope all goes well tomorrow, will be thinking of you both. Let us know how things go. x
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Old 06.08.2012, 12:47
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

That sounds good to me and hopefully it is nothing to worry about.
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Old 06.08.2012, 23:05
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

This evening it was Tabitha's turn to take care of me... I had a migraine and Tabitha generally seems to know when this is happening and comes to keep me company.

A cynic would probably say 'No, it's just that you're lying down in a dark room and she wants attention'... but I find it interesting that whereas normally when I'm taking a nap she comes and starts nudging me for strokes and chin tickles, when I have a migraine she comes, sits on or next to me and purrs!

Now I'm feeling better I'm going to change her litter tray so I can give the vet a definite response to the inevitable question of if she's urinated recently.
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Old 06.08.2012, 23:14
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

Glad to hear that Tabitha seems to be feeling better!

I agree that cats can be very "emotionally intuitive." When I was pregnant, every little thing would make me cry -- even just cute dog food commercials. And whenever I'd cry, my cat would come running up to me as though she was concerned. Part of me does wonder if some sort of "psychic bond" can develop between owners and their animals.

For the migraines... have you tried magnesium supplements? Many people are deficient in magnesium and don't realize it. I can tell a huge difference in how I feel when I've taken some supplements (less muscle or nerve pains), and I guess there is evidence to show that some migraines are caused by magnesium deficiencies.
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Old 06.08.2012, 23:49
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

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am now worrying she's had a stroke
My 15 year old Beagle likely had a stroke after we arrived back in the US. It was just one day after we got back and one minute he was fine. He was asleep and seemed to be having a bad dream. When he woke up and needed out, he was lilting to one side and falling over and doing circles, seemed a bit delirious and confused.

I called the vet in a panic and took him in on emergency. By the time I got him there he was still a weak but the worst of his symptoms had disappeared already.

The vet confirmed that she thought it was probably a stroke and that it was probably brought on by air travel. He's been doing fine since then though.

When it comes to strokes, all the vets can do is make our companions comfortable. There's not much else they can do.

I hope your kitty is doing better.
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Old 07.08.2012, 00:15
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

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Glad to hear that Tabitha seems to be feeling better!

I agree that cats can be very "emotionally intuitive." When I was pregnant, every little thing would make me cry -- even just cute dog food commercials. And whenever I'd cry, my cat would come running up to me as though she was concerned. Part of me does wonder if some sort of "psychic bond" can develop between owners and their animals.

For the migraines... have you tried magnesium supplements? Many people are deficient in magnesium and don't realize it. I can tell a huge difference in how I feel when I've taken some supplements (less muscle or nerve pains), and I guess there is evidence to show that some migraines are caused by magnesium deficiencies.
A little off topic, but I wanted to reply on the migraine front...

I take betablockers (half in the morning, half at night), and antidepressants (partly to deal with anxiety and depression but also to try and keep the migraines down) on a daily basis. I also have a whole host of medications to take when I have a migraine (something for the sickness, something for the muscle tension, something for the pain... and then an injector pen for the really bad ones). I also have eye drops as my eyes get very dry which I feel often triggers a migraine. I'll ask my neurologist about the magnesium as that's not something we've explored.

I think today's migraine was probably triggered by worry about Tabitha and also a lot of sitting in front of a computer as my brother's just reformatted my PC so I was setting it all up again. I think I need a new computer chair, this one gives me bad posture, then I get a stiff neck...
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Old 07.08.2012, 19:45
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

Tabitha had a thorough examination by the vet today. She said Tabitha is clearly experiencing pain and discomfort in her tail end and back legs, and also at the back end of her spine. She's not sure if this is an ongoing issue or if it was caused by Tabitha falling off the sofa last week. But this is (in her view) probably why Tabitha is struggling to jump onto things, sit down, and why she's groaning in the night - she's probably struggling to get comfortable.

So Tabitha needs to see a pet osteopath. Apparently one or two sessions should clear up her symptoms and give her a better quality of life.

The vet did say, however that if this doesn't help we might have to weigh up how much enjoyment Tabitha is getting out of life because there's not much medical help for this kind of problem...

At which point everything started to go black and I had to sit down and be given a cold glass of water.

When the world had stopped turning the vet clarified that she didn't mean we'd reached that point yet.
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Old 07.08.2012, 20:08
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

Sending warm thoughts for Tabitha's quick recovery. I hope the osteo appointments will cure her. Please keep us tuned.

And I hope you can find something to stop those migraines. I don't think I've ever had a migraine (knock on wood), but I do have a lot of sympathy for those who do suffer from them.

x.
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Old 07.08.2012, 22:37
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

Poor Tabitha and poor you! I keep my fingers crossed for a quick recovery.
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Old 07.08.2012, 23:07
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Re: Cat is unstable on feet and feels 'floppy jointed'

Same here *hug*
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