My own Moxie recently went through a very scary illness so I wanted to share our experience to help you determine if your cat is ill and what to expect when you head to the Vet.
Start with Observation
Moxie did not eat much on the Sunday, he ate some breakfast but not much. Typically he eats his entire meal. I was not immediately concerned but I did notice it and thought it was odd. Later on he threw up a little bit so I initially thought maybe he just had an upset tummy and was trying to throw up a fur ball.
By Monday I was concerned. He still had not eaten much and I knew something was up. I called the vet and got an appointment for Wednesday.
He threw up a couple more times over the next day and barely ate anything at all on Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
We went to the Vet and they examined him, took a blood test, an x ray, gave him fluids and medication and thought it could be pancreatitis but would wait for the test results to determine if it might be something else like diabetes.
I picked up additional anti-nausea and pain medication Thursday.
By this point Moxie had barely eaten since Sunday and I was super worried, the medication was not showing much effect and he was not at all interested in food. I bought a bunch of different foods and treats to try to entice him but nothing really worked. He would eat a few kibbles or lick the wet food a bit or just outright refuse it but no actual eating. He also did not pee at all on Thursday.
On Friday I decided to just take him to the Vet again and get some fluids or additional medication or something to get him to eat. He spent the day. And, I picked up him later on and we decided to bring him in Saturday for additional fluid treatment. But, after this visit he did finally eat, and then ate more Saturday morning.
I dropped Moxie off and after that last fluid treatment and going through his course of medication he really started eating a lot.
By Monday or Tuesday he started to seem much more himself. Though he was clearly affected by the ordeal. I started to notice his pee was much more frequent and greater in volume than before he was ill.
At first I was just pleased he was peeing and pooping and eating and seemed so much better. But after a few more days I became concerned that his kidneys or something may have been damaged due to the whole ordeal. He has been drinking a lot and eating a lot and peeing ALOT and pooping a lot.
Am I just being paranoid? Will it pass once he has a bit more time recover? Or is it something more serious?
That is when I started to research pancreatitis and kidney failure.
I called the vet on Monday and made an appointment for Thursday. I am hoping to avoid more tests since he just had 2 blood tests and 4 x rays and so on. They will do a urine analysis and I have to try and catch Moxie in the act Thursday morning and collect a sample.
I hope this demonstrates how quickly things can turn and even though I acted quickly it may not have been quick enough. Poor Moxie is recovering but not ‘out of the woods’ yet.
What is pancreatitis?
The pancreas assists with digestion and if the enzymes it releases activate too soon the pancreas will become inflamed. The severity can range drastically and may or may not be associated with other diseases or conditions. There is no known trigger for this in cats, and occasionally the cat may continue to be prone to pancreatitis attacks. My own Ziggy has had this happen twice, though luckily not recently.
The signs include poor appetite, vomiting, and stomach pain such as Moxie had. For Ziggy it was a sudden lack of interest in food and lethargy.
Pancreatitis can also be so severe that the cat could pass away.
For a more detailed explanation of pancreatitis, treatment, and other information read:
Moxie’s biological brother Ramses passed away a while back and had a very rapid decline. He had developed fatty liver syndrome and had a tumor. So that was a concern for me since they are related.
Fatty liver disease is still a concern for me as it is caused by an overweight cat not eating for 3 to 4 days. But since Moxie is eating regularly now I am hopeful this is not an issue.
Changes in Potty Habits
Excessive peeing or a change in potty habits can be the result of many different things.
A comprehensive article I found lists some of the common situations and noted it is important to differentiate between more frequent urination versus producing more urine each time. And even worse is attempting to pee without being able to urinate, which is extremely serious and needs an emergency trip to the vet.
To read more about concerning changes in urination habits read:
Producing More Urine Than Usual
Specifically in the case of producing a lot more urine than usual each time, such as Moxie is doing, one of the concerns is kidney failure or diabetes. Both can have symptoms of excessive peeing. Diabetes is a risk factor of severe pancreatitis and kidney failure is a concern. My Hal went through that and loss of appetite was a huge component of his decline.
When you do notice a change in behaviour, particularly a drastic change in appetite and peeing (more or, even more critically, less), check with your Vet ASAP. It may take time to get an appointment and an Emergency Vet visit is very expensive so don’t delay.
Moxie ended up going to his vet 3 times. His exam and assessment included a blood text, x rays, a urine test, pain medication, anti-nausea medication, antibiotics, an appetite stimulant, and 3 rounds of fluids. It was an expensive week.
Unfortunately, not everyone is going to be able to afford all that. Of course if you have insurance already for your pet that will make a huge difference when something so unexpected pops up. If at all possible it would be helpful to have sufficient savings for these emergency situations. But again that may not be possible for everyone. And, I feel for you if you are unable to afford the treatment and have to make a tough decision.