My cat was missing for 60 hours and returned wobbly

By Barbara

My cat Millie is 13 years old. We hadn’t seen her for about 2 1/2 days and assumed she got herself stuck in some neighbor’s garage or something.

This morning we found her laying in our yard under a lilac bush. When she got up she seemed to be staggering and felt really thin when we held her. We immediately gave her some wet cat food and she ate voraciously.

I thought it made sense that she would be very hungry and thirsty if she hadn’t had any food or water for 2 1/2 days.

However, after more watching, we noticed that all of her wobbliness seemed to be on her right side. What the heck could be wrong with her? She also has a little bit of discharge from her right eye.

Please help! Millie is part of our family.



Hi Barbara. Thanks for visiting and asking. You made the post about 24 hours ago. Could you please leave a comment to update us? Is Millie feeling better?

Ruth, a valuable, regular visitor who is a retired vet tech. would advise that you take her to a veterinarian for a check up, as soon as possible. That must be the sensible response.

However, as you have taken the time to ask, I’ll respond as best as I can and perhaps Ruth might add a comment too.

I will assume that Millie was in good health before she disappeared for two and half days. If she is wobbly on one side it indicates that she has been injured over those 60 hours.

As the lack of coordination affects one side it indicates nerve damage incurred through injury, perhaps a fall or a car accident or even abuse. Perhaps her spine is hurt or something like that.

Spinal cord injury can cause neck and back pain with weakness (or paralysis) of one or more legs. Millie’s problem appears to be one-sided indicating a spinal injury. Her wobbly gait is consistent with such an injury.

Other possible causes of limb weakness are:

  • arterial thromboembolism (blood clot in artery) – unlikely in this instance.
  • nerve injury.
  • broken bones.

I would take her to the vet asap. Sorry.

I am not a vet. There is no substitute for seeing a good vet. The best of luck to Millie and yourself.


Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

35 thoughts on “My cat was missing for 60 hours and returned wobbly”

  1. I Can’t believe all the cat haters. I have always loved cats and found them to be precious and loving. I had a beautiful cat named Spunky that was healthy and such a sweet cat. He was taken to our vet killed. She said she killed him because my husband hated him. I can”t believe a vet would do that. I feel so angry and sad that anyone could do that.

    • He was taken to our vet killed. She said she killed him because my husband hated him.

      I’d love to hear more about this. I don’t understand what you are saying. Thanks for commenting by the way.

    • Do you mean your husband took Spunky to the vets and paid to have him euthanised by her? He must have told that vet he was the owner of the cat because if an owner decides a cat is to be killed, the vet has to do it.
      When I worked for vets we had to ask permission of the person who brought the animal in if we could rehome him/her rather than kill them, if they refused then the vet had to do it.
      Some people stood and watched to make sure we did!
      I’m very sad for you, it is terrible to kill healthy animals.

      • Some people stood and watched to make sure we did!

        God, I hate to read that. I didn’t understand what she said but you did. It must have been that. The wife loved this cat and the husband had the cat killed by a vet. Phew… some marriage and a crazy world.

        • That was my interpretation of what Kidncook meant Michael, it may not be right but it sounded that way to me. I don’t suppose she will ever come back here to clarify it, I’ve noticed some people don’t.
          Like the Barbara who asked the question to start the article here, we will never know if her cat survived will we!
          Yes people stood and watched while I held their healthy pet to be killed by a vet, because pets are property with no rights of their own, we could have been sued if we hadn’t done what they asked.
          I must admit I took that risk if the person didn’t stay to watch, I put the money they’d paid for their cruel deed into an animal charity box and whisked away the victim to be rehomed.
          lol I once took a HUGE alsation home on the bus as we had a friend I knew would love him. Once I had to hold a tiny poodle x pup as the owner watched her die, I knew the perfect home but although I begged the person she refused to let the puppy live. There are many things I will never ever forget from my career as a vet nurse and if I had my time over I could never ever live through them again and stay sane.

          • You should do an article on that. It is a nightmare image but interesting. It is the mentality of demanding their animal be killed and watching it and insisting it happens. Sadistic? What is it?

            The person with the poodle. I presume she thought that only she had the right the own the dog and no one else should. Is that the correct interpretation? If I am correct it shows how people can treat animals as “possessions” and jealously guarding their possession even to this extreme.

            • Yes because that lady owned that poodle x puppy only she could decide its fate. We’d have to find out if it’s still the same since the Animal Welfare Law took effect although I expect it is because I’ve never seen anything about the owner not having the right to decide what becomes of their pet, have you?
              Yes it would make a good article.
              I think I’d have to use a different name to write it under, I don’t think anyone from those days would ever see it on PoC and kick up a fuss, they’d never be able to prove it now anyway as the vets I worked for are either dead or retired, but to be on the safe side ……..

              • Nice point about the Animal Welfare Act. Vets killing (not euthanasia, obviously) pets is outside the ambit of the Act, I am sure, because the pet is killed humanely – no pain or suffering. I think that is the point. The act protects against unnecessary pain and suffering. However, it is a vague grey area I feel. It is straight killing without reason.

                If you’d like to do an article by all means use a pseudonym.

  2. I wish people would just get to their vets when a cat is obviously ill,I hope this lady did get Millie to her vets in time.
    Even if anyone does make the correct diagnosis a cat still has to see a vet for treatment.

    • I think research online is a good adjunct to vet treatment, just as it is a good adjunct to seeing your MD. Maybe people are looking for reassurance that their cat will be ok, or to determine how high the vet bill is going to be… I’ve thought about pet health insurance for Monty. It probably is a good idea. I can cover the usual vet bills and even his care the time he tried to eat a bee was not expensive. But this article shows that things can happen. Any disorder that can afflict man can afflict cats too, poor things. But often people hesitate to go to the doctor even for themselves, even when they have good insurance and can afford it. The more they fear it might be cancer the more likely they are to ignore and deny their pain and wait to get treated, even though early treatment is the only hope if it is something serious.

      • All I’m saying is the last thing I’d do if my cat was very ill is sit at my computer,I’d be on the phone to tell the vet I was coming straight in as an emergency day or night.
        If Millie had a stroke as Ruth possibly thinks then time was of the essence,you can’t get any urgent necessary treatment on-line.
        In a mild illness yes research on-line but not when a cat’s life is in danger.

        • Online research probably saved Monty’s life. After Monty tried to eat a bee the vet said giving Benedryl would be fine. But what I read online said any time the sting is on the mouth, get treatment. So I was extra vigilant, despite the vet’s reassurances. And sure enough, I did have to rush him in. If I had read that before talking to the vet Monty would have been brought in immediately, forget trying to shove a pill down him.

          The writer doesn’t say. This cat could have been taken to the vet and her own research done at the same time. But I can’t imagine going first to the Internet if my cat had neurological symptoms. He’d be at the vet in a hurry. However, weekends can be problematic depending on where you live. If there is no treatment available until Monday, then I would be forced to use the Internet. I have paid to talk to a vet in just that circumstance, although at the time Monty was symptom free, but had ingested things he shouldn’t have. Around here emergency vet care is hundreds of dollars just to have him seen on weekends. Once was when Monty licked out my bowl after we had chili and once when he found a match under the fridge and had had the head of the match in his mouth. In both instances he was fine. Right after I paid the sixty dollars to talk to the vet through the ASPCA (after the chili incident) Monty climbed to the top of the curtains, jumped down and did it again. No, the onions and garlic in the chili had not made him anemic. But he waited until I was done talking to the vet to demonstrate that.

          My pastor’s cat who was put down would probably be alive, but it happened on a weekend. They think he ingested string. Surgery was needed but through emergency services it was $4,000. Pastor said he could have spent $2,000 but not double that, with no guarantees, and it would have been wrong to leave Jonah suffering until Monday, if he could even have survived, so Pastor made the painful decision to euthanize.

          This article was posted over a weekend. My guess is the cat is at the vet now and that PoC was not her only avenue of research. She may have also paid to talk to a vet on the phone as I did. But with the cost of emergency vet services being what they are, if they are even available– with a stroke that was already a few days ago and recovery beginning right away– I would probably take that chance and wait until Monday. But on Monday I’d pay the extra fee at my vet for an emergency appointment. I wouldn’t not treat the stroke at all– but I don’t have thousands lying around either. And there are places in the USA where there is not vet care available at any price over the weekend. It’s really a shame and I don’t understand it, since things happen on weekends too. Another instance of animals being second class citizens.


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