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HELP!! My cat goes limp and then is excessively thirsty and hungry.

HELP!! My cat goes limp and then is excessively thirsty and hungry.

by Sarah M
(Collingwood, Ontario)

My cat Sneaker is 16 years old and is getting near his time i believe, he has been having very odd attacks where he is laying in pain and his hips, legs, everything is limb {I think you mean “limp”) but his head lasts only 2-3 min and no shaking (thought he might be having seizures) took to vet and she thought the same thing but it didnt sound right she would have to see it to find whats wrong.

Right after my cat has the attack he will get up and eat almost a whole dish full of food and sits at the water dish for over 30 min drinking both sides! PLEASE IF ANYONE HAS HAD THE SAME SYMPTOMS HAPPEN TO UR CAT PLEASE CONTACT ME would love to try and have my cat still with us until after christmas, im afraid we will have to put him down before then:(

Sarah M


Hi Sarah… I have reproduced your submission exactly as I find it. I do this because I find the description of your cat’s symptoms a little unclear.

However, as I understand it your cat has moments when his limbs go limp except for his head, he is in pain and afterwards he is exceptionally thirty and hungry. Please read all of this section.

There is no question that you should take your cat to a good vet immediately for a proper diagnosis. One reason for the need for speed is that this might be a case of poisoning but this is unlikely (see below – feline diabetes). Although poisoning would come on suddenly and you imply that this condition has been coming on more gradually.

For example arsenic poisoning if protracted has symptoms of thirst and staggering, intense abdominal pain, paralysis and death. There is an antidote for arsenic poisoning. Arsenic is found in week killers and insecticides and many chemicals. Could he have been poisoned? Arsenic poisoning is the only poison referred to in the Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin that includes thirst as one of the symptoms. Toxic to Cats.

Another possibility is impaired liver function due to liver disease. Although the symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite and drinking excessively plus pain in the abdomen there is also vomiting and diarrhea and you have not mentioned these. The causes of liver failure include: idiopathic hepatic lipidosis, feline infectious peritonitis, feline leukemia and chemicals in insectides.

Urinary tract diseases resulting high urine output have compensatory high thirst as one symptom but you have not said that your cat has a high urine output so this should be discounted. However old cats can often have “some degree of kidney insufficiency”. So the problem might be kidney failure on account of your cat’s age. But your described symptoms don’t quite square up.

The most likely diagnosis is probably sugar diabetes however. – see Feline Diabetes. There is increased urination, increased thirst – drinking unusual amounts of water and a large appetite combined with (sometimes in advanced cases) lethargy which mirrors your description of your cat going limp.

OK, the above are the references in the excellent book referred to that relate to excessive thirst and hunger and symptoms that are or might look like paralysis.

Please take your cat to the vet. An age of 16 is old, yes, but cats can live much longer so the illness that your describe might not be age related and if it is diabetes it can be managed – Good Luck.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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