Categories: Cat Health

My Cat Went Walkabout and Came Back ill


We moved into a new home and within 5 days my little man ran out the door and was gone for 8 days.

I have had him back for 3 days now he is thin, sleeps a lot, looks really greasy, is limping slightly .. still eats his food and water. he is using his litter but not as often as usual.

Plus he has always been really spunky and he just seems like a lil old man now?!

Please help. I don't know what to do.


Hi Anon... thanks for visiting and asking. I guess your story supports the advice that cats put into new places should be kept in until they are thoroughly familiar and settled in the new place before giving them some freedom. That is not a criticism. I am just repeating the advice.

I think you have two basic choices:

1. Take him to a vet for a check up asap. You are probably resistant to do this on cost basis. I understand that because vets can be expensive. But asking for a check up and no more and asking for a fixed price on a check up and no more would give you some control over initial expenses. You can then go from that starting point. It would provide peace of mind and you would know if your little man is hurt.

2. You could wait and observe carefully. Your description of his "illness" is vague. He is thin because he has not eaten I suspect. That is normal. He is tired because he has not slept well I guess. His greasy appearance is probably due to getting into trouble outside in the wild..And not going to the litter might be due to not eating as much. The limp indicates an injury to the leg but it appears not to be serious (this needs to be checked). Also his timidity would be due to the disturbing experience he has been through.

Domestic cats are not that good at survival in the wild despite what people say. They are too domesticated and generally struggle in the wild. Some cats are OK but most are not.

Why not wash him gently with a damp cloth? I wouldn't bathe him as this might be a bit traumatic.

The fact that he is eating and drinking and going to the litter are obviously good signs.

You can check for healthy cat signs on this page: Signs of Healthy Cat. Why not go over these basic checks to reassure yourself?

As I said there are no specific signs of illness, just signs of being through a bad experience but...

My conclusion is that you would do well to arrange for a veterinary check up at a prearranged price that was capped. This should not cost too much, should be available and would be good for the health of your cat and good for your well being too. His leg also is one obvious sign of injury (possibly minor) that needs checking professionally. He may have a fracture or something. Cats hide the seriousness of such injuries

Good luck to you both.

Comments for
My cat went walkabout and came back ill

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Mar 21, 2012 Cats hide their injuries NEW
by: tamylock

I know from my cats that they will hide their injuries from you even if they feel horrible.
Hope your baby gets better.

Mar 21, 2012 Cat OBVIOUSLY must be seen by vet ASAP! NEW
by: Anonymous

Glad kitty made it back home, it's obvious he needs to be seen by vet ASAP, hes's not his usual self & he's limping, might be serious, he's been traumatized by whatever he endured while away from home.
As a close friend put it "they know where they live, are well fed & loved" but he needs medical attention because he might have internal injuries. Hope he recovers well soon.
My best wishes to you & yours.

a decades long cat lover/rescuer/helper
Southeast Arizona

Mar 21, 2012 Thank You So Much NEW
by: Anonymous

I agree and will see the vet as soon as possible. I must add how nice it is to visit your site and have people such as yourselves take such care time and attention to each post. This has really set me at ease for the evening, thank you so much once again.

Mar 21, 2012 Excellent advice NEW
by: Ruth

I'm glad your cat came back home, you were very lucky he did as the chances are he was looking for his old home you moved from. He was very clever to find your new home when he doesn't know the area.
Michael gives you excellent advice, your cat needs to see a vet as soon as possible because he has been through a huge trauma and at the very least his leg needs to be checked over.
After that he will need a lot of love and care and hopefully he will soon be his old self again.
Good luck, do let us know how he goes on.

Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

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