Renny: The only ‘symptom’ he was sick was he refused to go to bed with me

I’d like to tell everyone about the ordeal this past week with my adopted cat Renny. Renny was a feral kitten when I adopted him from a kill shelter back in 2011. He took months to tame and eventually became my “bed buddy.” That is, until last weekend when he refused to get in the bed with me.

Renny: my feral turned bed buddy
Renny: my feral turned bed buddy
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Renny is usually very accommodating when I call his name. He’ll jump up on the bed and either go to sleep on my chest and snuggle or curl up into my back. I should have known something was up when my cat Cassie, who also sleeps in my room, was SCREAMING to get out of the bedroom. Renny not only refused to come when called, he would run every time he saw me. He didn’t even want to wander into areas he usually liked to snoop in the main part of our home and he didn’t want to sleep in his favorite cat bed on the floor beside my bed.

Favorite sleeping spot: self-heating zip up cat bed
Favorite sleeping spot: self-heating zip up cat bed

I want everyone to understand Renny had no physical symptoms of being sick except when I petted him Sunday afternoon he felt cold. He’s on medication after having two strokes and several seizures this year but had been doing fine. I was afraid he was dying and messaged a friend in rescue on what I should do. She stressed I should take him to the vet because this could be unrelated to his brain issues (he has a head tilt since the last stroke), so off to the vet we went on Monday.

His expression right after having his temperature taken
His expression right after having his temperature taken at the vet

You should have seen the expression on the veterinarian’s face when I told him Cassie was screaming to get out of my room and that Renny refused to go to bed with me. Can anyone say crazy cat lady? Renny had NO symptoms of being sick. His eyes were clear, no sneezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation and he was using the litter box.

Renny patiently waiting for the test results
Renny patiently waiting for the test results

It was a shock to see Renny had a temperature of 104.2 F! Renny had a rough afternoon. His paw was shaved (he was great and didn’t try to fight), blood was drawn, he was given sub-q fluids to bring his temperature down and help with dehydration (OK he DID get a bit feral toward the end) and given antibiotics and sent home. He was diagnosed with an infection, but his liver and kidney levels were normal. So were his red blood cells. His white blood count was elevated at 24,000. He’s also FeLV and FIV negative. I worry about the kidneys since many of my friends have lost cats this year to chronic renal failure. For the next three days Renny feasted on Prescription Diet A/D Critical Care food. It’s our go-to food for saving a seriously ill cat.

Renny eating his A/D food
Renny eating his A/D food

The first day he refused to eat on his own and my daughter Laura had to syringe feed him. After that, he’d go into the feeding cage (which also doubles as a comfy bed for the cats) and eat. He slowly recovered. On Thursday he was back to his rambling ways after spending the better part of the week under my bed on a self-heating bed. For the first time in a week, Renny joined me in bed Friday night when I called him.

The moral of this story is if your cat is acting differently than usual, then your cat just may be sick. I almost didn’t take Renny to the vet, because he didn’t look sick at all. And I get the feeling my cat Cassie knew all along something was seriously wrong.

Have any of the readers ever had a similar experience? Please share it in the comments below.


Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important
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