Background: i have a 12 yr old male neutered cat. He was indoor/outdoor probably for the first year of his life, indoor only for several more years (we lived in an apt) then when we moved to this house about two years ago he kept getting out. I find it nearly impossible to keep him in but he tends to stay around the house, usually comes back within the hour and is never gone overnight. There are other outside cats in the neighborhood. If he does get out its a few times a week. I take care of my disabled mother, and we are gone 3-4 days a week, so the cat is on his own (inside of course) during that time, and when we are home we're often really busy, running errands, etc. So the actual time i spend with this cat isnt alot unfortunately. He was rescued by me hours before being PTS at a county pound as a kitten and has always been very healthy, likes to sit in the bay window, climbs up to drink out of the kitchen sink, never scratches or bites and usually always uses the litterbox (occasionally might find poop somewhere else but he's not a marker.)
Ok, so thats our cat. I had noticed him kind of going downhill for awhile now. I cant say how long...certainly weeks, maybe even a couple of months. I feel pretty neglectful about it but its one of those things that wasnt super obvious, it kind of crept up on me. Like, i would notice him not being as active. His tail was a little funny, not swaying all around like a cat, but more held down. Walking around meowing weirdly like he was unhappy. Then he'd start disappearing in the house, once it was almost two days we couldnt find him (to the point i thought maybe he'd gotten outside and killed) but he must have been hiding in the laundry room behind the hot water heater because suddenly he just showed up. The past week or so before i took him to the vet, he was acting just really weird. I woke up one morning to find he'd gotten stuck between the stove and the fridge and couldnt figure out he could just back out. He couldnt jump up on the couch. He seemed to not be eating, not even canned food. Walking around kind of...i dunno disoriented? plus he has gotten skinny, esp around his hips. I kept putting off taking him in because frankly i didnt have the money and i knew it would be minimum hundreds of dollars. I knew that if it was too much i'd have to make the decision to PTS. The last cat we had (she was raised with this one, rescued from the same pound together) she stopped eating and i took her in and $500+ later i still had to euthanize her (suspected fatty liver disease, going downhill quick, seizing at the office, etc.) And that was during tax refund time so at least i had it to spend. So when this current cat started peeing on the kitchen floor, i KNEW something was wrong, because that is totally not like him at all. A big puddle of urine on the floor while we're IN the kitchen?! Totally out of character.
On the way to the vet, i had him in an open rubbermaid container since i forgot i'd loaned the carrier to a friend and he was so lethargic i thought he'd just lay in it, but he decided to try to climb on me while driving...i pushed him back down and he BIT me. And sunk his claws into me, hard. my arm is all scratched/bit up. That is NOT like him at all.
So i was all freaked out thinking i'd likely have to PTS, because to me he's so sick. But the vet didnt seem THAT worried. I agreed to pay for a bunch of stuff (over $300)...i left him there to go get my kids from school and was shocked when they called "ok he's ready to be picked up!"...everything came back normal, mostly. FELV negative, FIV negative. They said he had a slightly elevated white blood count(i think it was?) but that that could be from stress (??), he has fleas so they gave him revolution for that. Didnt do a fecal but did a blood panel, everything was in normal range apparently. The day before i took him in i noticed that he was sneezing and stuffed up (NEVER had that problem before) so they gave him an antibiotic shot for that, and they seem to be blaming it all on that? But those symptoms are very recent...how long can a respiratory infection not show until its causing major problems?? Oh and he went from 12 pounds a year or two ago, to 8 pounds now.
He goes back on monday for a followup exam. He still doesnt seem to be eating much. And now he's doing this weird thing where he walks around the perimeter of the room, comes to a wall, stops and looks at it then turns to walk along the wall. Almost like he's losing sight?? And yesterday i kept hearing him meow every few minutes from the living room, finally get up to look and he had his head wedged between the piano leg and the wall? and was just stuck? Thats really bizarre! If he gets stuck somewhere like that while we're at my moms it will not be good. NOT leaving him alone is not an option though.
So....what the heck?! I can't afford alot more invasive tests. My gut is telling me something is REALLY wrong with this cat, but they didnt seem that concerned at the vets. Would something like cancer show up on those labs they did?? I dont think i can let him go on in this condition, its awful to see, but i dont have unlimited funds to treat whatever it may be. Shouldnt the antibiotic have worked by now? (its been a solid week.)
Sorry this was long.