My cat is paralyzed. Anybody else?

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Mr. Max (at- the bridge)

Purred: Sat May 9, '09 2:48pm PST 
Mr. Max is paralyzed (for lack of better word). Anybody else here dealing with that? If so, would love it if you would post how it happened, what the diagnosis is, how old the cat is, and how you are dealing with it.

At this point, Max can't stand at all. He still eats and drinks if he is propped up in front of his dishes, and he uses the litterbox when I put him in it. I've been thinking about making a sling on wheels so he can maybe push himself around a little and spend more time propped in the right position, but I'm not sure he has the strength in his legs to propel himself. Also thinking of euthanasia. Anybody?


headed for the- light.
Purred: Sat May 9, '09 3:22pm PST 
I have never seen or heard of any kitties like that. Does Mr Max seem distressed at all by his inability to move?
I assume you have seen your vet; what do they think is wrong, and what is the prognosis?

Edited by author Sat May 9, '09 3:23pm PST



Named for the- other famous- green tractor
Purred: Sat May 9, '09 5:23pm PST 
Take Max to the Vet. Please. Now.

He may have a brain or spinal tumor or blood clot. There are other things that can cause this as well (intereference with voluntary mostion).

The sooner you get him to the vet, the more liklihood of recovery. just like a person with stroke (which this could also be), prompt medical attention is the answer.

There are other things as well.. broken back, poisoning (likely accidental), contact with chemicals such as phenols etc.

Something like this could lead to pneumonia, Urinary Tract Infection, obstructed bowel, hyper extended bladder...

PLEASE TAKE POOR MAX TO A VET and let us know what is said.

Mr. Max (at- the bridge)

Purred: Sat May 9, '09 6:36pm PST 
Well, don't be silly. Max has already been to two vets.

The first vet was completely perplexed. He diagnosed Max with diabetes and thought that the motor problem in his back legs might have been neuropathy. But after that vet almost killed him with a dose of insulin, the "neuropathy" traveled to his front legs and also changed his meow. That vet admitted that he was stumped.

I took him to a second vet who said he DOES NOT have diabetes, that likely his blood sugar was up that day out of stress. His blood work is all COMPLETELY normal. We treated with prednisone (in case he had brain swelling) and antibiotics, in case he had a bacterial infection that was not showing up in the blood. Neither drug helped. The vet ruled out spinal injury, so that leaves us with possible stroke, possible brain tumor or possibly something as weird as "coonhound paralysis". Max is thirteen, young by our standards, as all of our pets (cats and dogs) typically live to eighteen and beyond.

We do not have the kind of money required to diagnose with an MRI ($2,800-$3,200) or a spinal tap ($900+) as I am on a fixed income. Realistically, if he's got a brain tumor, we're not going to treat with chemo. IF he's got Coonhound Paralysis, there's nothing they can do for it but therapy, which we are doing already. If he's had a stroke, there's nothing for that but therapy. I'm thinking (and the vet has agreed) that if he's going to show any improvement (such as might be evidenced post- stroke, post-coonhound p.) we'll know within about six to eight weeks. It's been three weeks, and so far, no improvement...in fact, he's probably a tiny bit worse.

There are a lot of spiders where we live, so it's possible he was bitten by one, but I can't find any info anywhere about a spider bite causing these symptoms. He is an indoor cat, (whose outdoor excursions on our front porch are monitored)--so I feel like I can safely rule out poison, but who knows if he came into contact with raccoon saliva on something? We have a lot of coons around here.

A paralyzed cat is a new experience for me. I was simply asking who else had/is experiencing it, and what problems, diagnosis, etc. you may have gotten. I'm already doing everything for him that I can.

We are keeping him warm and clean and fed and watered and giving him physical therapy 3x a day and lots of love and attention.


He's no- Sherlock!
Purred: Sat May 9, '09 8:52pm PST 
The only time I've heard of this when it's not from an injury or illness, it that bit with Orijen Pet Foods in Australia. Because of the irradiation of the food, cats were frequently paralysed, or outright killed by eating it.
I wish I could be of more assistance, but other than some type of toxin, I've no idea.
Here's the link with some of the stories about the cats on it:

Mr. Max (at- the bridge)

Purred: Sat May 9, '09 9:10pm PST 
Interesting, but we haven't fed Orijen. :/

and Champion doesn't seem to manufacture this food under a different name...also, I think his kidney tests would have shown something amiss...and all his bloodwork was normal.

Edited by author Sat May 9, '09 9:22pm PST


~Purrcy ~- Meohmy

Purred: Sat May 9, '09 10:08pm PST 
Purrcy had a similar problem about 3 yrs ago. We had just returned from vacation. Our cats are boarded at a exclusively cat kennel. I had returned to work and received a call from my son that Purrcy couldn't walk. I immediately left work and took Purrcy to my vet. Initially he was diagnosed with a pelvic fracture. As the days passed, it became apparent that Purrcy had a right-sided deficit, he dragged his right hind leg and his right leg skated out. He was lethargic and I needed to hydrate him with a syringe.
I also kept him in a large cage because he kept attemping to go up the stairs. He was able to use the litter tray and was never incontinent of bowel or bladder.
My vet ruled out stroke because Purrcy did not exhibit nystagmus, but he did call it a "neurological episode". He offered diagostics such as MRI, but said that it would cost a lot of money and if the procedure did show a cranial lesion, that it would probably be untreatable anyway, and therefore did not reccommend that avenue.
We put Purrcy on a prednisone for a couple of weeks and he made a slow recovery. He dragged his hind leg for a long time and his front leg still has loss of sensation.
But he now is able to go up and down the stairs with a little difficulty and jumps up on the bed and onto my shoulder.
I treasure my time with Purrcy, I really thought I was going to lose him three years ago and even though we never got a definitive answer to what happened to him, I am greatful that my vet showed good judgement and compassion during that difficult time.
Hoping that Mr. Max recovers and wishing you both the best of luck.
Hugs and Purrs,
Meohmy and Purrcy


I know I can, I- know I can!
Purred: Sun May 10, '09 11:12am PST 
Lurch isn't paralyzed, but does have motor problems. Just thought I'd weigh in here as a fellow traveller on the Gimp Highway. He was born with an underdeveloped cerebellum, which leads to coordination problems. He can walk, but will never walk normally. He usually flops on his side to eat and use the box.

How paralyzed is Max? Front and rear legs? Apparently he can move his head and is not incontinent?

One feeding station idea that they used in the special needs room at the shelter: use a raised bowl, and put a carpeted ramp that ends level with the top of the bowl. Even if Max can't climb the ramp, it will let him lie down and still reach the food/water from a natural position.

I'd also recommend feeding canned food if you're not already. If he gets enough of his moisture from the food (which cats need to anyway), then he may not need trips to the water bowl at all. I often water down even canned food so it's nice and soupy.

My vet once suggested using a boot rack for the litter box, to give Lurch something to lean against. I thought it was creative. Actually he does just fine lying on his side to do his business.

I wish I had more concrete experience to share. There is a yahoo group for cats with cerebellar hypoplasia, Lurch's condition - you might want to check them out to see if folks there can point you to other resources. Some of the CH cats are rear-leg paralyzed.

I'm sorry this is happening to Max. Only you can tell if it is time to put him down. If he seems content and it's a matter of managing the problem, there may be folks who can share tips. If he seems to be in pain or highly frustrated, trust that any decision you make for him is out of love.

Mr. Max (at- the bridge)

Purred: Sun May 10, '09 2:36pm PST 
Lurch, thanks for weighing in with your suggestions. It's all 4 legs with Max. First it started in his rear legs, but it's progressed to the front and even to his voice. At first he was dragging himself around and spinning in place, but now he's not even doing that. He can't even lie in an upright position for more than a few minutes, unless he is propped against something on one side. Without a prop, he just flops over. He is still interested in food and water and he "mmmm"s when he needs the litter box. I prop him up in the box with his front legs kind of "clipping" him to the front of the box and when I go back in five minutes or so, he's pooped or peed, or both. Today he actually tried to take a few steps, which I found encouraging.

He's got an odd look in his eyes, too. He can see, and he tracks, although there is a little vibration in his eyes when he tracks and a little bit of a delay. However, he's kind of pie-eyed, (no change in expression) and doesn't look at me when I am talking to him or doing therapy with him. I'm certain he can see, though.

I get the impression that he's really confused...as in: why can't I move? He's aware of what's going on around him, he "mmms" when we talk to him and when the dogs sniff him. He pulls himself over to his water or food dish if he's hungry or thirsty if no one has helped him out yet.

He has never cared for wet food, but maybe I can coerce him. It probably would help him stay hydrated.

Ludo (Angel)

i'll always be- mummy's special- boy.
Purred: Sun May 10, '09 3:45pm PST 
i'm not exactly paralyzed but its very possible it could happen soon, my front legs are strong but my back legs are very weak.
Recently i've been falling to one side and have been wobbly but i will pull myself back onto my feet.
After a normal x-ray i was diagnosed with spondylosis (i think thats the right spelling)
basically my spine is fusing and its caused a lot of nerve damage....and a permanent UTI anti biotics dont work and my body seems to be used to it, it should be i've had it for over 2 years, it never gets worse, never gets better!
It's the bottom of my spine so it affects my back legs and my tail but also the inside bits that we can't see.
I'm sixteen and a half and have had this for a while now, no medication works so im just on steroids, its hard and honestly mum doesn't know how long i have so we take it a day at a time.....todays a good day!

I really hope they find out whats wrong with you soon....sending you lots of purrrssss

Edited by author Sun May 10, '09 3:48pm PST


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