New Phoebe Update/Question


UPDATE:  We called the vet and it seems her lethargy and odd behavior might be due to nausea, as well as just being freaked out. We’re treating the nausea and hopefully she’ll start eating and drinking and come back to herself. So we’re a little more relaxed around here. Thanks to all the people who commented!

Phoebe responded well to treatment at the vet–oxygen levels at normal, breathing eased–so she was released last night. This is the good news. The not-so-good news is that she’s been acting strangely since she got home. The moment we let her out of her crate we saw that she was not at 100%, which was disappointing, but not surprising after an overnight stay in a scary, brightly lit, vet office with a barking Yorkie as a roommate.

We’ve been keeping her in our room, so that the other two cats can’t harass her. I figure she feels threatened when her strength is down. I thought that maybe a long sleep would put her to rights, but she’s acting just the same this morning.   She’s moving slow, staring into space, doing odd things like hunkering down with her head over her water dish and just staying in that position, not drinking, not doing anything.  She doesn’t want to interact with us at all. Still, as far as I can tell, she’s not struggling to get enough air, like she was before.

My question is this: Do cats behave oddly after hospital stays? I’ve never had a cat do an overnight before, or undergo so much treatment. Do any of you have experience with this? I’m not sure if she’s ill, tired, just freaked out, (all three?) or maybe even angry with us. She’s given me a few baleful looks with those yellow eyes.

This behavior is worrisome to us because while we’re willing to do whatever we can to give her time,  we want her time to be good. And so far, it’s been really good time. But we don’t want to be instrumental in keeping her alive in a frail, zombie-like state. That’s no life for a cat.

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  1. I am not a vet, but I have a friend whose cats went under for teeth cleaning. For several weeks after they were lethargic, not interested in food and hid a lot or secluded themselves. Cats get very stressed from doctor visits of any kind. Give her a week or two to come around, or you should contact the vet and ask if that is normal behavior.

  2. It sounds like she is in a state of shock. Hopefully lack of oxygen did not mess up her brain. I would keep her under observation for the next 48-72 hours and see if she improves. It might take awhile to get her back to normal, and even then she might be a bit slower then she was. Going into the hospital/vet’s office is traumatic for cats especially if they are not experienced with it. Keep the line of communication open with your vet and let them know what is going on. Don’t rush things. Meanwhile positive energy is being sent over your way. Good luck!

  3. Staring into space in front of a water or food dish can sometimes indicate nausea (she wants to eat/drink, but her stomach feels bad so she won’t), so I would definitely talk to your vet about it and see what your vet says.

  4. heart failure humans have ease with c-or bi-paps, the water helps ease the breathing process, soo cat knows and is breathing over the water to help, that is so cool! heart failure is a slow way to go and i feel for you all.

  5. If she were mine, I’d definitely call my vet. Kitties can act strangely after a hospital stay, but they can also exhibit odd behavior when they feel very sick. Best to get expert advice for your own pace of mind. Good luck. Tough situation.

  6. Thank you, all of you, for the good advice. I was pretty much thinking the same thing–that she was just totally freaked out, and since she’s not a particularly laid back cat (um, to say the least), it would take her a while to recover.

    We did call the vet, and as SiameseCircus suggested, the vet thinks it is probably nausea, and had us give her a bit of a Pepcid AC. I think I’ll update the post with is info. So if the antacid works, hopefully she’ll start drinking and eating again, and be on the road to recovery. This is good news, because this morning we were thinking she was on death’s doorstep.

  7. I do have a little vet experience (spent a summer working in a vet’s office as a surgery assistant) and in my opinion, that is not normal behavior. Cats usually return to normal after coming home — unless they’ve had anesthetic, sedation or a procedure of some kind. OR if she is on a new medication cocktail, which may have the side effect of lethargy. I would definitely put a call into the vet and see what she thinks.

  8. I hope Phoebe is coming around! I had a cat who was hit by a car and spent over a week at vet. They only charged me or an office visit because they were sure he was going to die (He did-9 years later). He was the same way–lethargic, confused, would look at, but not take in food or water. After a few days, I made some unsalted chicken broth and gave it to him a drop at a time by just touching the dropper to the little downward pointing part his nose right above his mouth. I think he licked it out of reflex, got down half a cup the first day, about 3/4 the next, then he started eating on his own and regaining his energy. He’d had a pretty good knock on the head, and sometimes it seemed like he just forgot where he was going. After sitting for a few minutes looking thoughtful, he would refresh his mind with a nap, then start fresh. Frankly, I do the same from time to time. I hope Phoebe has a speedy and uneventful recovery!

  9. Hey, just a thought. We had a dog who develop epilepsy and the first signs were her wandering around the house, staring into space or her bowls and being disoriented for a period of time. Eventually we saw her have a slight seizure which became worse and more frequent. The vet put her on diazepam for epilepsy and she got much better. She still have infrequent seizures but she lived another 6 great years before succumbing to another problem. Try and keep an eye on her and maybe ask the vet. Our vet said it’s more common in animals than you would think. Hope she gets better. 🙂

  10. We had a favorite cat that had heart failure. The vet and vet cardiologist helped our cat remain comfortable. We were told by the cardiologist that for cats it can be very dangerous if they do not eat for over a day. Our cat was put on a medication to get him to eat. It was not an antacid. Our cat was very tired and listless (illness) and wanted to be very close to us (medication). What saved him during the “eating strike” was giving him food in a syringe every 2 hours. We took his canned food and pureed with water to the right consistency for the syringe. We gave him 10 cc every two hours. We had the best luck aiming for the side of his mouth towards the back molars. We saw a significant improvement day 2-3. He was back to his normal on day 3.
    We’ve lived in many different areas and I can tell you that not all vets are created the same. I’m hoping that yours is up to date on things and feels comfortable accessing consultation from specialists when it is more complicated.
    I don’t know much about your cat’s history, but I wonder if he is on the right dose of medicine and if he has a pericardial effusion. If treatment options are limited then it might be good to know how to keep him comfortable with you at home. If you aren’t happy with the answers you receive then I’d call around to other vets that can answer your questions. Obviously, it’s not a good idea to take your kitty anywhere unless it’s needed.
    I hope that your cat is feeling well soon. It’s hard when an animal you love is ill.

  11. We all grapple with what is “quality of life” for our aging and ailing animals. They can’t tell us whether the pleasure they get from a nap in the sun outweighs the pain and stress of the rest of their lives. I’ve watched as a friend prolonged her dog’s suffering because she couldn’t let him go. I hope that your kitty has recovered fully from the vet visit and that her days are filled with comfort and moments of joy. And I’m sure you’ll be watching, weighing what to do. It’s never easy, and this time is filled with doubt and hindsight. But, it’s part of life with our animals. Whatever happens, your hearts are in the right place.

  12. I hope Phoebe is feeling a bit perkier. My cat Zoe, who alas died earlier this year, was also below par after a general anaesthetic – a bit like humans can be. It took her a few days to be fully on the ball again after her op. I wish you and your household all the best through these trying days.

  13. Not sure if you’re giving her any medications, but I’ve had really bad experiences with Acepromazine (or ACE). The Vet had given it to my dog and cat (separate incidences) for pain and the side effects were awful. Much like what you’ve detailed about Phoebe. This created more issues and more trips to the vet. By process of elimination, we finally realized it was the ACE. Both times, once we took the animals off the ACE, they were much better. Now we have a note in our vet records – NO ACE!!!
    Hope your little furbaby is feeling better soon.

  14. Seems like maybe she is being affected by something in your house…or…have you heard about the awful things that flea treatment drops can do to animals?
    Also cats are sensitive to essential oils (can’t process them)and can be sickened/affected by exposure to them. Maybe you already know all of that. I just happened upon you just now and was concerned so throwing in my two cents.

  15. I hope that your lovely kitty is doing better! As for cat behavior re=hospital stays there is a double effect (possibly triple): they do get upset and rebound at different lengths of time depending on the personality plus any medications will have an effect on them and the body will take some time about processing those and working them through and or out of the body. Hence your friend may not smell so good for a while, possibly medicene-y and that causes another issue; she may not feel like associating with her pals and when she does, her feline pals at least, may actually hiss at her etc. My male cat ate some ribbon a while back and after his surgery he smelled like a pharmacy for a week and his sister refused to let him near her since they recognize each other by smell! After 7 days she finally allowed him back on the window sill with her and it was another 3-4 days before they were back to normal. Just give her lots of human companionship! I’m not an expert but my daughter works for the vet who did his emergency surgery and she told me this was usual cat behavior. I don’t leave ribbon and string (or any small items laying around); unfortunately he found some lying in a corner of a storage closet. I’m even more careful now. If anyone has a cat who does this, take them strait to the vet-you cannot pull it out as it gets caught in the top of the stomach.

  16. P.S. I do agree that if you have any questions at all, calling the vet and at least speaking to tech is best. I know that I did call them at least twice and they did see him once before the stitches came out.

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