Something in the dirt? The air? Mystery kitty paralysis…

Flora is over, or at least her symptoms have resolved, the paralysis that affected half of her face. With Flora and her sister, Flossie, in the house following Flora’s mystery illness, only Gingi and Puddin’ were out in the garage indoor/outdoor enclosure. Last Monday, when I went out to feed those two in the morning, I thought oh my, I really have got to spend more time out here with these two little guys because Gingi was crying, a lot, and refused to eat his food unless I held the plate up for him while I was petting him. I thought he was so unhappy with the amount of attention I am usually able to give him, that he’d rather eschew eating for pets. On Monday night, it was the same story and again on Tuesday morning and Tuesday evening, and this despite the fact that I’d spent a concerted three hours on each of those days with them.

On Wednesday morning I had an early appointment and so didn’t have time to ‘indulge’ him by petting him and holding the plate. He’ll eat it after I’ve gone, I thought. No, no he didn’t. When I came in around mid-day, his wet food was untouched. This is a cat that will climb over anyone and anything to get to his wet food usually. There was a much larger amount of the dry kibble in the bowl than usual. He was hungry and crying but not eating. I got him some fresh wet food, he put his head down, attempted to eat it but seemed to be unable to do so. He kept crying. I lifted the plate up a little bit and he tried again and again could not seem to be able to eat. He’d lick at it and then lift his head up really high. I raised the plate higher and only when it was up at standing head level was he able to eat — and boy did he wolf it down.

I got the bowl of water and held it up and he then drank like he’d never had water before. This was not some sort of play for attention, clearly. After a thorough exam, he seems to have paralysis in his neck and throat when his head is down, stemming from his spinal column. He and Puddin’ are now in the house. He’s in the master bathroom and Puddin’, despite being a tiny cat, is terrorizing the rest of the household. We’ve got a feeding station set up so that his food and water sit at a level where he can eat it. We have no idea what the heck has caused this. The vets don’t know. We do know that it has to be something in the environment out there — an airborne virus? Some sort of fungal infection from the dirt or mulch in the outside enclosure? Having two, young, healthy cats come down with mystery paralysis within a few weeks of each other is more than a coincidence, though…

6 responses to “Something in the dirt? The air? Mystery kitty paralysis…”

  1. Lynne says :

    I am at my wit’s end; I have no idea what these two formerly very healthy cats have. Flora seems to be recovered. I scrubbed and cleaned the inside enclosure and will remove the mulch, any leaves and a layer of dirt from the outside enclosure. I am convinced that there is something in the environment whether it is a bacteria, virus or fungus….It has the vets mystified.

  2. Larry007 says :

    Maybe pesticides ?Did you brought something new into the house ?

  3. israeliminx says :

    Larry, hi!!!

    No, we don’t use any sorts of pesticides or chemicals –unless there is some n the mulch we bought this spring to replace the old mulch in their play yard. We use Ekonomika (bleach), of course, for cleaning and we use vinegar but that is it. The play yard is right up against the back fence with an alleyway just behind it and so I’ve worried that maybe someone used some sort of chemicals for their car back there and it migrated into our dirt?

    We are taking that mulch out and I plan to dig the dirt out down 6 inches and put in new dirt. After doing some research I was astounded at how many viruses, bacteria and so forth that dirt can harbor.

  4. Coyote says :

    Is there any sort of plant life out in this enclosure that the kitties might be interested in? I also think it might be a good idea to take soil samples, mulch samples, etc. and have someone test it for toxins.

  5. Coyote says :

    Your veterinarian probably has a lab to which he sends kitty/pet samples for analysis. I’m betting he’ll know one that can help you.

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