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13-year-old cat with recurring attacks

I hope it is appropriate to post regarding animals here; I got a sense from the message strings that it may be. In any event, thank you to all contributors for their caring and fascinating advice on all the topics.

Our 13-year-old neutered male street cat, whom we have had since age three months, has repeated episodes of what I describe below as "attacks".

Symptoms: drools copiously, often the saliva seems really thick, the fur around his mouth is sodden, he dribbles onto legs and tail when curled up resting; weakness and loss of coordination: spine droops towards the back legs, which stagger; suddenly stops and stares into space, seems disoriented, and then jolts back into movement after a few seconds; aggression / clinginess – jumps onto laps seemingly seeking affection and then clings on with claws and bites and is very hard to disengage, also bites / chews on / claws inanimate objects such as children’s toys; cold; condition has been accompanied by diahorrea. Becomes more and more prostrate, with great weakness.

Recurs every few weeks, can last for a few days with ups and downs, more than once I thought he would not live, but he survived, although he has never regained his full vitality.

He has been occasionally accident-prone since youth. Not sure what first started the cycle of attacks off, but he was diagnosed with hepatitis during our absence abroad for four months two-and-a-half years ago and treated conventionally. The hepatitis passed but he has never been quite the same again. His attitude to my family and I has changed greatly since that time. He seemed angry at us on our return home, and is standoffish and rejects affectionate advances, except when ill, at which time he exhibits the behavior described above.

Conventional treatment involved blood tests that ruled out a range of parasites and the usual feline diseases, the conjecture was that the liver was involved (due to the previous history of hepatitis) but tests suggested his liver function was not too off, apparently. Medication was antibiotics.

Seems to come on in the morning, but he roams and I seldom know when the attack started. He spends most of his time away, occasionally returning for food. He shares our home with two other cats, both of whom he dislikes and resents - he was an only cat for six years. He is not a great fan of our two children, either, and he ignores them.

Wet / humid weather may be making it worse, and the current cycle of bouts (he had a far milder series of such attacks about two years ago) started last winter, shortly after we moved to a new apartment (some three hundred yards from the previous one). Originally I thought he had a severe cold.

Seems to be better for undisturbed rest, at which time he seems to be better for warmth, but is periodically very restless. He often rests draped over something (such as the stabilizer wheel of my son’s bike) with his chest pressed against it, I wonder if this gives him some relief.

Both here and at our previous home he has adopted a nearby female neighbor, with whom he spends time in preference to us. They describe him as sweet and affectionate with all family members and visitors, in contrast to his behavior with us.

Usual diet is standard dry food, I have very little control over what he eats since he is generally out and about. Always liked fresh chicken and tinned tuna, and would chew through plastic wrap to get bread; used to be a very healthy eater but now very thin; barely eats during an attack, but drinks OK. Always preferred to drink from the tap / faucet, and during an attack finds it easier because he prefers to sit than to crouch over the bowl.

Details of any major diseases suffered in past.

No known reaction to medicines taken, and has not been vaccinated for some six years, but I have a feeling this may be vaccine-related, specifically the rabies vaccine, which he received for the first and last time some six years ago.

Nux vomica D30 seems to help greatly but has not cleared the condition up and it seems to be occurring with increasing frequency. He is unhappy and it is difficult for me to believe he can withstand much more of this.

I would be grateful for any suggestions as to continued homeopathic treatment. Should I simply persist with the Nux Vomica D30, for instance?
  rohan on 2005-07-12
This is just a forum. Assume posts are not from medical professionals.
The two things that show most in this case are Natrum Mur and Merc.

Rejection of affection indicates Nat mur quite strongly.

Suggest ONE single dose of Nat mur 10m and wait 2/3 weeks to judge result.
walkin last decade
Has he been tested for epilepsy?
Orume last decade
Can you give him remedy during that attack?
Astra2012 last decade
Thank you for the responses. Orume, no, he has not been tested for epilepsy.

walkin, would you recommend giving Natrum Mur 15CH (which I have to hand) until I get hold of the 10M? If Yes, with what frequency and when to stop? And what about the Nux Vomica?
rohan last decade
Astra, the answer is Yes, I can give him a remedy during an attack, but with great difficulty, and usually at the cost of some scratches. Subsequent doses are easier to give, because he is usually somewhat calmer / weaker.

I wonder if I have been misleading in describing it as an "attack": it seems to be part of a continuum rather than a single discrete event.
rohan last decade
While you wait for nat.mur. and he has such an "attack" could you give him ACONITE (30c is best)-just one dose, if it helps-it helps within an hour! And if it doesn't-- it's nat.mur. to the rescue!

And please stop nux.
Astra2012 last decade
May be worth a shot posting your case on www dot homeocurecenter dot com. Lots of expertise as well and never hurts to get a second opinion.

Namaste27 last decade
Tinned tuna should not to given to cats. Only very rarely, as a treat, if at all.
homlee last decade
Yes go along with the recommends for nat nur at whatever potency
walkin last decade
Homlee, I am aware that tinned tuna is not good for cats - Dylan (the cat in question) gets it maybe a handful of times a year; I just wanted to indicate he is a big fan when it is offered.

At Namaste's suggestion (thank you), I did cross-post and was recommended a protocol of: Baryta carbonica 30c, 3 times daily for 4- 5 days, to be repeated frequently if improved, with 10-day intervals; Conium 6c, 3 times daily for 10 days. Repeat every month if improved.

I can see the logic of both this and Walkin's suggestion, but could only seriously expect to be able to pursue Walkin's: the chances of my successfully dosing Dylan the cat with the suggested frequency are close to nil.

Any thoughts? Walkin, I worry a little about whether my old and weakened feline can handle such a potency. What should I look out for in terms of improvement? And in terms of non-curative aggravation? What should I have on hand to antidote the Natrum Mur if required?

Your patience is appreciated.
rohan last decade

I would suggest getting him tested for epilepsy. It really sounds like that's what he has.

Does your veterinarian suggest anything? Does he/she know about these attacks?

If it is epilepsy, it is *very* dangerous to give him anything during an attack -- he could choke and suffocate. Please don't risk that.

Please check with your veterinarian and get that test for epilepsy done. It's best to rule it out first.

I am wishing you and your poor Dylan the very best! I hope that whatever it is, it gets cleared up quickly! :-)
Orume last decade
If it was Wim who recommended BC, I'd go with him - walkin' is brilliant, but Wim has loads of experience with animals.
Yeah, I know how hard it is t dose cats - what I do is use a small squeezee bottle, make a solution, sidle up to my cats, sit 'on' them (holding with the legs) and squirt it in. Of course now they run when they see me coming.
I hope you have results. Best wishes to Dylan and you.
Minsa last decade
The choice , as always is yours. Good Luck
walkin last decade
Minsa: how do you know Walkin doesn't have more experience than Wim?
Astra2012 last decade
To dose cats, crush pellets between two spoons, grab the scruff of their neck with one hand, tilt their heads back and drop the crushed remedy onto their tongues. It is pretty easy.

Wim is if I am not mistaken a DVM who specializes in homeopathy and alternative medicine and knows a lot about animals. Walkin is a homeopath who knows a lot about remedies and miasms.

Neither is better than the other, just different. I have worked with Wim and he is brilliant. I have worked with Walkin re: Buddy and he is brilliant as well.

Namaste27 last decade
I also know Wim, seems that better. He is a retired English teacher from Netherlands. Then he went to some homeopathic school and now prescribes for animals however I know nothing about his success rate. Do you?
Astra2012 last decade
Sorry, I certainly meant no slight to walkin, who I think is one of the best homeopaths around. And probably has more homeopathic experience than Wim - however, Wim treats animals regularly, and while the principles might be the same, there are nuances in treating animals so that someone who deals with them more frequently just might be more at an advantage, if you get me. Only know Wim from the various forums, no personal experience, but then thats the case with walkin too.
Minsa last decade
Thank you to everyone for their support and advice to date.

Having done some more reading of materia medicae, reflecting, and reobserving of Dylan, I have decided to give the Conium / Baryta carbonica combination a go.

Factors that led me to this decision include: his age; the gradually growing paralytic weakness of the back legs; the trembling, jerking of the muscles and twitching; unhappiness with two weeks periodicity; the sense I have that he is generally mentally debilitated; the emaciation; and the fact that his weakness is worse after eating.

So I will shortly be putting Minsa's cat dosing techniques into practice. I'll keep you posted.
rohan last decade
Good luck, Rohan - though I do NOT envy you the dosing!
Minsa last decade

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