Author Topic: Alive, yet immoble and stiff cat, need advice and opinions  (Read 7133 times)

Offline BaraLahatiel

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Alive, yet immoble and stiff cat, need advice and opinions
« on: September 17, 2007, 09:29:44 PM »
A woman brought a cat in today at work and it's something my boss (a vet) has never seen before, so I told the owner I would post here and see if anyone knew what might be going on. Perhaps someone here has had this happen and knows something that may help.

The cat was born 8 months ago. All of the kittens have extra toes (I know the word, I just can't spell it). The mother refused to nurse them when they were born so they were raised on replacement formula and nursed off the mother while she was held down. Two of 4 died as young kittens. A third is fine with no serious problems, but the fourth is completely stiff, as if rigor has set in.

No this isn't a joke. I can assure you. As a kitten this cat could not walk well. It would fall over or wobble. After a while it progressed to the point it couldn't walk. Then it's muscles began to stiffen. It has progressed to the point that the cats entire body, up to the neck, is stiff, the ears perked up, the whiskers flaring out. Yet it can meow, movie it's head, purr, eat, breath, have bowel movements, etc. It is responsive to pain, sound, light, etc. It eats when fed, and the owner cleans it up after it uses the restroom.

The cat is entirely immoble. It's can't even move it's legs, tail, or anything. Muscle relaxers seem to help. You can hold it in one hand, on it's side, and it won't sag. It's as stiff as a board. It doesn't seem to be in pain. But we're at a loss as to what could be done to help it, if anything.

The owner refuses to euthanize as my boss recommended. It is her belief that she can give the cat enough quality of life and love to sustain it until it died naturally. She doesn't want to euthanize until it no longer eats. Obviously there is some type of neurological damage or interference going on. The inner muscles apparently work fine, but the rest are unresponsive and stiff.

Has anyone else run across this? Has anyone found anything that will help?
Our first litter was born March 25th, 2008!!

Offline Heather

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Re: Alive, yet immoble and stiff cat, need advice and opinions
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2007, 01:29:09 AM »
Maybe the owner can take the cat to go for acupuncture and physical therapy. If it were my cat I'd do everything possible and that's where I'd start.

Offline flannel

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Re: Alive, yet immoble and stiff cat, need advice and opinions
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2007, 10:55:54 AM »
As soon as I read this, the wobbly kitten reminded me of a kitty that BabyBlue adopted a while back.
Here's the thread: Link
That's the only thing I can think of.  Here's hoping that this kitty can enjoy life somehow, although I'm not sure if just eating would be enough for me to keep him going.  There needs to be some true enjoyment of life for me.  But then, that's just me....

Keep us posted on the little one, I'll be thinking of him and sending good thoughts.
"Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform."
- The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo

Offline nakedrats

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Re: Alive, yet immoble and stiff cat, need advice and opinions
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2007, 09:08:46 PM »

I believe the medical term is hypertonia.  The muscles have too much tone to them and they just are contracted all the time without ever relaxing.  You get this in some neurological disorders such as Cerebral palsy or in spinal cord injuries that affect the upper motor neurons. You said that muscle relaxants seem to help. 

Treatment

If the cause is fatigue, the first remedy is rest. Massage seems to not be helpful. Stretching or relaxing the muscles involved may also work. Chronic spasms can lead to shortening of the muscles and ligaments. Regular (daily) exercises over the years ahead of these ligaments and muscles are needed to prevent the pain and the crippling of movement.

http://www.livingwithcerebralpalsy.com/hypertonia-cerebral.php has some treatment suggestions for people:
Treatment may include such medications as baclofen, diazepam, dantrolene, or clonazepam; muscle stretching, range of motion exercises, and other physiotherapy regimens to help prevent joint contractures (shrinkage or shortening of a muscle) and reduce the severity of symptoms; or surgery for tendon release or to block the connection between nerve and muscle, so that the muscle does not contract. The connection between nerve and muscle may also be blocked temporarily, without surgery, by injecting botulinum toxin into the muscle.

I don't know if any of those drugs would work in a cat though.  Poor kitty.  I'd also choose euthanization here.  He can't have a very good life like that.

Offline BaraLahatiel

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Re: Alive, yet immoble and stiff cat, need advice and opinions
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2018, 10:05:42 AM »
After all these years, a woman contacted me about a cat with similar issues. It took me a minute to remember what I'd posted about and her screenshot of this post brought it all back! I've since become a nurse so I did some research. It rook me an hour, but I am 99% certain that the aforementioned cat had a severe case of Tetanus. I never saw the cat after that one visit so I do not know the outcome, but in case others have questions, I wanted to post it here.

There are many videos on youtube of animals with Tetanus to compare, but please seek veterinary intervention!
Our first litter was born March 25th, 2008!!

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Alive, yet immoble and stiff cat, need advice and opinions
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2018, 11:41:13 AM »
Thank you for the update!  I've never thought about cats getting tetanus. 

Offline gramma2jaakk

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Re: Alive, yet immoble and stiff cat, need advice and opinions
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2018, 11:02:43 PM »
Interesting that I had seen a video on youtube of a stiff cat in Gambia, and it was tetanus. As soon as I saw the first posting about the stiff cat, that video popped back into my head!