My cat, Polar, is a very amiable calico. This past January (2016) or so, Polar started having these episodes where suddenly her two right paws would seize up, being pulled towards her torso, and half a beat later she is fine. We thought it would sort itself out. By late February, we started being concerned. These episodes got worse,instead of stumbling, she would fall. When she seized, her right side paws would be yanked tightly against her torso. At this point, there was no affect on her left side. She would fall, two seconds later, she gets up without acknowledging anything happened. In early March, we took her to the vet. He didn't witness any episodes, said it wasn't seizures, and that she was very healthy. By late April, the intensity of the episodes plateaued. They only last 3 or 4 seconds. Her right legs are pulled against her torso, her left legs forcibly extended straight down, and her face clenches. Unfortunately the frequency has increased from 5 per week (Feb) to 1 per hour now (May). I know cats are tough and don't show pain, so I'm not sure how much these episodes hurt. What is really bad is the falling. She falls off of stuff all the time (less than 4 ft high) and hits the ground like a rock because she is in an episode. She has a scab above her eye from one of these falls. Right now we don't have stairs, but we are moving soon to a house with 2 flights. What can I do to fix/alleviate this? If I can't fix it, what would be a sign that I should put her to sleep?
My cat, Polar, goes through episodes where her muscles seize, however they are not seizures. Here is what I can discern about them:
- Triggers: When she wakes up, when she gets up to fast, when she is startled, when she goes from walking to running, when she jumps onto something
- Duration: 3-4 seconds of where the muscles are taut, then 1-2 seconds before she gets up and moves on
- Characteristics: She is consistently contorted in the same way, she does not try to avoid the triggers, she is not defensive afterwards,
Here are some details about Polar and her life that may or may not be relevant:
- Videos of two episodes are here and here
- Age is at least 9 years. We found her under a shed in the middle of a snow storm 9 years ago, she looked like an older kitten.
- Desexed, front paws are Declawed, lives strictly Indoors and for the past 3 years she has been our only cat (she hates other cats)
- Diet is heathly dry cat food (we switch to a different brand in March to see if that helped) and filtered water
- Medical History is minimal she is probably not up-to-date with shots or anything like that. We've never had any problems with her besides last summer (2015). She would get a scab on her chest from scratching or something and would proceed to go full-on OCD grooming herself trying to get her fur smooth, which would enlarged the wound. She did this several (more than 10 less than 20) times. She also caught a bat in our house (Fall 2014) once. Also the knobs on the back of her ankles on her rear legs are bald because she chews that them regularly.
What I've tried Here is everything we've tried so far:
- Vet: Took her to the vet. She is healthy and not having seizures.
- Diet Change: We changed food brands to see if it would fix it, no discernible effect
- Research: We've tried researching what the problem could be, could not find anything. Every search with muscles/seizing turns up seizures. I'm at the end of my rope on what to look into.
- Networking: We've talked to long-time cat owners, vets/vet assistants that we know and they didn't have any ideas.
We are concerned that when we move next week to a house with stairs, that she could seriously injure herself (we can't block off the stairs from her). Another worry is that this condition could escalate to a point where she would have to be put down for her own good. Any ideas on how to fix/alleviate these episodes? How do I discern when to we should put her to sleep?
On January 24th 2017, we put Polar to sleep. Within a year of first showing symptoms, she would have episodes as frequently as 10/hour and started having them while sleeping.