We had adopted a feral kitten. It was very difficult to get her into our control as she would be scared if we tried to hold her, but we continued to keep her food outside so that she eats it.

After a few months (7 months) she became friendlier. I was very attached to her. She used to stay out whole day and at night slept in our bathroom inside.

One day even after calling a lot of times she didn't come out of the bathroom, When I went inside she was struggling to walk. She had lost control of her rear legs and was trying to drag from the front feet.

I immediately took her to the vet. The vet examined her. I mentioned that she had been attacked by a stray cat on her head a few months ago, but that had healed by now. I was told that she's anemic, and the vet put her on some drips and injection (maybe painkillers) but couldn't really determine the cause of this sudden paralysis.

While she was still on the drips, she dilated her eyes and stretched her legs. The vet gave an answer. I couldn't digest the fact. I called her repeatedly, petted her and with my calls she again started 'meow'ing. I was happy again. She hadn't eaten anything from the day of this sudden paralysis (2 days ago) I went home, she still refused to eat, couldn't move around. She had lost her control of moving. After few hours, she was serious again (dilated eyes, stretched out legs, no response) I ran immediately to see the vet. On the way, she was trying to tell something (it was continuous movement of mouth like chewing) She called out 'meow' twice. She took heavy breaths twice and lay motionless. She just left me.

Many questions were left unanswered. Hope anyone tries answering to it.

  1. How did my kitten who was playful and healthy suddenly become paralyzed overnight?

  2. Why was she anemic even after I fed her the healthiest of foods?

  3. Did the attack on head by other cats affect her so deeply? But that was like 2 months ago and had already healed.

  4. How could she die in a span of just 2 days after sudden paralysis?

She wasn't even a year old. How could she leave me, it's so sad.

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    You have been to two vets and do not have a solution, I am not sure that we can help you more than they have. Possibly adding results of x-rays and lab work would help. P.S. going to the vet about this before asking here is a great choice. Commented May 3, 2018 at 12:08
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    @JamesJenkins I am writing this with extreme grief. She died a few minutes ago. She had unbearable pain and was struggling hard but before her time of death, she became calm, looked at me, then bent her head and stretched her legs and died peacefully. Commented May 3, 2018 at 13:48
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    My sympathies, this is a hard time. I understand. Commented May 3, 2018 at 13:54
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    Sorry to hear of your loss. Feel free to come to The Litter Box chatroom if you want to talk about it. We're always happy to listen.
    – Henders
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 14:35
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    This may not be the answer you asked for, but I believe the answer you're in need of is: You did absolutely everything you could do, but unfortunately that is not always enough. You may never know what happened, but try to remember that you did right by your friend, and she seems to have loved you very much.
    – Stig Tore
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 10:15

4 Answers 4


I am so sorry your lost your little friend. I know how bad that can hurt. Outdoor cats (and all animals) often live very harsh and short lives.

There are a number of diseases such as FIP that can affect a cat’s nervous system causing paralysis, spasms and convulsions. They can catch these diseases from other cats, other animals or just the outdoor environment.

Some of them can effect the cat in as little as one day.

If your cat contracted one of these bad diseases they often stop eating, which can cause anemia. These diseases can be fatal. Cats are also not tolerant to starvation at all. They can rapidly rapidly develop kidney disease and failure after just a few days of not eating.

You can take comfort in the fact that you helped this little one survive, and not feel the pain of hunger every day.

  • Great answer. I just have one addition/correction: it's actually the liver that fails when cats stop eating. Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 8:25

I'm very sorry about what happened to your cat. You did everything you could, but it's hard to not know what happened. The rear leg paralysis sound similar to something that happened to my parents' cat, an otherwise healthy 5-year old tabby. After having gone missing for a couple of days, my parents found him under a bush in front of the house, unable to move his rear legs, which were cold to the touch. The vet believed it was a condition called feline aortic thromboembolism, in which a blood clot in the arteries becomes dislodged, travels through the circulatory system, and then becomes lodged in the "saddle" area, where the artery branches to supply blood to the back legs. The onset of the paralysis is sudden, which is consistent with what you describe. The prognosis for the condition is typically poor, as it can be caused by underlying heart conditions, and can cause other problems like tissue damage. Sadly, my parents' cat did not survive the ordeal. It was a hard blow to see a family member in such distress in their final days, but it was some comfort to know we did everything we could. It sounds like you did the same for your furry friend.


It is impossible to know certainly but this could be Guillain-Barré Syndrome or some other auto-immune disease.

It is unclear whether GBS is seen in cats, but autopsy results of two cats suffering from sudden paralysis were identical to those of humans suffered from GBS. Still, the range of auto-immune diseases is vast and we have less information about such diseases that ail cats. Auto-immune diseases generally progress faster than other conditions and they might also cause this sudden anaemia.

I want to offer two conclusions:

  • You did everything you could in this circumstances. You also helped her to have a good life, even if it was significantly shorter than expected.

  • The vet did what he could too. It is hard to diagnose such conditions even in humans. Even if he had correctly identified the condition, there is a good chance there was no treatment available.

Disclaimer: I am neither a veterinarian nor a doctor


Cardiomyopathy, can cause just the symptoms you described, normally there is no warning or advanced symptoms. It happen to my daughters cat. I believe there my be a link between feeding only dry food with rice, rice blocks taurine. That is my theory anyway. Most of the time there is nothing that can be done to prevent or cure. I would caution to make sure cats get ample amounts of taurine in their diet and give them MEAT, that is what they are designed to eat.

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