Hi all...I'm new here, and I've been crawling the net trying to get any information/anecdotes I can. I've been pretty stressed out/sleepless for the past few days, and I'm growing ever more fretful at the lack of solid information that pertains to my problem. Hopefully some of you all have experienced something similar. Here I go...
Right after Thanksgiving, my 4 year old kitty, Dylan, began acting EXTREMELY lethargic. He was sleeping, literally, 23 hours a day and simply could not be bothered. I would wake him up and he would eat and drink well, and I would take him to the litter box where he used the box fine. Then he would go right back to his chair and go to sleep. He also struck me as very stiff--especially in the hind end--and he was reluctant to go up and down the stairs or to jump up on furniture. I was worried about him, but because he wasn't showing any other symptoms aside from lethargy and stiffness, I chalked it up to a side-effect of the intense stress he'd experienced while I was away over Thanksgiving. What had happened was that some feral cats got into my basement (they tore through the insulation around the heating ducts) and into my house. They terrorized my two (totally indoor) cats (Dylan & Chaplin) and urinated all over the basement floor. The girl who was taking care of my cats told me about this, and the minute I got home, I checked both cats over very carefully for any wounds, because I was extremely worried that there had been a fight and the possible transmission of a disease such as FIV. By the time I got home, Dylan was already acting lethargic. Chaplin seemed completely fine. After about a week, Dylan turned the corner and was his normal, active, cheerful self again. I debated off and on as to whether or not to take him to the vet, but because he was still eating and didn't have an respiratory symptoms or anything, I decided to just wait and see. Like I said, he eventually returned to his 100% normal self.
Fast forward a few weeks. I went away for Christmas vacation and while my boyfriend was here most of the time, he left the cats in the care of a friend for five days while he went home to visit his own family. The feral cats, by the way, were no longer able to get into the basement, because I secured the area around the duct work! When I arrived back home on January 4th, I noticed my 3 year old kitty, Chaplin, seemed a little "off." My boyfriend told me that he had just started acting lethargic, and we decided to keep an eye on him. Like Dylan, he was sleeping ALL the time, but still had a fine appetite and litterbox habits (when woken up). He also seemed stiff, but perhaps stiffer than Dylan. Two days ago (Friday), I grew very worried because he was so lethargic he didn't even seem to want to sit up. He also seemed a little "glazed." I took him to the vet and he had a fever of 105.8!! The vet ran a CBC and diagnostic panel, all of which came back completely fine. Chaplin (who was very upset!) wouldn't walk for the vet, but the vet said he was fairly certain the stiffness/reluctance to move was from how terrible the high fever must have been making him feel. He decided to start him on antibiotics and admit him overnight. Yesterday morning, after one dose the antibiotics, the fever was down to 105. The vet gave him his morning dosage, and we checked his temp at noon. His temperature had dropped to 104, and he seemed more alert. Because it was the weekend, the vet told me I should take him home where I could be with him and monitor his temperature (I know how) and give him his medicine--essentially the same care he'd get at the vet's office. He said it was especially good that Chaplin was eating and drinking so well (he ate all of his dry food as well as 1/2 a can of wet food in the vet's office!).
I took Chaplin's temp around 11:00 p.m. last night and it was still at 104. Same thing when I checked it this morning at 10 a.m.
I've barely slept for two nights for all the worrying, because I keep hearing horror stories about cats with unexplained fevers dying of FIP. I asked the vet about FIP, but he said Chaplin wasn't exhibiting any of the other symptoms, and that he had no reason to believe that that was what was going on. I felt a little better, but I'm still worried. II'm kind of driving myself crazy playing the "what-if" game...
I guess I have a couple of questions...
1). Is it bad that we haven't figured out what caused Chaplin's fever? Do YOU think I should be worried about FIP? He's still eating and drinking and using the box.
2). Is it okay that, despite the fact his fever is coming down, Chaplin is still sleeping SO much. He seems to be sleeping very deeply and peacefully, and he's never been that extraordinarily active, but I feel like he should start perking up soon (even though he's only been on antibiotics for about 48 hours). He's nearly impossible to wake up (I know I shouldn't wake him anyway, but I have to wake him up so he'll eat/drink/use the litter box). He still doesn't like walking very much, but he is getting around--he can go up the stairs and jump up onto the couch and bathe himself and such. He just seems exhausted. I suppose I would be, too, if I had a high fever.
3). Is it possible that Dylan contracted something and passed it on to Chaplin, who just seems to have it worse than Dylan did? Their symptoms are SO similar, I can't help but retain that theory.
4). Is the fact that the fever is going down with antibiotic therapy a good sign that this probably ISN'T anything other than some odd illness, rather than something horrible like FIP?
Sorry for the novel...but I just feel so confused not having a NAME to put to this problem. The vet (who is normally very doom and gloom) seemed surprisingly nonchalant, and just told me that sometimes cats get high fevers for no apparent reason. I guess I just have a hard time believing that there's not something seriously wrong. I think that if I knew what it was, I would feel much better. I talked to the vet this afternoon about the fact that the temp is still stuck on 104, but the vet says he feels alright about that, and that I should take his temp again tonight, and then again in the morning, and call him to give him a report. He may have me come in for another CBC.
Chaplin's not getting any worse (except the antibiotics may be upsetting his tummy just a little), but he just doesn't seem to be getting any better. He did swat at a peacock feather a few times, but it seemed to wear him out.
Thanks so much for any advice you can offer. I'm trying to keep myself from getting sick out of all this, because that's the last thing Chaplin needs!