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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Cat Has Adopted Hunching Behaviour?

Hello,

I have a 16 months old cat named Chloe, who got spayed 13 days ago. Her incision has healed beautifully, and there were no complications during or after her surgery. The spay site was bandaged (the bandage was made of cheap gauze and fell off on the first night itself). I tied two soft cotton cloth strips around her incision for the major part of the next week so that she would be unable to lick at the wound. She didn't really bother with them a lot, so that was a plus point. The incision healed completely within 8-10 days, and the stitches have dissolved, and now there is only the scar and her shaved off skin, obviously.

I have been watching her like a hawk ever since the surgery and for the most part she has been absolutely normal. Her routine is completely the same, she has been eating and drinking well, and her litter habits are completely normal as well. There has been nothing out of the ordinary. She always enters the rooms with her tail high in the air and a sweet meow in greeting, and rubs her head on my legs as well. Her energy levels are soaring; she plays a lot, and jumps with ease, and is quite a sight to see when she is running about the house with her toys!

The only thing that I did notice is that she has developed a new habit of hunching down on all fours randomly. Of course, this did pique my interest since I haven't really seen her do it before. She does it sometimes before curling her front paws underneath her and settling down to sleep in the 'meatloaf' position. As I said, it has been random, and does not occur all the time. I was wondering if you could tell me if this is something I should be worried about, or if it is a sign that she is in pain. I have read extensively about the symptoms of pain/infection in cats, and though they do mention the 'hunched' position, Chloe has not shown any other symptoms common with pain: neither has she been lethargic, nor has she lost appetite (or gained), nor are her litter habits wary, nor does she keep sleeping excessively, and nor does she hiss or bite when I stroke her. Could this 'hunched on all fours' position be something new that she has taken to? I also read that when cats are in pain and they hunch, they typically lower their heads so their noses are close to the ground and shut their eyes and show very little attentiveness, which is the complete opposite of Chloe. When she goes on all fours in her newly acquired 'hunched' position, her head is up, with attentive, sparkling eyes, cocked up ears, relaxed whiskers, and awareness on her expression. This does not look like she is in pain, but it only got me wondering since I have not seen her adopt a stance like this one before. I have even pressed at her belly and abdomen to see if she reacts (indicating pain), but doesn't seem bothered at all if I do so.

Even as I am typing this right now she is running about playing with her favourite koala toy and is quite happy. She is jumping on all her usual posts and is being her regular self except for this little 'hunched' position she has gotten into. I always provide her with fibre rich dry food, with wet food as a change every now and then in the week, and she has access to a bowl of fresh, clean water always. The other minor thing I noted is that she has also taken a liking to meowing outside the cupboard doors and wanting them opened so she can jump inside. I read about this, but instead of hiding, as most articles have suggested cats in pain do, she goes inside, and plays and paws about with the items, has a good sniff, then settles down to sleep comfortably. It has gotten colder here where I live (in the tropical zone, the temperature change is always drastic, from mid 40s celsius in the summer to low 20s in the winter), and I was wondering if she meows to be let inside the clothes cupboards for a warm spot to snuggle in and sleep.

Other than these two new behaviours, Chloe is absolutely the same, warm, loving kitty that she has always been, and has not shown any signs of distress. I hope I can get a positive answer that will push my fears aside; I love my cat a lot, and her well-being is my utmost priority. Thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 09:29 PM
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Having lots of spay/neuter surgeries under my belt, I'm confidant your kitty is fine! Cats heal amazingly fast...generally there's really nothing you need to do for them after their bandage falls off. I've released freshly spayed feral females outdoors the day after surgery and never had a lick of trouble! Sick cats will stop eating, and the hunched position will look clearly miserable. Sick cats will also generally be lethargic, and may hide. Your cat is showing all the symptoms of a happy, healthy girl who has just discovered a weird way of sitting down. Maybe in the day or two after surgery she was a little sore, so started sitting this way, and just decided she likes it.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the speedy reply! This forum is amazing! Yes, I think you are right about the fact that she decided she likes this new position. She never looks distressed or in pain when she hunches like this, so I guess I really do have nothing to worry about. Cats are enigmatic and sometimes you just can't understand what new perk they have up their sleeve! Thank you so much for pushing my fears aside, I really needed to read this. Oh, and about the cupboard thing where she meows to be let inside, is this normal too? As I mentioned, it has gotten colder here and she meows to go inside; when I let her in, she darts and plays about with the clothes inside, then chooses a spot, makes herself comfortable, and snuggles down to sleep. It does not look like she is trying to hide or anything that would indicate worry. I guess this is a new habit she has picked up as well. Silly kitty! If I put my hand inside to play with her she paws at it and smacks it like any regular playfully kitty would, and does not like it if I try to take her out (never hissed or growled to indicate pain/anger). She comes out on her own in a while, with her tail high in the air, and a cheerful greeting. Since I haven't noticed any other behaviour in her that could be indicative of suffering of some sort, I think it is safe to say she is quite fine! Thank you for replying, and I hope this wardrobe behaviour is simply a new found perk as well.

Last edited by marie73; 01-04-2015 at 04:28 AM.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 02:43 AM
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Cats like having "hiding" spots to sleep. And, if there is a door keeping them out, then that is a spot they HAVE to check out. By her napping in the cupboard, I suspect she is just looking for a "bed" in a safe spot to nap. All normal

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 02:55 AM
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I kindly suggest you seize this opportunity to get a large cat carrier if you don't already own one, place a nice soft fuzzy blanket inside and leave your carrier open and out on the floor. Pick a quieter spot, like a corner of the room. This way, she'll have a nice spot to snooze and you can still peak inside without bothering her. It'll also double as a way for her to associate positive things with the carrier so that if and when Chloe needs a vet visit again, it wont be such a struggle for you both.

To further encourage her to go inside a carrier, you can leave treats inside every now and then, or put her favorite toy inside.

My kitty Maya loves hideaways like the carrier, a box, or even a shopping bag, lol. Some days I really have to search for my cats sleeping someplace unexpected!

Last edited by TabbCatt; 01-04-2015 at 02:58 AM.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 08:51 AM
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Chloe has made an excellent recovery from her spay and "hunching" down is a comfortable position for most cats. As far as cupboards are concerned, most cats like to be in a smaller enclosed space that is draft-free especially if it is getting cooler. A cardboard box that's a little bigger than herself is good if you don't want her in your cupboards, or as suggested a cat carrier, covered with a blanket so there's no drafts.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much to Mochas Mommy, TabbCatt, and catloverami for the positive answers! This is the first time I have kept a cat permanently at home as a pet, so I am all the more anxious and nervous to know that my kitty is quite fine! I love the idea of a cardboard box and will be making a nice, cosy snoozing spot for Chloe in it. She is bound to love it!

Coming to her health, today has been 15 days since she got spayed, and yesterday I noticed a small, hard lump present at her incision site. It moves a little if I apply pressure to it, but otherwise it is quite firm and not bothering Chloe at all. She chooses to ignore the area while grooming herself, and does not really mind if I press her over there to check for pain. However, if she is grooming herself at that spot and I put my hand over it, she swats it away and makes a small 'mew', that sounds like 'don't disturb me while I am cleaning myself', and if I insist on keeping my hand over there, she smacks it a lot more. Of course, this can only mean she doesn't like it when I am blocking her access to the place she wants to clean. It does not look like she is in pain, and has been playing and eating well, and using her litter box as usual. I called up the vet to enquire about the lump (which is about the size of my little finger's nail), and she said that it is quite common and can take up to a month to disappear. The incision site is clean, quite smooth, and healed up nicely otherwise, so I think it is fair to say she hasn't developed any infection or complication of any sort.

Also, today she gagged up twice as though she wanted to vomit out a hairball, but nothing came through, so I went ahead and got her her favourite bit of grass which she loves to nip if she is having digestion issues. She has been nipping at it, and has now settled in her usual 'meatloaf' position to sleep. My question is, how long does it take for a cat to throw up or pass out a hairball? She apparently had one a week ago as well which she passed out in her litter box, and I can only assume it is due to her fastidious grooming routine and a piece of fibrous cloth she discovered and couldn't resist chewing at. Is there some home lubricant like oil/petroleum jelly that I can give her? Is it normal for her to have had a second hairball this quickly? She is eating as usual, playing as normal, and being her complete, friendly self otherwise.

I've also felt her nose and ears, and they appear normal. Her ears seem to be of room temperature, and her nose is usually cold and wet, which I read is a sign of no fever. Also, today when she was grooming herself she lay on her side like she always does and raised her leg to clean herself down there, but then quickly went back to her regular sitting position, as if she didn't want to be in that position. I know I may sound like I am overreacting to the tiniest of things, but I only want to be fully sure that nothing is wrong with my cat, and she is fine. I wouldn't take her to the vet based on small misgivings, that is why I am hoping I can get a positive reply over here.

Thank you for taking out the time to read my long ramble, and thank you in advance for replying!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 02:45 PM
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I have had a few of those lumps under an incision before and they do disappear gradually. It's possible the spot of her incision just doesn't feel nice when you put your hand over it....for some reason I don't like the feeling when I push in on my bellybutton....maybe just one of those weird things. I wouldn't give her petroleum jelly, the grass is better, or a teaspoon of pure pumpkin puree (baby food--not sugar or spices) mixed in with her wet food. To decrease hairballs every day running a pet comb through her coat goes a long way to eliminating any ingestion of the hair. By switching her position from laying on her side back to her regular sitting position, I wouldn't worry about that. It sounds normal to me. I wouldn't say you're "overreacting", just being a conscientious mom who loves her baby.

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
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Last edited by catloverami; 01-06-2015 at 02:48 PM.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 02:59 PM
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Is Chloe a short hair or long haired cat? We don't have pictures of her, btw!

I've got 2 DSH, and I love my furminator, especially during shedding season (spring/summer). For long haired cats, there is a current link on brushes/combs going on discussing that.

https://www.catforum.com/forum/36-cat...aired-cat.html

I agree with catloverami on feeding wet food for easier hairball removal, too. Anytime a kitty vomits something up, it'll be wet, so getting hydration back in is paramount for my two, even though they are young and healthy. Organic cat grass you buy at the local supermarkets are cheaper to buy than at the pet store! Or you can plant your own seeds, too! I usually have to take it away at night otherwise Maya will just keep nibbling at it all day and night, lol.

Last edited by TabbCatt; 01-06-2015 at 03:02 PM.
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