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Cat's behaviour following trauma

(10 Posts)
AnnaBay Fri 18-May-18 07:57:22

Our 2yo cat Alf suddenly lost the use of his back leg around 8 weeks ago. It was very sudden and he had no external signs of injury. He went from limping to crying in pain within hours.
X Ray at vets showed his left hip and femur were shattered, an injury that could of been caused by being hit by a car or a fall from a great height. Alf had surgery and was in hospital for total of 5 days pre and post op.
Post op x ray and review show the hip and femur are healing well and the vet is pleased with his progress.

However, (don't laugh) myself and DP are concerned about Alf's mental health to the point where we think he might of sustained a fairly big knock to the head or maybe post traumatic stress because he's a totally different cat.

The old Alf was confident, didn't give two shits about you or anyone, treated visitors to a staring competition, slept where he wanted even it was in the way and was generally kingpin of the house with our other two cats.
He came home a nervous wreck. I thought he would improve over time but he's worse.
He follows me everywhere except when he's shaking like a leaf under DD's bed because there was a noise in the house. He's booted out of the way at feeding time so we now feed him alone in the pantry so he gets a good meal. He still stares but it's more of a sad, tired stare and eventually he'll snooze where he's sitting. He also sleeps a lot.
The other thing is, he looks totally confused at the house, his food and the family sometimes. Hard to explain but it's just different.
He's also destroying whichever blanket or cushion he sleep on by biting it and pulling it apart.
The vet thinks there is none to very little discomfort as he can manipulate his leg easily without a reaction which is good, at least it's not physical pain.
But, bloody hell, I'm so sad for him. It's just not him at all.

Has anyone else had a pet that survived a major injury but wasn't themselves after? Did they ever recover to their old selves?
Any advice at all?

OP’s posts: |
LittleCandle Fri 18-May-18 08:06:53

My childhood cat was missing overnight one time and when she came home, we decided that she had been kicked, as every time we moved, she flinched violently. She was much more timid after that and never really got over it.

I have to say, it sounds to me, as a layman, that perhaps your cat has had head trauma and a vet stay was probably traumatic, too. Have you got a Feliway diffuser? it might help to make him feel more settled. Apart from that, I have no advice, sorry. Just give him lots of love.

AnnaBay Fri 18-May-18 08:39:37

Thank you LittleCandle. I'm so sorry to hear what happened to your little cat.
Funny enough he's become more of a cuddly cat since this. He's happier to be near me as long as I'm still and quiet so he gets lots of tickles and strokes.

OP’s posts: |
Allergictoironing Fri 18-May-18 08:53:30

With a human I think we would be considering PTSD, so no reason not to consider he may be suffering from that and possibly a head injury as well. I think you may have to just treat him with as much kindness and comfort as you can, and hopefully he will improve in time.

One of mine can be incredibly nervous and insecure, plus he's very clumsy and seems to have no brain at all. They were ferals originally for around the first year of their lives and I feel that either he was born that way or something happened to him, he does need to be treated quite differently to most cats. However he is very loving and devoted to me and his sister, who seems to look out for him.

AuntFidgetWonkhamStrongNajork Fri 18-May-18 09:06:41

Our cat was missing for a couple of days and came back bruised and battered - vet said either kicked or a slight knock with a car. He's not the same cat but not to the same extent as yours. He's louder and sticks to our garden, and comes within seconds of being called - before it was more optional.

I'd go with the Feliway and lots of cuddles.

TimeIhadaNameChange Fri 18-May-18 09:36:17

We reckon one of the rescued rabbits I got had been abused in her past. Among other things she was quite possibly deaf, which DP reckoned may have been caused by being kicked. She'd been in the rescue for a year before I got her (other than a few days when someone else took her, then returned her for being too rabbit-like!).

At first she was really 'open' - friendly and playful (we'd chase each other round the garden). Then, one of the hens was attacked and although she wasn't hurt she went into what I called 'scared bunny mode'. She retreated into herself and although would let me stroke her she lost all her sense of fun. In the house, instead of jumping on me on the sofa she'd just hide away. I mean, she would run about the house and wasn't physically injured, but she wouldn't interact with humans in the same way.

She did snap out of it after a few months (when we were putting Christmas decorations up - she really wanted to know what we were up to so had to come out of her shell to see) but then went back into this state a while later, for no discernible reason. The vet saw her, more than once, but couldn't find any reason for her being like she was.

I reckon it was a form of PTSD, originally caused by abuse and triggered by the attack.

AnnaBay Fri 18-May-18 09:37:24

Thank you Allergictoironing and AuntFidget.
Will definitely try the Feliway. I've just done a bit of googling as I've not heard of it. It's worth a try.
I've just popped into the bedroom and he's snuggled up to his sister. She's like the big protector when it was always him before, it's a role reversal (they were two abandoned kittens).

OP’s posts: |
AnnaBay Fri 18-May-18 09:42:23

Oh TimeIhad what a sad story. Poor little rabbit. Alf is a bag of nerves although he does relax a bit more after the kids have gone to bed. I think he feels he's less likely to be hurt by their wayward limbs and toys.

OP’s posts: |
LanguidLobster Fri 18-May-18 10:25:38

There's a thread on this page 'My cat came back' about cat trauma. It's so difficult to resolve as you can't speak to them

madsiemoomoo Fri 18-May-18 17:54:44

One of ours got in a huge fight at the start of the year, and had to have an operation to drain abscesses. He has been a much more cuddly, timid cat since and bolts at any unusual noise. I think they do suffer trauma sad

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