Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
Last Saturday, I brought my cat in to a groomer for a lion cut. She’s had this done before twice and was fine. They also gave her a flea bath (although I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have fleas — she’s an indoor cat and I give her Advantage Multi every 4-6 weeks). She was fine Saturday and Sunday. But yesterday she started behaving oddly: she’s acting very restless, vocalizing, running after my husband and me, not eating her food, and almost constantly flicking her tail. When she sits down, she lifts up her back and sometimes also flips back her back paws. This morning, she is sitting in her litter box. She was doing fine before her trip to the groomer. Could she have gotten a disease there?
Siouxsie: Daniela, it’s hard to tell for sure, given the symptoms you’re describing. Also, we’re not veterinarians, so we always tell people that if you have any concerns about your cat’s health, you should contact your vet.
Thomas: That said, our first concern was that your cat might have received a flea treatment that was toxic to her. Some flea bath products are made with pyrethrins or pyrethroids, which can harm cats.
Dahlia: The symptoms of pyrethrin and pyrethroid toxicity include excessive salivation, ear flicking, loss of coordination, depression, lethargy, muscle tremors, fever, and even seizures.
Siouxsie: If your cat had been poisoned, these symptoms would have started to show up right away, and it would have been very obvious that she needed immediate veterinary treatment.
Thomas: But we can imagine that if you gave your cat the spot-on treatment shortly before she had a flea bath at the groomer, it’s possible that there might have been a reaction.
Dahlia: While it is possible that your cat might have caught some kind of illness while she was at the groomer, most groomers are very careful to make sure that they keep animals separated from one another in order to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
Siouxsie: From your letter, it seems that you’ve used this groomer before. If you’ve been comfortable with them and the way they’ve handled your cat thus far, it’s unlikely that they would do something that harmed her.
Thomas: Your cat may have encountered some kind of unusual stressor while she was at the groomer. This could cause some of the behavioral changes you mentioned.
Dahlia: One thing that also occurred to us is that the behavior you’re mentioning sounds a lot like that of a cat in heat.
Siouxsie: If your cat isn’t spayed, this may be the issue.
Thomas: You’ll need to set up an appointment with your vet to have her spayed if you don’t want to find yourself the surprised owner of a litter of kittens.
Dahlia: Even if she has been spayed and therefore can’t be in heat, we would strongly recommend that you contact your vet, describe your cat’s symptoms, and see what they think is going on.
Siouxsie: It can’t hurt to be sure, and the cost of a vet checkup is well worth the peace of mind you’ll get.
Thomas: We encourage all of you to contact your veterinarian if you have any concern that there’s something wrong with your cat.
Dahlia: In the event that your cat does have a serious problem, you’ll get a much faster response from your vet than you could ever hope to get from us — and your quick action may just save your cat’s life.
Siouxsie: This is particularly true if you’re concerned that your cat may have been poisoned.
Thomas: When it comes to poisoning, taking action as soon as you see the problem will save your cat’s life.
Dahlia: So, Daniela, we hope your cat is doing OK now. Please let us know how things turned out.