Tuesday 11 February 2014

Poorly Maine Coon

Regular readers will already know that we own three Maine Coon cats. Not that long ago our newest addition became rather ill.

We came back from a day out to find him not looking himself and rather quiet. Initially we thought he was just under the weather  but soon discovered that he seemed to be unable to walk properly. He hind legs just didn't seem to work and he was almost dragging himself along. Anyone who has had a cat into old age will know that this can be the beginning of the end. We were naturally worried.

The next day he was taken to the vets. We had a few suspicions but they were just that. Had he fallen? His favourite spot is upstairs, on a small table overlooking the banister. We wondered whether he had fallen from here and damaged his back or legs? As he had a few scuff marks on his ears, had be been fighting above his weight with his older and much larger brother? Had he sustained an injury as a result? The last thought was that perhaps he had suffered a mini stroke - not as uncommon as you'd think even in a young cat?

At the vets he was given the once over. It was felt the best course of action was to give him a strong anti inflammatory and see how he was in a few days. After this if anything he seemed worse. He was off his food, not particularly going to the toilet, still dragging himself along (only when he had to) and generally staying in the same position for hours on end.

A second visit to the vets saw him being x-rayed as a precaution and another anti inflammatory given.  We actually thought the worse and Mrs Orange and I had the dreaded conversation about what we would do if he didn't improve. He looked terrible and upset, perhaps as he is usually a blur of movement and life always up to mischief and rarely sitting still. He is the most athletic cat I have seen and to see him more than a shadow of his former self was not pleasant.

Thankfully, as the days past he seemed to improve slowly. The current state of play is that he seems more or less back to himself. Whatever caused the above, we are still very much in the dark. I doubt if we will ever know? We are just glad he seems back to normal by getting into trouble and being at the root of all that is naughty.

I know that the Maine Coon is very popular in the USA so perhaps some of my American readers might be able to cast light on what might have gone on here?


  1. Mr. O,
    I have never had a Maine Coon kitty and I do not know enough about them.
    So, from the POV, I have nothing to offer.
    However, I wish your pet a speedy recovery and I do send positive vibes to you and yours.
    Peace :)

  2. What a terrible time you all and your little guy have been through! There may not be much in the way of information that I can offer from here: our two Maine Coons have, to a greater and lesser extent, the hip dysplasia that is common to about 25% of Maine Coons, but that's not what this sounds like.

    Hip dysplasia *can* cause lameness and arthritis, though, and can be subtle -- our smokey Maine Coon is much as you describe this little guy: very, very athletic and into everything, but he has slight signs of dysplasia, even though it doesn't inhibit him at all -- so it might be worth checking out with the vets, and, if beginning arthritis is the trouble, it can probably be treated over the long term quite successfully.

    There are scarier possibilities, but, as you read, please remember that the worst is not necessarily relevant! HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) could show as paralysis of the hind legs due to a clot. (HCM is relatively common in Maine Coons, and other large cats, especially male ones.)

    Not sure if this is relevant to your little guy's difficulty, though, unless a clot created the symptoms and then dissolved spontaneously, resulting in his improvement. But it might be something to mention at the vets.

    Maine Coons are also susceptible to SMA (spinal muscular atrophy), but apparently that usually shows up in very young kittens, so it seems unlikely to be the issue here.

    I'm hoping that your rough-and-tumble fellow simply had a run-in with a nasty virus, and will be fine from here on out, but hope this helps if the difficulties return. Best wishes to all of you -- Mr. and Mrs., the Orangettes, and your feline trio.


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