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 Post subject: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:41 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:12 pm
Posts: 18
Hi there, I'm new to the forum and I have a question.

I've had my Bengal, Mika, for just over a year now. She is 4 years old. I adopted her from someone who needed to rehome her due to a family member moving in who was deathly allergic to cats. She was declawed on all 4 paws as a kitten unfortunately ... a fact that I hate but, you can't change the past. I was surprised they had found any vet still willing to do that since most won't even declaw the fronts anymore, never mind all four paws.

Regardless, she is generally happy and well-adjusted, though she HATES when ANYTHING in her environment changes. Once she is accustomed to the change, she is fine ... until she settles though, she is on constant patrol.

I didn't think much of this behaviour before. I just chalked it up to something in her personality and it didn't bother me much. She always seems to settle after a few days and it's not like she ever lost her appetite. If she is VERY upset, and I've not been diligent keeping all clothes/blankets off the floor or out of her reach, she may pee on them ... but that is generally infrequent and doesn't happen unless I've left dirty clothes on the floor for her to get at (aka: laundry day! :redface: ).

Lately, though, I've noticed her becoming a little more clumsy. She has never been particularly coordinated ... missing jumps and running into stuff while playing, but I kind of just assumed she was a bit like her mom, forgetting her surroundings when she gets excited. We've never had any bad incidences where she hurts herself or anything ... just ... clutzy moments. It seems to be getting worse though.

The time I can tell the most, though, is when we're playing fetch (she LOVES playing fetch with my hair elastics ... drives me nuts when I need one to tie my hair back and she's stolen all of them out of the washroom and put them under my appliances!! lol). It used to be that she could see and follow an elastic across pretty long distances and always find the elastic and bring it back. Then it started to get harder for her and she would only be able to find the elastic if she heard it hit the opposite wall. Now, she is having trouble finding it even when it hits the wall and makes a noise unless she literally watches it leave your hand and then, it can't go too far or she gets discouraged and won't chase it. She kind of just stares in the direction you shot it in and looks confused.

Originally I thought she might just be a little near sighted. She is slightly cross-eyed so I assumed her vision may not be 100% already. I did receive some papers with her when I adopted her, but I don't care much about papers so I just filed them away and haven't looked at them. I will check and see if it includes the cattery she came from or any information about her lineage. I would like to check with her breeders to see if other cats they have produced have had issues with PRA.

When I researched the breed, I remember reading about PRA, but when I adopted Mika, I assumed we were in the clear since she was already 3 and clearly still had her sight. Now, with more reading, I've found that it isn't unheard of for PRA to be late onset and begin affecting a cat at 3-4 years old, resulting in total blindness within a couple of years. Just in the last week or two, I have noticed that her eyes become a little runny intermittently.

I don't know what to do. I'm worried about her. I love that cat ... In fact, I just moved house solely because my cat (for whatever reason) hated my last roommate and was miserable ... howling for hours on end at my roommate if I wasn't home. Silent as a mouse (except for a little Bengal chatter) when I was home.

Does anyone have any advice? She is overdue for her shots so I've been planning a vet visit anyways ... I will ask the vet to check her eyes while I'm there ... but is it difficult to keep a blind cat? I don't want to jump to conclusions before I have a real answer from a professional, but I want to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best ... If she has late onset PRA, will she still have a good life once her eye sight is gone?


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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:29 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8148
Welcome to the forum and I'm sorry you're having to deal with a vision issue! Your vet is the ONLY one who can give you advice. There are vets who specialize in ophthalmology and you may have to see one. There are numerous diseases of the eye that can affect vision. Some may be treatable, some may not. However, you don't want this to become increasingly worse over time if it is treatable, so I would get her to the vet immediately. Knowing what the issue is will relieve your fears and you can then help your kitty. Stop trying to worry about what it might be -- until you actually know for sure. {{{HUGS}}} for you and your baby.


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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:56 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:12 pm
Posts: 18
Hi Sherry,

Yes, we are certainly going to go to a vet. That is the only way I'll know for sure.

That being said, I discovered another possible explanation ... I am an idiot and I have a Cyclamen plant. I also recently inherited a Dracaena Marginata (Dragon Tree). Both are toxic to cats and both cause issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, uncoordination and depression. I didn't put two and two together because she hasn't been vomiting or having diarrhea at all but I know she's eaten both of them. Not much in recent days because I've locked them up away from her but she does occasionally sneak in and still snatch a bite or two before I catch her and stop her. The dilated pupils could be causing her vision issues and her increasing uncoordination could be from that as well. If it is causing depression or if her tummy is feeling unwell, that could be causing the extra clingy/extra alert patrolling behaviour as well.

I actually had no idea these were toxic plants until I did a search to find out what plants are safe to plant in my lizard's terrarium. Turns out, Dragon Trees are safe for lizards and toxic to mammals so I am planting that sucker in the lizard cage and locking it up for good. The Cyclamen will have to go to Boyfriend's house ...

Wow I feel like an idiot, but I am relieved to know that there may be a simple fix to this instead of the worst case scenario I was imagining.

I'm booking an appointment with the vet for next week, so wish me luck and let's hope that it's just the plants that are the issue ...

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:28 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8148
OMG! I think it's wonderful you finally hit on what might be causing the symptoms and have dealt with it! Hopefully, by the time she sees the vet, the symptoms will have subsided and there will be nothing seriously discovered!!! You would think cats would know which plants are okay to nibble on and which ones are not, but they don't!!! That being said ... it's up to us humans to put dangerous plants out of reach!!! Thank goodness you thought about this.


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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:33 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:12 pm
Posts: 18
You would think!! They are not THAT clever though I guess. I didn't realize how many plants are toxic to cats. I don't usually have plants (I have a black thumb ...) but boyfriend bought me the Cyclamen and the Dragon Tree was left in the apartment I moved into ... I am going to have to be much more careful from now on about what I bring into my house ...


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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:43 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:11 pm
Posts: 1178
I rarely have plants or flowers indoors these days as anything indoors is considered fair game and 'theirs'. Although my two seem to know what to much and what not to much outside - they munch on grass nearly every day and I make sure they have areas in the garden that aren't mowed where they can munch to their hearts content.

Might be worth growing her some cat grass to meet her desire to munch the green stuff! I believe it can be beneficial to their digestion, although no idea if that is true.

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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:01 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:12 pm
Posts: 18
Funny you should mention that. I actually had the same thought a couple weeks ago and did exactly that. She was so bound and determined to get at my plants that I bought her her own! She knows that she gets in trouble when she munches my plants, but doesn't get in trouble when she munches hers. She's definitely been much less interested in the other plants since she got it. I don't know if it's because she is avoiding getting a scolding or if she just likes the cat grass better ... who knows!

There must be something in the green plants she wants/needs so I'm just going to keep providing her with her own grass to eat. Hopefully that helps curb her desire to eat the bad plants too. I might just buy a bag of oats and a bag of vermiculite though, instead of buying the $10 cat trays from the pet store ... My horse will be happy because I can give her oats for a treat and my cat will be happy because I will grow her some oat grass for cheap! win/win/win. A whole horse-size bag of oats is around $10 where I live so ... might as well go big or go home ... ha ha


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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 2:35 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8148
Most cats will munch on grass when they are outdoors. Mine will and then throw up minutes later. Tried giving him cat grass and he was not interested!!! Still ... you need to put the dangerous plants away or outside where your kitty can't get to them. I don't know how much yours would like oats. It is a grain and I don't think cats need that -- thus all the grain-free cat foods on the market these days.


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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:59 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:38 pm
Posts: 1836
Down here all our lawns are treated with herbicide, fertilizer, insecticide and other nasty chemicals. Otherwise you don't have a lawn. I wouldn't want my cats to ingest any of that.

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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:30 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:12 pm
Posts: 18
ha ha ha ha ... no no ... I'm not giving my cat oats. I'm going to give her oat grass ... Plain oats are for the horse, who would most definitely be happy to get them, straight up! Lol.

The marketing people call it "Cat Grass" but it's just oats that they put in vermiculite and allow to germinate. Oat grass shoots are very tender and my cat loves it. It definitely curbed her interest in my other plants plus they have been locked away from her and I made a high shelf for them to deter her from getting to them. She could still get up there but it would take a lot of effort for her and I am usually good at keeping the door to that room closed all the time. If I ever forget to close that door, it doesn't take long for me to realize my place is TOO quiet (aka, Mika is up to no good ...) and I go looking for her. She hasn't been able to get at the bad plants at all for some time now. It's hard to tell if the sight or coordination has improved though ...

FYI, ingredients for "cat grass" below:

Whisker City® Grass Plus Tub Cat Grass

Ingredients:
Grass Seed (may contain one or more of the following grass seeds: Oats and/or Wheat), Vermiculite, Plantagel (Potassium Propenoate and Propenamide Copolymers) Plantagel is a non-toxic, water absorption agent.


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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:58 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8148
Our yard is fertilized every other month and I try to keep Raiden from eating the grass for several days or at least until the rain has washed it away. Doesn't work! They were here on Thursday and he was eating grass yesterday afternoon.


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 Post subject: Re: Late Onset PRA?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:53 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:12 pm
Posts: 18
These cats sure do have a mind of their own and, once they are dead set on something, it's hard to deter them! They can be so quick and sneaky!

I caught Mika trying to get into the bad plants again (haven't had a chance to replant them ...). She somehow managed to sneak into the washroom where I lock all the plants up and jumped onto the shelf ... luckily, she is also a clutz and she knocked one of the plants down which I heard and I could immediately scold her for.

Boy did she know she was in deep, dark trouble for that!

She hasn't attempted to get back up, even though I've left the door open since then (not when I was away ... but while I could supervise) ... I figure I'd rather correct an unacceptable behaviour than avoid it if possible. I know she hasn't had a chance to eat the bad plants but the cat grass I had for her stopped growing so I'll need to get some more to keep her interest off trying to sneak in for a bite of the toxic stuff ...


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