Kitten has become listless…What can/should I do?

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    Drake Robinson

    Mweowdy, All!

    Okay, so about three Firdays ago, with a rainstorm pouring down, outside my window I hear: “meow, meow, meow!”

    I go outside, and one of the smallest kittens I’ve ever seen is underneath the treebush. I put out my hand and call to it, and it walks over. I pick it up, take it inside and it slept on my arm all night long.

    The following afternoon, another storm, and another: “meow, meow, meow!”

    I go outside, and three kittens were looking for ways out of the rain. Well, as I attempted to rescue them, two ran off, the last one stayed. I picked that one up and putting it inside the pouch on my sweater, it slept and remained for several long hours too.

    Within a short amount of time, both females, both from the same stray litter took to the makeshift litterbox, now bigger one; as well as to eating, playing around, and so forth. The smaller one I named Aphrodite; the other Ares.

    Both are extremely affectionate, warm, and very easy going considering how they lived before managing to find me.


    Aphrodite, albeit smaller doesn’t mean she was the last of the litter; no more than bigger Ares was first. For all intents and purposes though, they are two fine healthy kittens.

    However, in the beginning Aphrodite would mimick the bigger one by learning how to crawl and climb around the couch, bed and so forth. If she got stuck, a quick lift from me would help her along.

    But she continued to bounce and climb as much as the other.

    Yet, because she is smaller, I also noticed she gets worn out earlier and easier than Ares. Okay, no bigee, as I can understand that one too. As she curls up and sleeps next to me when I put her alongside me. And then Ares comes along and does the same.

    But here’s what I need help with —

    For the past week or so, Aphrodite has or is becoming more and more listless.

    Meaning, while she’ll climb down to go to the bathroom and eat, and then play around for an hour or two — She won’t climb back up to where she was before, like she did before.

    Instead, she’ll crawl under the couch or into a corner to lay down and take a nap. If I pick her up and place her with me, then okay.

    However, she is actually dragging her legs – not just her hinds but also her fronts. When she does get ‘warmed up’ – she strolls and runs around like Ares.

    Now then, when I’m playing with Ares, on her back and rubbing her stomach and just having fun with her, her legs seem to be getting stronger and she’s getting bigger. Aphrodite has changed only slightly in weight and size since Day One. And while her limbs were building up in strength…well now she’s not using her legs and claws as well or as much as her other sister is.

    She eats and uses the litterbox easily and frequently. Her tone, manner, attitude, etc. again for all intents and purposes seems to be of a nice healthy kitten.

    She was for the first two weeks virtually fearless; now she’s a bit or more: listless!

    Is this normal? Does or has anybody else experienced this from the smallest kitten of the litter?

    I can’t afford to do any vet visits right now. As they were just kind of sprung on me, and I did what any person who was meow meow meow’d at might do!

    Anything anyone can offer on what I can/should do to see her get into a normal kitten groove is greatly appreciated!

    Purrfully Yours,




    What you are describing doesn’t sound normal. Aphrodite may have a neurological syndrome or some other problem that needs attention.

    Call around and see if you can find a vet who will see both kitties, but especially Aphrodite, and let you pay over time. If you explain how you didn’t intend to have two cats right now but you couldn’t leave them outside in the rain to die, you may find that the vet is more willing to work with you.

    Your profile doesn’t say where you live. Some larger cities have better facilities for getting care for abandon kittens. Some countries are better than others and we have members all over the globe.



    And there is a credit card (Credit Care?) in the US for vet care that can help, I understand. If she’s smaller and weaker than her sisters, she will tire more easily but she should be putting on weight steadily, even if only a little bit. Listlessness and lethargy are bad signs in kittens, and they can go downhill very fast and very easily. Ring around to try and find a vet who can help, but you do need a vet visit to have any hope of finding out what’s wrong. The other thing you could do is call your local shelter and see if they can help you any with vet care for two orphaned kitties you’re willing to foster and give a home to.


    Drake Robinson

    Mweowdy, All!

    I woke up this morning hoping things would get better with Aphrodite.

    After I saw how she’s acting and reading your responses (which I am whole-heartedly grateful for) — As I write this, I’m kind of, well, I am in tears.

    I’m in Northeastern Pennsylvania, USA. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area.

    Last night, while going through this forum and doing other online work — Both kittens were on the floor at my feet. As Aphrodite was moving around to play with whatever she could find, Ares was being especially frisky, running around and exploring, which is always funny to see.

    However, she was really being a bit viscious with Aphrodite. I know the cats like to play their ‘war games.’ Yet as much as Aphrodite tried to defend herself, she really couldn’t.

    So me and Ares had it out in our own little cat war game. Yeah, from having other cats years ago, I learned how to play ‘cat’ e.g. nipping ears, nipping tail, and rough housing as a mother might do.

    Finally, Ares got the message not to attack her sister. And she really settled down afterwards. Giving her the talk that even if Aphrodite goes after her, she’s not to fight back. Thing is, she really did just that. Aprhodite was nipping at her with her instigator nature and Ares lay there and never lifted a paw. I was so proud of her!

    Later, after getting their nightly treats and taking care of business, with Aphrodite falling fast asleep on my shoulder, Ares came up and did her grooming on me. She purrs and licks the heck out of my ears, esepcially on the lobes. It was a tad discomforting to me at first, but since she’s been ending our day doing it, I let her have at. She actually falls asleep with one of my ear lobes in her mouth. But when she finally releases it, she’s off to Kitty Dream Land.


    Somewhere along the night, Aphrodite woke up and got down off the couch over to the food and litterbox. But again, rather than return as she previously did, she crawled under the couch below me. And Ares eventually joined her.

    So now, I wake up; and as I start moving about the kittens peek out of their cover and are ready to start another day with me.

    However, as Ares looks at me, she also looks at Aphrodite. Aphrodite is dragging her body. She can barely walk. Myself, not quite awake yet, just pick her up and move her to the kitten food. Both ate and did their business.

    Shortly thereafter, as I was now in my computer room at the end of the hallway, Ares came bounding in saying Hello!

    I looked at her and asked where her sister was; she then ran down the hall and came back.

    I looked down the hall, and there was Aphrodite at the other end of it. She was literally dragging her body to get to us. This little kitten will not give up. Halfway down, I just went over and picked her up and brought her inside the room.

    Seems her legs – fronts and hinds – just don’t want to work right. Putting her on the bed, she didn’t want to stay there and dragged herself to the edge so she could get down. I put her on the floor and she found one of her spots and started playing with her makeshift toys.

    Ares came around. As she posed to jump and strike at her, she took one look at me looking at her — And do you know she simply backed down and just began licking and mothering Aphrodite!? Amazing, what a great kitten she is!

    I examined both kittens. Ares’ legs and paws are strong as she pushes back against me. On the other hand, Aphrodite’s legs and paws are weak; she can barely curl her paws to extend her claws.

    It’s so sad; and I’m getting heartbroken over it.

    And now, upon reading your responses here and figuring she really has something wrong with her, yet she barely even makes a whimper about it…

    Seriously, both Ares and Aprhodite are napping comfortably right next to me as I write this…I am in tears.

    I know I have to do something or see somebody about it.

    I will keep you posted.

    Thanks for reading.

    Thanks for all your help.

    Purrfully Yours,




    Please, take action and try to get her to a vet ASAP ~ ask to pay over time.



    You really have got to get these kittens to a vet as soon as possible as what you are describing is in no way normal. Most vets, once they understand the situation, will make arrangements for payments.


    Drake Robinson

    Mweowdy All!

    Okay, I called the local SPCA, which is actually within walking distance from where I live. I live on top of the hill, they are actually on the bottom of it – for real.

    I explained to the weekend warrior attendant about what’s going on. She told me that if I wanted to bring the kitten in, I would have to make an appointment; then they would put her down and for a fee.

    Not today, sorry, no can do.

    She then gave me a number to a pet hospital across town, and wished me luck. Well, I need more than just luck, but okay.

    Aphrodite and Ares have since been playing; eating; taking care of business; and so forth. While they have messed around with each other as is their nature to do so, Ares has been more gentle and careful, as well as listens to me not to be too rough. She is doing good, if not great, in that department.

    So after gaining my own composure, I gave the pet hospital a ring. Upon explaining the situation, she said I have to make an appointment to bring the kittens in; and it would cost a minimum of $150 each just for the initial visit, and payment must be received on the day of service.

    She did mention about applying for a Pet Care credit card; but well, sorry, that’s not going to happen right now. I wish I could; but again, I need more than just luck.

    I said I’d get back to her; and so we left it at that.

    Doing more online research, I came across something which is called: Cerebellum Hypoplasia or CH for short.

    Following some of the website links took me over to YouTube. There, I sat and watched several short vids on other kittens doing and experiencing the same thing Aphrodite is now, right down to a tee.

    In reading up on CH, it has several causes, mostly from prenatal and birth.

    So this happened prior to her and her sister finding and adopting me…

    While this may sound kind of bad, further reading indicates that cats can live somewaht normal lives with CH. Everything else with her is good. Her eyes, skin, fur, appetite, attitude, bowel movements, etc. etc.

    So I watched these vids; and yes, where there’s a will there’s a way to eventually get her and Ares to some veterinary facility, hopefully sooner rather than later —

    However, this being said: Does anyone here have or know somebody who has such experience(s) with CH kittens?

    Sure, heartbreaking as hell as it is to watch (and we can sympathize together on that), yet it seems these kittens will/can do okay. So if anyone can enlighten me on your experiences (and hopefully they’re good ones) — Then I can rest a little easier knowing Aphrodite will be fine as she can be for the short and/or longterm time being.

    Thanks for reading.

    Thanks for your help.

    Purrfully Yours,




    I have a wee kitten with cerebellar hypoplasia. It did cross my mind when you mentioned about her dragging her back legs, but cerebellar hypoplasia kittens are not listless. Millie is smaller than her two sisters, and tires more easily, but she played hard out with them both and she is a normal, playful, affectionate, energetic little kitten in every way except that she falls over when she tries to walk. She has an enormous appetite, she grooms herself, the only sign (and a classic neurological sign) of CH when she’s not walking is that her little head wobbles and when she’s concentrating on watching something (like a fly or moth or her food being gotten ready), her head wobbling gets more and more intense. Her condition hasn’t worsened, she’s always been at the same level of disability. If you think your kitten is getting more disabled and worse, rather than always the same amount, then it’s not CH.

    So, yes, look up cerebellar hypoplasia, check the videos on the web of CH kittens and see what you think. If it is CH, a vet can only confirm the diagnosis, there is no treatment. But it doesn’t get worse over time and though cats don’t get better, they adapt as they grow and keep developing.


    Drake Robinson

    Mweowdy All!

    Okay, so I finally got hold of my best friend in the world and my lifetime…

    She’s apparently been suffering from a pollen outbreak down in the Harrisburg, PA area; but other than that she’s fine…thanks for asking!

    A retired nurse with more than 40+ years at the helm, plus living with pet dogs and cats most of her life — Said that from what I described was not, I repeat not Cerebellar Hypoplasia.

    She said that cat strays born in the wild, or semi-wild where I am, usually if anything is wrong with one of the litter, the others or even the mother will reject and/or try to kill it off. Survival of the fittest, as it were.

    Being that Aphrodite did mature enough to find her way to where she found me, along with her sister Ares; being that Aphrodite, although smaller, was still able to jump around, climb, fight and play just less than a week ago, and this change is more sudden overall; being that she can still manage to get around, and doesn’t seem to let off her now-established routines; nor does she show any signs of having a stroke (which my friend experienced with her and her family’s dogs) — My friend says and believes that Aprhodite shows all the symptoms of having a pinched nerve somewhere, either along her neck or spine.

    Apparently, during one of their war games, Ares, the bigger, got a good hold on Aphrodite, the smaller, and wounded her somewhere.

    Telling me this happened to a litter of pups she had, one of the bigger ones picked on the smaller one. The little one began acting all weird in walking and stuff. Although no external injuries could be seen, it had to be internal at that. She separated them for awhile; and the pup eventually worked out his kinks, and grew up to be just fine. 12 years fine. And both pups/dogs worked out their differences as well.

    My explaining that Aprhodite does want to stand up and walk, yet falls over too; but she doesn’t moan or groan in any discomfort or anything either — My friend said to not let Ares jump on her or get any more physical other than grooming.

    Too, I should keep massaging Aphrodite all over to help release the pressure off the pinched nerve she might have wherever. And providing there’s no other problems/issues with what for all intents and purposes is a healthy kitten – well, she should recover rapidly enough to get back into action soon enough.

    So with the good news of CH being ruled out; and possibly a tender nerve pinch being ruled in — I’ll keep a closer eye and watch on both of them for sure.

    And I’ll keep you posted.

    Thanks for reading.

    Thanks for all your help.

    Purrfully Yours,



    Drake Robinson

    Mweowdy All!

    Well it’s been a little more than a week, and I’ve been keeping an eye on both Aphrodite and Ares. Ares has been growing bigger and stronger almost every day.

    After ruling out CH on Aphrodite, well, she was still limping and falling over when she walked and strutted around. And I’ve been making sure Ares doesn’t do any leaps on her either. Anyway…

    Sunday is their bath day. After letting them run around and tire themselves out a bit, as they were cuddled up next to me – I picked up Ares to check and clip her nails. She really has gotten accustomed to it, so I had no problems doing it as she lay still and comfortable in my lap.

    Next one up was Aphrodite. She’s been through it before, and never had any problems in my checking and clipping her nails. However, this time, as I checked her paws, she really got fiesty and squirrely on me. So much so that she kept twisting and mewing to get away.

    I don’t really know what happend next. Well, actuallly, I do. We really got into it. I straightened her legs out and held her so she couldn’t move. She kept mewing so loudly, I just carried her over to the litterbox and dropped her in.

    She promptly let out a big crap, climbed out of the litterbox, and fell over. Over as in convulsions and spasms over!

    I picked her up and she was limp!

    Oh My God, I just killed Aphrodite!

    I held her for a few minutes wondering what to do next.

    Oh My God, I just killed Aphrodite!

    Then like a flash, she wakes up, leaps out of my arms; and begins scooting down the hallway. She kept turning around and giving me the meanest most hateful eyes I ever saw on an animal.

    As I sat down in the computer/bed room to watch her, she put a paw on my foot. Her signal for me to pick her up and put her on the bed. I did so.

    However, she just lay there and looked at me with big dark eyes. If looks could kill, she had them at that moment!

    Then Ares returned, jumped up and began licking her. She was also laying on her sister, so I had to stop that.

    As Aphrodite fell off to sleep, several times I heard her wheezing. She was having difficulty breathing.

    Oh My God, what have I done?!

    I picked her up and gave her mouth to mouth.

    Upon being revived, she kicked and wanted to lay down again. Okay, no problem; just don’t die on me!

    As this went on for awhile, I thought if she is going to die, she’s going to die clean.

    I bathed both Ares and Aphrodite. Sure, they both struggled a bit, but overall they each did quite well.

    I kept my eye on both. Aphrodite would start wheezing again; and I’d give her mouth to mouth again.

    Several hours – as well as calling myself a monster more times than I care to remember – went by.

    Finally, Ares woke up. She was hungry so I carried her to the food center. Not even a few minutes had passed, and Aphrodite was off the bed and coming down the hallway to join her!

    She looked up at me; but gone was the anger! Instead, she just scurried by me on the way to her plate.

    Within a short time after this, Aphrodite was up and about like she was before. Meaning, she hardly limped and fell over. Meaning, she was actually playing with Ares as she did before. Not only as before, but also as if she was stronger and bigger than before!

    Oh My God! What a fighter! What a survivor!

    No wheezing; just purring. All is good! And I hope it stays that way for a long time too!

    And me with them? Well, believe it or not, we certainly have a connection going on somewhere somehow.

    Seeing them fight but not really hurting each other…Well, I don’t believe Ares will or would hurt her now — As who would she have to play with on her level?!


    I watched that new program on Animal Planet called “My Cat From Hell!”

    On it, the Cat Whisperer talks about how cats need to have space to explore and get higher up in their environment. He says there are land crawlers and tree dwellers. And from his many years’ experiences, the tree dwellers are happier cats.

    So I created some steps and climbing access so they both can get up and see things differently around the house. I sat them up and gave them treats; and I thought they would start going higher.

    Thing is, they more or less stay closer to the ground than I would like. And I’m hoping to find out how to get them off the ground and up on the higher settings.

    Early on, both would crawl under the couch. Using whatever’s handy – shoes, boxes, blankets, etc. – I blocked off all access to that. However Aphrodite, being the smaller one, was still able to squeeze her way under using some of her secret passages.

    Well, I’ve blocked them off now too. So she can’t get under the couch no matter what.

    Which brings me to my questions. To wit:

    Is it normal for kittens not to want to climb up on things and view the room from higher up?

    Besides just giving them treats, which they promptly eat then jump off, how do I get the kittens to want to go higher up?!

    Or is this just a wait and see? Meaning they will over time?!

    Any help you can give me on this is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for reading!


    Purrfully yours,




    Hello 🙂

    My foster kittens love sleeping and hiding under the couch. I’ve had foster kittens before though that absolutely loved their higher-up perches. Is your little girl able to jump up now? How are they doing? Do you know how old they are?



    Thank you so much for looking after these little ones as best you can, but please don’t just ‘drop’ any kitten again, whether into a litterbox or anywhere else, or from any height. It sounds like she was fine this time but little kittens can break a leg quite easily from being dropped.


    Drake Robinson

    Mweowdy All!

    Thanks for your replies.

    I realize my telling of how I interact with the kittens at times sounds harsh. But I assure you, it actually sounds worse than it really is.

    From watching mom cats with their kits, as well as having other kit cats many years prior — I can and do rough house with them in a similar manner i.e. nipping ears and tails, etc. Plus, I use my voice to create the parental effect as well.

    Sure, I am bigger than they will ever be. And yet quite remarkably, they do respond to ‘the law’ whenever it’s necessary to enforce it.

    Thing is, having observed Aphrodite that morning, she hadn’t used the litterbox after filling up on chow. And many times, when a kitten gets annoyed or something is wrong, and they fight back as she did — From my experiences in dealing with other kittens, one of their defense mechanicisms is to release their bowels on the spot.

    Figuring she was about to do this, well, “dropping” was probably the wrong term — But I wasn’t exactly ‘gentle’ in placing her in the box either. More like it was releasing my hold and allowing her to twist and turn out of my hands, and make a soft landing on top of the litter itself.

    She did release her bowels; yet when she climbed out, she did fall over as related above. And she made an amazing recovery since.

    In looking back, I do believe some nerves in her spine were pinched or tightened up. As I was massaging her body, I’d feel some sort of anomaly ‘bump’ along her back.

    Now, afterwards, I no longer feel anything of the kind. I guess whatever it was didn’t actually cause her any pain or discomfort. And being that she couldn’t communicate to me other than watching her physical movements — Well, today, you nor her would ever know anything was wrong to begin with! Yay!

    Because she is smaller than her bigger sister — And I’m letting them play harder with each other — Still, if one of Ares’s bites contributed to Aphrodite being temporarily crippled — And something happens that I’m not aware of again — I don’t want Aphrodite running and hiding underneath the couch out of view.

    Having blocked all the ways she can get underneath the couch, well, she found a spot inside a box next to the couch she can climb into and get her privacy when she needs to. I’ll give her that much.

    Yesterday, just after writing the above post, Aphrodite actually started climbing up and going higher on the various spots I created. Right now, she’s perched on top of a high point watching me type this! So she’s getting better!

    Oh and since Ares can jump up and then leap from bigger heights…Well, I see Aphrodite can get up, but she still has a harder time getting down. So placing pillows and towels where she’s more likely to jump, and she’s learning the landings are softer on her paws, she goes for it! Yay again!

    Now unless I see them born or someone tells me when they were born, I’m really not that good at determining the age of kittens and puppies. However, this week celebrates a full month of them being with me. So I know they’re at least that old!

    Oh, and I did find their mother and other two siblings.

    They were all outside behind the house between the fences. I put food out for all of them. But eventually, they moved across the street somewhere.

    However, the only one that came back was the mom. She’s a big black beautiful domestic with big green jewel eyes. Several times I tried to get her; but she’s on her way to becoming feral. And even worse, during the night, she began her wailing cries of going into heat.

    Holy crap, girl! You just had kids, now you want to go get some more?!

    Well, the only tom within miles, whose been around the neighborhood for as long as anyone can remember, showed up. The other day, I saw both of them hanging out together; and she since stopped her passion throws!

    Well, I took in two of her other litter; and I’m not about to take on any more. I just might have to get some cages and have the ASPCA handle this one.

    However, I know eventually Ares and Aphrodite are going to be going through their natural changes and urges too. And well, I’ll deal with that when it happens. And may have to come back here to post and ask more questions about those experiences when it does.

    For now, they really are great healthy kittens. Hopefully both will grow up to be great healthy cats too!

    So until next time:


    Thanks for reading!

    Purrfully yours,




    Stick with us Drake, we’d love to see some pix of Ares and Aphrodite!


    AZDEBRA 5/27 & crew

    Welcome to TDK to both you and the kittens.

    I do have a question, knowing that there are tree dwellers and land crawlers, why would you try to force either one of the kittens to be a tree dweller? Seems to me and this is my personal opinion, that this would be equivalent to making a left-handed person be right-handed…..not everyone is the same and some cats are happy to be land crawlers. Just asking because it kept coming up in my own mind.


    Drake Robinson

    Mweowdy All!

    Well I rarely take pics of anything or anybody…

    One time on a trip, to get away from an approaching snow storm, from up in Colorado, I took old Highway 163 South through Monument Valley down into Utah and ending in Northern Arizona. It was my first and would be my only time through this historic stretch of road.

    Yet the views are so only God could’ve created this amazingly spectacular, I had to use my cellphone camera to snap pictures while I was driving along. Those pics are my keepers.

    A few weeks ago, before I knew anything was wrong with Aprhodite to start with — I was cleaning up their food and litter area. So I moved everything into the kitchen, next to the refrigerator.

    Both Ares and Aprhodite came over to feed. However, when Aphrodite climbed into the litterbox, seeing that the food tray was in reach, she actually stretched herself out, leaned over, and began eating. I laughed my ass off! Especially when after she ate, she went and took care of business. And once satisfied, promptly went along her way. Just how lazy can a cat get?!

    And honestly what guy hasn’t done something similar at some point either? Hahahaha!! Er, um, yes…Anyways…

    I wanted to take a cellphone vid of that moment; but the cellphone battery was dead. Oh well. As it turns out, Aphrodite was temporarily crippled as previously told above. And so, while funny at the time, and still kind of is, well, but still…

    Who knows though, I may decide to take some pics at some point; and will keep you posted if I do!

    However, I am curious about something now. And because I’m not really sure how old Aphrodite and Ares really are, but figuring they’re not quite 4 months old… And figuring they will mature a little faster now as they’re both healthy —

    My questions and concerns are:

    At what age will female kittens/cats start going into heat?

    Considering they’re female from the same litter – And I won’t have to worry about them trying to mate with one another – Nevertheless, their cycles will probably be close and near each other –

    So besides the expected nightly mating calls — What other signs should I be looking out for?

    Considering that for now and a long time coming, they will be indoor/inside cats —

    Considering too, that I probably most likely may not be able to afford to get them fixed right now – And will have to let the cycles run their courses — About how long will their natural wanting to mate cycles run/last?!

    Also, considering their behaviour is currently normal for what I know kittens/cats to be — How will they change and what changes should I be on the lookout for when all this does inevitably begin?

    Any help you can offer and suggest in this department will be greatly appreciated!


    Purrfully yours,





    Hi Drake,

    Why don’t you start another thread – maybe something like “What to Expect as Kittens Mature”.

    People who have already posted to this thread may not realize that you’ve added new questions.

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