Copper’s personality has completely changed

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    Copper’s problem is a complete mystery to me and there are so many variables so I’m going to try to keep this short and tell everything in chronological order.

    Copper is a handsome male Himalayan kitten. We have had him for about 2 months now. When we took him home at 3 months old, he was incredibly playful, active, and fun. We have 3 other cats and are familiar with regular kitten levels of playfulness, and Copper was more energetic than any of our other cats at his age. Our other cats are 3 adult males. 2 twin Persian mixes around 14 years old, and a 2 year old Egyptian Mao. I was very careful when introducing him to the other cats but failed to help them become friends. Their interactions are always supervised, but the closest they’ve ever come to contact was sleeping on the same bed together. The older boys have swatted at Copper a couple of times. Our 2 year old cat was the only one to play with Copper. They’d play tag and hide and seek for a few weeks until our older cat got too fast/aggressive and it started to scare Copper. Copper had worms (he’s since made a full recovery) and was literally pooping himself in his sleep, and in spite of that, he continued to be fun and playful to the point where he wouldn’t let me sleep. About 3/4 weeks ago, I noticed that all he did was sleep on one chair, never demand attention, and never ask to leave the room. Whenever I take him outside, he usually wants to go right back inside, or he waits a few minutes at the most. He doesn’t play at all anymore. He used to play with patterns on the floor, lights on the walls, stationary balls, and just about anything he could reach. He still eats and drinks well and his stool and urine are fine. The only other issue is that we noticed he scratches A LOT. His skin twitches and he seems incredibly irritated, frantically licking and scratching at himself and it never seems to comfort him. The vet says his skin is fine and he’s just trying to scratch his ears since it turns out that he has ear mites which he is currently being treated for. I don’t think the vet is right about him trying to scratch his ears. Something is very clearly irritating him on his body and I can’t see what it is. His skin is perfectly clear and a healthy color. The only other factor is the single vaccination he took on the 25th of November which I am also suspicious of. He hasn’t been vaccinated since since he had a minor cold.

    In summary, the factors that I think may be causing the major shift in his behavior are:
    1. That he got so scared of the other cats that he’s lost interest in play. (He’s always been supervised and they’ve never hurt him though he is scared of them.)
    2. The vaccine which, according to the label, is for “Feline Rhinotracheitis-Calici-Panleukopenia”. One of the listed side effects is temporarily sore joints but perhaps this has lasted longer for him for some reason. I can’t pinpoint the exact time his behavior changed but it is in the general time period in which he was vaccinated.
    3. Whatever is causing his skin to twitch and the constant scratching.
    4. Ear mites. (Why would that cause lower energy levels/activity though?)

    I’m just theorizing at this point. My vet hasn’t taken my concerns seriously and has no theories on the lack of activity. I also am not convinced by his explanation of the itchiness as being attempts at scratching his ears because of ear mites. Vets where I live aren’t the most reliable and he very well may have messed up cleaning his ears and damaged something that helps him keep his balance which is causing his inactivity, or the vaccine was administered incorrectly somehow and has harmed Copper. I have no reason to believe either of these things other than that there is no explanation.

    I have no idea what to do or how to help Copper and if anybody has had a similar experience or any ideas of what I can try or do to help him, Copper and I would appreciate it endlessly. Thank you so much for reading all this and for your help!



    In reading your post above, I wondered if maybe he might have feline hyperesthesia. Of course, nobody wants a diagnosis of something with as varied symptoms as this (FHS) and you may want to do a lot more searching online and with your vet (or another vet) to even see if this might be an explanation for his change in behavior.

    I don’t think it has anything to do at all with how you introduced him to your other cats. Male cats in my experience, are more easy going (for the most part) than females and are more tolerant and playful to newcomers and different situations.

    I would be more concerned with his general health, not the vaccinations because those are ones he really needs. More about a playful kitten that suddenly isn’t interested in doing anything except laying around, suggests to me that something is definitely going on to make him feel yucky. If he is eating well, drinking, and peeing and pooping then it really becomes tricky. Right off I wondered about his place of birth or where you got him–noting that he is a Himilayan and you probably got him from a breeder–why would he have worms and ear mites, especially since he was already 3 months old. These are just questions I had in reading your post.

    I will post a link for FHS, look through it and see if it even resembles anything that your kitten does. There is lots of info online. Keep us posted, we would love to know the outcome.

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