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Cats rhythmically "clenching up"?

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  • Cats rhythmically "clenching up"?

    I have two cats, both of whom are around five years old. Both of them regularly seem to (for lack of a better description) rhythmically "clench up."

    Basically, they have periods of time where they seem to clench up all the muscles in their body, in a steady rhythm. It's always when they're relaxed or dead asleep. The clenches are rhythmical, usually between 5 and 10 seconds apart. There doesn't seem to be any tooth grinding or anything, just all the muscles in their bodies tightening up and then relaxing. It'll happen for a long time (often 20 or 30 minutes) before it will subside. If I wake them up or fire them up a bit, it goes away,

    They eat Wellness CORE, a mix of dry and wet. One cat is about 9 lbs, the other is admittedly a tad overweight at around 13. Both seem happy and healthy (cheerful, playful, good weight, always use their litterbox a normal amount). The clenching happens more frequently with the overweight cat. For him, it happens a few times a day. For the other cat, it's a few times a week.

    I've googled it, but all I've found is that a cat might seize up in the throes of a diabetic coma (?!). While the fatter of my two might have the diabeetus coming a few years out if I don't trim him up a bit, they seem to be in good health now.

    What IS this clenching? Does anyone have any ideas?

  • #2
    One of my females does that when she is sleeping on her back.
    she is 14 never seems to be anything wrong,
    She did it when she was a kitten, when she was very relaxed.
    I would not panic.

    Comment


    • #3
      Dreaming? Chasing mice in their sleep? Does it look like "dream running"?

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        It doesn't seem like dream running. If you were to sit and literally clench all the muscles in your body for half a second, then release... that is what it looks like. I'll try to get a video, although it doesn't lend itself well to being filmed (which is the reason I haven't taken either into the vet about it yet... since I can't replicate it in their office OR readily show it on film, I feel like a bit of a hypochondriac living vicariously through my pets).

        I'm not panicking, but I am interested in what it could be. They both started it very suddenly about six months ago. It initially had me very concerned, but now I'm less worried and more just curious as to what could be driving it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Lazy Palomino Hunter View Post
          It doesn't seem like dream running. If you were to sit and literally clench all the muscles in your body for half a second, then release... that is what it looks like. I'll try to get a video, although it doesn't lend itself well to being filmed (which is the reason I haven't taken either into the vet about it yet... since I can't replicate it in their office OR readily show it on film, I feel like a bit of a hypochondriac living vicariously through my pets).

          I'm not panicking, but I am interested in what it could be. They both started it very suddenly about six months ago. It initially had me very concerned, but now I'm less worried and more just curious as to what could be driving it.
          No its not dreaming, Mine do that and it is hysterical.
          This is Like Tensing and relaxing the muscles, but it is only sometimes right now the cat I have that does it is fast asleep and no movement. I> really do not know what it is but I too would like to know.

          Comment


          • #6
            I've never seen anything like that. Do you have a video you could post?

            Comment


            • #7
              Since they both do it and both started at the same time frame, I would be looking into what changed 6 months ago. Did you change their food? I would be interested to see what their electrolytes, etc looks like.
              I love cats, I love every single cat....
              So anyway I am a cat lover
              And I love to run.

              Comment


              • #8
                I had a cat that did that, but before sleep and with her eyes open. It was uncomfortable to watch, but I never got enough information to take her to a vet. I always assumed there was something off neurologically with her.

                She was hit by a car years ago. Food wise she was a junk foodie, only ate dry cat food ( purina), and had digestive issues most of her life.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  It is uncomfortable to watch, Chall! That's my main motivation to figure out what it is.

                  Here are a few attempts at videoing it. Sorry it doesn't translate brilliantly to film.

                  link 1 (you can see it best around the 20 second mark)

                  link 2

                  link 3

                  The cat that does it all the time is actually brain damaged, incidentally. He almost died of a serious URI as a 6 week old kitten, then again at 11 months when he had a serious case of lungworm that took way too long to diagnose (he has heart and lung damage).

                  The other cat, however, is of the "evil-genius" variety. He still does the clenching, albeit way less frequently than the dumb one.

                  I can't think of ANYTHING that has changed since it started. I wracked my brain then, and have again these last few days, and I really have no idea. Same food, same litter, no new vaccinations, they don't go outside. We haven't moved, and I haven't changed cleaning products or anything. I'm at a loss.
                  Last edited by Lazy Palomino Hunter; Jun. 16, 2013, 05:07 PM. Reason: spelling

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So strange!! No suggestions from me, other than that they look pretty comfortable Looks like they are dreaming about "working out"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Weird. I can see what you mean in the video. I think you have plenty of evidence to show it to a vet and them to see what you are talking about it you wish to pursue it.
                      I love cats, I love every single cat....
                      So anyway I am a cat lover
                      And I love to run.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes. Thats exactly it.note the "breathing" that starts at the shoulder, but finishes on a completely different synch at the stomach.
                        like two separate breaths.
                        Mine did this right before sleeping too, with dilated eyes. She looked "angry" too - I think she wanted me to help her.
                        I did get her off dry food (Purina, Friskys) after she was diagnosed with pancreatitus.
                        With that her whole stomach would go through thumps, like hiccups but magnified by 10.
                        let us know what the vet says.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chall View Post
                          Yes. Thats exactly it.note the "breathing" that starts at the shoulder, but finishes on a completely different synch at the stomach.
                          like two separate breaths.
                          Mine did this right before sleeping too, with dilated eyes. She looked "angry" too - I think she wanted me to help her.
                          I did get her off dry food (Purina, Friskys) after she was diagnosed with pancreatitus.
                          With that her whole stomach would go through thumps, like hiccups but magnified by 10.
                          let us know what the vet says.
                          Hmmm Mine did not do that..
                          Now that I said my female does it I have not seen her do it again.
                          Will be curious if OP finds anything out.
                          I take it as muscle spasms personally. At least that is how it looks to me when I have seen mine do it. Mostly she seems to do it with her back legs.??

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've seen my cat do something similar to what your cat is doing in the first video, though not as obviously. She's a 4-year-old spayed female with a low-grade heart murmur (shows up when she's sick) and some breathing issues.

                            I'm sitting here watching her now as she's sleeping, curled in a ball, and she looks normal, but I know I've seen her do something similar. Now I'm going to be keeping a closer eye on her to see if she does it again.

                            I've never seen her sleep all stretched out for any length of time though.

                            If you do figure out what it is, let us know.
                            Full-time bargain hunter.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by onelanerode View Post
                              I've seen my cat do something similar to what your cat is doing in the first video, though not as obviously. She's a 4-year-old spayed female with a low-grade heart murmur (shows up when she's sick) and some breathing issues.

                              I'm sitting here watching her now as she's sleeping, curled in a ball, and she looks normal, but I know I've seen her do something similar. Now I'm going to be keeping a closer eye on her to see if she does it again.

                              I've never seen her sleep all stretched out for any length of time though.

                              If you do figure out what it is, let us know.
                              I find I can actually feel it (for example, if they're sleeping in my lap) much more easily than I can see it.

                              I'm a grad student, and I don't think this is an immediately pressing issue. Since money is tight, I probably won't get either cat in to the vet for at least a few weeks. But when I do get them in, I promise I'll report back to this thread!

                              Comment

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