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Cat Constipation...i'm At A Loss

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by sgrbrn, May 4, 2019.

  1. sgrbrn

    sgrbrn Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Aug 31, 2012
    So we've been struggling with a kitty that's badly constipated since about mid March. He's been to the vet three times, no megacolon or anything except maybe some prediabetes. The lactulose didn't help him and he absolutely loathed it. The only thing that eventually helps is enemas but I can't give him one every week. I've been bottle feeding him Weruva's Funk in the Trunk which I read is one of the best food's to feed a constipated cat. He also gets an egg yolk, slippery elm, marshmallow root, Pet Wellbeing Smooth BM Gold for Cats, and Miralax. We will take him to yet another vet later this week, but I'm really at a loss. He's backed up again and I'll have to give him another enema tonight - he had one last Friday. He's only around 6 or 7 years old. I'm disabled and we've already spent around $1000 on this with no real solution. We don't have much more money to be able to deal with this. I don't know what else to do. :bawling:
     

  2. verna davies

    verna davies TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

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    You could try psyllium. Sprinkle a pinch on his food twice a day. It is not absorbed into the intestines but forms a gel that make passing the stool easier. I have not tried it but pure pumpkin with no additives is often used, one to two tablespoons added to the food every 12 to 24 hours might help. When mine have a hairball that causes constipation I put a small pea size dab of natural vasaline on the nose. Make sure the is plenty of water available.
     
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  3. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Sorry your guy is still having such a problem with all of the solutions you've tried for him. There is probably something more complicated going on and the vet needs to take additional steps to try to find the source of the problem. I know it is more money, but have they done any x-rays of his bowel to see if there is a structural issue? It might even require a CT scan or MRI - which I know unfortunately is even more money. But, throwing money at treating symptoms - which isn't accomplishing anything anyway - is a greater expense in the long run than spending money now to find the actual cause.
     
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  4. sgrbrn

    sgrbrn Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Aug 31, 2012
    Verna, thanks for the tip on the psyllium - that's one thing we haven't tried.

    And Feebys, we had three x-rays done. No blockage, no megacolon, nothing - the vet showed me the x-rays himself. That said I'm not going back to him since he kept him for a whole day and did nothing, no enema, no real feeding, nothing - sent him home with us around 4pm then called at 6:30pm asking us to bring him back for an enema since they forgot to give him one. My little guy HATES going to a vet's office and it was bad enough he felt like he'd been abandoned there for another whole day during which they didn't do what was required. I'm pretty good at giving him enemas now, but this is no way to live. It's been so frustrating dealing with this. Most of the vets in our area are awful. I wouldn't even mind spending the money (not that it isn't a super struggle) but they are for the most part incompetent. We will be trying someone new this week, I'm just not sure who yet.
     
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  5. verna davies

    verna davies TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Please let us know how you get on. I hope you can resolve this quickly.
     
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  6. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    Central FL (Born in OH)
    I don't know if this will help, but just in case... the title of the link just says "Home", but it is a directory of vets/vet specialists by the AVMA.

    Home
     

  7. Burts

    Burts TCS Member Adult Cat

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    High fiber kibble cured Oliver
     
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  8. sgrbrn

    sgrbrn Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Aug 31, 2012
    Ok, so just gave him an enema because he was just too miserable to wait and he had an epic poop. So I'm thankful in that sense, but he's stuck in the bathroom until tomorrow. At least he's more comfortable now. Hopefully a new vet will have some ideas. I'm at my wit's end.
     

  9. daftcat75

    daftcat75 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Is he getting all of these at once? Can you back up and try one at a time? The Miralax should be safe enough to double up with any of the others. But I don't know if maybe adding all of these at once might be backfiring somehow. Slippery elm and marshmallow root both make gels when wet. Is it possible that you're gumming him up instead of easing his passage?

    Can you try a different food? I don't particularly like all the gums in that one. Tiki Cat makes similar food called Aloha Friends that includes pumpkin with fewer thickeners and gums.
    Tiki Cat Aloha Friends - Cat Food With Easy-To-Digest Pumpkin - Tiki Pets
     

  10. daftcat75

    daftcat75 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Is he eating enough? These pumpkin foods are very high moisture. You'd think this would be helpful for constipation but moisture is reclaimed in the intestines and especially the colon and processed by the kidneys. Without enough bulk in the colon, he doesn't get the poop urge. Meanwhile any smaller feces sitting in the colon will continue to have the water reclaimed by the colon until they are dry, hard, and impacting the passage of anything building up behind them.

    These pumpkin foods are also notoriously low calories. I'd rather you find a pate he likes and add pumpkin to that. This will help with producing the bulk needed to trigger the poop signal. You can try to add psyllium to produce bulk. But I would also pull back everything else except maybe the Miralax which helps counteract some of that moisture reclaimed by the colon. Give it at least a week before adding anything else back in.
     

  11. JamesCalifornia

    JamesCalifornia TCS Member Top Cat

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    ~ Try giving kitty an eyedropper of olive oil. I do this sometimes when one of my cats has this problem. ( seems it's usually ingested hair ) :catrub:
    :poop:
     

  12. daftcat75

    daftcat75 TCS Member Top Cat

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    This is just the equivalent of an oral enema. I’d rather see him pooping regularly rather than having to be flushed out via one end or the other.

    @sgrbrn
    Are you giving him a probiotic? It is quite possible that with all the enemas, his microbiome is too wonky to digest the food properly. Usually this would present as diarrhea. But there could be dehydration from the enemas as well. Does he eat dry food? Does he drink water on his own?
     

  13. white shadow

    white shadow TCS Member Top Cat

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    Hi sgrbrn.

    Two questions..........
    • Is this Arlo you're talking about ?
    • If there were a Vet in Tampa, would traveling there be doable for you ?
    .
     

  14. sgrbrn

    sgrbrn Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Aug 31, 2012
    Daftcat75, thank you so much for your help! And for all the stuff I give him the egg yolk is mixed in with his food. I bottle feed him at least three to five times a day in an effort to keep the digestive tract moving. I mix the slippery elm, marshmallow root, and miralax in a small one ounce bottle with some water which I squirt a portion of in each feeding. The Pet Wellbeing Smooth BM Gold for Cats I mix with about a quarter teaspoon of pet safe aloe juice which is given twice a day. I did the Miralax and slippery elm by themselves and they didn't help on their own.

    To add insult to injury with all this is he's not particularly fond of wet food. He would once in awhile eat complete crap Friskies or Fancy Feast. I've tried probably 50 different cans of different brands in the last couple of months and if I'm lucky he'll lick it for 10 maybe 30 seconds but then walk away never to return. He LOVES kibble, and treats - if he could he would live on treats alone. This is one major aspect that has made this whole situation that much more difficult to deal with, hence the bottle feeding. We just bought this super expensive Health Extension grain free kibble, but he backed up right away eating just a little of that. As far as whether he's eating enough, I'm not really sure. What I do is mix up two 3oz cans with an egg yolk and some water. This fills up a 4 ounce bottle about 1 3/4 times and I try to make sure he has at least one full bottle a day. He ends up finishing up the leftover if there is any the next day and I start all over again. I don't know if he's been getting enough water. I read that a 10 pound cat should get 7-9 ounces of water. I highly doubt that he's been getting that much even with the wet feedings. We have another very, very elderly cat that has taken to pawing the water while she drinks and keeps getting crap in the bowl. I think this may be part of the reason he's not drinking as much and also he's never been a big drinker.

    You know I forgot that the vet mentioned something about the possibility of a motility issue - but he didn't say why. He does have some cow hocking in his legs, but nothing super severe.

    So can I give him the psyllium, Miralax, and pumpkin in the same day or would it be a problem?

    Oh and I forgot I am giving him Probiotic! There's so much that I'm trying here to get this cat to poop regularly and I just love him so much I feel like I'm having a nervous breakdown from this. If he was sick with something like kidney disease or whatever then I would at least know what is possible but with this idopathic constipation I feel so frustrated that his quality of life is so miserable now as often as once a week that...I just want to make things better for him and I'm going crazy.

    I think I addressed the water thing. I will be bottle watering him going forward but for now he's resting in the bathroom. Tomorrow will be a bath and I'll restart on the feeding, watering and with just the pumpkin, Miralax and probiotic for now. I'll pick up the psyllium when I go out.


    And White Shadow, no sadly this is not Arlo. Arlo didn't make it. That was probably my worst vet experience as the vet we saw, well while he may have not exactly killed him, he did not provide the basic care that was required for a cat with his numbers. Every time I drive by his place...it makes my stomach turn. I really should write a review, but I haven't been able to even now nearly six years later. It's still so upsetting because he really was so special.
    And as far as traveling goes it would have to be one heck of a vet for a great price. I'm open though especially after the last two or three vets we've been to in the intervening years. Let me know. Thanks!
     

  15. sgrbrn

    sgrbrn Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Aug 31, 2012
    Apologies for the long windedness and possibly not making any sense. I'm pretty shredded after dealing with this for the last almost two months now.
     

  16. daftcat75

    daftcat75 TCS Member Top Cat

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    I have my own special needs kitty. Krista has had IBD, pancreatitis, liver disease (the hat trick!), ruptured eardrum/Horners Syndrome, and many rounds of dental problems and extractions (resorptive lesions, not stomatitis. Gotta wait for them to go bad.)

    1 3 oz can is 65 calories. It sounds like you're feeding slightly more than 1 can per day. How big is he?

    Friskies is junk. Fancy Feast, if it's the classic pates, and he'll eat it, I'd go with that.

    I would take an empty 5.5 oz can. Go buy something cheap and plate it for a feral, wash and retain the can if you don't have an empty 5.5 oz. To the empty can, add a 3 oz can of Fancy Feast Classic, whatever the 1/2 daily recommendation of pumpkin is, maybe a 1/2 pump of fish oil or salmon oil to make this slop really tasty and appealing for him, 1/2 egg yolk (the other half you can save for the next can), and 1/2 daily of miralax. Mix that up good but try to plate feed him instead of bottle feeding him. I don't know how big he is, but I'm assuming two cans minimum. Start with that for a week. If there's no improvement, then add the psyllium. Divide the daily amount by the number of cans you'll prepare. I want the focus to be on the food, not the supplements. He should be eating food to poop, not eating gels and supplements and yolks and pumpkin and somewhere in there might be a few shreds of chicken.

    What's his activity level? Exercise helps with motility. Active cats are less constipated than lazy cats.
     

  17. white shadow

    white shadow TCS Member Top Cat

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    Well, let me tell you that you touched a nerve for me just now. I had a horrid experience 15 years ago, seemingly similar to yours, and that clinic is in the same place today....a place I have to walk past to access the most convenient supermarket here! I cringe every time.

    OK - have a look here: Our Team

    You'd need to gather copies of all the previous records you can get.

    I have no previous knowledge of that clinic - I'm just going on the clinical experience of most of them - and, I'd shy away from the 'juniors' there.

    You know, it's possible to have 'all the right stuff' in a cat's diet....and for the cat to have a motility issue. This complicated stuff isn't easy and really needs a skilled diagnostician. Here's a mostly understandable piece on that from a very competent veterinarian, a board-certified feline specialist: http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/all-bunged-unclogging-constipated-cat?pageID=1
    .
     

  18. sgrbrn

    sgrbrn Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Aug 31, 2012
    Daftcat75, That's terrible about your Krista! I don't know how you're dealing with it all! I'm having a hard enough time with this.

    He's about 10 pounds now. He was a bit heavier before but he lost a little weight after spending two days at the vets office (just sitting around not being looked after!!! - argh!) without being fed. I feel like he's actually gained weight in the last week or so, so I don't know what the hell is going on. Ooo - I forgot to mention that I did get a cat grass kit which he did just notice yesterday. Not sure if it's relevant but I thought I'd mention it.

    As far as the wet food feeding goes, I'll give it a try but I would bet money that it won't work. I'm amazed that he actually just went back to eat some Friskies Salmon I gave him in the bathroom just now. I haven't tried all of the Fancy Feast pate's but the ones I did didn't go over particularly well. He used to eat the Medleys, specifically the Chicken Primavera, from time to time but even then he would never finish a can. On top of that the elderly cat will eat any and all wet food she comes across so if I leave it, which is what he would probably prefer, she'll eat it all before he gets a chance to come back and graze at his leisure which is what he's inclined to do when he eats anything...well, except treats. The food situation is a pain. I really don't mind bottle feeding him at all, as long as it worked, but nothing seems to work now. I'll get some Fancy Feast on Monday. Hopefully his system can handle the Friskies until then because it's literally the only thing he's eaten on his own in months.

    Hey, do you have any recommendations on the fish/salmon oil? My brain is tapioca right now and I'm not sure where to begin to look for something like that specifically for cats.

    He doesn't move around as much as he should. He probably would have done better in a house with a couple of younger cats, as the house where he was fostered prior to us adopting him had about eight cats. I try to get him moving as much as I can, but I'm disabled as well (heart and autoimmune issues) and it can be a challenge for me to get up and run around with him as he would like to do. I've tried laser pointers in desperation, but they don't hold much interest for him. He likes wands with bouncy feathers and long ribbons I can run around the house with him chasing me. We actually had a good session this morning (about 15-20 minutes), but after that he was in and out of the box for the next two hours straining with nothing to show for it - that's when I broke down and it was enema time.

    I do want to mention that this whole constipation thing just kind of hit out of the blue. We've had him since 2015 and he had a bout in January which resolved itself on it's own - I think I tried olive oil then. But on March 13th everything changed and it's been like battling a dragon ever since. Prior to the 13th I only gave them some Lysine in their water from time to time and they were both eating Kirkland brand kibble humming along. Our other cat is almost 20 years old, if not older, and she's had chronic sneezing problems from that respiratory problem - I can't remember the name, but she's still going strong albeit she looks like the Crypt Keeper. I don't understand why he has this chronic intractable problem. He is very bright eyed and bushy tailed when he's not constipated. It's so weird.


    And White Shadow - thank you for the info! I would actually really love to go there! Many, many moons ago when I lived up North we went to a vet that only took cats - he was the best! I seriously miss him. I just took a look where they are and they're pretty far from us. I don't mind driving but I know he would hate it - he hates leaving the house. I'll keep it in mind though if we get even more desperate that we already are. Thank you for that website. I think I read through it before, but I'll take another look. I'm off for now. I need to decompress a bit and he seems quiet in there. Thankful for the peaceful moments for now!
     

  19. daftcat75

    daftcat75 TCS Member Top Cat

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    So Friskies may be what I call junk, but it’s more food than the funk in the trunk. Maybe you can start with Friskies and add a probiotic. You can add fish oil or salmon oil if you need to increase the appeal. FortiFlora is a probiotic you can get from a vet’s office. It’s not a very good probiotic. I wouldn’t use it for that. But it has “animal digest” which is basically the kibble flavoring that gets carnivore cats to eat something that’s clearly not meat. So if he’s still a kibble addict, this could help increase wet food appeal.

    Friskies already has rice in it. That will add stool bulk. That’s why I’m not recommending psyllium or pumpkin to start. Focus on having him eat enough food, even Friskies, and then work from there. I think it’s a combination of not enough food/not enough bulk, and dehydration (because he’s not getting enough food, he’s not getting enough moisture from his food), that’s causing the constipation.

    Friskies is also organs heavy (byproducts are un-named organs.). This isn’t such a bad thing here. Organs tend to be fattier and thus have a mild laxative effect. This is why I recommend pretty much a full stop on everything except the Miralax and a probiotic and focus on having him eat enough food to poop. I’d aim for about 200-250 calories. I’d also aim for more play sessions. Having him chase around a wand for five to ten minutes before his meals will help prime his system for food, work his appetite, and you’ll get more food into him.

    Now the bad news. You probably won’t be able to put 100 calories on a plate two times a day. You will likely have to split this into 4 or more meals. And now you begin to understand what I go through with Krista. I’m trying to put weight back onto a cat that requires over 200 calories but only eats about 30-40 at a time. I feed her every four hours. I’m exhausted. But I’ve been getting her to eat an extra gram or two in each portion each week. I believe with the increased play sessions we started, the B-12 I’ve been giving her, and the general well-being improvement she gets from a sustained period of time with adequate nutrition and few digestive disruptions, that we will soon be able to collapse a couple meals onto each other. Reduce to five and eventually four meals when she’s eating enough at each meal.

    Maybe you can get him a microchip feeder if he has a microchip. I think they also make chip collars (e.g. they sell a collar with a chip in it so that you can still personalize the feeder without having to implant a chip in the cat.). This would allow you to leave his portions available to him without the other cats getting into them.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2019

  20. daftcat75

    daftcat75 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Whew! I can talk a lot! :p

    For fish oil/salmon oil, I like the Grizzly brand.
    Grizzly Pet Products | High-quality, all-natural pet food, omega-3 oils, and treats for dogs, cats and horses

    The salmon oil has truly been a difference maker with Krista. Rawz is basically the only canned food I can give her that doesn’t tie up her tummy, soup her poops, or cause her to vomit. While attempting a rotation between the three proteins I know she can have (and also why she’s limited to so few foods)—turkey, duck, and rabbit—I noticed that the turkey has the most calories but she likes it the least. The rabbit produces better stools and fewer hairballs. But she loves the duck. And so I started comparing the recipes, and the duck was the only one with added salmon oil. I went out and bought a pump bottle of the Grizzly Salmon Oil. I mixed one pump into a 5.5 oz can and served from that. She cleaned the plate like I’ve never seen her clean a rabbit plate before. She has been doing so well cleaning rabbit plates, that I’m mixing in turkey without added oil to reduce the amount of oil she gets in a day since she’s exceeded the dosage expectations. She’s eating about 8 oz a day now. She’s a 15 year old, 8 lbs senior kitty with IBD and all those strikes against her digestion. I’m aiming for 30 calories per lbs of ideal weight plus exercise for weight gain. She’s almost eating that much. Each week I see an improvement in the amount she eats. The weight trend has been slower to reflect that. I think we’re still getting her back up to the exercise and calories she needs. I am expecting the inflection point any week now.
     

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