Our sweet sick boy came from an odd shelter

lucifur_

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Hi everyone,

This is my first post on this site after being a lurker for some time. We’ve seen some great ideas and similarities to others issues so this has been a great resource at times. Our sweet boy, Luci, has been very sick since the day we brought him home on Jan 4th 2021. We just want him to be happy and healthy so any suggestions you have that we haven’t tried yet would be wonderful. This is going to be a VERY long post so that we can be as detailed as possible.

A little about us/our home:
it’s just the two of us my wife and I. We haven’t and don’t have any visitors due to the pandemic, and rarely leave the apartment. We live in a 1 bedroom with a spacious living room and smaller den area (where most of Luci’s larger toys/furniture are), open kitchen and tall ceilings. We have plush carpet throughout aside from the bathroom tile and kitchen floorboard. We have a balcony but haven’t gotten any use of it with Luci yet as we live in MN and it’s been brutally cold outside. We have large double-pane windows that we keep the blinds open so he can gaze outside and sunbath in the afternoons. We keep our thermostat at a cozy 68° but sometimes bump it up to 72° when it’s severely subzero outside. We have no plants, no other animals, and don’t smoke. We’ve been here for almost 2 years before adopting Luci so any previous animal scent should hopefully be little to none by now. The kitchen counters are spotless with everything put in airtight containers or in the cabinets, and all cleaning chemicals are locked safely away. I work from home and I’m with him 90% of the time as I work in the living room. We are fortunate enough that our building is very quiet, we never hear footsteps from the upstairs neighbors or noise next to us. We are not loud at home either, we mostly watch TV/movies or cook together, play video games etc when we aren’t already playing with Luci/giving snuggles.
Luci has an elaborate cat tower with several scratching posts and dens to sleep/hide away in, it’s about 8ft tall. He has toy wands, soft chew toys, scratch pads, ball-chase-circle-toy-things, 2 crinkly cat tunnels, and 2 electronic hunt/chase toys. But his favorite toys are these cheap little spring cat toys that bounce when he swipes at them and he likes to kick and chase them around, or “play fetch” with them as we toss them around and he brings them back to us. We have a large sectional in the living room covered in throw blankets and pillows he loves to cuddle up on. By all means he should be very comfortable here, we hope anyway.

Luci’s history:
We adopted Luci from a shelter. Luci is thought to be about 1 years old. He is neutered and a snowshoe cat, but can’t confirm the exact breed. We just know he’s part Siamese and looks like a snowshoe. The people at the shelter aren’t sure how he got there, apparently (we asked and they said it was either a hoarder situation or he was a stray, they didn’t document it very well?). The process to get Luci home took almost 2 months due to several things listed below. Some of our friends said we should steer clear from adopting him because the shelter seemed sketchy like they could be lying to us, others said even if that was the case that we should save him from that place and help get him out of there. In the end we took the risk and adopted him hoping the shelter was telling us everything they knew in good faith, and giving them the benefit of the doubt that they just may not have all the answers. We still don’t know if his issues are even something he could have had at the shelter or after we brought him home, but if you have any ideas please leave us a comment.

The adoption process:
We scheduled a day in November to see if he’d be a good fit with us as we were interested in a Siamese/part Siamese cat for their fun/clever demeanors and also hypoallergenic shorter coats as we were told (my wife and I are both allergic to cats but she’s wanted a fur baby for a long time), and we were looking for a cat who was preferably potty trained and not a kitten, but rather a young adult or adult would work best.
The shelter called us the day before our appointment stating that he was experiencing some redness in his eyes with discharge so to wait and reschedule so they can get that cleared up first and make sure it’s not anything serious. They also stated they never received our paperwork so we resent that information over. A few days later after seeing a vet they said he had an upper respiratory infection, very common in shelters and nothing serious to worry about, they said they gave him eye drops and antibiotics. They called again a week later stating it had cleared up and asked we come at a later date as the holidays were approaching and it would be best to come afterward.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, we left a voicemail and send an email after not hearing back about rescheduling to see Luci. We got a call a week later that another cat had been brought into the shelter with ringworm and that Luci was exposed, so they had to quarantine him and all others exposed and treat for ringworm in case they contracted it. They said he would be doing a dip treatment, and that we would have to reschedule to come pick him up after he finished treatments in about 3 weeks.
After his treatments we emailed them twice and left voicemails, we almost said forget it due to them being so unresponsive but we didn’t want to give up potentially adopting Luci.

They called us in mid December. They said Luci was having some soft stools after eating some kitten food on accident (???). They believe this is what upset his stomach so they took him to the vet where he tested negative for Giardia, and they gave him Hills sensitive stomach dry food.
Late December we got a call from the shelter that his stools had returned to normal, he was doing well etc. and so we had scheduled to pick him up Jan 4th after the holidays.

On New Years Eve, just days before we were scheduled to visit and possibly take him home, we got another call stating he was doing just fine, but they lost my paperwork (again) and I would need to resend, and to also confirm what date we were coming in because they apparently didn’t write it down??? They also stated that we should consider adopting another cat he had been rooming with for a month who had special needs that he played with often. This being our very first fur baby, we had no plans of adopting two cats at once, we live in a 1 bedroom apartment that is about 800sq ft and while it’s a decent amount of room for 1 cat we weren’t prepared to bring on another, especially after knowing nothing about this other cat and them springing this on us made us uncomfortable. They never mentioned this other cat, Charlie, who had been apparently rooming with Luci and had a hip fracture/trouble moving around. We said we didn’t have much time to think about that as it was only 4 days before we were to adopt Luci, but would make a decision when we went there, albeit it would probably be a “No.”

The shelter:
On Jan 4th, we arrived at the shelter. They had individual rooms for the cats, some with multiple cats playing, some with one or two, and some with just kittens. The rooms were furnished with a few towers, toys, scratching pads etc. In Luci’s room, it wasn’t carpeted with toys about and didn’t even have windows like the other rooms we walked past.
Luci and Charlie were in their respective tall kennels. The room had no windows, no cat towers or scratching posts/pads, no toys on the ground just a couple chew toys in their kennels, no carpet only tile, and the room appeared to be a utility room or break room as there were sinks, chemicals, storage lockers and cabinets, a fridge etc lining the walls. This is also where my wife discovered a bottle of Tylan medication sitting on a countertop with a note attached with Luci’s name on it and to ‘feed daily with wet food’, which we were never told about him taking any medicine in the first place, so we already had questions on if he were still taking this, should we be giving it to him and how much, what wet food were they feeding him etc. More inconsistencies and more uncertainties, more uncomfortable feelings.

They let Luci and Charlie out of their kennels to play and gave us a few minutes alone with them. Luci was covered in filth- his fur is white and there were brown dirty stains on his back legs and feet, coat looked filthy, and his anus looked somewhat sore/red. His litter box clearly hadn’t been cleaned recently as there were plenty of stools visible in it. The stools were more round and dot-like in appearance than normal sized stool, which concerned me a bit as they said his stools were back to normal but these just didn’t look right. His food bowl and water bowl both looked untouched, and the chew toys in the corners of both kennels were filthy with grime/overuse.

Luci immediately greeted us with head boops and was mostly quiet, but didn’t hide from us. He liked being petted and played with us very actively, and had a soft chirp for a meow and would purr in our lap.
Charlie was frightened and hid most of the time, he was shy and had trouble moving around and we knew we weren’t ready to bring on two new cats so we let them know it would just be Luci for today. Luci was glued to me for the half hour we spent in that room, constantly rubbing up against me, purring, playing with me and being the biggest ham.

When my wife asked them about the medicine she found on the counter that was labeled for Luci that no one told us about, they didn’t really know what it was either. After doing a quick bit of research the medicine seems pretty simple and nothing drastic, just a simple medicine to help with diarrhea. But that wasn’t what got under our skin though. It was that we were once again being misled or told something different from what we were expecting, as they didn’t seem to know what was going on with Luci. Nobody seemed to know who was giving his litter box attention, who is taking care of him, who is monitoring his stool and his condition? We wanted an update and to be told what to expect/what to look for as we had questions about his recent stools and vet visit. But nobody seemed to really have an answer. It became pretty apparent that he was neglected, especially with him looking as filthy as he did, his litter box being so full, lousy room conditions, and if he’s this sick they should be tending to his needs, at the very least taking a pet safe wipe to his paws/fur, anything to help keep him more comfortable would be better than what we had witnessed in that room.

In hindsight maybe we should have said No to bringing Luci home after seeing his appearance and the overall shelter conditions. We felt there was a possibility we were being lied to or information kept from us so that they could get him out of there (they are a no kill shelter). But I had felt an immediate connection to him, I’m sure I don’t need to explain that to those of you who understand, and I felt a personal duty to get him out of there and to help him as best as I could. Maybe that’s me being irresponsible, but I just know I didn’t want him to suffer here if that is what was going on.

We went through with the adoption, were given his bag of Hills sensitive stomach dry food, and a front and back piece of paper of his up to date vaccinations and recent treatments/doctor visits etc. It was somewhat hard to read as it was all filled out by hand, but we could see his vaccinations were up to date and the recent visits previously discussed were there, as well as dewormers and other antibiotics for various infections since his stay there. It appeared Luci came to the shelter in August 2020, weighing 3.5lb and thought to be 6 months old. At his last vet visit in mid December for the loose stools, he had weighed 7lb according to this sheet. Luci is small framed, length about 1.5ft, he is slender but not all skin and bone. He has all his claws and is an active little guy. We don’t know if that weight is accurate/healthy for his supposed age, but if someone wants to comment on that please do.

Welcome Home:
The drive home with Luci was horrible. He meowed a lot, mostly sounded like crying. We thought he was probably anxious, and played soothing music and gently stroked him to help sooth him. During the drive Luci had diarrhea in his carrier. He continued to have diarrhea in our car until we got home. The carrier was a soft carrier bag, and we didn’t even want to deal with it further and immediately tossed it. Once inside, Luci immediately ran to his water dish and lapped up a decent amount. We used pet safe wipes to gently clean his paws and rear end as best we could. We brushed him with a waterless pet safe shampoo from Burts Bees brand to help clean his coat which worked very well. He was very curious about his surroundings, checking everything out and climbing everywhere, but not hiding from us. He peed in his new litter box diligently, accepted cuddles and played with his new toys.

His diarrhea in the car was a yellow color, and had weird tiny lumps in it, almost as if the dry food didn’t digest properly. It was a watery applesauce consistency. We agreed he may have just been severely anxious and made a mental note to keep an eye on his next stool.

He was wonderful that night. He played with his brand new toys, drank water, had pets, cuddled with us on the couch, etc. No whining, no hiding, no panting, no tremors. We had put some of that dry food from the shelter in his dish but he was not interested. Then, while he was kneading into a blanket later in the night, he had an episode of diarrhea right on it without even moving, as if he wasn’t aware he went. He was so relaxed and ready to snooze but I cleaned up the mess and put him in the bathroom with his litter box, some toys, fresh water/food, etc. as the bathroom would be easier to clean than out here in the carpeted apartment. I also needed to get some sleep myself and couldn’t keep watching him for hours in case he had another accident.

Exhausted, I tried to get some sleep. Luci was quiet in the bathroom, but my wife was concerned for the amount of diarrhea he was having after being told his stools were just fine at the shelter. We looked into making an appointment for him the next day just to get a regular check up, maybe do some testing if need be. Unfortunately, all of the clinics in the area were completely booked for almost 2 weeks. We knew we wouldn’t be able to wait that long to have him looked at. We checked on him in the bathroom, and saw he had diarrhea all over the place. We knew it was probably unlikely he was dehydrated after seeing him drink water earlier, but seeing as he was so sick, his rear end now enflamed, and as we also had no medicines or any idea what to do and couldn’t wait 2 weeks, my wife and I took the financial hit and took him to the ER that night, his first night with us.

The start of Luci’s health journey:
At the ER, the Doctors said he was well behaved and very affectionate, without any problems with testing. They confirmed he had a Protozoa on a fecal smear, but couldn’t do a full fecal test without a proper sample, so they gave us metronidazole to keep him on for a week, and also gave him some fluids. They also gave us FortiFlora and Hills Rx I/D wet food (chicken stew flavor). The Dr suggested allowing them to run diagnostics, but said we can wait to see the results of his treatment first. The Dr also mentioned that for a 1 year old cat, he was missing teeth which is usually a sign of older age, and he also has grey/white random hairs on his black/brown tail, another indicator of old age. To this day we still aren’t sure how old he is, but those comments from the doctor have lingered on in my mind since.

After a week with his completed round of metron, new Rx wet food, and fortiflora, we saw some small improvements in Luci. He still was having watery diarrhea, sometimes explosive, with bits of the carrot in the Hills I/D visible in his stool. He would go within a few minutes after just eating and his anus was still red and sore. Luci uses PrettyLitter, and has 2 boxes put in opposite ends of the apartment. The litter is able to detect if he has abnormalities in his urine which we thought would be a good tool. He doesn’t seem to have any issues with the litter, he uses the box when he’s able to make it to the box, but if he can’t make it he will end up with an accident on the floor. We had tried giving him small bits of plain canned pumpkin, plain rice etc intermittently but none of it helped firmed up the stool.
The small improvements were his coat was looking better, and he was able to make it to the box about half the time. He was still just as active as always, normal appetite, still sweet and cuddly, never hissed or hid from us. His urine output was still normal, going a normal amount, normal color, no odors and still drinking a normal amount of water. We had been giving him gentle warm water baths once every couple days/each night depending on how dirty he was on his feet and back legs/rear to mitigate the amount of diarrhea stuck on his fur and feet. It also helped the swelling on his rear end. We weren’t using soaps, just warm water and a rag. He behaved quite well in the bath, wouldn’t whine much if at all and was dried with warm straight-from-the-dryer towels and would promptly nap for a few mins afterward.

Luci was able to get squeezed into a regular vet appointment after a cancellation. Despite completing the initial treatment plan, his stools were still not forming so we wanted to see what else we could do. The vet clinic tested for Giardia and he was given a round of Pyrantel in case of worms. The clinic vet said we would next look at EPI or possibly FeLV if he didn’t improve, as he wasn’t tested for FeLV at the shelter. The test for Giardia came back negative, and a few days later Luci’s diarrhea became much worse where it was lots of watery stool, explosive, and he was in pain right before having to go and while going. He was howling in the litter box, and his rear end was red and swollen which concerned us. It was horrible to see him in this kind of pain with seemingly no end to his suffering, and with little we could do to help him.

Once again the next opportunity to get to a clinic was well over 10 days, so we took him back to the ER for their previously suggested diagnostics. They did X-rays and a complete blood panel. The X-rays showed more diarrhea on its way, but no obstructions or anything they could see of concern. The blood panel came back all normal levels, but the Dr noted his white blood cell count was elevated, indicating he was either still sick with a Protozoa infection or just from inflammation(?). The Dr gave Luci more fluids, Bupropion for pain, a higher dose 2nd round of metron, more Fortiflora, and to switch him to Hills Z/D this time to try and eliminate food allergies.

We again completed the round of metron, and gave him the Bupropion for the pain. We transitioned him to the Z/D within 7 days as the Dr told us to, and he said that if Luci was still experiencing problems after 3-4 weeks on Z/D, that he will need invasive surgery to check inside him to confirm IBD or cancer. We brought up the vet clinic’s suggestion for EPI or FeLV, but he said those are probably not it and he wouldn’t test for that.

During Luci’s transition from Hills I/D to Hills Z/D, his stools firmed up somewhat, rather than watery and explosive it was more like pudding puddles and changed from yellow-brown to a rich brown color. Another improvement was he was actually sleeping more regularly; before, would only nap for a few mins at a time. We never saw him deep sleep aside from if he did overnight while we slept. But he was now regularly napping for 30 mins-an hour or two a couple times a day. Still had lots of energy during playtime, normal appetite, etc.
He did have a new symptom; a lot of gas, and it smelled pretty bad. His stool also smelled bad, very strong smelling as his gas too it could honestly clear a room. I will also mention here that throughout all of this, I work from home and have had my eyes on him all the time, I clean out his litter boxes immediately after use (aside from overnight while sleeping), which while on I/D was 5-6 times a day, and on Z/D was more like 3-4 times a day. His two boxes are XL in size and always have 2-3inches of litter level maintained at all times for proper burying, and I do a thorough poor-out and cat safe foam scrub clean every 2 weeks then refill with brand new litter. Since his stools on Z/D were still soft and wet, we would still need to give him foot baths as he continued to step in his poo puddles and it would stick to his fur. He was still moaning in pain while going, but now less so.

We made an appointment at the end of January with the regular vet clinic to test for EPI and FeLV. The Dr also wanted to test for B12 deficiency, and a PCR test to eliminate any other possible culprits. FeLV and EPI both came back negative, B12 was normal range, and the only thing that came back positive was he was positive for “a strain of coronavirus.” Per the vet, he tested positive for “the strain that isn’t involved with FIP,” which we aren’t sure what that means as most of our searches online show that any coronavirus can eventually develop into FIP, but if someone has more experience or knowledge about this please leave a comment below. The doctor said this chronic coronavirus or cold could be what is causing the diarrhea, and what also would be causing his intermittent upper respiratory problems that were notated on his record at the shelter. With us, he rarely has any kind of eye “stains” or tears, no itchiness or swelling, he sneezes once every few days but didn’t think anything of it. At this point we are wondering, maybe he has FIP? We are hoping not, but aren’t sure if the symptoms properly align.

We called the clinic back and left a message for the doctor to get back to us with some kind of treatment plan, or other things that they might have in mind to test for, or if we should just plan to go do surgery to check for IBD or cancer, because at that point his diarrhea/loose stools had barely made any improvements and we were at our wits end with having to move him back and forth from the bathroom to the living room so he isn’t confined in there the entire day, but also having to clean up diarrhea from every surface and fabric in our place and watch him day in and day out for accidents while we try to keep our place clean, keep him and us fed, get work done, etc. We definitely were not prepared for something like this that would last this long. Our poor boy is so loved and sweet, we just want him to get better.

Finally, some better days:
I saw on this site about S Boulardii and how it can immensely help with diarrhea, especially in cats with IBD. We don’t know if he has IBD, but I made the purchase anyway hoping it would help. We also read about how Hills Rx foods can actually be worse for cats, and we see a raw diet is the way to go. For the time being before we can switch him to raw, we ordered Ziwi wet food online as what we’ve read is it’s the closest to a raw food diet available in canned form, and is reviewed quite well as a good high quality food without grains or additives. We also have steered clear of any chicken flavors as we read chicken can be inflammatory and many cats are intolerant anyway, which could potentially causing his problems.

Luci has been given a probiotic with the main strain being the S Boulardii for 3 weeks now, and has transitioned off Hills Z/D to the Ziwi peak wet food rabbit&lamb. Upon using the S Boulardii he had an improvement within 2 days. For the first time since we adopted him, he hasn’t had diarrhea. His stools are mostly formed, still somewhat soft though and I do still find small little ‘shreds’ of loose stool in his box. He isn’t moaning in any pain, still has his energy, plays, has a good appetite, and naps like a normal cat. His rear end has improved the most. He had a swollen, red anus from the day we got him and would look worse after each stool/diarrhea episode. Even after gently rinsing with warm water it would still look swollen. Now, it’s completely normal and smaller/not swollen, normal pale pink color. We incorporated a 3rd litter box now for him to use as well.

New symptoms and potential ideas:
However, in the last week, while his stools consistency and anus have improved immensely, we are noticing other new symptoms:
  1. He still has trouble walking in his own poops/it’s still soft enough to get all over his tail and back legs/paws if he isn’t careful where he steps. This is usually noticed upon us waking up the next morning and checking what happened overnight.
  2. We noticed that Luci excessively grooms his genital area/anus, including the base of his tail, and are confident that that was one of the reasons his anus was so irritated before when he had profuse diarrhea. He will groom himself after each litter box use, after eating, before napping, after napping, etc. He probably licks his anal/genital area more than 10 times a day when it’s not dirty, idk if that’s considered normal behavior.
  3. Luci will sometimes hang on the edge of the box when he poops..is that normal? Or is my boy just unique? lol
  4. As of the last 3 days, his stools themselves smell like ammonia. Not the box, not his urine, but his stools and anus. If I have to take a pet safe unscented wet wipe to his rear because there’s soft stool stuck to his fur, I can smell it on the wipe. It’s a very strong almost acidic smell and makes his face/breath/paws also smell this way as he grooms himself and the area down there obsessively every day. We have absolutely no idea what is causing this smell.
  5. We think Luci may have developed separation anxiety, as when it’s time for us to go to bed or for my wife to leave for work, he will softly cry for a few minutes until he is distracted with something else or decides to go lay down. He is also constantly watching us whenever he lounges, and if we disappear into another room (say, the bathroom) he must follow and make sure we are still there. If we aren’t in his direct line of sight, he will move to keep an eye on us.
  6. Luci has a tendency from time to time to pee on anything soft on the floor or couch, like a blanket or towel, hoodie etc. He will still pee in the box, but if we dare leave anything soft on the ground he will attempt to pee on it, even when it/the area around it has been thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed with an enzymatic cat safe cleaner.
  7. When walking past his water dish the other day, I noticed it had a yellow tinge to it- I smelled it and it smelled faintly of urine. I immediately got rid of it and now I’m wondering if he’s been peeing in it? Why would he do something like that, and is it relevant to him also peeing on soft things? I still find pee in his litter boxes, so why would he pee in his water bowl? His other bowls that are not on the floor seemed okay, is it just because it’s on the floor?
  8. Luci has started grooming (kissing??) my wife and I whenever we cuddle or give him pets. He insists on profusely licking our hands, arms, face, neck, etc for a full few mins and we don’t know if this is normal, or if it’s a sign of his over grooming habit or what. We don’t mind it that much, and typically will go wash our hands afterward just in case he had that tongue elsewhere beforehand lol.

We have considered the following things to ask about at his next visit/to possibly purchase:
-UTI test?
-Feliway plug-ins
-Continue or discontinue the S Boulardii? Is this something that can be taken long term or is it meant to be a short term fix?
-test for IBD/cancer when funds are available
-change his litter or get different kinds of boxes?

Congrats! You made it to the end of the post:
So after everything, if you’re still with me, we are wondering what you think. What are your suggestions for follow-up testing or treatment? Should we incorporate something or stop doing anything? Are we making correct choices? Do you have experience with these symptoms or history and what helped/didn’t help? Thanks again if you took the time to read all of this. We appreciate any and all ideas you have.

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Talien

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Him always wanting to see where you are at could be separation anxiety, once he gets settled in more and his medical issues are dealt with he may become less of a velcro Cat.

If he's peeing outside the box then yes, a UTI is the most likely cause. A Cat with a UTI will pee in various places, often in areas they feel comfortable in because they are looking for any kind of relief from the discomfort or pain. If he starts peeing in your bed or on you while you sleep it's not because he suddenly hates you, it's because he's in a lot of pain and he wants you to make it go away.

It's not going to hurt to keep him on S.boulardi, especially if it's helping with his diarrhea.

If nothing came back from his fecal then IBD is definitely a possibility. I noticed you'd mentioned considering a raw diet for him, and a good raw or LID (limited ingredient diet) food can work wonders for IBD. If you are looking for more information on a raw diet this is an excellent resource.

If he's using the litterbox then you shouldn't need to change anything there, at least not yet. Get him tested for a UTI and see what comes back regarding IBD/cancer first, unless he stops using the litterbox completely. Though one of the bigger signs of IBD is thickening of the intestinal walls, and that would show up on an xray or ultrasound.
 

crouton

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I just wanted to say feel free to message me if you need to vent. I took in a Momma cat and then some of her kittens couldn’t find homes, so I took one in as a foster. The shelter said he had a potential adopter so we reluctantly returned him, only to find out the adoption fell through and less than 6 weeks later he was in another foster home with his brother.

We were told they had a mild cold at the time. We wanted to take him back in and agreed to take both kittens. We were again told they will stay with the foster until they feel better so as to not infect our other cat. When they finally got the all clear I picked them up and...they sneezed and coughed as soon as we arrived home. I was fretting so hard. Sneezing, coughing, lots of eye and nose discharge, diarrhea stomach troubles, stepping in puddles and piles of poo. So I’ve been there for a long period of time myself and it was hard.

just like you I never got any backstory on the mother but I know the kittens were born at the shelter and all vaccinated and tested and neutered. That’s it. It’s tough not knowing the backstory.

I would recommend getting these cat wipes from Furbliss which is the brand that also makes Glandex wipes but those have a scent. If you don’t mind a scent, try the glandex wipes on his anal area. The furbliss unscented wipes work well too. I also buy water wipes in the baby aisle to keep on hand. When we had a lot of diarrhea in the box I would wipe them off or wash their paws or back ends with diluted dr bronners soap in a foam pump and then use another wet towel to clean it off.

it sounds like you are doing a great job. I know how frustrating it can be. I would share that two of my cats get severe diarrhea from fortiflora, that definitely makes it worse. And for us canned food exacerbated it. We had to go dry only for some time to pinpoint the problems.
 

tarasgirl06

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Hi everyone,

This is my first post on this site after being a lurker for some time. We’ve seen some great ideas and similarities to others issues so this has been a great resource at times. Our sweet boy, Luci, has been very sick since the day we brought him home on Jan 4th 2021. We just want him to be happy and healthy so any suggestions you have that we haven’t tried yet would be wonderful. This is going to be a VERY long post so that we can be as detailed as possible.

A little about us/our home:
it’s just the two of us my wife and I. We haven’t and don’t have any visitors due to the pandemic, and rarely leave the apartment. We live in a 1 bedroom with a spacious living room and smaller den area (where most of Luci’s larger toys/furniture are), open kitchen and tall ceilings. We have plush carpet throughout aside from the bathroom tile and kitchen floorboard. We have a balcony but haven’t gotten any use of it with Luci yet as we live in MN and it’s been brutally cold outside. We have large double-pane windows that we keep the blinds open so he can gaze outside and sunbath in the afternoons. We keep our thermostat at a cozy 68° but sometimes bump it up to 72° when it’s severely subzero outside. We have no plants, no other animals, and don’t smoke. We’ve been here for almost 2 years before adopting Luci so any previous animal scent should hopefully be little to none by now. The kitchen counters are spotless with everything put in airtight containers or in the cabinets, and all cleaning chemicals are locked safely away. I work from home and I’m with him 90% of the time as I work in the living room. We are fortunate enough that our building is very quiet, we never hear footsteps from the upstairs neighbors or noise next to us. We are not loud at home either, we mostly watch TV/movies or cook together, play video games etc when we aren’t already playing with Luci/giving snuggles.
Luci has an elaborate cat tower with several scratching posts and dens to sleep/hide away in, it’s about 8ft tall. He has toy wands, soft chew toys, scratch pads, ball-chase-circle-toy-things, 2 crinkly cat tunnels, and 2 electronic hunt/chase toys. But his favorite toys are these cheap little spring cat toys that bounce when he swipes at them and he likes to kick and chase them around, or “play fetch” with them as we toss them around and he brings them back to us. We have a large sectional in the living room covered in throw blankets and pillows he loves to cuddle up on. By all means he should be very comfortable here, we hope anyway.

Luci’s history:
We adopted Luci from a shelter. Luci is thought to be about 1 years old. He is neutered and a snowshoe cat, but can’t confirm the exact breed. We just know he’s part Siamese and looks like a snowshoe. The people at the shelter aren’t sure how he got there, apparently (we asked and they said it was either a hoarder situation or he was a stray, they didn’t document it very well?). The process to get Luci home took almost 2 months due to several things listed below. Some of our friends said we should steer clear from adopting him because the shelter seemed sketchy like they could be lying to us, others said even if that was the case that we should save him from that place and help get him out of there. In the end we took the risk and adopted him hoping the shelter was telling us everything they knew in good faith, and giving them the benefit of the doubt that they just may not have all the answers. We still don’t know if his issues are even something he could have had at the shelter or after we brought him home, but if you have any ideas please leave us a comment.

The adoption process:
We scheduled a day in November to see if he’d be a good fit with us as we were interested in a Siamese/part Siamese cat for their fun/clever demeanors and also hypoallergenic shorter coats as we were told (my wife and I are both allergic to cats but she’s wanted a fur baby for a long time), and we were looking for a cat who was preferably potty trained and not a kitten, but rather a young adult or adult would work best.
The shelter called us the day before our appointment stating that he was experiencing some redness in his eyes with discharge so to wait and reschedule so they can get that cleared up first and make sure it’s not anything serious. They also stated they never received our paperwork so we resent that information over. A few days later after seeing a vet they said he had an upper respiratory infection, very common in shelters and nothing serious to worry about, they said they gave him eye drops and antibiotics. They called again a week later stating it had cleared up and asked we come at a later date as the holidays were approaching and it would be best to come afterward.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, we left a voicemail and send an email after not hearing back about rescheduling to see Luci. We got a call a week later that another cat had been brought into the shelter with ringworm and that Luci was exposed, so they had to quarantine him and all others exposed and treat for ringworm in case they contracted it. They said he would be doing a dip treatment, and that we would have to reschedule to come pick him up after he finished treatments in about 3 weeks.
After his treatments we emailed them twice and left voicemails, we almost said forget it due to them being so unresponsive but we didn’t want to give up potentially adopting Luci.

They called us in mid December. They said Luci was having some soft stools after eating some kitten food on accident (???). They believe this is what upset his stomach so they took him to the vet where he tested negative for Giardia, and they gave him Hills sensitive stomach dry food.
Late December we got a call from the shelter that his stools had returned to normal, he was doing well etc. and so we had scheduled to pick him up Jan 4th after the holidays.

On New Years Eve, just days before we were scheduled to visit and possibly take him home, we got another call stating he was doing just fine, but they lost my paperwork (again) and I would need to resend, and to also confirm what date we were coming in because they apparently didn’t write it down??? They also stated that we should consider adopting another cat he had been rooming with for a month who had special needs that he played with often. This being our very first fur baby, we had no plans of adopting two cats at once, we live in a 1 bedroom apartment that is about 800sq ft and while it’s a decent amount of room for 1 cat we weren’t prepared to bring on another, especially after knowing nothing about this other cat and them springing this on us made us uncomfortable. They never mentioned this other cat, Charlie, who had been apparently rooming with Luci and had a hip fracture/trouble moving around. We said we didn’t have much time to think about that as it was only 4 days before we were to adopt Luci, but would make a decision when we went there, albeit it would probably be a “No.”

The shelter:
On Jan 4th, we arrived at the shelter. They had individual rooms for the cats, some with multiple cats playing, some with one or two, and some with just kittens. The rooms were furnished with a few towers, toys, scratching pads etc. In Luci’s room, it wasn’t carpeted with toys about and didn’t even have windows like the other rooms we walked past.
Luci and Charlie were in their respective tall kennels. The room had no windows, no cat towers or scratching posts/pads, no toys on the ground just a couple chew toys in their kennels, no carpet only tile, and the room appeared to be a utility room or break room as there were sinks, chemicals, storage lockers and cabinets, a fridge etc lining the walls. This is also where my wife discovered a bottle of Tylan medication sitting on a countertop with a note attached with Luci’s name on it and to ‘feed daily with wet food’, which we were never told about him taking any medicine in the first place, so we already had questions on if he were still taking this, should we be giving it to him and how much, what wet food were they feeding him etc. More inconsistencies and more uncertainties, more uncomfortable feelings.

They let Luci and Charlie out of their kennels to play and gave us a few minutes alone with them. Luci was covered in filth- his fur is white and there were brown dirty stains on his back legs and feet, coat looked filthy, and his anus looked somewhat sore/red. His litter box clearly hadn’t been cleaned recently as there were plenty of stools visible in it. The stools were more round and dot-like in appearance than normal sized stool, which concerned me a bit as they said his stools were back to normal but these just didn’t look right. His food bowl and water bowl both looked untouched, and the chew toys in the corners of both kennels were filthy with grime/overuse.

Luci immediately greeted us with head boops and was mostly quiet, but didn’t hide from us. He liked being petted and played with us very actively, and had a soft chirp for a meow and would purr in our lap.
Charlie was frightened and hid most of the time, he was shy and had trouble moving around and we knew we weren’t ready to bring on two new cats so we let them know it would just be Luci for today. Luci was glued to me for the half hour we spent in that room, constantly rubbing up against me, purring, playing with me and being the biggest ham.

When my wife asked them about the medicine she found on the counter that was labeled for Luci that no one told us about, they didn’t really know what it was either. After doing a quick bit of research the medicine seems pretty simple and nothing drastic, just a simple medicine to help with diarrhea. But that wasn’t what got under our skin though. It was that we were once again being misled or told something different from what we were expecting, as they didn’t seem to know what was going on with Luci. Nobody seemed to know who was giving his litter box attention, who is taking care of him, who is monitoring his stool and his condition? We wanted an update and to be told what to expect/what to look for as we had questions about his recent stools and vet visit. But nobody seemed to really have an answer. It became pretty apparent that he was neglected, especially with him looking as filthy as he did, his litter box being so full, lousy room conditions, and if he’s this sick they should be tending to his needs, at the very least taking a pet safe wipe to his paws/fur, anything to help keep him more comfortable would be better than what we had witnessed in that room.

In hindsight maybe we should have said No to bringing Luci home after seeing his appearance and the overall shelter conditions. We felt there was a possibility we were being lied to or information kept from us so that they could get him out of there (they are a no kill shelter). But I had felt an immediate connection to him, I’m sure I don’t need to explain that to those of you who understand, and I felt a personal duty to get him out of there and to help him as best as I could. Maybe that’s me being irresponsible, but I just know I didn’t want him to suffer here if that is what was going on.

We went through with the adoption, were given his bag of Hills sensitive stomach dry food, and a front and back piece of paper of his up to date vaccinations and recent treatments/doctor visits etc. It was somewhat hard to read as it was all filled out by hand, but we could see his vaccinations were up to date and the recent visits previously discussed were there, as well as dewormers and other antibiotics for various infections since his stay there. It appeared Luci came to the shelter in August 2020, weighing 3.5lb and thought to be 6 months old. At his last vet visit in mid December for the loose stools, he had weighed 7lb according to this sheet. Luci is small framed, length about 1.5ft, he is slender but not all skin and bone. He has all his claws and is an active little guy. We don’t know if that weight is accurate/healthy for his supposed age, but if someone wants to comment on that please do.

Welcome Home:
The drive home with Luci was horrible. He meowed a lot, mostly sounded like crying. We thought he was probably anxious, and played soothing music and gently stroked him to help sooth him. During the drive Luci had diarrhea in his carrier. He continued to have diarrhea in our car until we got home. The carrier was a soft carrier bag, and we didn’t even want to deal with it further and immediately tossed it. Once inside, Luci immediately ran to his water dish and lapped up a decent amount. We used pet safe wipes to gently clean his paws and rear end as best we could. We brushed him with a waterless pet safe shampoo from Burts Bees brand to help clean his coat which worked very well. He was very curious about his surroundings, checking everything out and climbing everywhere, but not hiding from us. He peed in his new litter box diligently, accepted cuddles and played with his new toys.

His diarrhea in the car was a yellow color, and had weird tiny lumps in it, almost as if the dry food didn’t digest properly. It was a watery applesauce consistency. We agreed he may have just been severely anxious and made a mental note to keep an eye on his next stool.

He was wonderful that night. He played with his brand new toys, drank water, had pets, cuddled with us on the couch, etc. No whining, no hiding, no panting, no tremors. We had put some of that dry food from the shelter in his dish but he was not interested. Then, while he was kneading into a blanket later in the night, he had an episode of diarrhea right on it without even moving, as if he wasn’t aware he went. He was so relaxed and ready to snooze but I cleaned up the mess and put him in the bathroom with his litter box, some toys, fresh water/food, etc. as the bathroom would be easier to clean than out here in the carpeted apartment. I also needed to get some sleep myself and couldn’t keep watching him for hours in case he had another accident.

Exhausted, I tried to get some sleep. Luci was quiet in the bathroom, but my wife was concerned for the amount of diarrhea he was having after being told his stools were just fine at the shelter. We looked into making an appointment for him the next day just to get a regular check up, maybe do some testing if need be. Unfortunately, all of the clinics in the area were completely booked for almost 2 weeks. We knew we wouldn’t be able to wait that long to have him looked at. We checked on him in the bathroom, and saw he had diarrhea all over the place. We knew it was probably unlikely he was dehydrated after seeing him drink water earlier, but seeing as he was so sick, his rear end now enflamed, and as we also had no medicines or any idea what to do and couldn’t wait 2 weeks, my wife and I took the financial hit and took him to the ER that night, his first night with us.

The start of Luci’s health journey:
At the ER, the Doctors said he was well behaved and very affectionate, without any problems with testing. They confirmed he had a Protozoa on a fecal smear, but couldn’t do a full fecal test without a proper sample, so they gave us metronidazole to keep him on for a week, and also gave him some fluids. They also gave us FortiFlora and Hills Rx I/D wet food (chicken stew flavor). The Dr suggested allowing them to run diagnostics, but said we can wait to see the results of his treatment first. The Dr also mentioned that for a 1 year old cat, he was missing teeth which is usually a sign of older age, and he also has grey/white random hairs on his black/brown tail, another indicator of old age. To this day we still aren’t sure how old he is, but those comments from the doctor have lingered on in my mind since.

After a week with his completed round of metron, new Rx wet food, and fortiflora, we saw some small improvements in Luci. He still was having watery diarrhea, sometimes explosive, with bits of the carrot in the Hills I/D visible in his stool. He would go within a few minutes after just eating and his anus was still red and sore. Luci uses PrettyLitter, and has 2 boxes put in opposite ends of the apartment. The litter is able to detect if he has abnormalities in his urine which we thought would be a good tool. He doesn’t seem to have any issues with the litter, he uses the box when he’s able to make it to the box, but if he can’t make it he will end up with an accident on the floor. We had tried giving him small bits of plain canned pumpkin, plain rice etc intermittently but none of it helped firmed up the stool.
The small improvements were his coat was looking better, and he was able to make it to the box about half the time. He was still just as active as always, normal appetite, still sweet and cuddly, never hissed or hid from us. His urine output was still normal, going a normal amount, normal color, no odors and still drinking a normal amount of water. We had been giving him gentle warm water baths once every couple days/each night depending on how dirty he was on his feet and back legs/rear to mitigate the amount of diarrhea stuck on his fur and feet. It also helped the swelling on his rear end. We weren’t using soaps, just warm water and a rag. He behaved quite well in the bath, wouldn’t whine much if at all and was dried with warm straight-from-the-dryer towels and would promptly nap for a few mins afterward.

Luci was able to get squeezed into a regular vet appointment after a cancellation. Despite completing the initial treatment plan, his stools were still not forming so we wanted to see what else we could do. The vet clinic tested for Giardia and he was given a round of Pyrantel in case of worms. The clinic vet said we would next look at EPI or possibly FeLV if he didn’t improve, as he wasn’t tested for FeLV at the shelter. The test for Giardia came back negative, and a few days later Luci’s diarrhea became much worse where it was lots of watery stool, explosive, and he was in pain right before having to go and while going. He was howling in the litter box, and his rear end was red and swollen which concerned us. It was horrible to see him in this kind of pain with seemingly no end to his suffering, and with little we could do to help him.

Once again the next opportunity to get to a clinic was well over 10 days, so we took him back to the ER for their previously suggested diagnostics. They did X-rays and a complete blood panel. The X-rays showed more diarrhea on its way, but no obstructions or anything they could see of concern. The blood panel came back all normal levels, but the Dr noted his white blood cell count was elevated, indicating he was either still sick with a Protozoa infection or just from inflammation(?). The Dr gave Luci more fluids, Bupropion for pain, a higher dose 2nd round of metron, more Fortiflora, and to switch him to Hills Z/D this time to try and eliminate food allergies.

We again completed the round of metron, and gave him the Bupropion for the pain. We transitioned him to the Z/D within 7 days as the Dr told us to, and he said that if Luci was still experiencing problems after 3-4 weeks on Z/D, that he will need invasive surgery to check inside him to confirm IBD or cancer. We brought up the vet clinic’s suggestion for EPI or FeLV, but he said those are probably not it and he wouldn’t test for that.

During Luci’s transition from Hills I/D to Hills Z/D, his stools firmed up somewhat, rather than watery and explosive it was more like pudding puddles and changed from yellow-brown to a rich brown color. Another improvement was he was actually sleeping more regularly; before, would only nap for a few mins at a time. We never saw him deep sleep aside from if he did overnight while we slept. But he was now regularly napping for 30 mins-an hour or two a couple times a day. Still had lots of energy during playtime, normal appetite, etc.
He did have a new symptom; a lot of gas, and it smelled pretty bad. His stool also smelled bad, very strong smelling as his gas too it could honestly clear a room. I will also mention here that throughout all of this, I work from home and have had my eyes on him all the time, I clean out his litter boxes immediately after use (aside from overnight while sleeping), which while on I/D was 5-6 times a day, and on Z/D was more like 3-4 times a day. His two boxes are XL in size and always have 2-3inches of litter level maintained at all times for proper burying, and I do a thorough poor-out and cat safe foam scrub clean every 2 weeks then refill with brand new litter. Since his stools on Z/D were still soft and wet, we would still need to give him foot baths as he continued to step in his poo puddles and it would stick to his fur. He was still moaning in pain while going, but now less so.

We made an appointment at the end of January with the regular vet clinic to test for EPI and FeLV. The Dr also wanted to test for B12 deficiency, and a PCR test to eliminate any other possible culprits. FeLV and EPI both came back negative, B12 was normal range, and the only thing that came back positive was he was positive for “a strain of coronavirus.” Per the vet, he tested positive for “the strain that isn’t involved with FIP,” which we aren’t sure what that means as most of our searches online show that any coronavirus can eventually develop into FIP, but if someone has more experience or knowledge about this please leave a comment below. The doctor said this chronic coronavirus or cold could be what is causing the diarrhea, and what also would be causing his intermittent upper respiratory problems that were notated on his record at the shelter. With us, he rarely has any kind of eye “stains” or tears, no itchiness or swelling, he sneezes once every few days but didn’t think anything of it. At this point we are wondering, maybe he has FIP? We are hoping not, but aren’t sure if the symptoms properly align.

We called the clinic back and left a message for the doctor to get back to us with some kind of treatment plan, or other things that they might have in mind to test for, or if we should just plan to go do surgery to check for IBD or cancer, because at that point his diarrhea/loose stools had barely made any improvements and we were at our wits end with having to move him back and forth from the bathroom to the living room so he isn’t confined in there the entire day, but also having to clean up diarrhea from every surface and fabric in our place and watch him day in and day out for accidents while we try to keep our place clean, keep him and us fed, get work done, etc. We definitely were not prepared for something like this that would last this long. Our poor boy is so loved and sweet, we just want him to get better.

Finally, some better days:
I saw on this site about S Boulardii and how it can immensely help with diarrhea, especially in cats with IBD. We don’t know if he has IBD, but I made the purchase anyway hoping it would help. We also read about how Hills Rx foods can actually be worse for cats, and we see a raw diet is the way to go. For the time being before we can switch him to raw, we ordered Ziwi wet food online as what we’ve read is it’s the closest to a raw food diet available in canned form, and is reviewed quite well as a good high quality food without grains or additives. We also have steered clear of any chicken flavors as we read chicken can be inflammatory and many cats are intolerant anyway, which could potentially causing his problems.

Luci has been given a probiotic with the main strain being the S Boulardii for 3 weeks now, and has transitioned off Hills Z/D to the Ziwi peak wet food rabbit&lamb. Upon using the S Boulardii he had an improvement within 2 days. For the first time since we adopted him, he hasn’t had diarrhea. His stools are mostly formed, still somewhat soft though and I do still find small little ‘shreds’ of loose stool in his box. He isn’t moaning in any pain, still has his energy, plays, has a good appetite, and naps like a normal cat. His rear end has improved the most. He had a swollen, red anus from the day we got him and would look worse after each stool/diarrhea episode. Even after gently rinsing with warm water it would still look swollen. Now, it’s completely normal and smaller/not swollen, normal pale pink color. We incorporated a 3rd litter box now for him to use as well.

New symptoms and potential ideas:
However, in the last week, while his stools consistency and anus have improved immensely, we are noticing other new symptoms:
  1. He still has trouble walking in his own poops/it’s still soft enough to get all over his tail and back legs/paws if he isn’t careful where he steps. This is usually noticed upon us waking up the next morning and checking what happened overnight.
  2. We noticed that Luci excessively grooms his genital area/anus, including the base of his tail, and are confident that that was one of the reasons his anus was so irritated before when he had profuse diarrhea. He will groom himself after each litter box use, after eating, before napping, after napping, etc. He probably licks his anal/genital area more than 10 times a day when it’s not dirty, idk if that’s considered normal behavior.
  3. Luci will sometimes hang on the edge of the box when he poops..is that normal? Or is my boy just unique? lol
  4. As of the last 3 days, his stools themselves smell like ammonia. Not the box, not his urine, but his stools and anus. If I have to take a pet safe unscented wet wipe to his rear because there’s soft stool stuck to his fur, I can smell it on the wipe. It’s a very strong almost acidic smell and makes his face/breath/paws also smell this way as he grooms himself and the area down there obsessively every day. We have absolutely no idea what is causing this smell.
  5. We think Luci may have developed separation anxiety, as when it’s time for us to go to bed or for my wife to leave for work, he will softly cry for a few minutes until he is distracted with something else or decides to go lay down. He is also constantly watching us whenever he lounges, and if we disappear into another room (say, the bathroom) he must follow and make sure we are still there. If we aren’t in his direct line of sight, he will move to keep an eye on us.
  6. Luci has a tendency from time to time to pee on anything soft on the floor or couch, like a blanket or towel, hoodie etc. He will still pee in the box, but if we dare leave anything soft on the ground he will attempt to pee on it, even when it/the area around it has been thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed with an enzymatic cat safe cleaner.
  7. When walking past his water dish the other day, I noticed it had a yellow tinge to it- I smelled it and it smelled faintly of urine. I immediately got rid of it and now I’m wondering if he’s been peeing in it? Why would he do something like that, and is it relevant to him also peeing on soft things? I still find pee in his litter boxes, so why would he pee in his water bowl? His other bowls that are not on the floor seemed okay, is it just because it’s on the floor?
  8. Luci has started grooming (kissing??) my wife and I whenever we cuddle or give him pets. He insists on profusely licking our hands, arms, face, neck, etc for a full few mins and we don’t know if this is normal, or if it’s a sign of his over grooming habit or what. We don’t mind it that much, and typically will go wash our hands afterward just in case he had that tongue elsewhere beforehand lol.

We have considered the following things to ask about at his next visit/to possibly purchase:
-UTI test?
-Feliway plug-ins
-Continue or discontinue the S Boulardii? Is this something that can be taken long term or is it meant to be a short term fix?
-test for IBD/cancer when funds are available
-change his litter or get different kinds of boxes?

Congrats! You made it to the end of the post:
So after everything, if you’re still with me, we are wondering what you think. What are your suggestions for follow-up testing or treatment? Should we incorporate something or stop doing anything? Are we making correct choices? Do you have experience with these symptoms or history and what helped/didn’t help? Thanks again if you took the time to read all of this. We appreciate any and all ideas you have.

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Hello L lucifur_ and family, and welcome to TCS! Poor little man! and poor you! Thank you for being committed to loving and caring for him.
This is what a google search came up with re: the ammonia smell:
"Why does my cat's poop smell like ammonia?
Parasites as a cause of smelly stool in cats: Some intestinal parasites of cats cause diarrhea and gas. In particular, Giardia can produce chronic, foul smelling feces with or without diarrhea. Coccidia and Trichomonas are also parasites that can cause intestinal inflammation, diarrhea and odor.Aug 27, 2014"
Also, has he been tested for tapeworm? This is a very treatable problem but one that definitely does need treating if he tests positive.
For cleaning, I rely on Nature's Miracle - Just For Cats. It's sold at Petco and undoubtedly online as well. It is an enzymatic cleaner so it doesn't just mask the problem, it actually destroys the molecules, ensuring cleaning if instructions are followed. I also have a Bissell SpotBot Pet robotic shampooer and it has come in very handy with extremely difficult accidents on carpet.
Heartfelt *PRAYERS* for Luci!
 
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lucifur_

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Him always wanting to see where you are at could be separation anxiety, once he gets settled in more and his medical issues are dealt with he may become less of a velcro Cat.

If he's peeing outside the box then yes, a UTI is the most likely cause. A Cat with a UTI will pee in various places, often in areas they feel comfortable in because they are looking for any kind of relief from the discomfort or pain. If he starts peeing in your bed or on you while you sleep it's not because he suddenly hates you, it's because he's in a lot of pain and he wants you to make it go away.

It's not going to hurt to keep him on S.boulardi, especially if it's helping with his diarrhea.

If nothing came back from his fecal then IBD is definitely a possibility. I noticed you'd mentioned considering a raw diet for him, and a good raw or LID (limited ingredient diet) food can work wonders for IBD. If you are looking for more information on a raw diet this is an excellent resource.

If he's using the litterbox then you shouldn't need to change anything there, at least not yet. Get him tested for a UTI and see what comes back regarding IBD/cancer first, unless he stops using the litterbox completely. Though one of the bigger signs of IBD is thickening of the intestinal walls, and that would show up on an xray or ultrasound.
Thanks for your suggestions! We have an appointment tomorrow and will ask for a UTI test to help rule that out or treat if he does have it. Really appreciate your input 🐾
 
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lucifur_

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I just wanted to say feel free to message me if you need to vent. I took in a Momma cat and then some of her kittens couldn’t find homes, so I took one in as a foster. The shelter said he had a potential adopter so we reluctantly returned him, only to find out the adoption fell through and less than 6 weeks later he was in another foster home with his brother.

We were told they had a mild cold at the time. We wanted to take him back in and agreed to take both kittens. We were again told they will stay with the foster until they feel better so as to not infect our other cat. When they finally got the all clear I picked them up and...they sneezed and coughed as soon as we arrived home. I was fretting so hard. Sneezing, coughing, lots of eye and nose discharge, diarrhea stomach troubles, stepping in puddles and piles of poo. So I’ve been there for a long period of time myself and it was hard.

just like you I never got any backstory on the mother but I know the kittens were born at the shelter and all vaccinated and tested and neutered. That’s it. It’s tough not knowing the backstory.

I would recommend getting these cat wipes from Furbliss which is the brand that also makes Glandex wipes but those have a scent. If you don’t mind a scent, try the glandex wipes on his anal area. The furbliss unscented wipes work well too. I also buy water wipes in the baby aisle to keep on hand. When we had a lot of diarrhea in the box I would wipe them off or wash their paws or back ends with diluted dr bronners soap in a foam pump and then use another wet towel to clean it off.

it sounds like you are doing a great job. I know how frustrating it can be. I would share that two of my cats get severe diarrhea from fortiflora, that definitely makes it worse. And for us canned food exacerbated it. We had to go dry only for some time to pinpoint the problems.
We are currently using wipes from “Whisker City” at Petsmart, they are the unscented hypoallergenic ones. They help clean him off somewhat but his fur still ends up stained from the poos. I like the bronners idea, I’ll look into that maybe they have an unscented kind, if not we can dilute one of the scents that are safe for cats.
we are so nervous to incorporate anything dry again on the chance it will exacerbate the diarrhea again 😩😭 The S Boulardi seems to be helping the most, we’re also wondering if we should get him a litter box that’s wider so he has more room to walk around in? Maybe that could help prevent him from stepping in his poos.
Thank you for your kind words, it really helps knowing we are doing the right thing and can hear from others who have dealt with similar things ❤
 
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lucifur_

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Hello L lucifur_ and family, and welcome to TCS! Poor little man! and poor you! Thank you for being committed to loving and caring for him.
This is what a google search came up with re: the ammonia smell:
"Why does my cat's poop smell like ammonia?
Parasites as a cause of smelly stool in cats: Some intestinal parasites of cats cause diarrhea and gas. In particular, Giardia can produce chronic, foul smelling feces with or without diarrhea. Coccidia and Trichomonas are also parasites that can cause intestinal inflammation, diarrhea and odor.Aug 27, 2014"
Also, has he been tested for tapeworm? This is a very treatable problem but one that definitely does need treating if he tests positive.
For cleaning, I rely on Nature's Miracle - Just For Cats. It's sold at Petco and undoubtedly online as well. It is an enzymatic cleaner so it doesn't just mask the problem, it actually destroys the molecules, ensuring cleaning if instructions are followed. I also have a Bissell SpotBot Pet robotic shampooer and it has come in very handy with extremely difficult accidents on carpet.
Heartfelt *PRAYERS* for Luci!
Yes we use the Natures Miracle just for cats! Both the regular and “platinum” have done wonders cleaning up the bathroom when he spent nights in there before, and it does work fine on our carpet, but a carpet cleaning vacuum would be so much better.
We will have to see if they can do another fecal test tomorrow, I know I’ve read Giardia can be especially tricky to diagnose as it sheds intermittently 🙄 We haven’t tested for tapeworm, we will ask about that too. Thanks so much for your help and suggestions 🐾❤
 

crouton

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We are currently using wipes from “Whisker City” at Petsmart, they are the unscented hypoallergenic ones. They help clean him off somewhat but his fur still ends up stained from the poos. I like the bronners idea, I’ll look into that maybe they have an unscented kind, if not we can dilute one of the scents that are safe for cats.
we are so nervous to incorporate anything dry again on the chance it will exacerbate the diarrhea again 😩😭 The S Boulardi seems to be helping the most, we’re also wondering if we should get him a litter box that’s wider so he has more room to walk around in? Maybe that could help prevent him from stepping in his poos.
Thank you for your kind words, it really helps knowing we are doing the right thing and can hear from others who have dealt with similar things ❤
Only use the baby unscented dr bronners on pets and only very very very diluted in a foaming pump. Never for a full shampoo.

To apply it in use those rag like disposable paper towels or the bamboo towels that are thicker. Same to rinse off.

if you want a bigger box and aren’t concerned with litter spillage look into the low sided senior box like kitty go here. Amazon andchewy sell it.
 

crouton

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It’s also possible the cat is stepping in the mess more due to the litter. Pretty litter didn’t work for my cat family, and we had a lot of poop foot situations with it and other fine grain litters. My cats do better with medium to large grain litter, less poo foot
 

T.O.

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Cats pee in weird places for a number of reasons. The most common as you’ve been told already is UTI or other box time related pain. But I’ve had them do it to get my attention as well. “My litter box is too dirt.” “I don’t like this new cat.” “I’m sick.” All behavior has meaning. Sometimes it’s a puzzle.
I found the shelters and rescues impossible during this time! I tried to adopt in Texas and they kept breaking my heart. I commend you for sticking it out. I hope you can find the answer.
 

catsknowme

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Thank you for going the distance with Luci! If you'd like to try a more natural route with him, you can use a weak baking soda/water rinse on his rear followed with a thin layer of triple antibiotic (not the one containing pramoxine/pain relievers) or coconut oil. You can offer him a tab of coconut oil to eat as it has soothing internal properties and is considered safe for cats. The S. Boulardii is a good choice for maintenance therapy. Be sure that his water is filtered if you're on a municipal water system. To help his sensitive tissues feel better (inside & out) you can ask your vet about using marshmallow root decoction and/or slippery elm. Because of his peeing issues, I would use marshmallow root first although a combo of the two would be ideal - just avoid tinctures because alcohol is used as a preservative. Please keep us updated!
 

Talien

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We haven’t tested for tapeworm, we will ask about that too. Thanks so much for your help and suggestions 🐾❤
Missed that part before. If he had tapeworm you would already know it, animals with tapeworm infestation frequently shed segments that are very hard and resemble sesame seeds. You'd see them stuck to the fur around his rear end and on anything he lays on.
 

Jesse James

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Thank God you rescued this poor cat from that horrible place!!

It doesn't sound like FIP if he's eating, drinking and active. I had a cat once who did develop FIP from a coronavirus, but his immune system was severely weakened due to being positive for BOTH FeLV and FIV. He refused to eat or drink, hid, and was very lethargic.

It does sound a lot like IBD. A good vet will be able to do an ultrasound to see if his intestines are thickened at all. INVASIVE SURGERY IS NOT NECESSARY. My vet has an traveling radiologist vet come to the office once a week with ultrasound equipment. It's about $450.00 here in the Northeast. You may be able to find a vet in your area with this capability or perhaps your vet could recommend somewhere that has it. Most emergency pet clinics have the equipment.

It also sounds like it could possibly be he ingested some type of toxic substance at the shelter (which should be investigated and probably put out of business) that is causing severe gastric/bowel upset. It sounds like they wouldn't know it if he did. Also, is this some type of illegal animal testing place?

I wouldn't switch him to a raw food diet at this point yet. Too much change will make his issue worse. One of the stray cats I took in once had bad diarrhea - my vet recommended sprinkling his wet food with a little dry rice cereal for babies - Gerber makes one. It helped his diarrhea quite a bit.

If he's grooming himself - I wouldn't advise cleaning him with anything but warm water. He is ingesting whatever is in the wipes. Even though they say they are safe for cats, I wouldn't use them on him right now.

I will let you know if I think of anything else, but please keep us posted! You and your wife are angels. Don't give up on him.
 

Jesse James

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OK I just thought of something else. I think a quality limited ingredient dry food diet might be good for him right now. Blue Buffalo makes one and there are several others. A pet food store should be able to direct you to this kind of food.

I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all, but I'm 68 years old and have had about 25 cats over the years - all rescues/strays etc. I've seen a lot of issues.
 

tarasgirl06

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OK I just thought of something else. I think a quality limited ingredient dry food diet might be good for him right now. Blue Buffalo makes one and there are several others. A pet food store should be able to direct you to this kind of food.

I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all, but I'm 68 years old and have had about 25 cats over the years - all rescues/strays etc. I've seen a lot of issues.
*Jumping in unasked* I THANK YOU for your suggestions and information, Jesse James Jesse James -- that's what we're here for at TCS, to help cats and those who care for and about them!
 

artiemom

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Omgosh. You have been through so much. I feel for you.

Giving you a bit of my background:
My first guy, ended up with IBD. He was also allergic to chicken. We went through the diarrhea.

I ended up going to an Internal medicine Vet. A specialist. A biopsy was done— through the mouth, into stomach. It showed IBD.

Artie was put on a ton of meds for the inflammation and for the diarrhea.
Artie had to eventually be on some meds. We also changed his diet. I did not go raw, because of freezer storage space. I gave him rabbit.

Now with Geoffrey, he came to me with soft stools, pudding like. They were sold at the shelter— I was a volunteer there; but progressively seemed worse.

I immediately took him off of chicken and went back to rabbit.

Geoffrey is also very anxious. The verdict is not in, about him having IBD, but my gut is telling me he does. His soft stool stopped with Prozac.
This does not apply to you. But I have been there.

I would bring a stool sample into the Vet and asking for a PCR test for guardians or other nasties

I would also make an appointment with an internal medicine vet; and do an ultrasound, looking for thickened walls of the bowel.

Honestly, I think a specialist is the way to go, at this point. You have a regular vet, and get a specialist for diagnosis and care.

My gut fits that Luci had IBD. Steroids and metro help.

There is a website named IBD kitties; very informative.

Also, sometimes age can be told by teeth. Shelters have no idea. Most of them use the closest/cheaper vet.. some vets donate their services.

I applaud you for sticking with Luci, through all of this.
I hope I helped.
I have many long threads on here about Artie.
 
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