Welcome to The Cat Site
your cat community
Interact with our community

poop issue

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by poppy2507, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. poppy2507

    poppy2507 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    43
    3
    Jan 26, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    BACKGROUND: I haven't posted re Poppy in many months, but this week am concerned about her. Poppy is a (now) 6-year-old female cat, short hair, declawed by previous owners, always indoors, lovely disposition. I rescued her from a shelter just over a year ago. She was termed "special needs" by the shelter because of her age, and "behavior" and litterbox issues. The age is irrelevant - she's healthy, eats well, is active, plays, etc. So-called behavior issues (she was returned to the shelter twice for petting aggression, disliked being touched, was "unfriendly" etc.) have also resolved. Poppy still doesn't like to be picked up, but loves to be brushed, comes when called, is a very affectionate little girl. She often jumps up on the arm of the sofa beside me, loves to be petted or brushed, comes looking for me if I'm too long away in another room. It took patience and persistence, but we've made it!

    Poppy had some litterbox trial-and-error issues at first, but consistently for over a year has used the litterbox for pee. She decided on the final location for her litterbox (on an enclosed and safe balcony). She spends much of her day lying in the sun on the balcony, has free access to both balcony and the rest of the apartment. It's a totally peaceful and safe environment for her.

    No mishaps outside the box for urination.

    She has never "pooped" in the box, and we worked out a preferred outside-the-box location on the balcony. "Poop" for over a year has been normal and very easily cleaned up, causing no distress to either of us.

    Poppy was sent home from the shelter over a year ago on 1/4 tsp x twice daily Restoralax (Miralax in the U.S.). We worked this down to 1/4 tsp 6 mornings a week, with the addition of 1 tsp canned pumpkin morning and evening. Both Restoralax and pumpkin are mixed into her canned food, and she happily eats well. She alternates Fancy Feast Turkey & Giblets, Chicken, and Liver & Chicken. I tried Wellness grain-free chicken recently - she didn't like it.

    CURRENT PROBLEM: Poppy's poop schedule over the past year has been predictable and regular: every 3 days. I switched her from dry food to canned when she came to live with me. She doesn't drink water from any bowls / cat fountains ever used here, but I do add extra water to her canned food.

    Her "poop" schedule changed last week, when she went 4 days before pooping. She is now into her 5th day since her last bowel movement. There appears to be no discomfort, no straining, no failed attempts, no nausea. She is still eating normally, sleeping and playing and normally active.

    I would take her to a vet in a blink if she presented in pain or obvious distress, but I don't see this at all. I'm a pensioner, can't afford hundreds of dollars on vet care "on spec."

    Mindful that she was said to have chronic constipation when I adopted her, I've always been watchful of her litterbox behavior, and keep her box very clean.

    I've once again increased the Restoralax (Miralax) to 1/4 tsp twice daily, starting just yesterday. I've increased the canned pumpkin from 1 tsp twice daily to 1 tablespoon daily (3 tsps to the tbsp, so a bit of an increase).

    Should I increase the pumpkin more? What is a safe maximum daily amount of pumpkin to give a cat, and over what period of time? As mentioned, there is no change in her apparent comfort level: she doesn't appear at all distressed.

    I know one poop in 5 days is not "normal" but Poppy has never been "normal" as per other cats. Just normal for her.

    What do I do?
     

  2. betsygee

    betsygee Don't believe everything you think. Staff Member Moderator

    19,379
    4,691
    Mar 17, 2013
    Monterey, CA, USA
    Slippery elm bark can be used for constipation, but I wonder if a vet visit isn't in order first.  Maybe the worsened constipation is from an underlying illness?   Hopefully another member with more experience with this will come along....    
     

  3. oneandahalfcats

    oneandahalfcats TCS Member Top Cat

    1,437
    173
    Dec 13, 2013
    Hi there,

    Just a couple of questions for you.

    1. How has her intake of food been? Have you introduced anything new?

    2. Has your kitty had any problems with her anal sacs in the past that you know of?

    If your kitty has been eating less than normal, this could account for the delay. The pumpkin is a soluble form of fiber which can help with mild constipation, but results can vary from cat to cat. Both the pumpkin and miralax can be effective in keeping things soft, but the pumpkin is also food and so I would suggest not increasing this in case it might have the opposite effect of adding too much bulk. If she has had problems with her anal sacs being plugged up with mucous, this could be what is preventing her from having a bowel movement. You might be able to see if her anus looks swollen and bulbous (sticking out). If it is, this could indicate an anal sac problem.

    I would suggest that if she hasn't had a BM by the end of today, to call and speak with your vet for further guidance, and possibly a visit to check her for impaction.

    Hope this helps. Please keep us posted.
     

  4. poppy2507

    poppy2507 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    43
    3
    Jan 26, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks for responding. To answer your questions: There's no real change in food intake. Poppy has always been a "grazer" and eats two 3-oz tins of Fancy Feast per day. These are divided into 4 meals (around 8 a.m., noon, 5:30 and 10 p.m., which is when she seems to "ask" for food). Pumpkin is usually mixed into 8 am and 5:30 pm meals. She's eating the usual amount.

    No problems with anal sacs noted on the history I got from Toronto Humane Society a year ago. Absolutely no problem noticed now. Her anatomy seems normal, not bulging at all, no redness or sign of irritation. She uses the litterbox normally for urination, but doesn't squat or try to poop at all. It's as if she's forgotten she's supposed to do that.

    As mentioned, there is no distress at all evident. (Just mine!)

    Pumpkin plus 1/4 tsp of Restoralax / Miralax has kept her regular for over a year. The problem is recent. I'm reluctant to seek vet care, which is in the hundreds just for an initial visit (phone calls aren't free there), and I just don't have the money. (Previous cat who died cost me thousands before I finally had to have him put to sleep.)  If Poppy seemed distressed at all I would get her to the vet ASAP, but she is eating, active, sleeps normally ... just doesn't poop!
     

  5. betsygee

    betsygee Don't believe everything you think. Staff Member Moderator

    19,379
    4,691
    Mar 17, 2013
    Monterey, CA, USA

  6. oneandahalfcats

    oneandahalfcats TCS Member Top Cat

    1,437
    173
    Dec 13, 2013
    Yes, its good that Poppy is not experiencing any pain or discomfort. I guess the other important concern here is when fecal matter sits in the colon for too long, the result is that toxins start to build up in the system. I am in Canada as well and so understand the reluctance in not wanting to use the vet clinic when the need is something other than an emergency. I hope that it doesn't come to that and that she can go soon. I know you will do the right thing when the time comes :)

    BetsyGee mentioned Slippery Elm which is a natural herb that has been found to be effective in dealing with both diarrhea and constipation. I agree that this is definitely something that might help to improve Poppy's regularity. The link that BetsyGee has posted, is to a thread of mine in which I have documented my experiences in using this on my male cat, Max, who has had issues with constipation in the last couple of years. I don't know that Slippery Elm could help in this particular situation as SEB needs to be in the system for a couple of days to see results, but is certainly something that you should consider going forward. As well, there is also probiotics which can be very helpful in improving digestion in cats. Sometimes poor digestion can be the cause of constipation and other ailments such as IBS. The important thing at this point though, is to get her past this critical stage. Once she is back to normal, you might want to consider the Slippery Elm or probiotic.

    One other thing I suggest quite often is to do a light, gentle massage of your cat's belly starting from the top and moving to the lower abdomen. This can sometimes have the effect of relieving trapped gas and promoting peristalsis in helping the stool to move along. As your kitty has a low tolerance for being touched however, this may not be advisable.

    I hope that she can go soon.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014

  7. poppy2507

    poppy2507 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    43
    3
    Jan 26, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks to you both for responding so quickly. I will try to get some slippery elm bark - there's a bulk food / health food store nearby, so will try there. I've just read through the info on this that you've posted, and also read the caution on bigcat.com that it should taste sweet, not bitter, so guess I will be taste-testing whatever I give to Poppy! It might help in future.

    Right now she's snoozing in the sun on the balcony, completely unconcerned about my concern.

    I will also try the massage of her abdomen. She will sometimes tolerate being petted there for a few seconds at a time, although she definitely always been a "hands off my tummy and declawed paws" sort of girl.

    The shelter vet a year ago sent her out with instructions to give her 1/4 tsp Restoralax (Miralax) twice a day. I gradually got that down to 1/4 tsp six mornings a week, using pumpkin to add fiber and replace the 1/4 tsp Miralax. The few times over the past year I gave Miralax twice a day, her stool was almost diarrhea-quality. Very messy to clean up, and Poppy seemed distressed by it. On the pumpkin and reduced laxative, she easily / regularly produced normal stools (a 3-day volume every 3 days) that were very easily cleaned up, until this present "crisis."

    (She won't use the litterbox to poop - instead has chosen an area on the balcony. I accepted her litterbox preferences as a possible result of her being declawed by her first owners, abused by the second, and too many returns to a shelter cage before I adopted her. I can live with her thinking "outside the box" for poop, but still want to be able to clean it up easily. She's consistently uses the litterbox for urination.)

    Anyway, I will try to get the slippery elm bark, and hope it will ease things in future. I will also try a gentle tummy massage for now. I don't know how else to get her to release whatever is building up in there, except to go back to the Miralax dose prescribed by the shelter vet, at least for the moment.

    So, I will go to 1/4 tsp of Miralax twice a day, instead of once, and maybe hold off on the pumpkin until she has a BM - hopefully by tonight. Then gradually add in the slippery elm bark, if she'll tolerate it once or twice a week? Does that sound right?

    I very much appreciate the info and caring in this forum. Poppy will appreciate it, too!

    Many thanks to you both.
     

  8. oneandahalfcats

    oneandahalfcats TCS Member Top Cat

    1,437
    173
    Dec 13, 2013
    You're welcome. I meant to add in my previous post, my thanks to you for giving this girl a second chance. Bless you.

    If you can get hold of the slippery elm, you will want to give this a couple of times a day to get it working. You can do both the SEB and miralax in the same day, but you may have read at little big cat that if she is getting any medications, to give the SEB in advance or well after as it can interfere with absorption of meds.

    Lots of positive vibes and warm thoughts [​IMG]  
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
    betsygee purraised this.

  9. betsygee

    betsygee Don't believe everything you think. Staff Member Moderator

    19,379
    4,691
    Mar 17, 2013
    Monterey, CA, USA
    I'd give her the slippery elm bark every day. I don't give it at the same time as other meds, though--the slippery elm bark can interfere with absorption of meds.  
     

  10. betsygee

    betsygee Don't believe everything you think. Staff Member Moderator

    19,379
    4,691
    Mar 17, 2013
    Monterey, CA, USA
    I was wondering--do you use puppy pads in the 'agreed on' poop area?  I have a cat who's almost 18, he has arthritis, etc. who started pooping outside the box.  I've started using Dr. Elsey's litter with a cat attractant in it which has helped him get to the box more regularly but not always.   If he doesn't use the box, though, fortunately he will go right in front of it or beside it, so I have a supply of puppy training pads that I put out on the floor.  Makes clean up real easy.

    It sounds like you've already got the poop clean up worked out :-) but I thought I'd ask.
     

  11. poppy2507

    poppy2507 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    43
    3
    Jan 26, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    Puppy training pads ... ah, the joke with that is, anywhere I put a training pad, and in the beginning when I had litterboxes all over the apartment trying to figure out where Poppy preferred to pee ... anywhere I put something, Poppy understood that I DIDN'T want her to use that spot. So she obliged by carefully ignoring the training pads or extra litterboxes, and peeing / pooping beside them. She would then get very upset, skitter around looking for a place to hide, and clearly expect to be yelled at / punished for doing what comes naturally.

    Took me a while to figure out that she was having trouble figuring out what I wanted her to do, where I wanted her to go. That little girl was trying her best to understand and to oblige, but I confused her! I finally looked at her one day, saw confusion all over her sweet face, and saw a desperate will to please me, if only she could figure out what would please me. So ... I cleared away all the boxes, picked up the training pads and paper towel, and waited for Poppy to show me where she most often went to pee (turned out to be on the balcony), and I put a litterbox out there. Relieved of the confusing pads and boxes etc., everywhere else, she happily, consistently goes to her box now to pee.

    The poop: Her usual spot is just outside the window she uses to access the balcony, a few feet from the litterbox. She now understands that she won't be yelled at or hit, so she's quite open about it, doesn't try to hide it. And she often comes to find me, sort of "You'd better come see, Mom!" after she's pooped, so I can clean it up and tell her she's a good girl. When she's upset, usually when she's been left alone too long because I've been out shopping, she poops on the living-room carpet, again, very openly. Again, she doesn't get yelled at or punished in any way.

    So ... training pads etc. are, to Poppy, a sign that she's NOT to use that spot! We've figured each other out, I think.

    Total aside: she spent her first days here hiding between the sofa and the wall. Wouldn't come out to eat until I left the room. That got better and over time she's learned to trust me. One day, in early days, I picked up the mop to clean the kitchen floor, and Poppy went berserk. She was terrified! I concluded a previous owner had smacked her with a mop. That's better now, too. She no longer fears the mop.

    As to giving her a second chance ... I always say, I looked for her until she found me. And then she did me the favor of moving in. Lucky me!

    Anyway, I will try to get the SEB, and will study up on it, and use it every day especially at the start, to get her regular again. The only medication she gets is the Restoralax (Miralax), so I won't give both at the same time. If the SEB works, I may not need the Miralax or pumpkin anyway.

    Again, thank you so much!
     

  12. betsygee

    betsygee Don't believe everything you think. Staff Member Moderator

    19,379
    4,691
    Mar 17, 2013
    Monterey, CA, USA
    Ah-ha.  I understand.  What a dance!!!  Poor little girl, sounds like she had a tough life before she found the right person to take care of her.  [​IMG]

    My poop 'arrangement' with Travis went through some stuff like that, too.  I am happy when he makes it to the box, but when it's on the pads, that's okay, too.  An 18 year old with arthritis and kidney disease gets a little leeway, in my book.  [​IMG]   I"m lucky that he does use the pads--for awhile there, I was finding pee and poop spots all over--it wasn't fun there for awhile.  The Dr. Elsey's at least got him back in the vicinity of the box so I was grateful for that.  

    Let us know how things go.  
     

  13. oneandahalfcats

    oneandahalfcats TCS Member Top Cat

    1,437
    173
    Dec 13, 2013
    What a wonderful, sweet story. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you both are very lucky indeed to have found each other.

    Continued vibes [​IMG]
     

  14. poppy2507

    poppy2507 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    43
    3
    Jan 26, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    The good news is, this morning Poppy pooped! Not a 5-day supply, and on the living-room carpet, and wet-oily-smelly-messy to clean up, but she pooped. I had given her an extra 1/4 tsp of Miralax with her 10 pm feeding last night, to try to get things moving. By the smell and appearance and location, the extra bit of laxative worked.

    She got me up for breakfast at 7:30 this morning, and while I was dishing up her plate in the kitchen, she "assumed the position" at the door between kitchen and living-room, announced "you want poop? Okay, here it comes" and ... made her deposit. Upset by doing it in the living-room I guess, she scurried to the opposite door that leads to the hall, and pooped again. I said "good girl! good girl!" all over the place and stayed in the kitchen. A minute later I heard her trying to vomit (first time she's done that), looked out and a bit of hair came up. No vomit and no significant amount of hair. (She's brushed at least twice a day, although she's a short hair, just because she likes the brushing. There's never much hair in the brushing. I'll keep up the brushing.)

    She's just had a normal breakfast (normal amount of food & pumpkin, no laxative this time, to give her a break but I will add back normal amount for the dinner meal). I've done cleanup (water, baking soda, vinegar) so my carpet looks and smells good as new. Poppy is taking her ease on the balcony now, wondering what all the fuss is about, no doubt.

    I'll try to get the SEB in the next day or so, and start her on that this week. Thanks once again for your quick and helpful response! Will let you know how the SEB works out, if I get it and things are well once again.
     

  15. oneandahalfcats

    oneandahalfcats TCS Member Top Cat

    1,437
    173
    Dec 13, 2013
    Yaaaaay, way to go Poppy! [​IMG] Glad to read that she finally went!
     

  16. betsygee

    betsygee Don't believe everything you think. Staff Member Moderator

    19,379
    4,691
    Mar 17, 2013
    Monterey, CA, USA
    That's great news.  You must feel relieved (and Poppy must feel 'relieved' too)  [​IMG]
     

  17. poppy2507

    poppy2507 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    43
    3
    Jan 26, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    Progress report...miracles happen???

    The immediate constipation crisis (into day 5 without a BM) has passed, for sure. Poppy, for about a year, has "pooped" every 3 days. That's her normal schedule (despite the shelter vet's dire warning "don't let it go beyond 2 days.") Poppy has her own way of doing everything.

    I started her on SEB (made into a thick "tea" by simmering on the stove for 20 minutes) on Tuesday. Stopped Miralax / Restoralax, stopped pumpkin, just gave her SEB mixed into the Fancy Feast, plus a little bit of extra water, since she doesn't drink from her bowl.

    I got impatient to see a "regular" BM today, didn't know if the SEB would work, so gave her a bit of Miralax with breakfast this morning. My bad. I just paid for my own impatience - it took me half an hour to clean up in the living-room and all through the apartment. I swear that cat said, "okay, you want poop, here ya go!" Can't possibly fault the Princess for my own impatience. The quality / volume (and likely the location) WITHOUT the laxative would have been quite normal. I needn't have worried. And needn't have scared the cat silly — she trailed the poop through the place in clear panic at what was happening to her, and likely in anticipation of being punished. When she was finished, she went into hiding.

    We're friends again now. When I sat down at the computer, Poppy came out of hiding and asked for lunch. She absolutely devoured her FF turkey (no laxative, no pumpkin, 1/2 tbsp of SEB) and has gone to snooze it off.

    I know it's only once in a row so far, but it is "on schedule" for Poppy, she is not constipated, had no trouble producing a BM, and her appetite has picked up over the past 2 days. Bonus for us both! I'll continue with the SEB on a regular basis, I like that it adds extra moisture to her food, and I'll stop the laxative entirely (been wanting to do that for a long time!), and stop the pumpkin to see if she maybe doesn't even need that any longer.

    Paws crossed it's just plain cat food, SEB, and a happy cat. I'll give it a week or so, and will post any progress / problems again. For now, I'm an SEB believer! Anything that eliminates Miralax / Restoralax can't be bad!

    Poppy and I thank you for your input!
     

  18. betsygee

    betsygee Don't believe everything you think. Staff Member Moderator

    19,379
    4,691
    Mar 17, 2013
    Monterey, CA, USA
    Poor girl.  And poor you, having to clean it up!!  :-(  

    I was giving my cats pumpkin for awhile.  It seemed like sometimes they'd eat it, sometimes not so I've mostly tapered off from that.  I always feel like the fewer supplements and meds I can give them, the better. But  I'll be leaving my kitties on SEB indefinitely.  I hope the SEB continues to work!! [​IMG]
     

  19. oneandahalfcats

    oneandahalfcats TCS Member Top Cat

    1,437
    173
    Dec 13, 2013
    Really glad to hear that things are getting back to normal, and the SEB is already having good results. Excellent.

    Yes, got to watch those sneaky laxatives. Too much can easily tip the scales so to speak. You may have read in my thread or elsewhere, but I can't remember the last time I have had to use a laxative on Max. The SEB, and now probiotics, have worked wonders.

    Thanks for updating us, and do let us know how things go with Poppy.
     

  20. poppy2507

    poppy2507 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    43
    3
    Jan 26, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    Just had to post! I'm so delighted with Poppy's progress. No laxatives, no pumpkin, just SEB added to her Fancy Feast. First, her appetite is definitely healthy! I wasn't concerned about that at all, but I've noticed a definite improvement since I stopped the pumpkin mixed into the food anyway. 

    Big gold star and "good girl, good girl!" though is for the normal, on-time BM she presented me with today. Not only on her regular every-3-days schedule, BUT ... drum roll please ... IN THE LITTERBOX!!!! She hasn't pooped in her litterbox for over a year. Usually she used the box for urination, and "poops" a few feet away from the box. Could be she will go back to her usual out-of-the-box thinking next time, but today was an asbolute delight! 

    The only change is the use of slippery elm bark, instead of Miralax / Restoralax, and she hasn't had any pumpkin in her usual Fancy Feast for several days now. I'm going to give it another week on only SEB, then might start to add in probiotics. 

    A good day for Poppy and her "staff" today! 
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.