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Sick kitty

post #1 of 74
Thread Starter 
My kitty is having some big trouble. I adopted my kitty 2 years ago, and she has always had a cough. Often she would go days without a coughing fit, but it has been worse recently, to where she has several coughing fits a day and doesn't recover from them as quickly. She's also always been a constipated kitty. Last summer, we awoke one morning to her suffering from a weird neurological problem where her eyes were spinning, she was throwing up and couldn't stand up or walk without falling. She slowly recovered from it but has never been herself since, she seemed to lose a few brain cells... This January, she had her first house-soiling incident. She pooped on the beds, and even tried to poop on mine right beside me while i was sleeping. She had bad diarrhea, and some vomiting. After a few days she was okay again. A couple of weeks later, she started pooping on my parents bed again and straining in the litterbox a lot, with LOTS of vomiting that went on for two days. We saw a vet who thought it was due to the constipation, and he gave her medication in case it was a bacterial problem or something, and said if it didn't go away in a few days to bring her back. Well it went away, and she was fine for another couple of weeks until it happened again. She pooped on the beds, was vomiting and acting really out of it. She would hide in new places she never used to go, jump up in strange places where she clearly couldn't fit, and pace around. We saw a different vet who spent a long time with us explaining how it was a behavioural problem, probably due to the neurological problem from last summer. He said she is probably having some stomach upset from hairballs or constipation, but the main problem is behavioural which responds very poorly to treatment. He put her on antidepressants, put her on a high fibre diet and recommended pheromone spray to lower her stress. Now it is a few weeks later and she is having a hard time again. I know she does not have a blockage because the fibre diet has been really working for her. She started off vomiting food, now she is vomiting little bits of foam or clear liquid, and she pooped on my sister's bed and the couch, both being things she never pooped on before. Just half an hour ago she ran in to me, meowed at me and threw up at my feet. I'm worried she's in a lot of pain. Last night she was sitting hunched over hiding in the corner of my room.
The biggest problem, though, is that I live with my parents, and they are not willing to put up with this. They warned me back in January that if the house-soiling doesn't stop she will be euthanised. They are fed up.
She seems to be very sick, and it has happened 5 times in the last five months. I don't understand this and I know she is suffering. If anybody recognizes any of this behaviour I would love to hear what you suspect the problem may be or your suggestions!
Thank you!
post #2 of 74
I don't have any idea what is wrong with your kitty. But I wanted to say I'm so sorry you and your cat are going through this. I don't envy you your situation.
post #3 of 74
You and your kitty are in my prayers. I think you need another opinion from a vet. Something is definitely wrong.
post #4 of 74
First off, welcome to TCS! I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty.

I would have to say that while I am definitely not an expert, I believe the second vet is incorrect. This does NOT sound like behavioral issues to me. This sounds like it's something physical, I don't know if that would be neurological, but that would be my guess, or something that causes neurological problems that may not originally be neurological... might be a infection which if left go will cause neurological reactions/problems..

If it were me, I would take her to a vet, if at all possible. If you make the visit, most vets are going to want to run tests. I would make a list of *everything* that you can think of that would be abnormal for her. I'd start off with the coughing that she's been suffering from since she was young, and then list everything that has happened, in detail as it progressed. This way, you won't forget anything and nothing will be missed that might be a key clue. If you discuss this with your vet, it may be that through discussion you can rule out some of the things it might be. Are you responsible for the vet care or do you have to depend on your parents to pay for this? I think this cat *really* needs to see a vet, and I think if she doesn't see one, euthanasia is going to be a moot point. If it were behavioral, and only behavioral, it's my opinion that it would be more regular, patterned behavior. When she's jumping up on the bed and pottying beside you could very well be that she's not feeling well, coming to you for comfort, but cannot control her motor functions (which may be an effect of something neurological).

Hopefully someone with more experience than I have will come along soon, but I think perhaps she has suffered from a stroke.. that would be when her eyes were rolling around, and she couldn't walk without falling, it would also explain her not fully recovering.

In January, do you know what food you were feeding her? Some of those symptoms sound like the ones that stemmed from the problems with the pet food recall. The vet may have been looking at completely the wrong thing, as most animals with those issues at that time... no one had any idea the food was poisonous.

There may still be a blockage even if she's on a high fiber diet. There are some other reasons that cats can be blocked, again, though, i'm no expert on this... but all the places that you mention her pottying are places that people commonly are, and she may be looking for someone to comfort her.

Is there anything that you can think of that is happening at the same time or shortly before, every time shes' gotten sick? Is your house being sprayed for pests? Is she an indoor/outdoor cat.. could she be getting into some sort of contaminent outside? Is she getting a special treat right around this time? Is there a particular cleaning solution that is used with that frequency? It seems that she's doing this on a pretty regular cycle, so it might be environmental? Is this perhaps how often she's getting a new bag of food, a new pail of litter...

I'm not sure what it could be, but I'd make that list and call your vet, probably the first one you went to. I'm pretty sure that that's not behavioral. Most vets will let you call and talk to them about it, although they are going to tell you to bring her in. If you can take her to the vet, do so, but do the very best that you can to make it as inexpensive as possible, by telling them what's happened with her at the vet, including any tests that have been run, what medications she's been given, what the effects of that medication were, what foods you've fed her, as close as you can to how often it is happening.. if you know what the approximate dates were that would be awesome. Anything that you can write down may eliminate one test, and that will cut down on the expense. I'd also see about a local humane society near you that offers discounted vet care. This of course on the assumption that you're relying on your parents for vet care, either way, it's possible that it will cut down on expense, as it seems that it's probably a consideration for you.

Hopefully someone will be along with some more thoughts on this soon.

I'm happy to help as much as I can.. feel free to send me a private message (left click on my username, and then choose private message).
post #5 of 74
Oh, I am so sorry that you're going through this, and I pray for you and your cat. You are a good mama. You've been given some good advice.

***hugs*** Bobbie
post #6 of 74
Thread Starter 
Thank you to everybody who has replied.
That is a great idea, to write down a history of events and details, and I will definitely do that.
Actually I have no money, my boyfriend will be the one paying for the vet. He very generously paid for the last visit, as well.
Fortunately she wasn't fed the food that was recalled, it was always Iams or Hills Science diet dry food (original or hairball formula), and Friskies and Fancy Feast wet food.
It doesn't seem to me that she was looking for someone to comfort her, because I'm her mommy, and my sister really dislikes her so I doubt Squeaky used her bed looking for comfort. I'm the one person that Squeaky is attached to and comes crying to when she has a bad dream or something.
The timing of the different episodes does not coincide with the purchase of a new bag of food or litter, and I give her the same treats I always gave her.
She's an indoor cat and there are no household chemicals that she could be ingesting at these times. However, she licks the cement on balcony, and this worried my dad because he said he saw stuff there a few times that somebody must have thrown onto our balcony. He noticed this at the time of her neurological issue. It would be great if I could find a sample of something on the balcony and have it tested, but I don't think that would be cheap.
Several times she has left huge puddles in the litterbox, but only a few times, and neither of the vets thought that was anything.
post #7 of 74
will you please keep us updated? Are you going to take her to the vet on Monday?

How is she today?
post #8 of 74
Is she straining in the litter boxes during the same time frame that she's pottying inappropriately? IOW, have you noticed that she's straining at all, or that her poo is not normal in any way, either too hard or too runny, when she's going on the furniture or where she shouldn't be going? And, how is her poo all the rest of the "normal" time?

I still can't figure out the hiding, except that it might just be terribly stressful or painful.
post #9 of 74
Thread Starter 
When she is relieving herself on the beds, it is diarrhea, or a few times just very soft but not liquid. And yes, she sometimes gets in the litterbox and strains but nothing happens. One time she even stayed standing up and tried to go, without crouching. The time when I saw her in the act of pooping on my bed, she continued to strain for some time afterward.
One time in the litterbox there was a spot of fresh blood on it, but it was only once and I guess is to be expected with all that straining and everything.
When she uses the litterbox, it is nice and normal (edited to say since she's been on the high fibre diet, normal means impressively healthy looking)
post #10 of 74
Okay, it sounds like she's constipated or blocked when she is pottying inappropriately. I know this sounds strange, but when my girl was having issues with constipation we were doing a lot of research because we couldn't figure out why... and one of the things we found out is that sometimes when they're blocked, either by constipation or by some other issue... is that the softer stuff will basically squish past the blocked section, and come out as soft poo or diarrhea, but there is still a blockage in there. What we were using for our girl was Laxatone, which you can get on the shelf at a petstore usually.. it's a tube for about $8, and hopefully she likes the taste and will just eat it. Mine wouldn't just eat it, so I had to put about an inch of it on her paw twice a day, and then she'd lick it off. My vet said that it won't do any harm to have her on it indefinitely, regardless of what her issue was (which ended up being constipation from a dietary imbalance which sorted itself out)... but basically said it's not harmful. You may consider that, but there's still some underlying issue.

I'm not sure if constipation can cause vomiting... I *think* I remember reading that a blockage can. I don't think the blood is abnormal as there wasn't a lot of it and it seems to come from the irritation. If there was a lot, I'd say it was an issue.

Is she eating and drinking normally? Sometimes they won't eat when they're constipated, but they'll still drink. Has she been losing any weight, or has her weight been steady?
post #11 of 74
Thread Starter 
That sounds similar, but during her illness her poop has sometimes been... well, massive, and yet she doesn't get better for a while. I understand the soft stuff being able to move past the blockage, but then when she has a good sized movement you would think it would clear her out.
She doesn't seem to be eating or drinking a lot, but she does eat and drink a bit. I don't know about her weight because I don't weigh her at home, but that's something I'll find out when I see the vet. She was a good healthy weight when we saw the vet about a month ago, at least.
post #12 of 74
I'm sorry, I have no advice for you..I just wanted to send some prayers for your baby.

I really hope you don't have to get her PTS
post #13 of 74
If she's got a blockage of any sort, it could be that she's "building up" so when she goes it's a lot more than usual because it's been a while she was able to go completely... in any case, I think there are other underlying issues.

All you can really do is go to the vet, as well-armed as possible.. make sure you mention how her poo is when she's going inappropriately, as well as the fact that she's straining, and then her behavior with hiding, and misjudging spaces, etc. It's not normal behavior for cats to misjudge the size of a space and whether they can fit into it or not.

When are you going to the vet? And, I'm still sending good healing vibes out to you and the baby girl.

You might consider trying to contain her in one room if she's having an episode right now. Try to spend time with her in there, but you may want to keep her out of your parents radar for the moment?
post #14 of 74
Welcome to TCS! It looks like you've been getting some good advice here.
I agree that I don't think it's behavioral. It sounds like constipation or possibly combined with IBS.
Is your kitty on all dry food? If so, get a good quality wet food and try to feed her that at least once or twice a day. Cats often don't drink a lot of water and they need that, just as we do, to keep digestion working well.

In that same vein, if you don't already have one, I recommend investing in a water fountain for cats. My cat Pippin had constipation issues last summer (accompanied by vomitting) and after we got his fountain, we haven't had a problem with it! Yay! I also added some wet food at least once a day.

Science Diet and Iams are both pretty crappy foods. There are others out there that are similar price but better ingredients. That might be something to look into. Especially if you can get something wet. Look for threads on IBS and sensitive stomachs. There's a lot of information on what ingredients to look for.

The hunching and hiding are indicative of pain. The pooping in inappropriate areas is probably your kitty just trying to get SOMETHING out. Not to be too graphic or gross, but constipation and diareah can be a vicious cycle. Kitty gets blocked by something hard, poo builds up behind the blockage and rots. The blockage finally releases, and all that rotted poop comes out as the runs.
Poor kitty!

Good luck with your little girl. How horrible that your parents are threatening to put her to sleep.
I understand that they don't like her going on the floor, but she's ill and can't help it.

I hope you figure out this problem and how to fix it for good!

post #15 of 74
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the well wishes, you have all be very supportive.
I'm keeping her locked in my room overnight, but in the daytime my parents and sister's bedroom doors are left closed. I let her out in the living room because the air conditioner is out there, and just hope she stays away from the couch.
I haven't set up a vet appointment because i need to find out when I can get a ride and have the money, but I'm sure it will be soon
post #16 of 74
You could get an idea of her weight by weighing yourself and then pick her up and weigh yourself again when you're holding her.
post #17 of 74
Thread Starter 
I will get her a fountain when I can I think that's a great idea. I'll also get some Laxatone (or whatever it's called here), to go along with her high fibre food.
I'd like to take your suggestion, batgirl, but Squeaky squirms when I pick her up, and I don't want to put her through that while she's feeling this way. I will start monitoring her weight when she's healthy, though.
Squeaky actually loves gravy, but they don't sell cat gravy in stores. So every day she gets a big spoon of fancy feast chicken in gravy so she can suck the chicken chunks clean and spit them back out.
post #18 of 74
If you have some vaseline or petroleum jelly around the house, until you get some Laxatone, you can put that on her paws. Like a fingertip full.. and then push it into the fur on her paw. (The first thing she's going to do is pick that paw up and shake it, so you have to get it mushed into her fur so she has to clean it off). It's the main ingredient in laxatone, but laxatone has a few other things and flavoring that she might like better. Twice a day, until you get the Laxatone.
post #19 of 74
I think you're getting some very good advice and feedback here. A few things hit me.

You're in Toronto....that's not too far from Guelph Vet College http://www.ovc.uoguelph.ca/ovcth/
Given your experience with the two local vets so far, maybe go back to the first, give him/her that detailed written history and, (unless the Vet recognizes something obvious/straightforward) ask for an urgent referral to Guelph.

Many benefits to a Vet school: Vet specialists, latest equipment, a wealth of background and experience, lower costs than private clinics. If this turns out to be a head scratcher, that itself might encourage their interest.

What is/are her current food(s)? Is Squeaky eating the same amount/less/more? If less/more when did that change?

Is she drinking these days? Same amount/less/more and when did this change?

More info for you: I believe the Tor Humane Society will only accept pets of parents who have specific low income and, I know that three years ago service was very limited and difficult to access.

The Laxtone product is only available from Vets in Canada. I support the other info about it that CatsAreBetter provided. I would NOT buy any similar other product from a pet store these days...gawd only knows what might/not be in them. (a la toothpaste from China)

If I were you, I would also move her into my room....food/water/litter/the works. I would use another bed cover (for accidents). Keep the litter & food as far from each other as possible. Have a secluded place available for her in the room. She will do better in a quiet confined space anyway, and it will relieve some of the stress on your parents caused by accidents.

So much for now. I'll do some more thinking & may come back.
post #20 of 74
Ohhhh, didn't know Canada only had it from a vet... it's OTC here. Hmm, interesting!
post #21 of 74
Thread Starter 
Wow, I'm getting a whole lot of information here!
I just went out for 10 minutes, and I came back to find out Squeaky had pooped again on the couch, but this was a normal looking well-formed one.
Right now she's eating Medi-cal fibre formula from the vet and no wet food for the past few days but when she has it it's just Fancy Feast.
Actually my sister works at the humane society and I told her about Squeaky's problem but she didn't mention she could get her any help there. Guelph is an interesting idea, I was told it wouldn't be cheaper but it would be an option for sure if it is cheaper. I'm pretty sure that she can get me a free Laxatone though, now that I think of it.
For a time Squeaky was drinking more, I believe from the beginning of winter and it lasted for a few months. She was drinking noticeably more and drinking water from places other than her water bowl. For the past few days she has been drinking less. She loves to lick water from the side of a bottle of water fresh from the fridge, but she won't when I offer it now.
Her food dishes and litter are in my room and always have been, and since the first incident of bed-soiling in January, I've actually been sleeping on a crinkly plastic mattress protector.
It seems like she'll be spending her days locked in my room, with no air conditioning, until we get this sorted out.
post #22 of 74
More thinking.....

You're using Fancy Feast for what little wet food Squeaky's getting.....and you told how much she likes the "gravy", lapping it up, while leaving the meat.

I'm beginning to think that much of the gastrointestional problem may be related to all the grain-based (versus meat-based) food she's having.

Fancy Feast isn't the greatest food. There are people who will bash it (for a number of reasons, none of which, though, pertain to its safety). The fact is that many, many cats do well on it....and...it is extremely popular with cats (which is what counts when the most important thing is that they eat).

There are two "types" of Fancy Feast: one, with the gravy (which is mostly wheat gluten (grain) and water); and the second, without the gravy. The good thing is that the varieties without the gravy are still very "tasty"... translation: "popular" among cat consumers. Now, among the gravy-free varieties are two further distinctions: one, meat; two, fish. You should be giving more meat than fish...say a ratio of 4-1.

I'm strongly suggesting that first, you switch to the non-gravy varieties and, second, that you try giving more and more wet food than dry. (If you have a stock of FF gravied, chances the store will let you switch if you simply go back and tell them your mother "bought the wrong kind"...) Also, you can get FF cheaper than grocery store prices by watching for specials and by checking places like Petsmart. I noticed that Petsmart has had FF on special for the past 5-6 weeks for $.44. Periodically Zellers has it for $.33-$.39

Distinguishing varieties: This will help http://www.felinediabetes.com/glutenfree.htm
I find trying to read the labels requires a microscope, but that's a function of (shhhhhh!) age.

More wet than dry: I don't know if you could manage to swing two cans of wet food a day...? She won't eat the entire can at once, but go back and nibble thru the day. At the same time, reduce the amount of dry in her bowl substantially, but gradually....start with filling only 1/2 way and reduce from there.

If anyone else on the forum thinks differently, please feel free to comment/ contradict. I'm certainly no expert, just putting down what I've picked up over the past 2-3 months. And, I may not have "picked up" correctly!
post #23 of 74
I am pretty much in agreement with this, although, I absolutely admit to not knowing *anything* about Medi-cal foods. It would seem to me though, that if it's a "high-fiber" formula, that equates to a lot of carbs, and probably a high grain count? It seems to me that any number of kitties that have had digestive issues of any nature have a lot better luck on low carb no grains diets... but being that I'm recently enamored of the raw diet movement.. I can't really give any advice about what foods are right versus what foods are wrong. We need one of the nutritional experts around here to chime in?

I definitely don't have a dietary formula that I can give advice on because when I had this issue with Joyeux (granted, not to the extent and only regarding the constipation).. she was on a raw diet and it was a journey to figure out what worked (and high fiber supplements did not). Ultimately, it ended up being cat grass that made the difference in her diet and constipation. So, I'm definitely not going to say, put your kitty on a raw diet.. which may not even be an answer. Maybe we can get sharky to take a look at this thread? I can PM her..she's got knowledge of all sorts of different diets and foods, way beyond me!

I definitely agree that I think a high grain/high carb diet might be at least a partial cause of the problem.
post #24 of 74
CatsAreBetter, neither do I...
I wonder if this is the one http://www.medi-cal.ca/consumers/Feline/Fibre_EN.asp
(note 2 pages there)
Interesting that there's no analysis section - so, so much for the carb %, but look:flax, rice plus pea fibre, guar gum (?), cranberry meal. I thought the analysis had to be part of the label...???

...any number of kitties that have had digestive issues of any nature have a lot better luck on low carb no grains diets... but being that I'm recently enamored of the raw diet movement...
I agree with you on the first part there, just based on everything I have read and heard. Now, to feed that diet doesn't necessarily require a raw diet. For example, what is already in use, the FF, less the "gravy", would get kitty to where she may need to be, I think.
post #25 of 74
Okay, from what I can see Medi-Cal is a Canada brand, but it is marketed in the USA under IVD-Select-Care. It's equivalent here is "Hifactor"

IVD Select Care HiFactor (weight control, constipation, diabetes)
%phosphorus 0.810
%of sodium 0.42
%of fat: 12.18

IVD is now Royal Canin...I think it's now Royal Canin Select Care Hifactor, but I went to the Royal Canin site and cannot find that particular food listed... there is, however, a high fiber food listed there, but it's not the same name.
post #26 of 74
Thread Starter 
I'm going to re-read the previous messages later on and look into the food, but today things seem to be worse, I'm going to find out how much an emergency vet will cost today. She has thrown up more foam, and my mom left my door open when she went out so Squeaky briefly got out to the living room unattended. When I went out there I found not only #2 on the couch, but an enormous puddle of #1, with dribbles on the carpet and along the couch. She was sitting with me for a while but now she's hiding. I don't understand what's going on, she's never peed outside of the litterbox
post #27 of 74
I am glad your going to the er ... she may have a UTI...

I will if you want discuss feeding her later
post #28 of 74
Let us know how it goes at the vet. I think you're right in trying to find an emergency vet today.. the visit will cost a little more, but it's been my experience that the medications and so forth end up costing about the same, regardless of whether it's emergency or regular.

Sending healing vibes and wellness wishes. I'll be thinking about you guys.
post #29 of 74
Thread Starter 
Well my parents aren't willing to drive us to the vet tonight because they have other stuff to do, they said it will have to wait for tomorrow.
My dad has made it clear all day that he thinks it is pointless going, because though yes she is sick, she also has a behavioural problem on top of it because a normal cat wouldn't act like she is just because it is sick. So he's saying that even if they find out what's hurting her belly and making her sick, it's not going to stop her from pooping on his bed or couch again the next time she gets an upset tummy or is stressed over anything else. It just made it all the more final that she also peed on the couch, because she held it in this morning until she was let out of my room.
My dad asked if I'd like to see the vet one last time, and I'm going to. I don't know what they can say to change his mind, but of course it is worth a try.
Thank you everybody for your support
post #30 of 74
I think I may have an answer, but please check your messages first.
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