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hairball = not eating?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I'm fostering a senior kitty Waggles (we don't know his age but estimate it to be around 10-12) who up until yesterday has been doing very well. He recently (2 weeks ago) had dental work done and lost several teeth, but he has been eating well.

Waggles has coughed up several hairballs since we got him (about 1 every 2 days, usually at night) as his coat was rather dishevelled and he won't let me brush or comb him.

The last couple of days he hasn't coughed up any hairballs and he has also seemed to lose interest in food. He is still eating some, but not as much as usual, and I had to really coax him to eat. I also notice he hasn't defecated in about 2 days (he's peeing fine).

Could a hairball be affecting his appetite and his stools? Or could constipation be the problem? Has anyone else noticed this correlation? I will bring him to the vet if necessary but I'd like to avoid that as the vet is 45 minutes away and he's a foster so someone else has to pay for it.
post #2 of 7
Both are certainly possible. I would call the vet and see if there are home treatments he/she would recommend trying before bringing the cat in. Since you were there recently, they may be more willing to advise you over the phone. For example, they may suggest trying hairball treatment meds, like Laxatone or Petramalt, and syringe feeding the kitty since he's not eating. I would definitely at least call the vet--you don't want to mess around with a cat that's not eating.
post #3 of 7
i can always tell when my kitties are going to have hairballs. their tummies feel large, round and full, plus they dont eat a lot. usually within the the next day or so they have hairballs. theres been times (esp in spring if i dont brush their shedding coats) theyve yakked up multiple hairballs.

my cats refuse hairball treatments but you might try some. brushing DOES do wonders
post #4 of 7
This happened to my cat. The loss of appetite was accompanied by frequent vomiting, which had a large amount of hair in it. It was compounded by the fact that it took the vet months to actually diagnose this as a hairball digestion problem......they just sent us home with antibiotics every week. By the time they finally took an x-ray her small intestine was inflamed. Regular visits to the groomer for a bath (she will not let me give her one!) has solved the problem.
post #5 of 7
I smear a little Petromalt on the tops of Lena's front paws. I have to really make sure it's smeared on, otherwise she'll shake it off and it goes on the walls.

Ideally, the kitty will lick it off, and it does get into their system.

Unless, of course, you have another cat who will eat anything, including Petromalt off of another cat's paws. That just happened in my household.
post #6 of 7
Not to be a downer but I would check with the vet. My cat just passed away because she stopped eating and that was only for a few days. She caught Fatty Liver Diease because of the lack of food. On Saturday I thought she had fur balls and treated it that way but by Tuesday she was gone. FLD developes when a cat stops eating or 50% less then it normally does. Older or overweight cats are prone to it (it is a mystery as to why my cat caught it and it consumed her so quick because she was tiny and only 3 years old) I would at least look up FLD on the internet to educate yourself. I really regret a) not realizing my cat wasn't eating as much as she used to and then eventually stopped eating and b) that I didn't get her to the vet soon enough. Check to see if your cat is looking jaundice -- gums, ears, eyes that will be a sign. Sommer was really jaundiced by the time she got to the Drs. I hope that this isn't what your cat has but if someone had told me about FLD before I may have been able to save my cat.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input, here's an update:

Waggles did poop so I ruled out the constipation. I gave him some hairball remedy so I don't know it that helped it along. Yesterday though he still wasn't eating much and when he does (canned food) he sounds as if he's crunching or grinding something even though he only has a few front teeth left--it's very strange. So I took him to the vet with another foster I had just taken in who needed to be checked anyway.

The vet said one of the spots where his teeth were removed looked like it could have some infection and Waggles also had a slight fever. I asked about the crunching sound and he said it could be coming from his throat. He said there could be a lingering URI related infection (he had a bad URI about a month ago and the dental work 18 days ago). He also thought there could be some irritation from the throat tube when he had his dental work (but that was 18 days ago).

So he gave me another round of Clavamox and some AD to give him. I managed to get about 3/4 a can of AD in him but it seems like he is having a hard time with his mouth and still makes that crunching sound after he's lapped up a few spoonfuls of food. He hasn't barfed any more hairballs. I found an old hairball in his bed (after the vet visit) and it looked like there was bits of grit in it.

Any thoughts?
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