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fecal incontinence

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm new here and have searched posts for answers to my problem with no success. Here's hoping someone out there can help.
My 15 year old female cat who is in good health, eating well, drinking normally and who recently had a $500 blood workup with all results normal, has lost control of her bowels. There is constant poop coming out - soft and smelly. She seems unaware except when I clean her up. The vet does't know-we're tried forti flora and predisone. Both work for awhile and yippee, no poop on my bed, chair, floor, etc. Then it returns.

she eats everything - always has - I mean everything from wet and dry food to pizza, iced coffee, donuts, etc. etc. Never had a problem but I've tried to limit these goodies but it doesn't seem to matter.

Any ideas or remedies?I'm at my wits end with the constant clean up as I am a caregiver for my husband and that takes up enough of my time.

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 5
Welcome to TCS!

I'm hoping you know that the problem you're describimg is most likely a health problem...that being said, and, appreciating that you already have your "hands full" as caregiver for your husband, I can only hope that you won't be treating your cat as if it's a behavioural issue.

One of the possible causes for this may be with her anal glands. Have a read of this article from a well-respected Veterinary information site.

Prior to this incontinence starting, were there ever times when her "rear end" was really "messy"/really smelly/...has she ever "scooted" - moved herself across the floor in a sitting position as if trying to rub/clean her rear end on the floor? Has she ever actually had a problem with the anal glands?

Has the Vet asked you these questions? Has s/he examined her anal area?

I will say that $500 for bloodwork does sound excessive - even with a consult/physical exam thrown in. However, it may be that it's simply a matter of where you are located.

If she were mine, (and, this is only based on what you've said so far) I would have her seen by a feline-only Vet, or, at least a Vet who comes recommended as able to treat very sick cats. So, perhaps find a cat-only practice...or you might check for a nearby Vet on this list of recommended Vets.

A third alternative might be the Small Animal Hospital at the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center.

I've heard it said that cats, just as humans, can develop incontinence "simply" due to old age. At 15, that makes her 76 in human years! At the same time, I have not encountered actual stories of such cases...so, for me, they appear to be rare. As a result, my first inclination is to seek a medical cause.

Failing all else - or, perhaps as an interim solution - there are diapers available which might be an option.

I understand that it may be difficult to keep all those non-catfood items from her, but, while they may seem to have had no ill effect on her in the past, I'd strongly recommend that you eliminate them from her diet from now on - most especially because of her age.

Please keep us updated
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you, blaise, for answering my post. I know I wasn't very detailed and I will say that I have addressed some of the issues that you raised. I know it is not a behavior problem-this poor cat has no idea she's losing poop out her rear until I clean her up. She is the sweetest although very needy cat and I want to help her.

Her anal glands were expressed at the last vet visit and they were impacted. I think maybe there might have been some damage done to them during the exam and maybe this is causing the problem.

I can't start again with another vet and this one has known mycat all her life. I did some searching about IBD last night and am going to try some of the organic foods. I also read that cats should stay on predisone for much longer than my vet prescribed so I'll try that. I thought about diapers-maybe that is the best thing to do for the moment.

I'm calling my vet tomorrow to see what they suggest next.

Again, thanks
post #4 of 5
if the incontinence doesn't improve w/treatment, you can always 'diaper' her. here's a link to a video on how to convert baby diapers to animal diapers: baby diaper to kitty/dog diaper
also, you might consider trying bene-bac. i've had better luck w/that than w/the forti-flora, myself.
post #5 of 5
Thanks for turning on the lights, so to speak!

It's a relief to know that, at least, there appears to be a point of focus here.

Now, given the understanding you've provided, I wouldn't be recommending a second opinion yet. I would suggest that you stay open to the idea of having her seen by a specialist, though - perhaps, if you're close to UF, that might be your best bet.

Here's another article with additional detail. The last section in the first reference I gave you provides some interesting detail as well.

Does she have a history of anal gland problems - or, was that the first episode? Do you know if hers were abscessed? Was there any sign of infection in the bloodwork?

Now that you've mentioned foods, both of those articles speak about the use of a high fibre diet to bulk-up the stool. While I personally shudder at the thought of any cat eating those so-called prescription diets, there are a couple of them which can serve temporary purposes - perhaps this is one of those times. Maybe something to discuss with your Vet.

Just a note on prednisone. This comes from a friendly Vet I know: "Prednisone is an inactive form that must be actively transformed into prednisolone, an active metabolite. There are some species such as cats who are thought to be deficient in this tranformation. This is out of the North American Companion Animal Formulary: "Use prednisolone for cats; prednisone may not be effective.""
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