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Any suggestions on treating a constipated cat that tries but can't poop?

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Systematic Chaos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 04:31 AM
Original message
Any suggestions on treating a constipated cat that tries but can't poop?
I have 4 cats, and only one of them has any current problems. She's a sweet little calico that came to us about a year ago, and everytime she goes into heat, she has trouble pooping. It only starts near the end of her heat cycle, and we treat her by giving her some fiber pills (uncapped) in some treat food. This has worked, and the pills were ones that were given to us by a vet who treated her when we first got her. But she appears to still be having some problems pooping even a couple days after this heat cycle.

Actually, I think I need to start from the beginning. When we first got Taz, named for the Tazmanian Devil, she was an outside stray that captured our hearts when she came up to us and wanted to be picked up and petted. We introduced her to our other 3, and they soon became "guarded" friends. But, 3 weeks later, she ended up at the vet because she couldn't poop and would grunt with every attempt. We realized that something was wrong, and took her in, but by that time she was almost ready for surgery. We were lucky, they were able to remove the massive block (an inch or so of blockage) without any apparent lasting effect. They gave us some high fiber pills, and some fiber food to keep her regulated. She appeared to have no further problems, until she went into heat. It wasn't until near the end of her heat cycle that she started showing distress, and I immediately treated her with the fiber pills and treat (pouch) food. She was able to get through after a day or 2, and has only had problems when near the end of her heat cycle since.

Yes, we plan on getting her fixed, but with none of the other cats causing any problems, we haven't had any urgency except for this one issue. However, we usually can resolve that with the fiber pills, and I have used some store bought magnesium citrate in liquid form. But, this time, she started lightly grunting after a day after her heat cycle. I believe that she IS able to go a little bit, but it's not easy, and she's not going to the litter box on a constant basis. I just want to know of anything out that you folks might have tried, that worked for you. She's young, and small, about 10 lbs. or so. I gave her less than a cc of mineral oil, but I've never tried that before and don't know if that will help. I don't have any oily tuna, or else I would give her that, but I think I can maybe find it if she needs it. Any other suggestions, or anyone have recommended dosages of mineral oil, magnesium citrate (the kind you buy in a Walgreens or CVS), or anything else? Any advice would be appreciated, we just don't have the funds to take her to the vet right now. She just ended her heat cycle a couple days ago, and is otherwise as active and friendly as normal. Just sometimes will go inside, and strain, with light grunts. I haven't heard her do it for the past couple hours, but she's got too much of our hearts to take chances.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 07:53 AM
Response to Original message
1. Canned pumpkin. Plain, not the pie filling.
Edited on Mon May-28-07 07:56 AM by China_cat
Cats love it. It works. Please DON'T give her citrate of magnesia or any other human laxative without the vet's orders, you could cause her irreparable harm.
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doggyboy Donating Member (586 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
2. Is there such a thing as a stool softener for kitties?
I don't know much about cats, but I do know about constipation (Don't ask) The fiber definitely sounds like a good idea, but I know that in difficult cases, sometimes it's just not enough. When this happens with my mom, her doctor has me give her stool softeners and that always seems to do the trick.

Ask your vet about it.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. With cats, it's usually a case of needing more
fiber and more fluids.

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doggyboy Donating Member (586 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Thanks
the comments about using mineral oil threw me. I thought it was being used because the stool was too hard, causing the difficulty in passing it.
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Systematic Chaos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I don't know what is the problem
I don't know if it's because the stool is too hard, or if she's got something blocking her, or what. Perhaps it's a combination of different factors. She's still grunting today, and I did give her a little bit of magnesium citrate. It's something that I read online when doing research for her a while ago, but I just don't know what dosage to use. I gave her about a cc of it last night, she had to "wear" most of it because that was the only way I could get her to take it. She wasn't thrilled with her 'bath', but she got some in her. It's worked before, but is generally a last ditch effort, because I know she hates the taste.

I think, because it happens when she's in heat, that she must have something, like perhaps a hemoroid, that makes it very painful for her to pass her poop. But, I do know that it's sometimes because it is hard, because I would find hard poop after she does manage to go. This time, she's through with her heat cycle, and having problems. She started to have a problem at the end of her heat cycle, like, well, like normal, but I thought we resolved that. Then, a couple days later, I caught her grunting again. This time, she's getting her fiber pill, a VERY tiny amount of mineral oil, and a little bit of magnesium citrate. I will be going to the store later today, I guess, and can look for some pumpkin for her.

Because everything usually takes a couple days for her to get it through her system, I'm not critically worried right now. She's had the problem before, several times, and we have managed to get her through it. She's not constantly trying to go to the bathroom, so that is a fairly good sign to me. Indicates that she wants to go, but her system isn't so full that she urgently HAS to go or feel like she's going to burst.

Well, I'm off to go feed her another pill, I'm wondering if I should mix it with water and just give it to her "straight"? I can have her bath in it again, like I did with the magnesium, I know she will clean that off and get it in her. The only problem with it is that the fiber is gritty, I don't want it being left on her fur if she doesn't clean it all off.

I do appreciate all the advice, anyone know of anything else that might work as well? Stool softeners for cats, think she might have to live with some type of stool softener. Can cats eat pumpkin all the time, and be ok with that? Or will that eventually cause problems of some kind? Anyone who has had problems with constipated cats, help me, please???
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doggyboy Donating Member (586 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I wish I could offer you more help
but I just don't know about cats. I do know when people get hard stools causing constipation, stool softeners work great. However, I have no idea if it's safe.

As far as danger to your cat, I know that when dogs get an obstruction, they get listless. You can tell with a dog. Maybe cats are similar in that way? I dunno.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. The pumpkin is what my vet recommended for my
diabetic. (They have terrible constipation problems) We split the can up into an ice cube tray and freeze what we don't use right away. Give 1 cube per week and we have no more problems. If yours is like every cat I've ever known that gets pumpkin, you won't have to worry about getting it into her. They LOVE the stuff.

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demnan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
6. Petromalt
It's for hairballs but helps elimination of any kind. If the cat doesn't eliminate and acts sick please take immediately to the vet. I had one many years ago that had an obstruction in his bowel. The really good veterarian I had removed a piece of his bowel and he lived another happy healthy 15 years.
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Systematic Chaos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
9. She doesn't act sick
She's lively, friendly, playful, and when she had to go to the vet last time, it was because she started throwing up. I just gave her a couple of fiber pills earlier, just after posting before, and she's tried twice since then. I know that she tried, because I heard her grunting. But I don't know if she's tried other times without grunting. She's acting normal in all other ways. I'll go get the pumpkin today, and see if that helps her out at all. Pumpkin shouldn't do anything to the other 3, right? Because I know they will all want to try some. Will probably end up leaving most of the can out for all the kids to try.
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okasha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
10. If this has gone on for a couple of days,
it's time to haul her off to the vet whether she's acting sick or not. You want to get the problem solved BEFORE it gets to that point. Mineral oil is quite dangerous, by the way. If it's aspirated, it can lead to foreign body penumonia, which has a very high fatality rate.

Once you get her past this particular spell, try mixing up about a quarter teaspoon of unflavored psyllium powder (Konsyl or similar) in wet food for her on a daily basis. I had a long-haired kitty who had had recurring problems, and it worked very well for him.
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Systematic Chaos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
11. Taz is feeling much better now.
We took her to the vet yesterday, because even though she had managed to go a little there was still some grunting. The vet advised us that she just needed some stool softener, and if we take her in to get her fixed then this problem should go away on its own. Apparently she may be afflicted with something called Pyometra, which can be deadly but it goes away completely with the removal of the uterus. So, we are going to have her fixed before she goes into heat again and this will solve her problem.

She's back to her happy, bouncing, talkative self - that is unless we're trying to give her her medicine. Then she's not too happy. I guess it tastes really bad.
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okasha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. "Pyometria" is literally "pus in the uterus."
Good thing you caught it! The grunting may be due to abdominal pain as much as to a hard stool.
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Systematic Chaos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. I spoke to my roommate further
and he said that the doctor says that she wasn't actually constipated. He said that she may have the pyometria, or perhaps piles? But apparently getting her fixed as quickly as possible will take care of the problem.

She's been a very chipper kitty since she actually has been going. I've had to cut part of her fur, because some of the medicine ended up under her chin, where the fur became matted. I tried giving her a bath to see if a detangler (cat formula) would resolve the matted fur issue, but it didn't. So, she is now very vocal about the fact that the only dripping faucet is the bathtub faucet. I reduced the amount of water dripping, and she hasn't been "yelling", so maybe there was just too much water coming out.

As it is, I don't care how noisy she gets over complaining about things, I'm just happy that she is doing much better. No more grunting, and she appears to be going normally. Her energy level is normal, and eating isn't a problem. She still terrorizes the other cats when she wants to, and has managed to push the others out of their chosen chair when she wants it. I believe she thinks that she is the queen of the house, except when our older female comes along and starts getting fiesty.

The medicine that was given to us says to continue giving it to her after she starts eliminating, but it's really hard to give it to her. It's just a stool softener, and she doesn't appear to be having more problems. Does it sound like it's necessary to continue giving it to her, if she's able to go normally without any further signs of problems? She's already begun to be paranoid about being turned upside down, even if there is no evidence of the dropper, and it took forever to get her to trust us enough to turn her upside down. I'd rather not abuse her trust, if at all possible.

It's a slow and long process to get her to trust us, she used to never even want us to touch her. She's become much more friendly and definitely shows more trust of us, the longer she's with us. It seems like each heat cycle would bring her closer to us, and she always seems to be more friendly each time. I joked to my roommate, three more heats cycles, and she will start letting me brush her belly and become a lap kitty. She's so funny, whenever she goes into heat, she starts getting more friendly. She continues to be almost as friendly afterwards, which is a huge improvement over her behavior before the heat cycle. She's gone from yelling at us (and running for her life) whenever we picked her up, to almost staying on my lap while I pet her. She still yells at me when I come around a corner, but it's so cute how she will respond to us when we call her name. She gives us a really cute double meow, "meo, meow" (and yes, it sounds like that, she cuts off her first meow to continue with the second), and always looks at us as if she thinks she's doing something wrong.
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okasha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Keep giving the meds anyway, no matter how much she doesn't like it.
Meantime, check with your vet to see whether there's something you can give in her food, like Konsyl, and schedule her spay as soon as you possibly can.
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