My poor kitty....
June 28, 2010 6:26 PM   Subscribe

YANMV, the kitten I was giving is having um, digestive trouble, and I need some advice until I can get him to the vet. *Gross details inside*

I was given an 8 week old male kitten. He's a very sweet cat, adjusted to moving into my home right away and gets along with my other adult male cat. He has had a diet change since he arrived here, apparently the people that handed him over to me were overrun with animals and just fed him whatever. I feed the cats dry food (We use Meow Mix Hairball Control food for my other long haired cat, and the kitten seemed to like it so I figured it was fine), with the occasional wet canned food. They also have access to fresh water.

*Sorry this is gross, but I am really at a loss*

We noticed a problem a few days after he arrived and it is only getting worse. He doesn't know how to use the kitty litter yet, we're trying to teach him, but that isn't my main issue.

When he would squat to take a dump we would try to pick him up and rush him to the litter box. We happened to notice his butt looked odd and upon a closer look he still had poop in there. I mean his hole was streched out and it was just stuck. (Very nasty, if you can't tell.) I think he might have tore it a bit because it bled a little. It seemed he passed the hard stuff and the last couple of days he has had really runny wet stuff and it kind of leaks. I have been using wet wips and dabbing it off. His butt very red and irritated and he cries when we so much as touch it.

We didn't plan to get another cat but now he is here and he is already a part of our family. I am looking for some advice on what the possible cause might be and what I can do for him until I can afford to get him to the vet.
posted by sporaticgenius to Pets & Animals (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I had a kitten that had the EXACT same thing. My vet told us that it was caused by a "kink" in his bowel or something, and that he would probably outgrow it (although I was warned that some cats end up needing surgery to correct the problem, and that the surgery can cause other problems). While we were waiting for him to grow, our vet had us gently squeeze the area when he was having a bowel movement. I guess the problem was that he could get some of the poop out, but that the rest was getting stuck (which was very uncomfortable for our poor kitty). So, you could try that. It worked with our kitten, and he DID outgrow it within a couple of months (thank goodness...I couldn't imagine massaging poop out of him for too many weeks without going mad). Hope everything works out for your kitten! Also, if his butt seems raw, you could try washing with with baby soap and using a bit of vaseline. That also worked great for our kitten. Good luck!
posted by I_love_the_rain at 6:41 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Members of your family that can't talk, are 8 weeks old and seem to be in acute medical distress get taken to the doctor, regardless of your present financial situation. Other people here will be more knowledgeable than I am about the particulars of getting free or cheap medical care for your cat, but if he's bleeding this sounds serious enough that you really should get him to somebody who can examine him and make a qualified diagnosis.
posted by contraption at 6:41 PM on June 28, 2010 [11 favorites]

Hard to say, might be a rectal prolapse or something, but I 100% agree with contraption: kitten needs to go to the vet now. This is not something you want to mess with.
posted by bolognius maximus at 6:46 PM on June 28, 2010

Is it possible that the kitten swallowed a length of string? You can get symptoms like this if that happens, the string gets tangled up in their digestive tract and they can deteriorate pretty quickly. You should get your cat to a vet as soon as possible.
posted by Jairus at 6:48 PM on June 28, 2010

I know he needs to visit the vet. Unfortunately, the vets in the area will not see a patient without a payment right then and there and I haven't been able to find anyone so far who offers a sliding-scale or free care. I hate to admit this on here but I literally do not have the money at the moment to get him to the vet. I should be able to by the end of the week, but until then I am stressing myself out with worry.
posted by sporaticgenius at 6:50 PM on June 28, 2010

Then I recommend you start phoning around tonight to find a friend who is willing to take care of this kitten until you're able to. It needs medical attention.
posted by Jairus at 6:53 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

The only thing I can think of, other than much-needed medical attention, is to try giving him a tiny bit of Laxatone. It's a laxative/hairball remedy (you can find it at pet stores) and my vet recommended it when my cat was constipated.

I know what it's like, vet bills add up, but please see if you can borrow the money for the vet or call a local shelter/SPCA to see if they can help.
posted by lucysparrow at 7:14 PM on June 28, 2010

You might look into care credit and a vet that would accept it. It's a credit card that you can use for vet/medical payments, and is often interest-free for some sort of promotional period, so you can pay it off as soon as you get the money.

Please, get baby kitty to the vet immediately, though!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:16 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

The only thing I can think of, other than much-needed medical attention, is to try giving him a tiny bit of Laxatone. It's a laxative/hairball remedy (you can find it at pet stores) and my vet recommended it when my cat was constipated.

Oh, and I have a cat that has constipation problems, too, and I'd recommend plain petroleum jelly (which is to say, Vaseline) rather than laxatone. White petroleum is the primary ingredient in laxatone, it's less messy, cheaper, and my cat, at least, likes the taste much more.

But really, get him to a vet.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:21 PM on June 28, 2010

Yes, look into Care Credit. Also, if you're in or near a decent-sized city, contact the Humane Society. Your profile doesn't say where you are except for the state, but I think most cities probably have a chapter of the Humane Society that offers sliding scale or low cost vet services. Can you borrow enough for the office visit fee for the cheapest vet you can find?

Sorry, I have no specific advice for your kitty's problem, but I hope he's ok.
posted by Mavri at 7:22 PM on June 28, 2010

Feed your 8 week old kitten food made for him, not adult cat food. Adult cat food is not good for very small kittens. Are you *sure* the kitten is eating? Is he lethargic, or sick in other ways?

If there is a vet school nearby, there might be low cost options there. Some of the possibilities for what this is are bad, and you might want to consider isolating him from the other cats.
posted by jeather at 7:31 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

According to the question the kitten has diarrhoea now, laxatives are the last thing he needs. Small kittens can become dehydrated very quickly so that's one thing to keep an eye on until you can get him to the vet. You can do a pinch test on his skin, does it bounce back quickly and feel elastic-y? If not then he's dehydrated and needs attention immediately. Also is he growing? At that age he should be getting noticeably bigger every few days or so so you should be able to get some idea of if he's thriving despite the sore bum or if it's a wider problem. All the standard health checks are relevant too, is he active, eating well, no third eyelids showing, etc.

Have you wormed him? Worms will cause digestive distress in a kitten and they're pretty common, it's likely he will need to be wormed anyway. So that could be another cause. I'm not sure how young you can start with worming though, eight weeks is only just old enough to leave his mum (ask the vet when you see them). Very young kittens can't defecate on their own, their mother uses her tongue to stimulate things. So it may be just that he's a bit behind in his development and you need to use a damp washcloth or something to help him along (google should give you instructions). Changing food can screw things up too of course. You could also look at using vaseline or similar to provide a barrier so the skin isn't wet all the time, give it a chance to heal.

It does need to be checked out by a vet but if he's otherwise thriving and you're keeping a close and constant eye on him and you really can't do it any sooner then go later this week. You could also try ringing one and asking if they think it's worth coming in and how much of an emergency it is, get an actual expert's opinion on all this. Being so small kittens can go downhill fast so be prepared to do something earlier if you have to (ringing the SPCA for advice is a good idea), even if it's just turning up with his cute little face and begging.
posted by shelleycat at 7:41 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Stick to wet food. Don't use a wipe w/ alcohol on his bum. Worms cause "intestinal distress".
Vets around here often have a "new kitten package" or some such discount. Check your local Humane Society.
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 7:50 PM on June 28, 2010

Until you can get to the vet, dab a little petroleum jelly onto kitty's pucker (eww!) and if possible, massage it in a bit (aggghh!). This was the advice I followed from my vet when my young kitten was having trouble passing stool and it quickly relieved her symptoms. I only wish my vet had told me to use a Q-Tip to apply the Vaseline so I didn't have to go and cut my finger off afterwards.
posted by jamaro at 8:43 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

The Humane society has a sliding charge system, to help people with veterinarian costs. Call them. If they can't help, they will know who can.
posted by annsunny at 9:09 PM on June 28, 2010

According to a previous AskMe, you're not far from Lexington, KY. Here are a couple of vets that look like they would be happy to provide sliding scale fees/payment plans for a very sick kitten (which is what it sounds like you have):

Lexington Hospital for Cats

Eastland Animal Hospital

Masterson Animal Clinic

Tates Creek Animal Hospital

And the Lexington Humane Society and the Kentucky Animal Welfare Group.

Please, call every vet in the phone book and ask if they'll do a sliding scale fee or payment plan for your kitten. You might have to call a dozen or more but someone out there will help the kitten, you just have to ask.
posted by cooker girl at 9:15 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you are close to Lexington, Woodstock Animal Foundation runs a low-cost vet clinic on Allandale Dr. They mainly do spays/neuters, shots, and worming, but they might be worth a call. You might also call the Lexington Humane Society and see if they have a clinic now or if they know anyplace that you could go.
posted by dilettante at 8:41 AM on June 29, 2010

Update on kitty?
posted by Mavri at 7:37 PM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

No update?
posted by Jairus at 7:59 AM on July 8, 2010

Looks like the OP has killed their account.
posted by contraption at 8:54 AM on July 8, 2010

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