A Tale of Two Poops
February 27, 2012 7:23 PM   Subscribe

poop + cats = problems. How do I keep my sanity, save my nose, and help my kitties?

Back in June, my adult male cat had one of his anal glands rupture (I asked a related question here). About a week and a half ago, he had some trouble with waste removal, shall we say. I had to help him a little bit and this concerned me that maybe he was having gland problems again. A trip to the vet and it was decided that he didn't have problems, but that he was awfully irritated back there. I was given ointment and told to wait to see if things improved.

He had another problem a couple of days later which resulted in poop "presents" in the living room. I took him back to vet with a stool sample. They found nothing in the sample that was of any help. Due to the irritation around his anus, the poop problems, and the itchy ears he's been having, the vet suspects food allergy. I was feeding both cats Orijen dry and Natural Balance wet food. He has been eating both of these for awhile now, so I was surprised that this was possible. Currently, we are transitioning to a prescription low allergen food in order to see whether it is actually a food allergy. I'm supposed to feed him the prescription for 6-8 weeks to see. I am not thrilled about this.

Meanwhile, my 1 year old girl cat is now developing a scooting problem. She has done it every once in awhile and has had very stinky poop for as long as I've had her, I think. It's not always smelly, but when it is, it's very bad. I never thought to check the consistency of it until tonight. She scooted after using the box, though there didn't appear to be anything on her. The poop was not firm but not diarrhea loose either. She is transitioning onto the dry prescription food with my male cat, as it would be next to impossible to feed them separately. She is eating the same wet food that she's had for the whole time she's lived here (about 6 months or so).

So I am looking for a bit of help on both of these. I would love to hear from people who may have pets with food allergies about how they were discovered, managed, etc. After the 6-8 weeks are up, I have to try and transition them to ANOTHER food ("over the counter" food, if you will) and now I am unsure what to go to. Orijen has been wonderful up until now and I like the idea of low grain, high protein.

I am also looking for advice on the girl cat. Should she be going to the vet also because of her looser stool? Or could it just be from food transitioning? What if she's had a problem all along that was indicated by her smelly stool and it's somehow gotten into the boy cat?

I haven't had a lot of problems with my cats in the past, so to now have two cats that are showing signs of problems is making me a little nervous, I guess.
posted by itsacover to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can only address one little part of this, but my older girl kitty just had a soft-poop issue due to a change in food. Our vet had given us a large sample of Science Diet, and we let kitty sample it as a treat. Since she really liked it, I unthinkingly gave her about half a meal's worth of it, and she had some distress a couple of days later. We even saw some blood in the stool. I did call the vet, but since a change in diet can cause that very symptom, we stuck to her regular diet and kept a close watch, and she was fine in a few days.

So just the change is probably to blame. Are you making a gradual transition?
posted by Occula at 7:34 PM on February 27, 2012

Anal gland issues are now thought to be almost always related to food allergies, so putting both cats on a low allergen diet is a good idea. As your plan indicates, if the problems resolve with the low allergen diet, you can either leave them on it, or do a food trial with a limited ingredient non-prescription diet (California Natural, the Natural Balance LID diets, etc.) and see if there is a diet that will work. Orijen is a great diet, but it has a lot of ingredients, Natural Balance has limited ingredient grain free diets, as does Before Grains and a few others.
posted by biscotti at 7:37 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: We are trying to make a gradual transition and have been working on it for close to a week now, but the cats dig the new food out of the old food and almost exclusively eat the new.

Also: I hadn't thought about the limited ingredient vs. Orijen with a lot of ingredients. Makes sense.
posted by itsacover at 7:39 PM on February 27, 2012

Response by poster: biscotti, no one ever said to me that anal gland issues could be related to food allergy. I will have to look into that a little bit more. Thank you!
posted by itsacover at 7:41 PM on February 27, 2012

I was feeding my cats Wellness for a long time and accepted that smelly poop (even covered in the regularly cleaned litter box) was just a part of cat ownership. Their stool was a soft consistency though not exactly diarrhea. I switched them to a different brand and not only did it eliminate the odor entirely, their stools were more "normal". I suspect diet is a large part of what causes issues with cats so yeah, do try different diets to figure out one that works for your cats. I've been told by my vet that cats can develop allergies and food sensitivities even if they've been eating it all along.

Sadly, I did get good results with the Science Diet duck and peas food when exploring food allergies, but couldn't feed them that horrible stuff on a long term basis. Have you tried switching to different protein sources?
posted by loquat at 8:22 PM on February 27, 2012

Response by poster: switching proteins is what comes next after the prescription food. I am just not sure what to go to. They've been eating chicken primarily, so it can't be that. I have been told fish is not always the best for cats either and it seems like most foods are chicken or fish...
posted by itsacover at 8:26 PM on February 27, 2012

Have you looked into cat probiotics at all? I've had good results with those on my recently adopted shelter cat, who had diarrhea, gas, and stinky poo problems. It comes as a white powder that you mix into the food. My local pet store sold this kind, which I've been using for my cat, but I've known another cat who did well on FortiFlora and that one seems to be more popular.
posted by wondermouse at 8:45 PM on February 27, 2012

My cat has food allergies, which I discovered when he was having a lot of ear problems. He had also been a scooter which I didnt put together with the other problem but changing has food helped both. He eats Natural Balance green pea and duck. My vet suggested it should be a 'unique' protein source and that was readily available. Whenever I've switched hid food I've done so really slowly (weeks) to avoid and intestinal distress.
posted by marylynn at 8:55 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Probiotics really helped my cat's stinky poo, and my vet said that the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient foods were just as good as the expensive prescription stuff. We also use the green pea and duck for my kitty with food allergies and have been very pleased with it. And it's on Amazon's prime program, too, so it comes straight to my door in two days or less, which is pretty awesome.
posted by rosethorn at 4:26 PM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

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