Colitis in cats?
August 12, 2012 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Colitis in cats? What to do? Diet? Help! (long and poop-related...sorry)

Leo, one of my 8 year old cats, has been having some problems for the past ~2 years. Most of the time he eats and acts normally, but it seems like every few months there is an issue that ends up with a trip to the vet. Just for comparison my other cat is his brother/same age and has never had any of these problems. I am looking for advice on preventative care after my vet told me that all of this likely points to him having colitis - my vet didn't really have any advice.

The first time it was constipation and I took him to the vet where they gave him an enema and gave me some laxatives to give him. That seemed to work.

Then we were back at the vet maybe 6 months later because of diarrhea that lasted several days. The vet ran some tests and his stool sample came back without parasites or anything like that so they gave me Proviable and some pills that I can't recall the name - something else with probiotics.

Since then (past 6 months - 1yr) he has oscillated between having diarrhea, seemingly constipation (except that he is pooping regularly, he just strains) and going to the box a lot. He is able to urinate.

A couple weeks ago he was fine the night before and then the next morning he was kind of hunched up in a corner and wouldn't eat his breakfast - this was a first because Leo never turns down food. I was getting ready for work and he came over and meowed at me and seemed like he was in pain so I called the vet and dropped him off there for the day since I had to go to work and didn't want to leave him at home all day in pain.

The vet gave me some more Proviable and said that he likely has colitis. I looked up colitis and Leo fits the description perfectly. Even down to the occasional bloody stool. The vet also did blood tests to rule out other things and everything came back normal - he is apparently a pretty healthy cat aside from this problem.

He just had another episode about an hour ago - straining to poop for awhile and then threw up his food - I think he might throw up because of all the straining he does to poop. He doesn't throw up very often. After he finally pooped he laid down and whimpered a little when I came over to pet him. He seems to strain to poop a lot of the time, so I worry that he is in pain all of the time.

I currently feed them Nature's Variety Instinct dry food in the mornings - I thought grain-free food might help - and then a rotation of Wellness, something called "best feline friend" (this is occasional) and Trader Joe's wet food at night - they each get 1/4 can. Is there other food that would be better for this particular problem?

Any advice at all for what I could do on a day-to-day basis to alleviate his symptoms would be great. Aside from running some tests to rule out things I haven't had much advice from my vet for what I can do.
posted by fromageball to Pets & Animals (4 answers total)
I'd first switch to all canned, high protein grain-free food (Merrick, Solid Gold or similar) and add salmon, or even better, sardine oil.

And then I'd find a better vet.
posted by vers at 9:29 AM on August 12, 2012

Tiki Cat has a variety of grain-free canned foods as does Felidae and Fussie Cat. The Felidae is available in giant cans while the Fussie Cat only comes in tiny cans, which I've found not as economical but the food is high quality. You could also try supplementing with dairy-free acidophilus, which I sometimes do when my cat is pooping weird.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:25 AM on August 12, 2012

Canned food. I found this site through another question on here:
Did a good job of convincing me that no cat should ever eat dry food, ever.
posted by catatethebird at 11:03 AM on August 12, 2012

My cat has megacolon (some of the issues are similar though). She is on a vet prescribed diet, alhough I order it from National Pet Pharmacy, which has not asked for an actual prescription for me to order the food (just a check of a box that the vet is ok with it). So, I would recommend a low residue canned food. Low residue means there is less waste to go through the colon, which helps your cat overall. My cat loves the Iams vet formula, low residue food, but there are also forumlas from Royal Canin, SCience Diet, etc. Of note, vet diets from these brands are of a much higher quality than the mainstream brands.

Good luck! My cat and I have been through the RINGER with this, so I hope you are able to solve this more quickly than we were.
posted by superfille at 3:38 PM on August 12, 2012

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