My cat is messed up. Help!
June 24, 2014 7:44 AM   Subscribe

We awakened this morning to find that overnight, our 14-year-old cat had vomited many times throughout the house, and had also pooped in the living room and then leaked black/possibly very dark green fluid/diarrhea throughout the house as well. We do have a vet appointment for this afternoon, but the hive is good with cat stuff, so I'm asking here as well. Details about our kitty inside.

Kishiru is 14 and up until the last month or so has been quite healthy. About a month ago, I noticed blue bumps inside her ears and decided to take her to the vet. She was diagnosed with major bacterial infections in both ears and we did a 2-week course of antibiotic drops, which upon followup, showed to have cleared the infection. At the followup appointment, I mentioned she had been sneezing and having eye watering, and she was diagnosed with a flare of feline herpes, likely picked up before we adopted her (she came from a kitten mill that was busted), flaring due to the stress of the vet and the ear drops. This followup appointment happened about 2 weeks ago.

Starting about a week ago, she became somewhat less interested in food, which is unlike her. She'd eat, but not as enthusiastically. She's never been super-active, but she's been laying around more.

This morning, we discovered the aforementioned vomit (some which was just clear fluid), feces, and little dots of diarrhea all over the house, and she was pretty listless. Her eyes are back to leaking and are sort of pink around the lids. We didn't feed her this morning, just in case.

Food: we feed her canned grain-free food, a total of about 5.5 oz/day (half in the morning, half at night). We have been experimenting with different brands, so that is a possibility, but the fact that the poop is black makes me doubt that's the answer.

Again, we do have a vet appointment this afternoon, but I'd like some ideas before then. Thanks!
posted by altopower to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you been giving her L-Lysine for the herpes?

Can you go to an emergency vet, rather than waiting for the afternoon appointment? Listless, black diarrhea... I'd be going to the vet now rather than waiting for the afternoon.
posted by sockermom at 7:48 AM on June 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

Yikes, based on this description I am concerned. Black poo could be blood in it; vomiting fluid means there's nothing left in her stomach.

Try to get her hydrated and get an earlier vet appointment if you can. Check if she's dehydrated by pinching the skin.

Is she peeing ok?

My cat barfed all around because he ate a lily but he did not have these other symptoms.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:49 AM on June 24, 2014

This is unlikely given all of her long-term issues, but is there any chance she drank something she shouldn't have? My dog once drank dirty mop water with Simple Green in it, leading to a lot of nasty vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration.

I too would be getting that cat to a vet ASAP.
posted by jon1270 at 7:54 AM on June 24, 2014

I'd call the vet and try to get in right now on an emergency basis. This sounds, based on my experience with our older cat, very concerning.
posted by Frowner at 7:54 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Message received...I managed to get her an earlier appointment and I'm leaving work now to go take her in.
posted by altopower at 8:01 AM on June 24, 2014 [21 favorites]

Keeping my fingers crossed for her!
posted by fight or flight at 8:04 AM on June 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: She is still at the vet (I am now home) and getting X-rayed and having blood drawn. They think she's constipated. They do think the black color is concerning and probably indicative of blood somewhere, but don't know anything yet.
posted by altopower at 10:41 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is it possible that she ingested something poisonous? There are a lot of houseplants and landscaping flowers that are poisonous to cats: Plants Toxic to Cats

Please keep us updated.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:51 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm glad she's at the vet, they can hydrate her and keep an eye on her. I'm saying lots of kitty prayers for you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:26 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

She may have an obstructed or perforated bowel. Sending her good thoughts.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:07 PM on June 24, 2014

Response by poster: She is STILL at the vet. X-ray was completely clean, no constipation or other problems were seen. I'm waiting for them to call with the results of the blood work so I can go pick her up and figure out a plan. I just hope we get some sort of answer and not a shrug and a "well, she's old, so we don't really know."

I don't think she ingested anything poisonous...she's strictly indoors and totally unadventurous, and I just can't think of anything she could have gotten into. We don't have any plants.

Here is the kitty in question, pictured in her younger and somewhat slimmer days. She has perfected her derisive look since then.
posted by altopower at 1:26 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Aww... she's cute.

When my cat ate lily*, he barfed all over and looked miserable & bloated. The vet sent him home with essentially what was an antacid and he slowly got better after 1-2d, eating small meals. If the bloodwork is clean then maybe you will just have to keep her under observation.

Times like this you wish pets could talk and tell you what hurts. Wishing her healing thoughts.

* our working diagnosis, still don't know what caused it
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:50 PM on June 24, 2014

I noticed you mentioned trying different grain-free wet food. I just switched my 9 year old to a new grain free brand and he ended up vomiting and with a week of "the squirts." No blood though. All better after food trial. Though the fear was
IBD. Hoping your wee one's condition is one of bad food in, gross stuff out.
posted by Lil Bit of Pepper at 4:16 PM on June 24, 2014

What a gorgeous cat! Glad we ruled out that stuff. My cats say 'meow' to your cat.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:04 PM on June 24, 2014

Response by poster: I finally got home from picking her up a little bit ago. Tentative diagnosis is an ulcer or some other upper GI bleed, but they don't have any real proof of that. Blood work was all totally normal, which for a cat her age is pretty miraculous. So, we now have three medications that we're supposed to give her, one that "coats" things, an antacid, and an anti-diarrheal antibiotic. Also a couple of days of bland diet (Science Diet i/d).

She was also diagnosed with "eosinophilic keratitis" on her corneas, likely caused by her herpes. Apparently the ulcerations are pretty bad and uncomfortable for her, so we also have eye drops AND eye ointment.

So for those who can do math, that is FIVE medications we are now giving this poor kitty. All of them are two or three times a day. I don't doubt that they're necessary, but this old girl is already pretty stressed by the two vet visits in the last month, and now today's marathon at the vet, and now getting all these meds? I don't know what that's going to do to her, and I feel terrible.
posted by altopower at 5:28 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

For the oral meds you could try pill pockets, less stressful, if she likes them.
posted by nanook at 5:31 PM on June 24, 2014

Poor little baby. But at least she seems to be doing okay otherwise, and she'll be done with the pills soon enough.

I do wonder about the new foods, though - now that I think of it, we ran out of our usual a few years ago, I got something else and the result was bloody diarrhea - just awful, but it cleared up literally the day after we switched back to the old food.
posted by Frowner at 5:50 PM on June 24, 2014

Is it possible the antibiotics caused the upset? Does that happen with animals on antibiotics?
posted by crankyrogalsky at 5:54 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Aww. Poor little buddy. Pill pockets are a lifesaver. My cat takes lysine for her herpes and I slather it in her other pills (when she is on other medication) which also works very well.
posted by sockermom at 6:02 PM on June 24, 2014

Please don't feel too bad about giving her the medication - with luck she's anything like my kitty who has to take a pill every day too and makes his displeasure about it well known, but he forgets about it soon enough afterwards.

It might help especially if you can give her a nice treat or cuddles, something she really enjoys straight afterwards (assuming there are any nice treats she likes that she can & wants to eat right now!).

Hope everything clears up soon, sending meows and purrs your way!
posted by symphonicknot at 3:57 AM on June 26, 2014

Response by poster: I don't know if anyone is still going to be reading this, but here's an update: it's now a week later. There haven't been any more diarrhea episodes, but things are still not normal. Her appetite is terrible...she'll eat a little tiny bit, but that's it (maybe a quarter of what she'd eat before). She's still vomiting some, mostly clear fluid with a bit of food in it. Not using the litterbox very much. She's drinking water pretty well, though, and acting fine...walking around, purring, cuddling, etc.

We've decided that we won't be stressing her out with any more pills or treatments or anything. She is 14 years old and we want her to enjoy whatever time she has left. And maybe once the stress has lifted, she'll be back to her old self more.
posted by altopower at 7:30 AM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

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