Feline Regularity
December 5, 2005 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Help my cat get regular.

My four month old kitten has had diarrhea for the last two months. I noticed it after he finished up a course of antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection. He eats this dry food and has 1-2 teaspoons of Nutro Complete Care wet food every couple of days as a treat. Last month I took him to the vet because it had not cleared up on its own. They did a fecal analysis and found nothing and recommended canned pumpkin and acidophilus supplements. I gave him about a teaspoon of pumpkin per day for the next couple of weeks and have been sprinkling his food with a small pinch of powder acidophilus tablets daily to no effect. (The pumpkin was discontinued after the other cat started scarfing hers and then puking bright orange inside of five minutes.) He is a long haired cat and this makes a real mess. Please help; he does not enjoy daily baths and I dislike tiny pawprints of poo.
posted by amber_dale to Pets & Animals (17 answers total)
My kittens had diarrhea when I first got them. Things I did:

First, you're probably not giving him cows milk, but just in case you are, stop. It's not good for cats. Instead, go to the store and buy condensed goat milk, mix half and half with water.

Second, bene-bac. You can get it at any pharmacy, they keep it in the fridge. Also try plain yogurt.

Also, I didn't give my cats any wet food until they were 6 months old, however, since you don't give him very much, I doubt thats the problem.

And FYI, you're using the same kind of food I use, so thumbs up there.

And I feel for having to really get in there good with the baths. I won't go into details since you already know, but I almost vomitted everytime I did it.
posted by puke & cry at 5:08 PM on December 5, 2005

On no-preview, you already know about acidophilus. So nevermind.
posted by puke & cry at 5:09 PM on December 5, 2005

I took him off the wet food for a week or so and that had no effect. Before I took him to the vet, I tried plain yogurt, but the cow's milk factor plus no apparent change made me stop that, too. I wonder if maybe the Nutro is just too rich for him or if something lamb based might be better.
posted by amber_dale at 5:16 PM on December 5, 2005

The first thing that I thought of was houseplants. Is he chowing down on any plants you may have? If so . . . ixnay on the eating of the plants. If he really wants greenery, you'll need to grow him some cat grass. Our cats had the Issues of GI Seriousness when they were small -- we had to switch around to find a food bland enough for them, so don't be afriad to phase him into a new food if your vet thinks it will help. Then again, I think that a lot of kitties have a hard time adjusting with their stomachs out of the shelter/pet store, so this may be totally normal.

As usual, I'm expecting that biscotti will show up and blow us all out of the water, so wait for that before you start an indoor garden.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:35 PM on December 5, 2005

I'm stumped I suppose. The only other thing I could tell you is I usually have good luck googling for cat health problems with emphasis on "holistic". Usually home remedys, but you can't believe everything you read online, of course.
posted by puke & cry at 5:46 PM on December 5, 2005

I agree with the cat grass suggestion. It's also possible that there's something in the food that isn't agreeing with him - I might feed him ONLY the dry food for a while (leave out the canned for now), but I'd also consider changing foods (Felidae or Innova or Wellness would be my first choices), two months is a LONG time to have diarrhea. I would also get the vet to run another fecal and possibly blood work (some things don't show up on tests right away). I wouldn't give ANY milk, cats don't need it and they especially don't need it when they already have an upset GI system.
posted by biscotti at 5:52 PM on December 5, 2005

I don't have any plants, so that can't be it. He doesn't eat people food, although he tries hard. It's really baffling. The Nutro is really good for both of them in every other way (other's cat's poo, coats, no hairballs), but if this keeps up I am going to have to find something else to see if that might help.

Incidentally, if anyone has any magic cures to train the other cat out of jumping on the @*@$ kitchen counter every five minutes, I am all ears. Canned air, clapping, and aluminum foil have all been a bust.
posted by amber_dale at 5:53 PM on December 5, 2005

This site recommends Hill's w/d or z/d diet & immodium AD. And if there's no improvement, there are further tests your vet can do to pin down the problem (cbc panel, GI biopsy). But like Maven said, why not experiment with some other diets first to rule out sensitivity to something in the Nutro?

This page has some other techniques to address jumping on the counter in the last paragraph. Negative reinforcement that occurs even when you're not in the room to catch her in the act is best (the only way I got my pup to stop snatching stuff out of the trash, but that's another story.)
posted by neda at 6:05 PM on December 5, 2005

I went over it with my mom she suggested you switch foods. Although it's hard to beat nutro. The only other one I know of is Muenster.

She also suggested making your own food with chicken and rice.
posted by puke & cry at 6:26 PM on December 5, 2005

Incidentally, if anyone has any magic cures to train the other cat out of jumping on the @*@$ kitchen counter every five minutes, I am all ears. Canned air, clapping, and aluminum foil have all been a bust.
My husband and I have four indoor cats. All have learned to respect the spray bottle. Now, they follow verbal warnings and rarely get sprayed.

As for antics on the counter, we would spray them when we saw it happen and set out cheap foil pans.
posted by bonobo at 6:43 PM on December 5, 2005

Sorry, bad post. It should continue after the word "pans" as:

in precarious arrangements overnight. They would startle themselves out of the habit. Now if we could just get Bugnug to quit putting the humans' things in the water bowls. . .
posted by bonobo at 6:47 PM on December 5, 2005

Just a note, beware of giving a cat people medicine. Before I gave him any imodium, I would check with the vet. I know that Prescription Diet has its, uh, detractors, but the i/d formula and then phasing into Science Diet for Sensitive Stomach seemed to be what cured up our kitty stomach ailments. If you want to go the "cook kitty dinner" route, I know I've seen some links out here on AskMe before about that, but I'm coming up with poor google-fu in finding them.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:00 PM on December 5, 2005

Incidentally, if anyone has any magic cures to train the other cat out of jumping on the @*@$ kitchen counter every five minutes, I am all ears. Canned air, clapping, and aluminum foil have all been a bust.

I have some plants in my kitchen window my cats liked to dig up, the little bastards. I just bought some cat repellant in a spray bottle from petsmart. You rip up a towel into little strips, spray it a couple times and lay around needed area. You have to respray every day but I didn't have to watch them at all day long.

And btw, I'm really surprised air can and foil didn't work. Those are my surefire cures. Sounds like you have quite a handful.
posted by puke & cry at 7:03 PM on December 5, 2005

I should add that I only used the spray for a few weeks. They were trained after that.
posted by puke & cry at 7:07 PM on December 5, 2005

It's the older of the two that's the jumper. I haven't resorted to a spray bottle because her other favorite jumping spot is the dresser (so she can destroy the miniblinds by getting in the window). It's made of antique mahogany and can't have water standing on it. I bought some of the cat repellent and spray it regularly on the blinds, but she still jumps up and noses at them before I lunge for the air can on the nightstand and she jumps down. This repeats itself every ten minutes between 4 and 7am. I would lock them out of my bedroom but then the little one cries all night.

There's a store in town that sells the Wellness brand food and possibly the Felidae as well. I'll check those out and see if a different food and some cat grass calm his tummy, but if anyone else has a suggestion I am still listening.
posted by amber_dale at 7:25 PM on December 5, 2005

Although it's hard to beat nutro.

Nutro is generally a pretty middle of the road food in my opinion (Nutro Ultra is great, but as far as I know there's only a formula for dogs so far, Nutro Max is to be avoided), there are certainly objectively better foods in terms of ingredients quality - the foods I mentioned are all better than Nutro in that respect (all use human-grade ingredients and have a better ingredients list). That said, above a certain level, the best food is the one you can get and afford that also suits your pet, it's just one variable in the big health picture, and Nutro is by no means a bad food.

I would certainly consider a course of i/d to let the cat's system settle down, and then gradually introduce regular food again. If the diarrhea stops on i/d and then comes back on regular food, it's likely that there's something in the food causing the problem. I would avoid Science Diet though.

As to the counter jumping - maybe try double-sided tape. I don't like spray bottles and other direct human-mediated punishments, they tend to just teach the cat to avoid the counter when you're there, it's better if the counter itself becomes inhospitable.
posted by biscotti at 7:50 PM on December 5, 2005

Ditto on trying a different dry food. Don't switch it abruptly, mix 1/2 new and 1/2 old for a day or two. Poor little kitty!
posted by radioamy at 1:59 PM on December 6, 2005

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