Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats

There’s never a dull cat moment in our house. Last week we noticed Olive was eating inconsistenly. She’s usually crazy for food – and non-food, so when she stopped eating for a few days, we thought she may have eaten something foreign or maybe started to develop fatty liver disease.

We got her checked out today and it turns out parts of her intestines are thickened and she’s got some hair stuck in there. The vet said this could be inflammatory bowel disease, which is apparently pretty common with cats. We might need to switch her diet a bit, or we might not. For now we’re armed with a steroid shot, antibiotics and a tuna flavored hairball elimination paste – delicious. We’ll see how she does with these and hopefully she’ll be back to chowing soon.

We’re just glad it doesn’t seem to be fatty liver. Matt and I definitely had flashbacks to Jack and kept comparing symptoms.

Not to be outdone, T also received a shot of steroids and antibiotics a few weeks ago for a swollen lip. His bottom lip became quite puffy like someone had socked him in the face. He apparently had an allergic reaction to something and part of it had become infected.

During both episodes Dr. Google was less than helpful. So, remember, it’s always best to get you kitty checked out by an actual vet if they’re not feeling well, and avoid the internet diagnoses.

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5 Halloween Safety Tips for Cats

Useful tips for celebrating Halloween with your kitties.

Linda Mohr's Blog

What do costumes, candy, candles, cords, and commotion have in common? All are potential hazards for your cats during the Halloween season.

Photo Credit www.hercampus.com Photo Credit http://www.hercampus.com

Costumes: Dressing your cat as Snow White may be enjoyed more by you than your pal. Keep in mind that the costume should in no way constrict movement, seeing, hearing, breathing, or meowing. Check for dangling pieces that may be chewed off and swallowed. It should be non-toxic and non-flammable. Simple costumes like a t-shirt or hat are best. Consider doing a dress rehearsal. If the cat resists being put in the attire or tries to tear it off, forget it. Your cat should always be supervised if dressed in a costume. Your witch outfit may spook your cat. A dress rehearsal may also help your cat get accustomed to the disguise.

assorted colorful candies

Candy: Halloween candy should be kept in the cupboard or in covered containers…

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An Update

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Since my last post a reaaally long time ago, a new little human has joined our family. The cats kind of don’t know what to think of her though Olive seems to always want to lay on her. We have not been back to the internal medicine vet. Toby is still bleeding. We took him for his annual vaccines in February. He is still gaining weight and the vet seems to think that whatever is causing his bloody stools isn’t anything serious. They gave us some probiotics to try on their food, though I confess I haven’t been using it regularly. It doesn’t seem to make a difference when I do. It has almost been an entire year since this whole thing started. I feel like if it were cancer he would be deteriorating quickly. Because small humans are expensive, we are going to see what happens switching them back to the regular Iams chicken food. The low residue special cat food didn’t really seem to do anything plus we spent $45 a month on it. I suppose if it makes things worse we can deduce that it is likely diet related. Cross your fingers.

Though Situations

After one round of Panacur and a new diet of Iams instetinal low residue food, Toby is still bleeding and Olive still has liquid stool. We have one dose of Panacur left, but I don’t see an end in sight. We don’t have the means to go through a Jack-like process of care this time, and that makes me very sad. All I see in his future is cancer.

Switching it Up Kitty Style

Toby had a trip to the internal medicine doctor Friday. He didn’t like the longer car ride, but was very snuggly with the nurse and doctor. The doc did some tests and xrays. The xrays didn’t show anything – except a lot of poop in there. Blood tests came back ok as well. Now we switch diets and try something called imperial deworming (I think). It’s supposed to be a medicine that would knock out all worms/parasites/infections – a sort of master pill. Olive would get it too as we still think she brought whatever this is in.

Switching foods always makes me nervous because of the possibility of developing fatty liver. To try and prevent this, we are slowly adding the new food to the old food each day, and we stayed with the same brand. They were eating Iams original chicken and we’re giving digestive care a try though I feel like they might need something more specialized. We’ll see.

If you’re switching food, be sure to do so slowly and make sure your cat continues to eat their normal amount. Most food has instructions for switching on the bag as well.

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A Post About Poop

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Again, not a post title I thought I’d ever write. After finishing antibiotics and 2 more vet visits, neither of the cats in our house have solid poop. It’s frustrating. We sent both T and Olive’s poo samples away certain they would contain parasites only to find out they were negative. 

The vet called today to say that T could have an intestinal polyp or tumor. He’s concerned about the blood and told us to watch him for a week. We’ve seen less blood, but still nothing solid and they’re both gassy and stinky. Dr. Google says those could be signs of intestinal cancer. I’m not sure what we’d do if he had cancer. The thought scares me. 

It is also perplexing that Olive has the same symptoms minus the blood. Could this be a stress issue? Some kind of infection they missed? A diet problem? They both seem themselves and eat and drink like normal. I’d just like to go a year without needing healthy kitty vibes. 

I guess we watch and wait. Again. 

Bloody Diarrhea in Cats

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That’s a post title I never thought I’d write. We had quite the scare with T the other week. I was getting ready for work when I noticed a blood spot on the carpet where he had been sitting. I thought maybe Olive had bitten him on the rear when playing – until I went downstairs.

There was bloody diarrhea everywhere. I’m talking it looked like he had been stabbed and then ran around the house.

I freaked out and shouted for Matt and we took him to the vet. All the while I’m thinking “why do we have such bad luck with cats?!” And “please don’t die.”

They gave him an exam and tested his poo. Turns out he had a severe clostridium infection, which I think he got from Olive. One of the symptoms of this infection is really foul smelling liquidy poop. Olive definitely has this.

The vet gave us some metronidazole for both kitties to give for a week. We finished up about 5 days ago, but have noticed more blood droplets outside the litter box about the sizes of peas and quarters. So back to the vet we go. He still eats and drinks and plays like normal, and of course Olive still stinks. I’m hoping all we need is another round of antibiotics. Keep your fingers crossed and send some healthy kitty vibes.

Meet Olive

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Meet Olive. She’s the newest member of our family. She’s a calico and she’s insane. When we went to the pet shop to pick out a new friend, there was a box of tiny kittens in the back – all from the same litter and all girls, except for 2 (who happened to look like T.)

We chose Olive because we thought her high energy would be a nice match for T, who up until this point has always been the high energy playful one. (Jack was always cranky and Kitty was equally as cranky.) Boy were we wrong. Turns out putting a kitten with T turns him into a crotchety, cranky animal, always hissing and running from Olive. In his defense, she is rather relentless. She’ll come up behind him and jump on his neck and his hisses don’t deter her from trying to play.
Olive

We haven’t had a kitten in our house since we got T so we’re surprised at a couple of things:

1. She won’t settle down. As soon as I get home she’s all over me wanting to sit in my lap, eat my snacks, climb the blinds…
When she does settle down, it seems like she just passes out in the middle of an activity (do cats get narcolepsy?)

2. Her digestive system is disgusting. Here’s a not so new factoid: cat butts (really any butt) are disgusting. Olive’s is especially disgusting. We took her to the vet to get checked for parasites, etc. and she came back all good so we’re giving her probiotics (the stuff in yogurt). Luckily she LOVES yogurt.

If your cat has some poo issues try giving them some yogurt (if they’ve tested negative for parasites and infection, of course.) Just be aware that it takes a few weeks to kick in.

So, now we’re to 2 cat household again. It’s nice – although it was much calmer with 2 adult cats. (I really don’t remember T being this insane as a kitten…) Hopefully as Olive calms down she and T will become buddies.

Kitty Bits: Random Musings

I’m sad to report that Kitty has passed away. I’m glad I got to get to know her. After spending the first few weeks here in panic-crotchety-super-old-cat mode, she warmed up to us nicely. Unfortunately for T, she never really warmed up to him.But who can blame her? If I was her age and some young peppy cat was always in my business I’d be crabby too.RIP Kitty: the oldest cat I ever knew. 

Speaking of T, let’s talk about cat shaving.  A while ago T had a ‘Litter box incident’ that resulted in some messy stuff being stuck to his rear end fur. Needless to say he did like getting cleaned and sunk his kitty teeth into my leg. Sidebar: cat bites get easily infected – like stupid easy – so keep an eye on it if your furry buddy bites you. 

So the cleaning was a fail, which resulted in us buying a cheap set of clippers to attempt to shave his bum. Another sidebar: did you know there are cat groomers? I sure didn’t. Anyway, the shaving incident was far more successful than the cleaning. If you have a long haired buddy consider using clippers for groomjng – it’s not as weird as it seems, I swear. 

Stay tuned, we’re moving to a new house AND getting a new kitty buddy. It should be mildly insane and make for entertaining reading. 

Letting Go

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I had this whole list of kitty related topics I wanted to write about today, but I guess that’ll have to come later.

Today I was helping a friend with the sudden sickness and the loss of her cat, and I was surprised to find myself feeling the exact same emotions I had when Jack was sick and dying.

Like me, she was home alone with her cat, and she didn’t know what to do. Like me, she had to force feed her girl…only to have her vomit a few hours later, and like Jack, her cat was very weak and had trouble walking or standing.

My friend battled with the idea of putting her down, saying she just wanted to stop her suffering. When Jack was sick, I thought about that many many times, but Matt always made a case for why we should keep going.

cat love

On his final leg, it hit me: He can’t do this anymore.

So, that’s what I told her. When it’s time to let go, you’ll know. You’ll know in your heart that it’s the right thing to do. You won’t need to ask your family or friends or vet for advice. You’ll know.

Thinking about pet loss, I’ve come to the conclusion that losing a pet feels (at least to me) worse than losing a human member of the family. Here’s why:

    • You can’t communicate verbally. They don’t understand why you’re doing the things you’re doing and they can’t tell you how they feel.
    • If they’re sick or need care it’s hard to tell if they’re suffering or not (especially cats, who have a freakish ability to mask pain/illness.)
    • Sometimes you don’t realize what a big part of your family they were until they’re gone or you have to devote time to care for them.

But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from that Jon Katz book I still can’t get through, it’s that pets know when they are loved. They know you tried to give them the best life possible.

Go hug your cat…or dog…or kid…or spouse…or aunt…