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Canadian-made Kaopectate safe for cats?

October 5th, 2008, 10:57 AM
I know the US version now uses a salicylate compound, but here in Canada we still have the attapulgite type. I'm wondering if this can be used for a kitty with loose stools. Gollum - who's been doing unbelievably well since his liver and kidney crisis - seems to have overindulged in both hairball treats and catnip. I grow the latter (and also catmint) in my garden and he does enjoy a nibble of the fresh greens. However, I've cut him off for a bit. Thursday night he also accidentally got more than his share of Whiskas treats for hairballs (and he brought up a humongous one yesterday). His stools are terribly stinky! This is an ongoing thing, though. His nickname has been Stinker for quite awhile (Stinker also being one of the names Sam gave to Gollum in Lord of the Rings).

He does not have actual, liquid diarrhea; it's still formed, albeit mushy. Nothing sticks to his fur or runs down his legs. He goes hours between visits to his box and sleeps pretty much through the night. He's energetic and cheerful, and the vet was very pleased with his progress when he had his checkup and blood work in September. But I'd still like to firm him up a bit. He goes back to the vet next week for his next checkup and annual boosters - yay! - now that he's totally off meds except for the diltiazem and potassium. I phoned the vet's office about the soft poop but didn't get much advice; they didn't seem overly concerned. I gave him mashed banana instead of potassium gluconate today, as I've heard this is also helpful for upset tummies.

Anyway, back to the question ... is the Johnson & Johnson/Merck kaopectate safe to use in small doses? Have any of you used it? I have the regular strength vanilla flavor. The active ingredient is attapulgite. Other ingredients are glucono-delta-lactone, magnesium aluminum silicate, methylparaben, purified water, sorbic acid, sucrose, titanium dioxide, xanthan gum.

If not recommended, what is the alternative? Keep on with the banana? I really don't want to shove more drugs into the poor little guy if I can help it, as he's been through so much already. I hate to drag him 40 km to and from the vet's when he's obviously not in distress (I mind it way more than he does). And I do have a fresh bag of saline plus hypos and needles in case he ever starts to get dehydrated - at which point he'd go to the vet's anyhow - but so far, he's fine. He eats and drinks normally. I've begun to feed him only moist food and a holistic dry food with no corn or wheat in it. His illness taught me a lot about nutrition.

Any advice would be welcomed!


October 5th, 2008, 11:28 AM

Your giving him greens and hairball treats in order to loosen up his stool and keep things moving in his bowels. And now you want to also give him Kaopectate which will just plug him up again? That doesn't make any sense to me.

Just cut back on the treats.

As for the bad smell, The usual thing to try is to change his food.

October 5th, 2008, 12:24 PM
Try some slippery elm bark from the health food store instead of kaopectate. You can mix an 1/8th of a tsp of the powder in with his wet food a couple times a day and see how he does. Here's more info:

Canned pumpkin or squash is another option (not the pie filling).

The really stinky poo isn't normal either, so I'll second what Hazmat said that maybe Gollum needs a diet change. Are you sure you need to feed any dry food? Even one that claims to be holistic isn't necessarily good for him. Some probiotics (also from health food store - in the refrigerator section) might be helpful if his gut flora is off. Look for a non-dairy, multiple organism, high potency one like Natural Factors Ultimate Multi Probiotic. Easy to administer by sprinkling 1/6th of a capsule in his wet food a few times a day.

My last comment is going to be about the vaccinations. I can't remember how old Gollum is or what his lifestyle situation is (indoor, outdoor), but you may want to reconsider annual boosters. The latest protocol from the American Association of Feline Practitioners is no more than every 3 years, except for rabies as dictated by law. And when Gollum does get vaxed, make sure it's with non-adjuvanted vaccines from Merial (Purevax). Some info on that here:

October 5th, 2008, 03:22 PM
Thank you both for your advice. I'll try to find some probiotic for him, as he was on Clavamox for so long that I'm sure his gut flora must have suffered. I did try natural yogurt with live bacterial culture but he disliked it. The slippery elm bark is also a great suggestion! I don't expect to need this sort of treatment as an ongoing thing - just for the occasional problem such as he's had the last couple days (he seems better now, in fact ... nothing all day in his box!). The stinkiness is going to take more effort.

I probably ought to stress that Gollum's encounter with excessive hairball treats was a one-time thing! I have an older kitty who does very well on them when it's hairball season (which is most of the time), and she graciously allowed him to share hers as well as the few I'd given him to keep him from bugging her. Ironically, at the height of his illness, treats were the only thing that kept him alive. They were his first step back from the abyss. Usually he gets Medi-Cal or Greenies.

He's never had issues with my fresh catmint/catnip before or even been all that much taken with it; it's just a garden plant that I've had around off and on for some years, but since his illness he's developed a greater interest in it. I'm wondering if this may be connected to detoxifying effects of the plant. Nepeta cateria also helps to dispel gas and reduce inflammation. I know that people use it in tea to aid digestion. So I felt it might be OK - however, he went to extremes so he's no longer allowed to indulge unless strictly limited!

Changing diet would be a wonderful thing. Sadly, given his horrendous medical history, I suspect it is also not going to be feasible. He got a rough start in life and by the time I adopted him from the SPCA, his eating habits were pretty much set to no-name cheapo stuff. I did manage to upgrade to Whiskas and Friskies, at least. When he was recently anorexic, I force-fed him raw liver and other goodies for weeks. I've tried every variety of wet food I can buy here (which unfortunately doesn't include many that I read about on this site; we have limited access to anything not mainstream). He has refused all but the very basic Friskies tuna and salmon, and a few Whiskas pates. I've mixed in Iams - no dice. Got some pricey health-food stuff in tiny tins. Uh-uh. Hills - no way. He will eat the odd bit of low-sodium salmon, which the vet approves. But it was so hard to pull him through the hepatic lipidosis, not to mention kidney malfunction and cardiomyopathy (oh yeah, anemia too!) that it became necessary to let him eat whatever ... either that, or he would simply have starved himself to death. Hence, the dry food. It was "whatever works", because we were desperate. And he did survive. No one expected that he would! I'm now the world's biggest denamarin fan but $1500 poorer.

Anyway, I will mull over what's you've both told me and take it from there. I was aware of problems with American kaopectate when they changed their formula to bismuth salicylate, but that wasn't done in Canada and ours still has clay as its base (magnesium-aluminum silicate or attapulgite). So the US horror stories aren't applicable here. However, there may be problems with some of the other non-medicinal ingredients in my list and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what those might be. I used to use kaopectate with my horses every now and then. I believe our vets still consider it a treatment option as well, but I wanted to ask a wider audience and the folks here are always knowledgable.

I'll ponder the booster issue as well. I get a lot of strays, dumped beside the road - it's a community problem and we're all trying to deal with these extra cats somehow. They make their way down our very long driveway and there's always a chance of direct contact. Gollum's only five. He does go outside, with supervision, but spends a lot of time on our deck which is enclosed by lattice so he can't get out. He can, however, touch noses through the lattice (and has on occasion). Then there are the raccoons, skunks and so on. I'm out in the country.

So once again, thanks Hazmat and Sugarcatmom!! I appreciate the time you took with my rambling question and the helpfulness of your replies. My response is rambling too! Now I'll head for town and see what I can find from among the items mentioned.


October 5th, 2008, 04:33 PM
Oh that's right, I remember Gollum's liver problems now. Part of his digestive issues may very well be a side effect of the Clavamox. I would definitely try the probiotic capsules then. In my opinion, yogurt doesn't contain enough of the beneficial bacteria to be therapeutic for small animals in the amounts that they would eat. Plus there's the issue of dairy being a potential allergen. The capsules are just easier to deal with and much more potent.

As for slippery elm, it is such a safe product with a long history of use and no risk of toxicity. Way preferable to kaopectate even if it doesn't contain salicylates. I keep some in my kitty "medicine cabinet" for just such occasions.

Good luck!

October 5th, 2008, 08:20 PM
I also will suggest probiotics, and if you can't get the slippery elm bark, Butternut squash works also. I buy the Heinz organics pure butternut squash babyfood. Start with a 1/4 tsp twice a day. Freezing it in ice cube trays in the amount needed is a great way to prevent it from going bad in the fridge. If he won't eat it mixed into his food you break the frozen squash into smaller pieces & pill him with it.

October 5th, 2008, 11:13 PM
He seems to have returned to "normalcy", at least in terms of the consistency. I gave him mashed banana three times and it must have helped some - or maybe he was just getting the causative agents out of his system. I suspect he will still have his ups and downs when it comes to digestion so I want to be prepared for next time.

Squash!! Of course ... it is close to pumpkin. I have a small one waiting to be cooked. I suppose I could mash a bit of it without butter and set it aside. It is a buttercup, though, not a butternut. I wonder if that's OK. Thanks, Growler.

SCM, I'll look for probiotic capsules. Acidophilus is available at the drugstore and I imagine there are other types at the health food store.

You both were so helpful to me when Gollum was fighting for his life, I'll never forget that.


October 5th, 2008, 11:22 PM
Buttercup, pumpkin and butternut squash are all in the winter squash family so it should be fine it's also on the non toxic plant list :thumbs up The taste of Butternut squash is tolerated by most cats & is also used in some catfoods

If you can't find the probiotic SCM has suggested you can use PB8 ( that's what my grrl gets

October 7th, 2008, 04:00 PM
OK, I had a good day! Went to town and got slippery elm powder - the health food store had very little. Made the syrup as instructed. Got some of the Hi Potency natural probiotic capsules, too.

Better yet, a new pet health store has just popped up out of nowhere in our little town. AND the owner carries Wellness products. She had 11 cans of wet food. I bought all 11 cans. Gollum sampled the salmon/trout flavour and found it good. He got some probiotic sprinkled on top. I;ll give him some of the slippery elm when it cools. It says not to combine it with meds, so I have to be sure he doesn't take his diltiazem until well afterwards.

The pet store lady also gave me a sample of EVO dry kibble to try. It apparently imitates a raw diet (as much as possible). Gollum took to it immediately.

Life is good. Thanks again!!!!!


October 8th, 2008, 01:37 AM
Good news :highfive:

Yay for the new supply store in town too :thumbs up

October 8th, 2008, 10:43 AM
...Better yet, a new pet health store has just popped up out of nowhere in our little town. AND the owner carries Wellness products. She had 11 cans of wet food. I bought all 11 cans...

Great news for you that you now have that supplier!

Now, you should understand that not all Wellness wet products are "created equal"......I'd suggest that you stick to the grain-free varieties. Those are identified by a yellow triangle in the top right corner of the label. Have a look here ( The first six are grain-free - and - of those, you should limit the number of fish varieties on his menu.

A couple of other points. I know that the 12oz cans will make for a substantial saving for you (leftovers to be refridgerated in plastic/ceramic sealer containers). You can also contact Wellness customer service ( once a month and request savings coupons. You should also be able to reach an agreement for a discount with the retailer if you will purchase by the case...e.g. I get every 10th case free. All of these points will reduce your cost.

October 8th, 2008, 11:41 AM
Thanks RustyCat. She only had two varieties - the turkey and salmon and the chicken and herring. Both are grain-free. But they were my only choices. This is a very small store, just starting out. I imagine her funds are limited until she builds up a client base. She also carries only the small cans.

Thanks for the customer service link! I'll see what they tell me.