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Cat With Liver Issues Is Not Pooping...

July 12th, 2009, 07:56 PM
One of my cats (Approximately 7 years old) was diagnosed with liver failure (partial to total) on Wednesday last week. Ever since then she has been on an aggressive diet, probably for the last 3-4 days, as well as subcutaneous fluid treatments. I've (force) fed her decent amount of recovery food from the vet's office. (I was told that I'd much rather do THAT than let her starve.)

Anyhow, I'm starting to get worried as I've not seen her poop yet. It has been at least three whole days!!! She's peeing a little, but not eating any of her food. But as I'd mentioned, I've fed her at least a tin and a half of the recovery food (Royal canin, I think) and still, no poop!

Also, as I examined her earlier this evening, her tummy seems to be a little swollen. I'm not sure if it is just my imagination (with a sick pet, I'm liable to 'see' things, yes) or if her stomach is really bloated. If anyone has any idea as to what I can do to get her to defecate, or any other information that might useful for the general situation, I'd really, really appreciate it. Also, if anyone has had to deal with the whole cat-liver-force-feeding routine, I'd love to hear some tips, do's and dont's and the like.

Thanks in advance! :)

July 12th, 2009, 10:00 PM
Have the vets given you a diagnosis for the liver failure? Does the name hepatic lipidosis ring a bell (aka fatty liver)? This is a very serious condition that requires force-feeding, but cats can and do recover from it. I would suggest looking into a feeding tube if that is indeed what the vets think is going on. It's much less stressful than syringe feeding and provides more of a guarantee that your cat is getting enough nutrition. Here is a link on feeding tubes:

July 12th, 2009, 10:18 PM
Sugarcatmom! Hi! :)

Thanks a whole bunch for the insight. The vet here hasn't indicated a feeding tube option for my cat. (Who goes by Tiger Lily, BTW.)

But, I'm not sure how Tiger'll take to the stress of going under, and having a few stitches on her neck! (She's not as weak as she was a couple of days ago, but the stomach definitely seems bloated to me.)

We're scheduled to see the vet tomorrow and I'll be sure to ask her re: the feeding tube option. As you'd pointed out (and the article you linked to confirmed!) syringe feeding is quite stressful for me as well as for the cat. (Technically, I'm engaging in 'finger feeding' Tiger, and the fact that she hasn't bitten me even once is a testament to her patience! She does have a mean growl though. :) ... )

Anyhow, I'll camp out at the vet's tomorrow, and log in an update here. This is my first cat (I've only had dogs so far) and I'm not sure if I'm doing the 'right' thing for her! Is there anything I can give her to induce her to poop? Some sites suggest pumpkin (canned) or butternut squash. Is this a good option at all? As usual, any advice will be greatly appreciated! :)

July 12th, 2009, 10:26 PM
Yes pumpkin or butternut squash, most cats seem to prefer the taste of butternut squash over pumpkin, can be used to add fibre bulk up the poop & help them go. If Tiger has been eating far less than normal there might not be enough in the bowels for a poop yet. Since you are going to the vet tomorrow ask her to feel the abdomen/bowel area to see if there is a blockage or back up of poop.

July 12th, 2009, 10:36 PM
Thanks again! :)

We're going to the vet's tomorrow, and I've a whole laundry list of 'stuff' that I need to ask her! And checking the cat's bowels is on there!! :)

We've tried the butternut squash (wasn't a hit with Tiger, for some reason!) but at this point, if anything works, I'm ready to try it!! Any idea as to the amount of squash I can feed her? (She's approximately 7 pounds).

Thanks again for the post! Makes me feel like I'm not 'alone' in all this! Strange, I know! :loser:

July 12th, 2009, 11:27 PM
Start with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon you can either mix it into the food or since Tiger wasn't too impressed w/the taste and the last thing you want is for her to stop eating - so freeze the amount in ice cube trays then once frozen & ready to give it break it in half (so it's not so big) & pill Tiger with both halves.

Earth Organics or Heinzs Organics Pure Butternut Squash babyfood is a simple & easy way to give it. A jar can only last a couple of days opened in the fridge but if you freeze portions in the ice cube trays then dump them into a freezer bag it will last much longer in the freezer. You can pill it frozen - the taste is not so strong that way too.

My cat is really easy to pill - here's how I do it ~ crouch on the floor in the kitchen facing the cupboard with the cat infront of you trapped on either side by your legs, have the frozen BNS on the counter above you, hold the cat's head gently in your left hand and with your right take the BNS between your thumb & forefinger gently pry open the mouth with the ring finger of your right hand, place the BNS on the roof of the mouth & with forefinger slide it as far back down the throat as you can without choking the cat. They have virtually no choice but to swallow at this point. :)

July 13th, 2009, 09:44 AM
Thanks Growler! :)

I'll get home tonight and freeze some of the butternut squash and 'pill' her before I get to bed. Poor thing! Her tummy is STILL bloated! So, I'm taking off later today to get her to the vet! Will log in an update to let ya'll know how she's holding up.

Thanks again! :)

July 13th, 2009, 07:41 PM
Took Tiger to the vet today as she'd thrown up a lot of food on the couch. (For a moment I was overjoyed, thinking it was--slightly runny--poop.) But on the way to the vet realized that it probably was vomit, more than anything else and the vet confirmed the same.

Anyhow, she's still the same, doesn't eat on her own, and hasn't pooped. The vet checked her anal glads and informed me that there was some poop in there and that she should pass it sometime today, or in the next two days, at the most. In the meantime, I'm to continue the force feeding, and the subcutaneous fluid therapy.

As we were about to pack up, the vet started telling me that I was to continue what I was doing for a week, and then if things were still the same, I'm to come back and consider 'options.' And apparently, one of the 'options' is saying goodbye to Tiger! :cry:

I still can't believe that she's sick, let alone that I'm going to lose her!!! And I'm FREAKING out! I tried feeding her after we got back, but I guess I'm too distracted... So, I botched that job! Plus, somehow I haven't stopped crying ever since we came back from the vet's! Aughgh! Tiger seems to be content hiding under the coffee table. :)

So anyhow, before I ramble on some more,.... if anyone, anyone out there has had some success with force feeding cats with liver issues, and don't mind reaching out to me, I'd really, really appreciate it. I know not all cats are the same and I might end up losing Tiger at the end of the day, but to know that I'm not fighting a rigged battle would be SUCH a solace.

Anyhow, back to studying (I'm supposed to take a final exam tomorrow, and can't seem to remember anything! Aughgh!) Anyways, I'll keep checking the forum and I'll keep sending updates. Thanks again for all your help!

July 13th, 2009, 08:04 PM
I urge you to join this Yahoo group for feline assisted feeding:
They're extremely knowledgeable and very supportive about just this topic. What worries me is your vet. He seems to be giving up awfully soon. Any way you can get a second opinion, or he can refer you to someone with more feline experience? The liver has an extraordinary ability to repair itself, given the right support and nutrition. I had a cat with hepatic lipidosis that was on death's door, and with a feeding tube and aggressive nutritional support, he pulled through to live many more wonderful years. Please don't give up yet. Get some more advice from the Yahoo group I mentioned above, and keep us updated on your kitty's progress. :grouphug:

July 13th, 2009, 08:27 PM
Sugarcatmom, Hi again! Thanks for the kind words. I'm sort've a basket case now, but what I DO know at this point (or at any point in time) is that I'm going to do my best to give Tiger a fighting chance. She's been a brave girl through all this, and the least that I can do is try and be strong for her. (I'm trying my best not to cry in front of her. She's been with me for just 3 months now, and ergo, in my mind, she's all but a little kitten. Hence the whole, "It isn't fair" attitude, I guess.)

Anyhow, I too got that vibe from the vet; that she was giving up a little easy on Tiger. I guess she has the best intentions... And oh, Tiger has now taken to hiding under the table, or inside the closet etc. She's never done any of this before. I'm not sure why the new behavior. (Maybe she doesn't want me coming at her with food again!)

Anyways, I just got on here to say thanks for everything. Once finals are over I'll try to post some pictures of Tiger on here. She is the cutest little thing (she's small for a cat!) :)

Thanks again for all the support! I'm holding my chin up!

January 24th, 2010, 10:43 PM
Did your kitty finally poop? I know this is way late considering the thread is from a few months ago, but my kitting is going through the same problem and hasn't gone in a week. I'm afraid to feed her more food, even though I need to for her liver.

Thanks for any insight.

January 24th, 2010, 11:00 PM
Hi KDee, unfortunately Sangee1508's cat Tiger Lily went into an emergency clinic the next day with breathing difficulty due to pneumonia in her lungs and a heart condition that was causing her liver issues. Tiger Lily was euthanized :candle: shortly after.

KDee has your cat been seen by a vet this past week or have you called the clinic to report that she hasn't pooped in a week?

A stool blockage can become a very serious issue in a short amount of time, and yes she does definately still need to eat even if there is nothing coming out the other end just yet.

:goodvibes: let us know what the vet says.

February 3rd, 2010, 08:56 PM
Hope your kitty went to the vet and is doing better.

Our cat, Lily, is about 20 years old & had problems with constipation for a while, even after switching to canned food.

I found good info online. I started with psyllium, then went to pumpkin when she wouldn't eat the psyllium. The pumpkin didn't seemed to help much & she refused to eat it, even when mixed with Wellness canned. Tried Vaseline, she soon stopped taking it (& I didn't like possible interference with nutrient absorption).

I found a vet who also practices some holistic medicine.
He diagnosed a slipped disc & prescribed herbal pills. The pain from her back was likely affecting her ability to defecate comfortably. He suggested adding toasted hemp seeds to her food, but our local stores don't carry hemp seeds. He said he could prescribe rhubarb root pills for her constipation. He did a blood test. She doesn't have kidney disease or diabetes. I asked if I could give her lactulose & he said yes.

I wouldn't presume to say how much lactulose anyone should give to their cat because you should have your cat checked out first & ask your vet if it might be suitable for your circumstances.

Also see "Info from site", below.

Our cat gets one teaspoon mixed with about three teaspoons of canned Wellness, or mixed with about four teaspoons of low sodium tuna juice once a day - at night before her supper. She gets her prescription pill at lunch as lactulose may inhibit absorption of medicines. She doesn't always want to eat her lactulose, so I try and give it when she's hungry. I may end up switching to Kristalose or something else.

I bought liquid lactulose from the pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart,
$20 CDN for one Litre (1000 ml / 5 ml = about 200 doses).

My mom, a nurse, cautions that lactulose should not be administered by mouth with a syringe because of the danger of aspiration (lactulose getting sucked into the lungs).

Info on how lactulose works, cautions, etc, see info from CRF site, below.

The "Constipated Cats" article from Little Big says there is a different type of lactulose that can be prepared by some pharmacies and given in capsule form.

From the Little Big Cat Library online - I highly recommend it -
(Article List - )

"Constipated Cats" by Jean Hofve, DVM

...Lactulose. This is a sugary syrup that holds water in the stool and keeps the stool soft; therefore it's easier for the cat to pass. Cats are usually not fond of the taste. Fortunately, lactulose now comes in a mild-tasting powder (Kristalose) that can be encapsulated by a compounding pharmacy, or simply added to canned food..."

Info from site,
Viewed on 2009-08-27, (Site for Chronic Renal Failure/Kidney disease in cats) -

"Treating or preventing constipation can make a big difference to your cat's quality of life. It is important to keep a close eye on your cat's litter tray and to deal promptly with any signs of constipation or straining (see Symptoms)...

Fluid therapy can help reduce constipation, but it is quite likely that you will have to use other methods at some point. If at all possible, you want to avoid the need for an enema or manual evacuation of the bowel by your vet. Many vets seem to routinely prescribe Laxatone or Petromalt, but these are really intended for the treatment of hairballs and are not ideal - or particularly effective - for the ongoing constipation problems suffered by many CRF cats, plus they may prevent the absorption of nutrients if used longer-term. However, such a product may be of use if given for a short period to try and soften the hard stool often seen at initial diagnosis.

Slippery Elm Bark can be sufficient to keep some CRF cats regular; there is more information on this treatment in Holistic Treatments.


Lactulose is probably the most popular treatment specifically to prevent constipation on the Feline CRF Information list. It is a syrup of long chain indigestible sugars (derived from lactose, a milk sugar) that pulls water into the colon and softens the stool. Lactulose is available OTC in Europe and Canada, but requires a prescription in the USA. Lactulose is a "dose to effect" treatment, so you should start with a low dose, and work your way up only if necessary (so as not to cause the opposite problem of diarrhoea). A possible starting dose is 0.5ml once a day, but this may need to be adjusted with your vet's approval; Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook says that cats may be given up to 1ml per kg (0.5ml per lb) of bodyweight per day. It does take a couple of days for lactulose to work, so do not give too much too soon. I found out the hard way that, if you syringe it in to your cat's mouth, it's a good idea to wipe your cat's chin with a damp cloth after using it, because, being sugar-based, it is incredibly sticky. You may find it easier to mix the lactulose with food; some people use a little babyfood each day for this purpose.

A 1997 review of renal failure in humans (Lactulose and renal failure Vogt B & Frey FJ, Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology Supplement 222 pp100-1) indicated that lactulose may help promote the excretion of BUN and creatinine through the faeces, and some people have found that this effect is sometimes seen in CRF cats; but lactulose is not usually given specifically or solely for this purpose because of the obvious side effects of causing diarrhoea in non-constipated patients. The British Medical Journal reports on a recent study of human patients that indicates that lactulose may also help to prevent urinary tract infections.

Since lactulose is a prescription item in the USA, it can be rather expensive, but Walmart and Target both sell it for US$4 a bottle.

Since lactulose is so sticky, you might wish to ask your vet about a new form of it called Kristalose. This is a powder which can be dissolved in water, and which therefore eliminates the stickiness problem. I do not know anybody who has used it for a cat yet, but it is available from Drugstore in the USA.

Mar Vista Vet discusses lactulose.
Drs Foster and Smith have some information about lactulose.
West Shore Endoscopy Center also has information about lactulose.

Lactulose Cautions
Some people have found that their cats developed hypercalcaemia (high calcium levels) after using lactulose regularly, which then improved when they stopped using lactulose. You may therefore wish to avoid lactulose if your cat is already hypercalcaemic. A possible alternative would be Miralax.

Lactulose is usually of limited use if a cat is so constipated as to have impacted stool; this may need to be removed by the vet before starting lactulose.

Antibiotics may reduce the effectiveness of lactulose.

Lactulose may not be suitable for cats who also have IBD.

Lactulose may exacerbate the effects of diuretics. has more information about this...."

Info on other constipation remedies, cautions available there -

Hope this helps.


February 3rd, 2010, 09:01 PM
More info.

Feline Constipation, Obstipation, and Megacolon:
Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Robert Washabau United States

February 3rd, 2010, 09:10 PM
Hi KDee, unfortunately Sangee1508's cat Tiger Lily went into an emergency clinic the next day with breathing difficulty due to pneumonia in her lungs and a heart condition that was causing her liver issues. Tiger Lily was euthanized :candle: shortly after.

My heart goes out to Sangee1508.

This makes me very sad.