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Hair balls or something a bit more...

February 22nd, 2010, 03:38 PM
I have been having a hard go with my little cat Phoebe. She is a 13 year old calico kitty. She has come into some kind of chronic vomiting problem.

Vet said hairballs and gave tonic-lax for treatment. Also prescribed easy digestive medi-cal wet.She has had no change in weight, 8.3 pounds, no change in temperment, no lethargy.....but here is what she does have. Oh and in no way will she eat the tonic- lax, I have to pin her down, which doesn't help and wipe it in her mouth.

She is a wet food eater only. She vomits maybe two hours after her meals. At first the vomit was hair and liquid, now it is just food and liquid. Vet said he felt no obstructions in belly. If she eats "real" meat, like hamburger, chicken etc.....she does not vomit at all. She will not eat the medi-cal food, but is starving, that is how I found out she keeps real meat down. I am kind of getting ahead of myself, first the vomit with hair..and tonic lax. Then vomit with no hair, vet said sensitive belly and hairballs....medi-cal food and tonic lax.

So I am currently trying Instinct food...she keeps the beef down, I also bought rabbit and venison for some variety. My vet insists hairballs, and does not want her to keep coming in, she gets nasty nasty nosebleeds when stressed going to the vets and he doesn't want to jeporadize her health with stress. She is an emergency only kitty so to speak.

So I have two questions. First is there something else I can get, possibly something natural for hairballs that is easy to give? Not wrestle-mania, just to get spit out and hide? Not to mention vomit because she is stressed? And why would real meat stay down and not canned cat food. Before switching to this Instinct I was feeding Evolve, and performatrin Beef and liver. She is not a chicken or fish cat.......hard to find cat food in beef around here.

:shrug:I would love it just to be hairballs........I don't want to think anything more sinister is lurking. She is playful, alert, still beating the crap out of Dexter, pooping and peeing like normal. She loves to be pet, no sore spots, you can rub her head to toe with no pain. No weight loss or gain.......but vomit at least three-five times a day.:shrug:

February 22nd, 2010, 03:47 PM
Can you put the tonic lax on her front paws? She will lick it off of her paws and it is less stressful for both. How often is she supposed to be getting it? I have found in the past if the kitties are having a hard time with hair balls I give them butter on their paws. They lick it right off and aren't ticked 'cause they love the taste of butter.
Are you by any chance giving them Temptations? I found when my guys were getting them they threw up constantly. I changed their treats to the natural ones from the pet store (chicken strips usually) and have not had a problem since.
I would be concerned about those nose bleeds. She only gets them when she goes to the vet? Weird
Oh, and welcome back. I've missed you and your gang. :grouphug:

February 22nd, 2010, 04:37 PM
Thanks for the reply +14.

She doesn't get any store bought treats. Treats around here are a can of water packed tuna, bully sticks (yes the cats love bully sticks and the dog absolutely hates them) dried chicken strips. whoops i put store bought as thinking those "plastic" treats in a jar or bag.....ewwwwwwww

As for her nose bleeds she has been a sensitve cat since the day I got her. She can't have her vaccs, horrilbe reaction to them. Not that she needs them anymore. She has horrible reaction to meds, we had three emergency clinic visits when she was on meds for an upper respitory infection. She has a high sensitivity to anti-botics. She has a huge red sticker on her file at the vets, they know she is to speak. She is a huge bleeder, any time she has had blood work, they have a b*tch of a time to stop the bleeding. I go home with a red cat, not only from her nose bleeds but from where they stuck the needle. That is why the vet says "emerg" only for her. She goes in they see her immediately and she is gone as quick. I only will see the one senior vet out of the three possible with her. He said it is possible her nosebleeds are to do with blood pressure and the she is on a emergency see basis.

as for the tonic lax.......that stuff comes off her paws.....pardon the expression......but like someone flinging a booger. Even if you try to moosh it in her hair, her hair is soft and slick like silk.....she shakes it and fling.!!!!! Then she walks around wounded and Amos licks it off. Ever since I got her she does not groom herself, she grooms the other cats but not herself. She walks around with nasty bum......doesn't cover in the box, expects the others to keep the "queen" clean.:shrug:

February 22nd, 2010, 04:44 PM
Poor sweetie. :( I feel bad for her now. Even is she is a bit of a diva. :rolleyes:
Maybe try the butter trick on Amos in a spot he can't get to. Would she groom him then? :D

February 22nd, 2010, 04:50 PM
oh forgot about the butter thing. If she eats butter she vomits right away. Same as she does with any food that has that ring of "gelatine" when you open it up. If she eats just the jelly stuff she vomits right away, if you mix it up...sometimes she vomits, sometimes she doesn't.

I was worried about the fat (jelly) in the real food, but that she doesn't vomit up, or the cold "fat" in the Instinct food. When I first opened up the can I saw the little fat white blobs and thought.'great she will be barfing right away" but she kept it down. Same as if I feed cold cooked ground burger, or chicken......all of it stays down.

I think she needs some blood work done.......we just had it done last June. Vet wants to treat hair balls and sensitive stomach first. I am torn because she keeps real food down.......possibly this new Instinct cat food (she just ate a 1/4 teaspoon of the venison and so far almost two hours later she has kept it down) I can see not stressing her........but why some food and not others? Some days she vomits so much she can't even meow......or beep :(

February 22nd, 2010, 04:52 PM
Boo, our senior, used to vomit a LOT and regularly had hairballs...and then we switched to a raw diet, and haven't seen one since...:shrug: just a thought...

February 22nd, 2010, 05:13 PM
Can you find some slippery elm bark powder? That might help with both the vomiting and the hairballs. Ditch the Tonic-Lax, it's basically just sugared petroleum product.:yuck:

I agree with Bendyfoot about the raw diet. Sounds like Phoebe would be an excellent candidate for it.

February 22nd, 2010, 05:14 PM
See that is what I am thinking, raw diet. I tried once before but my other cat Amos refused to eat it. And of course I was just beginning and was scared I would mess something up and kill my cats.

Now I have Dexter, and he loves, totally loves raw meat. Will not touch cooked meat.......grind up some raw chicken and he pigs. Trying to make something with ground beef, you need to constantly put him off the counter because he is stealing blobs of beef. He steals beans, peas too. If I had the proper instruction to start raw again, I would give it a serious go. I have a youngin' who doesn't mind, and a senior who is in need of nutrition. I just need to get over the fear of bones in cats food ( had a dog that ate cooked chicken bones and saw his intestines come out his bum from it as a child. He got loose and ate a bunch of people's garbage while out on the lam and paid dearly for it)

I know I know the difference now between cooked and not cooked bones....but the visual is still in my head. I have a hard time thinking about tiny splinters of bone travelling through and not getting stuck.........if the raw ratio was different with meat, organ and bone. But tough times call for tough if properly instructed, yes I would try it again.

February 22nd, 2010, 05:22 PM
There you go. Recipes included. You can also buy Instincts powder which you mix with ground up meat and you don't have to worry about not giving the kitties proper nutrition.

Here's the site for Instincts -

February 22nd, 2010, 07:11 PM
I just had a thought while driving home from work: digestive enzymes!! I suspect this might be a factor in some of Phoebe's issues. The raw meat contains the natural enzymes that she seems to need, whereas processed food has the enzymes cooked out of them. This can impact hairball formation and result in the mysterious "sensitive stomach" label that vets like to throw around so much (mostly so they can sell you some crappy "prescription" food :rolleyes:).

If you can't go raw yet, then I think you should try adding a pinch of digestive enzymes to Phoebe's food. You should be able to find them at a health food store (doesn't have to be a cat-specific product, just look for something with a variety of different enzymes - and give 1/10th the human dose).

14+'s recommendation to try the Instincts powder with raw meat (no bones required) is a good one. Might help you build your confidence in the raw department and doesn't require the investment of a meat grinder right away. Here's their website with lots of articles on feline nutrition: Feline Future Instincts TC (

Jim Hall
February 22nd, 2010, 07:45 PM
first off not grooming is not good second the vet gives a treatment, it doesnt work and he still insisits he knows the problem
i get a bad feeling about this vet
maybe go for a second opionion someplace?

does she have haiballs out the other end?

February 22nd, 2010, 08:44 PM
Thank you +14 and SugarcatMom. I have been doing alot of reading on chronic vomiting the past little while, but she doesn't fit the symptoms of the diseases they list there. Many mention digestive enzymes, and lack of, but the rest of the symptoms don't fit. My second vet visit I talked about the possiblilty of diabetes, but the vet said if her water intake hasen't risen (Bee drinks very little water, always has, but she has always been a wet cat food only eater), she has no change in litter box usage that diabetes wasn't something to look at. I am off to the health food store tomorrow in search of both the slippery elm bark and enzymes. So far the venison has stayed down, almost 6 hours. She is out and about, looking for love and rubbing all over the floor. Think it has been awhile her belly has been full for a whole day. She can purr with out burrballing (sounds like a wet wet hiccup) and let out a few beeps with out sounding like her throat is sand paper.

And Jim, she has never groomed since the day I adopted her. She may clean her face once in awhile, but that is after many years of Amos showing her what to do. She does groom Amos all the time, hence the hairballs......he has a hair problem and it comes out in tufts and bundles. But her own personal hygiene is very limited, I still have to clean her bum with pet wipes, I groom her ears and face with a wet cloth and brush her hair daily. Same as how she uses the box, she does not dig a hole, she balances, does her business and gets out quick with no cover. Been like that for 12 years now ( I adopted her when she was 1 year old):shrug: Oh and forgot to add, no hair out the other end, just little normal cat poop....but small

Jim Hall
February 22nd, 2010, 09:05 PM
oh i love brushing cats ( and dogs too)

so what happened to the hairballs

February 23rd, 2010, 07:04 AM
I had that same problem with Puddles as she got older. Now on the half Instinct, half homemade raw, the vomiting has pretty much stopped.

If your cat will eat raw, then I highly suggest you try that, much cheaper than vet food and much better for her. :thumbs up

February 23rd, 2010, 07:22 AM
Well she vomitted before she ate today. a puddle of brown with a small lump of hair. I notice that if she doesn't eat for awhile, she vomits also. She may have tried to eat a few of Amos' kibble.......i wasn't as quick with the feeding this morning as she would have liked....or she tried some of the boys wet food from yesterday.

February 23rd, 2010, 07:34 AM
I still have the fear of bones in my cat food so I do grind my raw. Puddles will not eat chunks of meat as she is a licker, very typical of himalayans. I use the recipe that is in the link catinfo that 14+ provided to you. It is actually very easy to make if you have a good grinder and kitchen scale. I find now I don't have to weigh the bones and muscle meat as I have been making it long enough and keep to approx the same recipe.

Surprisingly my cat's favourite raw is pork :crazy:.

Rose who will eat chicken breast bones, does do a marvelous job at crunching those up pretty good.

It is amazing how well they digest it. The smell is almost non existent now and Jasper had a SUPER problem with that when he was on kibble :rolleyes::yuck: and solid and half the size :D.

February 24th, 2010, 05:20 PM
well i gave Phoebe two pinches of the digestive enzyme. It is a generic brand, white and green bottle. Today instead of vomitting up all the food, it was almost 16 hours and she vomitted up clear with a bit of orange chunks, i take it as the carrots in the Instict food (pumpkin is way down at the bottom of the list) That is the only thing that came up. In two days she has eaten three cans of Instinct, all in little tiny meals, but I can tell when she is looking to eat. This morning's vomit could have been a peice of Amos' kibble, I was in the shower and caught her trying to eat a kibble when I came out, I ran downstairs and opened a can of food, but it was too late........

Can I give both the slippery elm's bark and enzymes at the same time?? Should I split it up between feedings? Haven't tried the elm bark yet. How much should I give for an 8 pound cat? I do have a syringe, vet gave me a bunch

February 24th, 2010, 07:39 PM
Can I give both the slippery elm's bark and enzymes at the same time?? Should I split it up between feedings?

Hmmm, good question. I know you aren't supposed to give meds at the same time as slippery elm because it interferes with absorption, but digestive enzymes don't need to be absorbed, they act on the intestinal contents. There is also a hairball and constipation remedy called Vet's Best Cat Lube ( which contains both slippery elm and papain, so my guess is that it should be fine to use both at the same time.

Haven't tried the elm bark yet. How much should I give for an 8 pound cat? I do have a syringe, vet gave me a bunch

Is it in capsules or loose powder? A reasonable dose to start with is about 50-100mg twice a day, and you can increase from there to 200mg twice a day or 100mg 4X day. I think most capsules are about 400ish mg so that would be 1/8th to 1/4. I would just mix it in with Phoebe's food (which is why starting small is better). If she doesn't like it (and the taste isn't too offensive for most cats, but maybe she's extra picky), you can try mixing it with a treat like baby food or plain yogurt or tuna.

February 26th, 2010, 06:07 AM
Hi DCH, I have been thinking of you lately, wondering how you were doing.

Sorry to hear about Phoebe being sick. Do u have her food up a few inches so her stomach acids does't flow the wrong way? I found that helps with Willie.

I give my cats Hairball Lickstick by Purina from Walmart, and my cats love it except Mirabelle. It might upset Phoebe's tummy though as it looks pretty greasy.

Is the digestive enzynes like probiotics?

I sure hope that Phoebe will be feeling better soon and you can find a food for her that won't make her sick.


February 26th, 2010, 04:04 PM
With the lengthening days of daylight, Mother Nature is signalling "coat drop" (yes, even with indoor cats), so she may be ingesting more hair than usual. Comb or brush her twice a day for the next few months.

February 28th, 2010, 06:02 PM
well I am calling for bloodwork to be done as soon as possible tomorrow. Bee is puking again at least four times a day. She refuses to eat the food now, she will eat hot dogs and cooked beef. For some crazy reason she does not puke that up. The vomitting now is in the wee hours of the morning, between 3 and 6 am. Almost seems to me the hours that no food is available. I keep food out all day, but by the end of the day, the bowls are licked clean. If I set my alarm for 3 in the morning to add more......well maybe the vomiting wouldn't happen. With one over-weight cat, and one young cat that I don't want to be overweight, it is hard to put down extra food before bed and monitor that only Phoebe is eating.:shrug:

The slippery elm I found is in capsule form, I have been scared to give it too her because she is vomitting so much.

February 28th, 2010, 06:26 PM
Oh no :(

Sending lots of :goodvibes::goodvibes::goodvibes::goodvibes: for her.

A :grouphug: for you.

February 28th, 2010, 07:23 PM
Oh, no! :grouphug:

Good luck tomorrow! :goodvibes:

February 28th, 2010, 10:03 PM
dch, I'm so sorry to hear that phoebe is still being sick. Could she possibly have IBS? When willie was first diagnosed with it he was always being sick, it was sccary.

I sure hope they can figure out what is wrong with her and fix her up.


February 28th, 2010, 10:52 PM
well I am calling for bloodwork to be done as soon as possible tomorrow.

I think that's a good idea. Chronic vomiting like this is NOT normal. I'm also very concerned about Phoebe's lack of clotting ability. Hopefully the vet can also do a blood pressure check. Hypertension is usually a secondary symptom of another illness and shouldn't be dismissed so easily.

Good luck!

March 1st, 2010, 06:27 PM
Can't get her into the vet until Wednesday right before closing time. 4:45 is our appointment. Vet tech asked if she was vomiting up the prescribed food, NO she won't eat the prescribed food. Said it was probably the food I was trying to feed her that was making her ill, not a good idea to feed "people" food she said. Hell when she is vomitting that much I would give her whatever her little heart desired just to keep some food in her.

Last night she puked two times in a row, and it just came up and out. There was no retching, and hacking.......just she was sleeping opened her eyes and threw up all over the pillow beside my head while still lying down. That one looked just like bile, yellow. Then while I was cleaning that up, she was sitting in the hall and she just puked again, that was food and a bit of hair. It almost seems that if she has too much stomach juices going on she vomits.:shrug:

Now today she has been a love bug like usual. Ate half a can of Instinct rabbit for breakfast, and I just fed her a few teaspoons of Instinct beef. No puking, nothing. She also had some boiled chicken that I had made myself for dinner. I am going to set my alarm tonight for 3 and feed her again. Seems when she goes a few hours without food is when she vomits. And she is so hungry. Right now she is sitting on my desk, curled up on a pillow purring away.:shrug: I noticed tonight that her breath is starting to smell really bad...but with all that vomiting ......I don't know.

Thankyou for the support and the help.She's just a little this really bums me out.

March 1st, 2010, 06:38 PM
Forgot to add, when I adopted Phoebe 12 years ago she came to me with a very very bad respitory infection. Took a long time to clear it up, and since then it comes and goes. Hard to clear it up when she is always having side effects to the meds they give her. She hasn't had a problem in awhile, an occasional sneeze here and there, last night she had an awful sneezing fit and was all gurgly after. But that was after vomitting also.

I am wondering if she had something from way back when, we have had bloodwork done, but would anything show up for a disease if they weren't looking for it?? I really don't know much about blood work, I assume that like humans they put an order in for specific things and look for that. Is it possible she could have something that has been lingering for her whole life and is just now emerging big time because she is senior?

March 1st, 2010, 06:46 PM
:grouphug: to both you and Phoebe. It is so tough having a sick kitty. :( I have all my fingers and toes crossed for your visit on Wed. :grouphug:

March 1st, 2010, 08:55 PM
I'm sorry to hear that poor little phoebe is still being sick,,,poor kitty. She couldn't of asperated some bile into her lungs after throwing up the last time?

Willie was sick like that but he had IBS. Thinking good thoughts for Phoebe. :grouphug:

March 6th, 2010, 02:06 PM
Can't get her into the vet until Wednesday right...

dogcatharmony- are you able to post an update?

March 12th, 2010, 10:15 PM
DCH - I hope everything is ok with you and Phoebe. :fingerscr We need an update when you can please. :pray: