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3 cats, 1 smelly problem. Please help!

October 26th, 2011, 10:00 AM
This is my first post and I am at my wit's end and would really like some help. My 3 inside cats, Chunk, Kevin and Rudy have had on and off loose stools for about 10days/2 weeks. It has the consistency of oatmeal, the smell is as far as I can tell, unpleasant but normal and there is no blood and little water. They defecate in the box and outside it, seemingly at random and it doesn't matter what condition he box is in, time of day etc. They do not urinate anywhere that is inappropriate. Near misses I can understand (Kevin often stands in the litter box, sometimes forgetting that his butt did not make it in) but we find piles of poop everywhere, daily. I am frustrated because my house stinks, I am loosing sleep over what is wrong with them and I feel sorry that they obviously have something wrong with them and I cannot help.
They are 7 months old, all male un-fixed litter mates. Their mother was a short hair Manx and their father is a local feral domestic long hair. They do not go outside and have not associated with the outside cats (we have 4 other "big kids" that are usually in & out, but as to not spread anything that may be wrong, they are strictly outside for now) for about a week. They have 2 boxes, one is just a tray and in the corner of the kitchen and the other is covered and in the living room. Their food and litter are both the same brand as always. The food and water stations are not near the litter boxes and everything has been in the same place for a long time. They are not vomiting and there are no worms. The litter is cleaned morning & night, and it is dumped and brand new litter is put in every week. Aside from the odd kleenex (I think they think they are mice - or human mucus is kitty All bins are out of reach) I have never seen them eat anything inappropriate - I'm a bit of a "helicopter mama". Their coat is normal (Chunk and Rudy get some messes stuck on their rear on occasion as they are long hair and we wipe it off with paper towel and water so they are not re-digesting it time and time again), eyes and ears are clear, gums are a normal pink colour.
Chunk seems to be the worst culprit - he cries to go in the basement (why I cannot tell, he's never been in the basement so has no associations with it whatsoever) and if we try to cuddle him/distract him, he runs around like a crazy thing, pooping as he goes. We now just let him go down as to 'soothe the savage beast' - it seems to work for the running and pooping issue, but the problem still remains as to why he and his brothers have such weird attitudes to the litter box.
I tried a fast for 24 hours, which helped (the stool was regular tubular shape - but I found it in the spare room *sigh*), but clearly I cannot just not give them food. They are fed breakfast and supper and I have cut them off of treats/human food scraps since this began. NONE of the suggested solutions I have read about have worked.
They are otherwise happy, healthy, sweet, loving little guys.

Our house does not have a spare bathroom and all rooms are occupied - my only method of re-training is to close them in a large dog crate (the biggest kind you can buy) after mealtime and during the night. I have not done this yet.
Money and ethics are a big factor - I am prepared to change their diet within reason. Since we are feeding 7, we have to buy No Name brand as funds do not allow best quality, but as of today, we are switching them to a better quality name brand one. I would very much prefer not to have to get them to a vet who will undoubtedly give me drugs and a large bill. I would *much* prefer something natural.

Is there anything else I can do? Will yogurt work? How about a protein top-up of eggs? (we keep hens so have plenty) How about a diet of real meat - again, we can raise more chickens for cat food, no problem.

Thank you very much

October 26th, 2011, 10:14 AM
Welcome to the site! A couple of things come to mind here!

Forst off you have 2 boxes for 3 inside cats and 4 outside? I think you need to increase the number of litter boxes.

Secondly if you have outdoor cats and indoor cats they could have picked something up from one of the outdoor cats. Even though you have kept them outside it doesnt mean they were contagious when they may have come in.

Also what about deworming? was that done? its pretty normal for kittens to have worms and parasites??

I realise that money is a factor but you really should have it looked at because if it is something contagious they will all eventually get it and that will cost you more.

Another thing that comes to mind especially since you mentioned the dad was a feral cat? Have you had them checked for FIV?

Lots of things it could be and honestly a vet visit is what you need to do. They can test the stools and tell you whats up?

Good Luck

October 26th, 2011, 11:35 AM
Hi CindyM272,

Will yogurt work?

Not yogurt so much, but capsules of probiotics found in a health food store (high potency, multiple strains, dairy-free) might help.

How about a protein top-up of eggs? (we keep hens so have plenty)

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, but I would lightly scramble them rather than feed them raw. Uncooked egg whites can cause a biotin depletion. Also, unless you're pulverizing the egg shells and feeding those along with the rest of the egg, they aren't balanced for calcium so shouldn't make up more than about 10-20% of the cat's diet.

How about a diet of real meat - again, we can raise more chickens for cat food, no problem.

This would be my recommendation. Raw fresh meat, balanced for all the necessary nutrients (so bones and organs included), is truly the best diet for a feline. I noticed in your introductory thread that you like to feed your animals a natural diet. Well I got news for ya! Kibble is absolutely the most UN-natural thing to feed cats. Highly processed and full of innappropriate ingredients, I'm willing to bet that this is at least partly responsible for your cats current digestive issues. There some good info at this website on what felines should eat and why:

As for the soft poop, perhaps a pinch of slippery elm bark powder (1/4 tsp, up to 4X a day if necessary) mixed into some wet food will help firm things up. But if there's a parasite issue, that likely won't help, which is why having a vet analyze a fecal sample wouldn't be a bad idea.

October 26th, 2011, 12:13 PM
Thanks guys, I really appreciate your help. My fiance is off to the supermarket right now to get better food and we will include some real food for them ASAP. This is our preference for sure as we have very strong beliefs regarding what livestock are fed too (we have a small farm)

Just to clarify, the dad cat does belong to a neighbor (she doesn't let him inside unless she has to), but since we have the only girl cat around, he visits us fairly often. I meant 'feral' as in he is a 100% outside kitty, sorry for confusion.
The outside cats don't use the litter - they know their "bathroom" is outside and ask to go out if need be. It's just the 3 of them using it inside.

I have ivermectin for my livestock's worm/parasite treatment - will that work?

October 26th, 2011, 01:27 PM
I have ivermectin for my livestock's worm/parasite treatment - will that work?

No, not for cats. It's a very bad idea to administer meds to cats that are meant for other animals. They're much more sensitive to dosages and ingredients and many drugs that are totally fine even for dogs, can be lethal to cats.

Side Effects and Precautions
Dosages of Ivermectin contained within prescription medications are low. Side effects will not generally be of concern when these products are used properly and as directed. Products containing Ivermectin are available for cats, as well as other species including dogs, horses, cattle and small animals such as guinea pigs and rats. While you can purchase Ivermectin over-the-counter at local feed stores and through some online retailers, it is not recommended to do so for cats. Non-prescription Ivermectin contains high dosages used primarily for larger animals like cattle and horses, and is lethal to small animals.

Read more: Ivermectin for Cats - VetInfo

I personally wouldn't just randomly throw meds at the cats. Better to know what you're dealing with first, and to have the guidance of a vet

October 27th, 2011, 08:15 AM
Ivermectin is the medication in 'Hartguard' and is a general anti-parasitic, so no, I am not randomly throwing meds at my cats (it cannot be used for kittens 12 weeks an under - that IS lethal) - I did a lot of research and took advice from various sources, not least of which from my fiance, who is a biologist.

Vet costs (for livestock at least) are extortion where I am - unless one is running a factory farm, using them is simply out of the question. My reality is research and administering them myself. I wholly understand necessary fee's and long term costs (monetary or otherwise), however, my wider issue remains - I'm trying to get an eco/green/locavore/etc small farm business off the ground and have no choice but to medicate my animals myself - and my personal research tells me that so long as dosage is followed to the letter, Ivermectin is safe. I would NEVER medicate with something I didn't think was safe.

Clearly, we have different views on vet's and med's and both feel passionately about it. I am not prepared to have an argument over it. I will do the best I can with what I have - as would any mother. Thank you very much for all your points, I very much appreciate it.

The boys are a bit better today - they slept like logs after their new supper (1st ingredient: meat) instead of tearing around as if their butts were on fire. Bit of a mess this morning, but I'm thinking this time it's as simple as the diet change. I also did a bit more research regarding food and found a couple of recipe's for future use (chicks take 3 weeks in the incubator and at least 3-4 months to get full size - no meat kings here) so the future is bright :-)

October 27th, 2011, 12:21 PM
Clearly, we have different views on vet's and med's and both feel passionately about it. I am not prepared to have an argument over it.

No need to get defensive, as our views are not actually not that far apart. I'm all about natural and holistic and doing what you can at home without running the vet for every little thing. Which is why I don't think you should be dosing these cats with Ivermectin without first knowing if they even need it. Cause maybe they don't, and why put unnecessary chemicals in their little bodies?

I'm much more inclined to think this is a diet issue anyway. So what's the new food they're eating? First ingredient is "meat", but what are the second, third, fourth and fifth ingredients? What kind of "meat" is it? Canned or dry?

but I'm thinking this time it's as simple as the diet change.

Probiotics can help with that. Not yogurt though, which doesn't contain enough organisms for therapeutic purposes, and also cow dairy can give some cats digestive problems, thus defeating the purpose (goat yogurt would be a better choice if that's all that's available).

I also did a bit more research regarding food and found a couple of recipe's for future use

Great! Nothing better than fresh (and balanced) food for our feline friends. I wouldn't mind checking out those recipes though because not all the ones found on the net are appropriate for cats.