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OwnedByCritters September 28th, 2010 06:50 PM

4 Month Old kitten, loose stools, gas.
Hey all, new here.
I have a ginger tabby named Artie who was rescued from an abandonment situation. Some jerk dumped him out behind a factory. I've had him for about 2 months. He has been to the vet for vaccinations and de-worming, and I had them check his stool for parasites and infective organisms, and it came up negative.

He was quite underweight and had stunted growth when he was rescued, but he has since tripled his weight and doubled (at least!) his size. He has an appetite that just won't quit. He's growing so fast.

The problem is his bowels. He has loose stools and wicked, room-clearing gas. The stools are liquid, and he passes a lot of gas while passing the stool. He also passes gas when he is picked up, when he is relaxed, and when he is playing actively. The loose stools aren't happening all the time, but he passes at least one liquid stool every second day. He has, and always has had, a pronounced belly, which makes him look a bit like he swallowed a football.. skinny at both ends, bulgy in the middle. The stools are usually fairly light in colour and smell terrible. His box is in the bathroom, and I have to turn on the fan and spray air freshener in there after he's been.

He gets a mix of Wellness brand canned food and Fancy Feast canned food (I know, but he absolutely loves the FF, and I add it only because he'll turn up his nose at the Wellness without it) and Science Diet Developmental Formula dry food. He isn't as fond of the dry, but will eat it if he has nothing else out for him. He is fed the wet food twice a day and the dry is available all the time. He does not get human food.

He's an active, energetic, playful, affectionate kitten who shows no sign of feeling ill. His appetite is amazing. He has energy to spare. His coat is lovely. He looks and acts like a healthy kitten. His only problem is the bowels. Could he have irritable bowel? Can cats have Crohn's Disease or Coeliac?

kathryn September 28th, 2010 07:05 PM

Hi there! Welcome to the forum! First things first, the Science Diet has got to go! And the fancy feast as well. A limited ingredient diet is really the way to go now using something like duck and potato to go easy on his stomach

[QUOTE]Chicken By-Product Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Brewers Rice, Chicken Liver Flavor, Fish Oil, Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Soybean Mill Run,[/QUOTE]

Random chicken parts, tons of corn and soybean scraps would be enough to make anyones tummy hurt :eek:

Secondly, a more intense round of deworming would be what I would do. Legally I can't prescribe anything for you of course, but if this were a shelter animal I can tell you he would be put on Albon, Panacur and probably Metronidazole as far as prescription medications go. I would ask my veterinarian about these medications to see what they had to say.

Cats can have IBS and other digestive disorders, but it is far more likely this is a dietary issue or a bacterial infection. I see that you say the stool sample was checked, but sometimes Coccidia can be overlooked. It's ova are very tiny and often look like air bubbles. I often overlook them on fecals (hence why I never volunteer to do them!). Albon is the treatment you need for this.

I hope some other members can chime in with some ideas, but if this were my pet the route I would take is changing the diet to something simple and doing a round of extremely safe broad spectrum medications just to kill anything off that could be hiding. :)

And congrats on the new kitten!

OwnedByCritters September 28th, 2010 08:40 PM

Thanks for the help. Tonight he's getting nothing but Wellness with a little bit of pumpkin mixed in.
Artie was never in a shelter.
I'm a security guard, and a guard I used to work with called me when she saw Artie running around the grounds of the factory she guards. Artie was about 6-8 weeks old at that point, and neither the vet nor I believe he was outside more than a few days, given the lack of fleas or ticks, both of which are common to the point of infestation in southern Ontario in August. He was outside long enough to get dehydrated in the intense heat, but not long enough to get seriously sick. Thank the fates for Jan and her observant nature. And for her knowing I can't say no when it comes to a critter in trouble.
I'll call the vet in the morning to see if they looked for Coccidia in his fecal sample. I have a vet appointment on Friday for one of my rats.. I'll see if they'll let me squeeze Artie in there too.

Love4himies September 29th, 2010 07:07 AM

Awww, aren't you kind to take this kitten in :angel: :grouphug:

Which Wellness are you feeding him? It sounds like your kitty needs a very low carb, grainfree diet. The cans of Wellness with the yellow triangle are grain free, but do have sweet potatoes in it and some kitties can't even tolerate that. Kathryn is correct all hard food should be discontinued as it is high in carbs, cats digestive tract is not made for carbs.

Another good food to try is Nature's Variety Instinct canned. It has many flavours and like Wellness, it is about 95% human grade meat, but doesn't contain sweet potatoes.

In the meantime, Slippery Elm Bark is an excellent product that coats the intestinal tract. I find it works wonders on Jasper who can't tolerate carbs. I sprinkle it on water down food and the kitties don't seem to mind that it is there :thumbs up.

Here is some good reading:



sugarcatmom September 29th, 2010 07:18 AM

Some other things to consider along with a diet modification and slippery elm bark would be digestive enzymes (like Prozyme) and/or probiotics (Natural Factor's makes a good one called Ultimate Multi). Could be his intestinal flora is outta whack from stuff he was eating while on the street. The digestive enzymes will help him process the large volume of food he's eating until his own system finds the right balance. Neither should be used indefinitely.

catlover2 September 29th, 2010 11:53 AM

[I]OBC[/I], if your vet has not already checked, ask to have stool checked for [B]Giardia[/B]. It can produce the type of symptoms you're describing. Hope you can get kitty straightened around soon. :cat:


kathryn September 29th, 2010 06:36 PM

Artie was never in a shelter.

Sorry to confuse you, I'm actually a tech at a shelter and am just speaking from experience what our vet staff would do.

I also second the Giardi note. I forgot to mention that earlier!

Opt to have the stool sample sent out. Companies like Idexx and Antech have labs where they can provide a better analysis than an inhouse test at your vets office.

OwnedByCritters September 30th, 2010 02:15 AM

Thanks for the info on added tests and probiotics. I keep probiotics in the house since I have a rat who gets frequent oral infections and is often on antibiotics (and will be getting surgery to remedy that soon), so I added that into Artie's Wellness canned food tonight.

I'm not sure which labs we have vs. in-house fecal sample analysis at the vet's. I've never been given that as an option, and I've used that vet for 18 years. My mother brings her dog there, and the dog came to her with a Giardia and Cryptosporidium infection, so there were frequent samples going to the vet. I'm in Ontario... not sure what specialist labs we have around here.

As of today, he's off the dry stuff and I'm tapering down the Fancy Feast while adding more of the canned Wellness and a bit of pumpkin, plus the probiotic. I'll get the Slippery Elm when I'm out tomorrow, and I'll look for a high-quality carb-free food. Unfortunately, I am low income, so this might be an issue, depending on how much these cost. If I need to, can I use human-grade cooked meats for him as well? I can get meats at a lower cost than many ready-made pet foods. Mixing the human-food meats with the canned food would stretch out the budget a bit.
What do you folks think about giving him un-processed foods like chicken, beef, and other human-grade cooked meats?

I think he's teething, too. He has developed a huge liking for having his gums massaged, has started chewing on toys, his brush, and my hands... not biting, really, but chewing, never running the risk of breaking the skin, but being very serious about it nonetheless. Always during brushing and petting. He also still has some suckling behaviours, like bumping his mouth up against my palm and shoving upwards repeatedly. He's been doing that more for the past few days too.

Love4himies September 30th, 2010 06:39 AM

You are a good kitty owner :lovestruck:.

Raw meat is actually better for you cat than cooked. Cooking destroys essential nutrients that cats require, such as taurine. I make my own raw and it is considerably cheaper than canned, especially quality canned and it is so much better for them (like you eating fresh fruits and veggies ;)). The only thing is that cat's digestive system requirements are very exact so weighing out the ingredients is essential until you get your recipe down pat. I use the one in the link. And yes, I buy the meat that is on sale.

Some of the Fancy Feast is not too bad when mixed with Wellness. Just look for the ones that don't have any wheat, wheat gluten and such. I think they are pate types.

OwnedByCritters September 30th, 2010 09:56 AM

Well, we're going to the vet, 10:20 Friday morning. Cat, rat, and sample. They just love us at that clinic. I'm sure we've paid for the whole staff's Bermuda vacations by now... lol.

Of course, now that the vet visit's set up, Artie's production is about as normal looking as cat-box remains can look. Cheeky cat.

OwnedByCritters October 1st, 2010 03:23 PM

Well, the vet visit's over, and he sure has gas. His swollen tum is all gas. So she's put him on another course of worming meds and a 7 day course of Metronidazole. She wants him to stay on the probiotic and the salmon/crab/shrimp food I have him on now, as it isn't heavily processed, has no carbohydrate of any sort, and is very rich in Omega 3s. This food has whole shrimp, strips of crab meat up to 2 inches long, and chunks of boneless salmon that you'd typically see in a tin of salmon for human consumption. They also have a tuna/crab/shrimp version, and a duck/venison version. It also has added taurine and vitamins/minerals, so I know his body is getting what it needs to grow.

She was a bit concerned about the amount of gas and the turgid nature of his belly, but he made it VERY obvious that it was gas by cutting an enormous, long, loud, killer fart right when she was holding him. She said she even felt the gas move even through his abdominal wall and his fur. She had wondered about possible FIP, but he's too alert, energetic, hungry, and well-furred for that. Plus, he made it pretty clear that he's gassy as hell. She says the massage that I've been doing on his belly likely helps move the gas and to keep at it. And yes, he sure is teething.

I had another fecal sample done, and it came up negative for everything. I'm going to wait a week and have them do another sample, just to be sure. If that's neg, that will be three negatives, which I think we can trust.

We discussed possible allergies and possible irritable bowel. He got his boosters done. And he got admired, which he lapped right up. And he got his picture taken.

Alistair the rat had some lovely stoner drugs and got his badly misaligned teeth trimmed too... so all in all, $322.

And man, is he ever difficult to get a pill into!

kathryn October 1st, 2010 09:21 PM

FIP and gas don't really relate, but I do understand where she is coming from.. his belly probably has a jello-y feel to it. FIP hits hard and hit's fast.. and can affect basically any cat. It's always something to be on guard for.

Stick with the meds and limited diet. Geneflora is a pretty good probiotic that is readily available. Aunt Jeni's makes some good digestive probiotics as well.

Love4himies October 2nd, 2010 05:43 AM

Awww poor kitty. This sounds like my daughter's cat, who eventually developed Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex and now can only eat a vet diet for protein allergies :(.

I personally, would try a raw diet, what have you got to loose?

Koteburo October 2nd, 2010 08:05 AM

Aw OwnedByCritters sounds like a concerned animal helper :cloud9:
In the name of kittehs and critters of the world I thank you :D from the bottom of their cute little hearts.

I truly think your kitten will be all right. He needs some care and some special diet but I've been there. I had to kittens with constant diarrhea and farts and they grew up to be magnificent big cats, close to 10 years now (well now they're with my parents) it took us a while to get rid of it but they got better.
Also I had 2 kitten brothers who gave me a hard time with worms I had to keep trying with the vet, trying different things because they were infested real bad. They also became beautiful loving cats.

I'm sure under your care that kitten will be all right now :cloud9:

Rats are so cute! I hope your rat gets better as well :lovestruck:

P.S. Again...Thank you for rescuing a kitten

OwnedByCritters October 5th, 2010 07:00 AM

Thanks, all. Your help through all this has been invaluable. You've given me theories to test and avenues to explore, plus support without recriminations over my admitted ignorance of feline digestion. I've had ratties for so long that I'd gotten too used to omnivores with cast-iron stomachs. Rats can and will eat anything.

As things stand, Artie is still gassy, but it isn't near as stinky as it was before. He's having no more loose stools; what he's producing now is firm and normal-looking. He was a little off his food for a couple of days, which I suspect might have been an effect from getting his booster shots (both animals and people can feel a little off after getting a vaccine... I always get sick after a flu shot), but now he's back on track. His energy level is even higher than it was, and it takes hours of concerted high-energy play to tire him out enough so that he isn't bouncing off my belly when I'm trying to sleep.

We're examining the possible gluten/carbohydrate intolerance now. If this doesn't clear up his troubles in a month, we're going to start testing him for a protein allergy. If that doesn't do it, then we'll see if he responds to the normal treatment protocol for Inflammatory/Irritated Bowel. If that offers no answers, the vet wants to do an ultrasound to see if there's anything anatomically wrong. She suspects that it is most likely an allergy to something, but it will take time to figure out just what.

Alistair the rat is likely looking at surgery to have both upper and lower incisors removed due to his being unable to gnaw them down himself because they're so badly aligned and poorly formed. They're not normal teeth by any stretching of the word. Two grow abnormally fast, thick and tusk-like, and they push the other teeth out of line. His little mouth hurts a lot, and he gets meds for pain. Every 2 weeks he has to be knocked out under anaesthesia to get them trimmed with a Dremel tool. Repeated anaesthetics are hard on him, so this is why I'm trying to get info on surgical dental extraction for him.

The odd thing about Artie and Alistair is that they seem to be friends. Close friends. Artie doesn't react at all to the other rats, but he grooms, plays with, and sits nose-to-nose with Alistair. He's never rough and his play isn't predatory... he lets Alistair chase *him*! It really is charming, though I don't let this happen unsupervised.

Love4himies October 5th, 2010 07:07 AM

Yes, vaccines can put cats off for a day or two.

I would do raw, save yourself a lot of money and possibly vet bills and feed your cat what it's digestive system was made to eat, not overly processed food with a vitamin pill and chemicals added. I know so many people that have switched to raw and their cat's digestive issues have cleared up.

mikischo October 5th, 2010 07:45 PM

I just want to add my thanks to you for taking in this sweet deserving boy. You are his kitty :angel:

When you get the opportunity we would love to see pics of Artie as well as Alistair and the rest of your crew.

I'm glad to hear that things are improving for Artie. There is no "one size fits all" but you are on the right track in finding out what works best for him.

OwnedByCritters October 6th, 2010 02:59 AM

I asked my vet about raw diets, and it is still an option 'on the table' if nothing else pans out, but she did state that getting an appropriate nutritional profile and the correct balance of vitamins and minerals can be difficult to do on a budget and without extensive study and scrupulous attention to the nutrient values of the meats.

Given that I have a severe learning disability around numbers (Discalculia), and given that Artie was already undersized and underweight when he came to me, and both the vet and I want him to get some good growth on, feeding raw exclusively is going to be a last ditch option for now. I have started giving him bits of raw meat meant for my meals to get him used to the idea, but he's really ambivalent about it, though he really begs once it has been cooked!

My other worry with raw is that I am autistic, and certain textures and smells bother me a lot more than they do non-autistic people, part of autism called Sensory Integration Disorder. Basically, my nervous system misreports sensations brought in by the five senses and causes me to experience them at levels which are painful, nausea-inducing, or intensely irritating. The feel and smell of raw meat are two of those things that my nervous system misinterprets. I eat very little meat and usually get what little I do pre-cooked, pre-breaded, or pre-battered so that I don't have to actually touch the surface of the meat to prepare it for cooking. For me, the feel and smell of raw meat makes me vomit, triggers off my OCD hand washing thing, and sends me into a flurry of 'stims', mannerisms autistic people do in order to calm down a nervous system with an agenda of its own. I'm not the kind of person who eats sushi or steak tartare.. :/ I'd likely have to leave the apartment until Artie finished a raw meal, and he is not a fast eater.

It really is odd that raw meat is one of the few biological smells that really bother me. Most of my scent triggers are man-made stuff like perfumes, chemicals, tar, cigarettes, cosmetics, and most hair products. I'm not taking the raw diet option off the list of possibles yet though.. I've created work-arounds for some other sensory triggers before, and will for this if nothing else works.

Love4himies October 6th, 2010 07:14 AM

It is not odd at all about the smell of raw meat. I make my own homemade raw and it makes me feel absolutely nauseous when I make it, I hate making it, but do it because my cats thrive on it. Jasper has a loose stool problem with many cat foods and raw has really been our saviour :laughing: (we always knew when he used the litter box :yuck:).

As for your vet saying raw is the last resort :frustrated: is very frustrating indeed. It is what your cat's digestive system is intended to eat. Some of their essential nutrients come from raw meat and are destroyed by cooking. In cat food, they have to add artificial amino acids after the cooking so cats can get all their vitamins. That's the same as our doctors telling us to eat processed food and a vitamin pill with it :frustrated:.

I guarantee you there will be nothing better than raw to get "some good growth on him". All my foster kittens are on raw and the vets can't believe the muscle mass these kittens have. They reach their 3lb mark to get spayed/neutered a month before other kittens. And I am not talking about one litter, I have had many foster litters. When I tell the vets it is the raw diet, they look at me like I have two heads :laughing:, but the "proof is in the pudding" now isn't it :shrug:

You don't have to make your own raw if it bothers you, Nature's Variety does make a very good frozen prepared raw.

There are some very, very good canned foods that are very high in meat protein:

Nature's Variety, Instinct canned.
Wellness, grainfree canned. The kitten canned is excellent food :thumbs up.
Evo (I have not tried this food).

kathryn October 6th, 2010 09:37 PM

I can relate to your concerns. I'm a vegetarian so meat already sort of bothers me, really only red meat and certain fish. I have weird OCD issues as well :crazy: and the smell of ground beef cooking can set me off, so I understand where you are coming from.

I do not currently use frozen raw food due to my similar issues (I cannot deal with the frozen blocks/bags etc because handling cold things sets me off because I have lupus + the smell bothers me).. so it just ends up being a hassle. I wouldn't totally put it off if one of my cats really needed a raw diet.

I do use some really good grain free canned foods and my cats seem to do well on those :) I use Weruva brand alot. I know it's not made in the US, but I really do feel quite comfortable with the company. My cats seem to enjoy Wellness and Holistic Select by Eagle Pack as well.

They do make raw dehydrated foods. I don't know what other members opinions are, but they are becoming quite popular where I am. I've had horrible luck with them on my own cats, as they seem to be quite grossed out by most of the diets I've tried. I think the texture bothers them and there is not enough of a "smell" to it to entice them... but then again my cats are insane.

I hope this helps some :)

OwnedByCritters October 8th, 2010 12:37 PM

I have a feeling all cats are a little bit insane...

Artie has taught himself to play Fetch. Usually at 3 am. By dropping his mousie toy onto my belly at 3 am. Repeatedly. If I don't throw, he runs and gets another one and repeats the process. So far, the record for cat toys in my bedding has been 36 in one night. He's determined.

I've found a number of very high quality foods that the Vet approves of for Artie during the process of trying to weed out the source of his dietary intolerance. These are:

Nature Organics Kitten
Almo Nature
Dick Von Patten's Natural Balance
Wellness Grain Free
PetCetera Gold Ribbon
PetCetera Platinum

Dick Van Patten's Limited Ingredient

All of the canned foods are wheat-free, rice-free, gluten-free, preservative-free, dye-free, and contain human-food-grade cuts of meats like chicken, beef, venison, fish, shrimp, and scallops. They're also minimally processed, with chunks of meat and fish. And Artie seems to be loving them, judging by their rapid vanishing from the food bowl.

He's finished his course of meds, with no real difference. I still have him on the probiotic and the slippery elm bark, with no real change yet. He has good days and bad days. Today is a bad day for swelly belly due to gas, which he is expelling in prodigious amounts, loudly. I've given him two belly massages, during which he practically deflated... but these farts aren't near as stinky as his usual output. The only thing I can link this to is the fact that he got into my tea (with cream) and polished off about half a cup before I caught him, and the crust of bread he stole from the rats.

I'm also starting to wonder if some of his gas is swallowed air, since he eats very fast, with big gulping bites. I'm going to have to find a way to slow him down and see if that helps. I think his time as an abandoned, hungry kitten, before I took him in, might have caused him to be a little neurotic and compulsive about food. If so, he fits in here... every member of this household, human and animal, has some sort of mental health thing going on... :) The joys of rescues, eh?

Here are a few piccies of the two fur-faces I've talked about here, Artie and Alistair:
By [URL=]odd1out[/URL] at 2010-10-08

By [URL=]odd1out[/URL] at 2010-10-08

By [URL=]odd1out[/URL] at 2010-10-08

By [URL=]odd1out[/URL] at 2010-10-08

By [URL=]odd1out[/URL] at 2010-10-08

mikischo October 8th, 2010 01:04 PM

Thanks for posting the pics of your fur kids.

Artie is an absolutely gorgeous boy.:cloud9:

Alistair is a handsome fellow as well.:lovestruck:

Love4himies October 8th, 2010 01:57 PM

Oh what a sweetie pie.

Just to let you know that Almo Nature is NOT nutritionally complete for cats and is intended for treats only.

If you have your kitty on slippery elm, please do not feed kibble as slippery elm coats the intestinal tract and inhibits water absorption. You should actually be adding a bit of water to canned just to make sure he doesn't get dehydrated which can happen so quickly to a kitten.

mickeysmomma October 8th, 2010 07:37 PM

Artie is simply adorable:lovestruck: I noticed his cardboard scratching box in the background.My cats LOVE those,I have them all over the house lol!!!!

OwnedByCritters October 8th, 2010 08:18 PM

Thanks for the info. Right now, all foods are rotated or served half/half with another brand. Tonight he got a bit of Almo and a bit of Wellness Grain-Free with the slippery elm and probiotic. I do water down the foods to make them a bit more... gooshy... since he's teething and his gums hurt he likes it softer and more like a thick gravy than standard pate-style cat foods are already. I have the kibble here but haven't served it to him yet (that teething thing I mentioned).
He's a good drinker and a good pee-er. Not excessive, but not like some cats, who seem to get most of their moisture from their food and thin air... had one as a kid that no one ever saw drink and we often wondered if he actually did, since the level in the bowls never seemed depleted. But he lived to be 22 years old, so I guess it worked for him.. strange, though.

I hope Artie's teething stops soon.. I'm a human teething ring. I've found that he likes crunching on ice cubes, so I'm trying to get him to ease off on my hands in favour of ice.

Those cardboard scratchers are great. I'm trying to get him to scratch on the 5 of them that I have scattered around the apartment and not on the furniture.. he's a smart cat, but man, is he stubborn! He'll do it a bit, then leave it in favour of the chair, but will go back when redirected. It'll just take time. But I do like them. At $2 per, they can't be beat. I am going to get him a kitty condo fairly soon too, so we'll see how he takes to that. He really is a natural climber. He's not just a floor-level cat.

Had one odd thing happen last evening... the guy who delivers our softener salt arrived and since the softener is in my apartment, had to come in. Normally Artie is affable and outgoing to everyone... men, women, kids, dogs, cats, rats... he's Mr. Social. But this time, he took one look at the guy and literally climbed me, all claws engaged. He bunched himself up in my arms until the guy turned towards me to get paid, and then Artie launched himself off my shoulder and off under the bed. He's never reacted like that to anyone before. He wouldn't come out for an hour after the softener salt guy left. Gotta wonder what he was picking up on.

Love4himies October 9th, 2010 05:55 AM

Could be a scent that was on the delivery man :shrug:.

As for your previous kitty who you didn't see drink, was he a hunter? Was he fed canned food? Animals are meant to get their fluids from their food, carnivores from blood and herbivores through fluids in plants. With the exception of Jasper (and rarely him), my cats don't drink water. I hope they live as long as your kitty :pray:, 22 years, wow :lovestruck:. They are on a raw/canned diet. Cats have a very low thirst drive, one of the reasons why they should never be fed a kibble diet, they end up being chronically dehydrated.

mickeysmomma October 9th, 2010 07:16 AM

As for getting Artie to scratch on the cardboard box,my hubby's cat will use it on the floor like she's digging to China:laughing: but Mickey prefers his to be vertical.We actually attached one to the leg of our kitchen table so he could scratch it and he loves it.He was an avid door frame scratcher before and now it's the occasional thing when he wants attention.

catlover2 October 9th, 2010 11:36 PM

ObC, to slow down Artie's eating, you could [I]smear his food [/I]all over a flat plate, then he will have to lick it off, and he won't be able to gulp it down. The teething can contribute to diarrhea in some cats, so hopefully he'll be thro that stage soon. By the way, he is a beautiful boy! such a gorgeous red classic tabby!

Koteburo October 13th, 2010 11:36 AM

Cuteness heart attack!
Your rat is soooooooooo cute :lovestruck: I wub the rat, haha such a cutie, little fur ball. Adorable.
Kitten is doing so well, he looks good, cute, I want to pet Artie <3 and hold him a little, adorable as well no doubt.
Thanks for posting the pics. I'm glad I got to see both of them :thumbs up

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