My cat is throwing up again :(

catherinet(5 IN)July 6, 2008

As you might remember, my cat got very sick awhile back. He had been projectile vomiting for awhile, and he quit eating and pooping.

The vet ran labs and said he might be becoming diabetic, and also gave him an enema, which helped alot. The tech mentioned a slight possibility of mega colon. The doc before that mentioned giving him 3cc of oil regularly to move hair balls along. After the clean-out, kitty did great, and was pooping lots, and I could see fur in the poop. So I never gave him any of the oil, since its such a challenge getting it down him.

He's been getting Science Diet Hairball formula.

Well, the other day I gave him a several leaves of catmint from outside and he ate it and threw it up. I didn't think much of it.

Today, however, he was projectile vomiting again.

Is projectile stuff a concern, or can that be "normal"?

Does diabetes cause vomiting?

Maybe I'm just premature in my concern, but this projecile vomiting is making me think he's getting into trouble again. I also haven't seen poop in the litter box for a day.

I guess this next question is mostly for CD3, since she's familiar with megacolon........but is this typical progression for it, after an enema? Its been a little over 3 weeks ago that he was cleaned out and has been pooping up a storm....until yesterday.

We'll give him some oil tonight....unfortunately most of the oil will be on DH and I!

Does that Science diet formula for "sensitive stomachs" sound like something I should be giving him, instead of the Hairball formula?

Thanks for any input anyone has!

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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Hey there. Poor kitty. Not only is she miserable from the tummy but she has to put up with the indignity of medication.
I have mostly used eye droppers for giving liquid meds but when I can locate one, a syringe works so much better. I have several right now and would be happy to send you one. It might be small for the amount of oil kitty needs but it would go into kitty rather than on you and DH. E-mail me an address if you want one. Sandy

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 5:38PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks for the offer Sandy. That is sweet of you.
We have syringes. The cat just doesn't like anyone messing with him and his mouth! The vet did it very smoothly, so I guess we just need more experience!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 6:04PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Sorry your kitty is doing poorly again.

Projectile vomiting isn't normal. Something is wrong. Diabetes can cause vomiting if the blood sugar is waaaay too high ... like in the 400s + .

Can you get one of those urine glucose test strips and see if there is glucose in the urine? Ideally if you catch it in mid stream but you can also smash the test strip into freshly pee-ed in litter and see if there's a colour change. You'll have your answer if kitty is diabetic or if that elevated BG reading was a stress response.

He was pooping like a real cat until yesterday? Lots of poop or just little rock hard chunks? If he was passing normal poop (with hair) he might just be constipated. If he was passing little chunks he may have a mega-colon that causes the poop to stay in the intestine too long and it becomes dehydrated and eventually cannot be passed.

I have some mega-colon patients who do need to get cleaned out regularly and it is every 3 weeks. They do great and then there's a fairly rapid decrease in appetite, vomiting and lethargy. They become very dehydrated too. Is your kitty dehydrated? Pull up on the skin over the shoulder blades and release. The skin should retract as quickly as it does if you do the same to the back of your hand. If the retraction is slow or worse, doesn't retract and remains tented, your kitty needs fluids either under the skin or IV.

If he is impacted again, oil won't help. He needs to have the hardened poop manually removed again. Once he's cleaned out he needs to stay on something to keep the poop moving like laxatone, enulose, veggie oil ... NOT mineral oil! (Mineral oil binds the B Vitamins in the GI tract and can result in deficiencies over time.)

As far as diet goes, some kinda canned food is better than the dry because he needs to take in more water just to soften the food and digest it. He's already not a big water drinker so if he'll eat canned food he's already taking in water with the food.

An alternative to the laxatone and other stuff to keep the poop moving, offer some warm milk a few times a week. Milk has a natural laxative effect for the kitties and should help the problem.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 7:35PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thank so much CD3,
I might be just jumping the gun. I hope so.
He was pooping alot this past 3 weeks, and it was very normal stuff. I put a little dish of pumpkin down for him, and he's actually been eating it. He ate more dry food about an hour after he vomited, but then I took it up so he wouldn't eat it.
He's been drinking well, ever since you told me the trick about topping off the water dish. (thanks!).
He tends to eat things he shouldn' dead leaves that have fallen off the houseplants, thread, etc.
We gave him a couple cc's of canola oil tonight too.
The only thing that makes me a bit uncomfortable is that when we were at the vet's the last time, the tech showed me the xray and pointed to 2 little round opacities that were somewhere in the upper GI track. They weren't sure what those were. Hopefully that's not the problem.
I do need to take Kitty back in sometime soon for a repeat glucose. I'll get some dip sticks and see if I can test his urine in the litter. Is it still as accurate from the litter, so long as the urine is fresh? Its the clumpable stuff, is that okay?
We've tried laxatone and that didn't seem to do much.
I'll buy some canned stuff and see if he likes it. He never used to.
Is it possible I need to buy him that "sensitive stomach" hard food? Sometimes I think all those foods are the same......just with different names!
Thanks for the heads-up about the mineral oil.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 8:37PM
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If you feed dry food soften it with water. I think your cat would do better on an all canned food diet with a bit of pumpkin added if it is megacolon. You can freeze tiny packets of the pumpkin. Also, learn to do enemas and subQ rehydration yourself as neither is hard to do. Also, consider a high quality hairball remedy (non mineral oil type) to be given reguarly in small amounts to keep the stools softer. Daily brushing will help also with swallowed fur from grooming. IMO a cat that is retaining dry food cannot drink enough water on it's own to prevent backups so I would stop giving dry food and buy a high quality canned food.

Just my opinion but I'm not a huge fan of Science Diet unless it is one of the prescription types due to a very specific need. Most are loaded with corn.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 10:30PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Hmmmm. If he was a poopin' machine and suddenly stopped it could just be that he doesn't have anything new in the GI system to push out the schtuff at the end. Once he's eating again the poop will return to the potty box. Is he obese? There's a whole bunch of things to be concerned about if he's obese. If he isn't I won't frighten you with them.

The kitty litter shouldn't react with the glucose test strip but you can make sure by putting some water on the litter then test it with a urine strip. If it isn't reacting then you know for sure any glucose reading you may get when testing pee-ed on litter will be a true reading.

If your kitty eats everything he more at risk for vomiting and/or diarrhea. If he's eating dried leaves, those irritate the stomach and out they come. If the ingested things get past the stomach the irritation may continue and cause the intestines to move more quickly resulting in diarrhea. Thread or string eating is a very bad thing. If the vomiting continues have the vet check under the kitty's tongue to make sure there isn't something looped under it. That's a potentially life threatening situation.

Maybe the abdomen needs to be re-radiographed and see what the opacities are doing ... i.e. getting bigger or perhaps even disappeared? Worst case scenario would be something like an intestinal lymphoma which certainly can mess up the motility of the intestines. An ultrasound may give a better idea of what the part(s) of the abdomen the opacities involve.

If trying canned food make sure it is a major brand name like Friskies, Purina, Waltham for example not store brand foods like Special Kitty from WalMart or others. More chance of a better quality food without additives like pentobarbitol. If your kitty isn't impressed with canned foods he needs to be on the diet that is right for him. That may be the "hairball control" or the "sensitive diet" or something completely different like Prescription i/d. You and your kitty may need to do a trial and error period to find the food that agrees with him the best.

Hope this morning finds your kitty feeling better. :-)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 7:03AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks comettose and CD3,

I wonder if cats can get air trapped in their stomachs, just like I do? That could cause the projectile stuff, right?
No poop yet. He's acting fine, but in retrospect, I'm thinking this last big problem was slow in the making too. His vomiting increased for a couple months, before it got really bad.
I'm glad you told me which canned stuff to get, since I was going to ask.
I just bought 10# of science diet hairball, but I won't open it. Do I mix the pumpkin into the canned stuff, or might that make him even less likely to eat the canned stuff?
I tried adding a little veggie oil to his dry food awhile back and he wouldn't touch it.
I'll go back to the Laxatone too, but he hates that. When he sees me coming, he runs! What I do get on him, the dog wants to go after! haha
Kitty is about 11-12 years old. You can go ahead and scare me with the possibilities, since that's how I think anyhow.
I suppose the good thing is that even when he seemed to be in horrible shape the last time when we took him to the vet for the clean-out, the vet said he wasn't dehydrated at all. So that's a good thing......that he tends not to get dehydrated.
If I can't get to the store today, and don't want to open the new bag of food up, could I make something like tuna and rice? Would that be okay?
I'll get the test strips when I get the canned food.
Kitty loves catmint. Was there something bad about giving him several leaves of that?
I was glad he usually prefers dry food, since I'm into not using too much packaging, but I guess I'll have to go to the canned stuff. Can a person make their own moist catfood, and be sure of getting all the needed nutrients?
Thanks for your help Comettose and CD3!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 7:51AM
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koijoyii(NE Ohio)


I can sympathize with you. My bear turned 16 on the 4th of July and she is having the same problem. She was impacted at first which was remedied by an enema. Six weeks later she had a blockage which was a huge hard fecal mass. Per my vet I was sprinkling her canned food with Metamucil. IMO I think the Metamucil clumped together and produced the mass. X-rays showed no blockage, cysts, tumors, etc. She has projectile vomiting a lot too. At the present time I mix three drops of lactolose with her food every morning which so far has been keeping things moving. (Had to experiment to get the right amount) Before I did this she would poop small hard turds that were grayish/white. The pumpkin worked for a few months then she turned her nose up at it. She used to be a little butterball, but has lost weight. In answer to your question regarding gulping air, Bear was hospitalized for three days the last time because the vet wanted to observe her eating habits because she is a very noisy eater. She gulps a lot of air whenever she eats or drinks water. When they were giving her the enema the vet said Bear let out a huge burp and everyone in the room lost it. She said that is the first time she ever heard a cat burp. Every now and then Bear will let out a huge burp that doesn't smell too pleasant. So, yes, cats do gulp air. Hope you poor little kitty feels better soon. I hate it when they are sick and can't tell you what's wrong.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 10:35AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks Koijoy,
Sorry to hear about your little one. Do you give your own enemas? I think my kitty would hate me forever! He hates me when I just try to put Laxatone on his paw! It sure would save alot of hassle and money though, if we could do it ourselves. Too bad we don't have a big old sink in the utility room.
Where did you get the lactolose? I do wonder if we can make their food. My only concern with that is that I would leave out some important vitamins and minerals.
I know that I can get a horrible amount of air in my stomach and.......well, let's just say that it can be a force to be reckoned with, if it decides to come back out!!
Do cats ever benefit from probiotics??
Lots of questions! I guess I didn't realize how on "auto pilot" kitty has been all these years. I guess it goes the same for us as we age. Life changes, unfortunately.
Thanks again for all your help.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 11:00AM
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koijoyii(NE Ohio)


Have never given Bear an emema. To me it's worth it to have the vet do it, that way I don't have to deal with the mess. Plus I feel so terrible leaving her at the vet, I just wouldn't be able to do that to her. At least this way she gets mad at the vet, not me. lol I can always tell when she is going to get "bound up" by watching her eat. As soon as her appetite slows down I give her an extra drop of lactolose. The vet prescribed it for her, and so far so good. She loves people food more than cat food but I worry, too, about leaving out vitamins and minerals she needs. One thing I learned when I give her people food is to cut it into teeny tiny pieces. One time when she had projectile vomiting the food looked just like it did when I cut it up and gave it to her. Didn't look like she chewed anything. I only buy the ground cat food for her. If I goof and buy the shredded or morsels I mash them with a fork. It is much easier to get her to take the lactolose if the food has juice or gravy to mix it in. Bear has a big problem with flatulence too. She loves to cuddle with me in the chaise lounge and knead my belly. But sometimes my son and I have to evacuate the room. She looks at us as if to say "Now what did I do!"

Hmmmm, listen to us discussing poop, puke and stinkers!!!


    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 2:18PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

lol Jenny! So far, my kitty only has trouble with stuff coming out the top end. I guess I would tolerate the other end, if I knew it would make him feel better! haha

I've never gotten in the habit of giving him people food. Although my dog has taught him to beg when we have I give him 1 or 2 pieces, but not very often.
I agree with you about letting them get mad at the vet, rather than us!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 3:17PM
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For cats I don't recommend making your own food long term as there are excellent foods available on the market that contain ingredients you might miss, like taurine for example. Homemade food can be done safely but most people don't want to do it long term or don't do it right.

In general cats don't react well when you change their foods all the time. Change should be slow unless there is a drastic need to do so quickly. Cat food should be high in protein with most, if not all, of the protein from animal sources, like salmon or whitefish, chicken, duck, venison, etc., not grains (not corn, corn gluten, etc) , have a high moisture content, contain necessary minerals, taurine, and be lower in ash and magnesium (to help prevent UTIs). If your cat is diabetic you will need a prescription diet most likely.

Some brands I personally find high in quality: Wellness, Natural Balance, or Evo canned as the main food and a dry version as a treat. It is trial and error what a cat will like but a consistent diet of cheap food will cost more in vet bills down the road. I would not give my cat green leaves if that makes the cat throw up, even cat mint or cat grass.

I feed my 6 cats Natural Balance. Four of them eat Natural Balance Tuna and Shrimp Formula canned and also the regular Nat Bal dry with no issues. The other two, one prone to UTIs (a male), and one with food allergies I feed canned Natural Balance Duck and Pea moistened further with water and they also get some dry, also Duck and Green Pea (which is a limited ingredients food for the allergic cat) and although not the lowest for the UTI prone in ash and magnesium, by switching to a higher moisture canned food as the staple, and high protein, this helps to maintain the urinary Ph more naturally. I keep an eye out though all the time for UTI in the male. I have Clavamox on hand.

Cats naturally eat flesh, bones, connective tissue, internal organs, in the wild, with little 'greens' as supplement. I don't recommend raw food however although some will tell you it's great, but IMO raw food can carry the same health risks to pets as humans as you don't really know the source of the meats unless you kill the food yourself. So, the next best thing is high quality meat based protein foods, as you can afford, and IMO canned food in a higher quantity over dry.

But food is just that - a food discussion. Until you know what is wrong with your cat it is hard to say what kitty really needs. It sounds like your vet has not actually discovered exactly what is wrong with your cat and it may take time to find out what it is by the process of elimination of what it isn't. Your cat is not young at age 11/12.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 11:19PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

If your kitty does truly have a megacolon, a simple enema won't do the trick. The hardened impacted stuff must be manually broken down and removed and that needs general anesthesia. A note about enemas ... NEVER (!) give a cat the brand known as FLEET ENEMA (!) This will be fatal because of the ingredients. Giving a kitty an enema or manually removing the intestinal contents is a highly organic and smelly experience. It would be better to have that happen at the vet's place rather than your home.

Many kitties will lick the laxatone right off the end of the tube or from a dish if a small amount is served on the side. They all hate having the sticky goo smeared on their fur and do tend to hide when they see the tube coming. A few drops of the lactulose in with the food, or a spoon full of some jarred baby food like strained beef or strained chicken, is a good idea. It doesn't really have a taste but is just sticky. Lactulose is a prescription liquid that is used by people and animals with chronic constipation, megacolon and certain liver diseases. Your kitty might lick some of the pumpkin if served in a bowl too.

Kitties do benefit from probiotics after being on certain antibiotics that wipe out the GI tract normal flora. I do not know if they would help your kitty's situation but may be worth a try once the poop issue is resolved. Ask your vet what he/she recommends ... or the tech. She seems to be telling you more than the vet.

Science Diet foods have a money back guarantee even if it was opened. Simply return it to the place purchased and they should refund your money. A home made diet would likely be an imbalanced incomplete diet. The ash / magnesium content thinking is outdated. Newer research (last 10 years) shows that one will cause cats to develop skeletal abnormalities waaay before there are urinary tract signs due to a diet high in ash / magnesium.

Catmint is fine for the kitties as long as there were no chemicals sprayed on the plant or any systemic chemicals drawn inside the plant. They usually eat some leaves or the stems, get high (the chemical in the plant is related to LSD), then some puke afterwards. Kitties that have not been exposed to catmint / catnip by the time they are 3 months old usually will be those kitties who will not react to the chemical in the plant.

Hope this morning finds your kitty doing better.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 7:20AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks CD3.........Lots of great info, as usual!
Okay, you've talked me out of giving him an enema at home. It didn't take much convincing!
He pooped once this morning!! YAY!! It was very soft and didn't appear to have much hair in it. Last night was his second night to receive 3ccs of canola oil, and it must have helped. I'm also keeping a little dish of pumpkin by his food dish all the time, and he seems to eat some of it. He's a pretty lazy cat, and seems to be sleeping alot again, but I can get him going with this little feather toy I bought him, plus it seems to be a good sign if I start to pet him, and he immediately starts to purr.......which he wasn't doing when he was really sick.
Sometimes I'm on top of things too much. That made me a good nurse, but sometimes I over-react to problems. Hopefully, it is normal for him to just not poop for a couple days, and I just have never paid this much attention before.
I will buy the test strips today and get on top of that.
Thanks for the heads up about the Science diet refund policy. I had just bought a big bag of it.
Actually, I had an older bag of the regular Purina cat chow that he always loved, and have been giving that to him.
I'm probably making too many changes. But I do feel good that he pooped.
That's funny about the catmint.(organic) Would it have the same affect on us humans???? ;) I have been a little down lately and prescriptions are too expensive. hahahaha
Thanks CD3

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:46AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Hooray for poop! Long may it continue to reign (and drop into the potty box)!

LOL! :-)

Catnip? Some people make tea with it but I don't know how it is done or what it does for people.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:52PM
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catherinet(5 IN)


Question: I started giving kitty canned food this morning. How much at a time, and how long can it sit there before I need to throw it out, what he hasn't eaten? I'm sure its not quite like human food sitting out........or is it??

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 9:21AM
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Catherine, I roll it up and smoke it on the weekends. LOL Just kidding, of course, but I do love the scent. :D

I'm SO glad to hear about the return of cat poopies to your household! Something to celebrate! Snuggles & kisses for that sweet ol' kitty!


    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 9:22AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Hi Cath. How much to feed depends entirely on how active he is. I'd probably start out with 1/4 to 1/2 can twice a day and toss out whatever hasn't been eaten the next day. You can adjust the amount accordingly. If you are giving a partial can at a time it's best to remove the other portion and place it in a tupperware container and in the fridge. If left in the can after opened, the food tends to take up the metalic taste of the can. Smash up the food with a fork before serving.

As a side note, research has shown that kitties on canned food have less chance to develop diabetes. Those who do have diabetes and were on dry food, when switched to canned, either revert to a non-diabetic condition or need less insulin because of more protein and less carbs. in the diet.

LOL! Brandy! Don't you know smoking isn't good for you? :-)

Some people will make tea with it or use it in salads. It grows like a weed here. I have dug out several plants and give them away to people at work for their kitties.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 9:47AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

LOL Brenda........I thought you were talking about the canned cat food. Then I thought maybe you were talking about poop. hahaha I finally figured out you were talking about the catmint!
Thanks CD3. I think I'm getting another problem though. When I fed him half the can this morning, my dog Suzi, kept smelling the cat's breath afterwards. When I got home, I discovered that the dog had gotten into the back bathroom where we feed the cat, so we can have the entrance blocked off with a small chair, and ate the rest of the food, plus all the pumpkin!!! What a little turd that doggie is. then on top of that, our linoleum got caught by the bottom of the front door and is tearing.......well Suzi chewed on that awhile and made it much worse! Suzi is in the dog house!!!

That is really wild about the type of food and diabetes.....just like humans! Those carbs......they're killers. But dang they're good!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 6:43PM
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I'm literally LOLing!!! @ the smokin' poop comment, Catherine! And DH is laughing now, too..."...but I do love the scent."....ohhh, it feels GOOD to laugh, thank you!!!

Smokin' Brandy (I KNOW, I'm superbad, Chicka!!! :D)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 9:47AM
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