Cat Constipation — A Hard Problem to Solve


Sosa

Sosa, my eight-year-old cat, has her share of neurotic Siamese issues, and some of them are making me neurotic. The two biggies are her meowing jags and her random attempts to fertilize my carpet. It has taken about a year of scat tracking to figure out her problems. We’re making progress, but we both may end up going crazy before we finally get this mystery solved.

Piecing Together the Clues

During Sosa’s annual check-up in October 2011, I told the vet that I was occasionally finding cat poop on the carpet. The doctor’s words stuck with me: cats don’t do this to be naughty. If a cat has normal litter box habits, and suddenly she doesn’t, you can bet a bejeweled cat collar she has a legitimate reason. Seeing Sosa couldn’t simply tell me that reason, I’ve been struggling to interpret her cryptic cat code.

The word “constipation” wasn’t even on my radar screen yet, but I had a suspicion that part of Sosa’s problem was her diet, and my first assumption was that she needed more fiber. A few years ago I had switched to grain free food to see if she would stop licking all the hair off her belly. After trying several brands, I finally found one Ms. Picky Pants would eat, and her belly hair grew back. Now, I wanted to keep her grain free so we wouldn’t go backwards on that apparent allergy issue, so I found another grain free brand with higher fiber content and mixed it with her existing food. I also thought that hairballs were part of the problem, so I gave her hairball remedy a couple times a week.

Sosa would go one or two months without leaving any treasures on the floor, and just when I thought we had this problem licked, we didn’t. Here’s one of the clues I was ignorant about at the time: the rogue stools were usually accompanied by vomit. As I have since learned, vomit is a definite clue a cat is suffering from constipation. Another clue that grew quite loud was Sosa’s meowing. She sat in the mud room, which was next to her litter box room, and meowed nearly every evening. Was she hearing noises in the garage? I sat next to her, listening for sounds, and she would stop meowing. When I picked her up, I could feel her heart racing, so I thought it was her Siamese anxiety issues. I didn’t realize she was anxious about going poop (anyone who has ever suffered from constipation would completely understand). We even tried the Thundershirt, but the root cause of this issue wasn’t anxiety, so that didn’t fix the problem.

Dry Food vs. Wet Food

While investigating this problem I learned about the Bristol Stool Chart and what cat poop should ideally look like. I continued to research cat diet and discovered a lot of people are adamant that cats should not be fed dry food. This topic is highly controversial, and we’ll get back to that in a minute. For now, I started to introduce a wet food treat. I mixed 1-2 teaspoons of Tuna for Cats from Trader Joe’s with a quarter-teaspoon of canned 100% pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix), the latter of which is a well-known remedy for cat constipation. The tuna was stinky, I worried about mercury levels, and preparing this concoction was definitely more work than pouring dry food into a dish; but this was a small, once-a-day (at most) treat that Sosa loved, and it seemed to be working. Until it didn’t. We went for about a month, and then Sosa left another clue that her digestive system wasn’t right. At this point, I also noticed that her belly felt hard. When she would get into one of her meowing jags, I would massage her stomach, from front to back, and that seemed to calm her.

Water in the Cat vs. Water in the Stool

Next, I circled back to investigating the wet vs. dry food debate. Wet food proponents say that cats do not have a strong thirst drive and they get most of their water through the prey they eat. They argue that a cat is not getting enough water from dry food and, therefore, the cat can become constipated.

But, a cat can get constipated while ingesting plenty of water. The website felineconstipation.org provides an extensive discussion on how a cat’s gut works. On the “water” page of the website, the author says, “The problem of constipation is not necessarily lack of water in the cat, it is lack of water retention in the stool.” What regulates the amount of water in the stool? It’s one big complicated chemistry equation, and in a nutshell, the key factor is the right type of fiber that feeds beneficial bacteria that maintains a proper pH (i.e., slightly acidic). My research indicates that the right type of fiber is moderately fermentable, such as beet pulp and rice bran.

The “Duh” Moment

Everything makes perfect sense in hindsight, doesn’t it? My most important breakthrough discovery – the “duh” moment – happened in September 2012 when Sosa got into a meowing jag, and she seemed more upset than usual. She headed toward her litter box, so I followed her and watched closely. She stepped into the box and strained to go, but nothing. She got out of the box and started doing her “throw-up meow,” and sure enough, she puked two times. Next, she walked over to a rug and began to scratch, and suddenly she squatted and forced out a couple small, hard lumps. Duh! Seeing is believing. She was definitely constipated. The situation wasn’t so bad that she needed manual extraction, as some cats do, but she clearly had a problem.

I immediately called the vet to discuss the scene I had just witnessed. We talked again about Sosa’s diet and scheduled an appointment for the following week. In the meantime, I bought and tried some Eukanuba sensitive stomach cat food, which had a couple different types of moderately fermentable fiber. At the appointment, the vet recommended a prescription food called Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal Fiber Response (HF29). After trying the Eukanuba for a few weeks and discovering that the problem wasn’t solved, I bought the HF 29. We talked about the possible need to mix this food with other food, because too much can lead to the opposite problem for some cats.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Within one day of switching Sosa’s diet to HF 29, her stools looked “ideal” according to the Bristol Stool Chart. Type 4 perfect poop – oh glorious day! But, alas, we had at least one more step backward in solving this mystery. A couple days later, I found one of those “ideal” stools displayed on the mat next to her litter box. The next day I found stools even farther from the box. Ugh. And then the next day, while my parents and sister were visiting, Sosa ran through the living room while we were watching a movie, and my mom said, “Hey, she’s pooping on the floor!” At least she didn’t have diarrhea.

When I picked up Sosa’s rogue stools with a plastic bag, I noticed that the texture felt gooey and sticky. The next evening, I carried Sosa over to her litter box and said, “Go poop,” and she actually got into the box and obeyed my command. Out came another ideal stool, but the problem was, it wouldn’t break off. The tenacious turd had Sosa so upset that she darted out of the box like a jackrabbit, and the turd was hanging on for dear life. It was comforting to know she was trying to use the litter box, and it was a funny scene to witness, albeit disturbing.

The On-Going Chemistry Experiment

So, now we’re on to the next challenge in this conundrum: working out the chemistry experiment to keep the ideal stool formation but make it less sticky and gooey so gravity can do its thing. I’m trying to figure out the right mix of HF 29 and Sosa’s other food. She has been licking her stomach fur more often, so I had another “duh” moment when I realized that I need to mix one of her previous grain free foods (rather than the Eukanuba) with the HF 29. We’re getting closer to resolution, but I’m not going to count this case closed until we go several months without any “issues.” Sosa’s stool is looking more like Type 3 on the Bristol Stool Chart, which is good, but I’m still occasionally finding those Type 3’s outside the litter box. She’d definitely having fewer meowing jags, and I’m taking that as a sign we’re heading in the right direction.

Update July 22, 2013

Lest anyone think Sosa’s constipation issues have been resolved, I’m back to say this is an ongoing situation that requires constant monitoring. I have yet to find a diet that makes her digestive and immune systems happy, so I continue to monitor her litter box every single day and make adjustments as needed.

We have tried at least 20 different canned cat foods as a supplement to the dry food, and Ms. Picky Pants will eat only two of them, as long as the individual cans meet her persnickety specifications (note that “natural” cat foods tend to have more variability than particularly picky cats will tolerate). She liked Natural Balance turkey formula, but that has grains and we ran into problems with itchy skin and plaques. Right now I’m trying to stick with Wellness turkey formula, a grain free option that she’ll eat, and the only concern there has been a few cans where the food is shrunken away from the edges and darker in color (I’m guessing it’s from high temps during shipping or storage, and she won’t touch that stuff).

So here’s where we’re at: I feed Sosa a small morning and afternoon serving of Wellness turkey formula canned food with extra water mixed in, plus I put a 50:50 mix of HF 29 and Before Grain Tuna dry food in her dish each day. For the past four months she has had wounds on her left inner hind leg (I’d bet money this is caused by an allergic reaction to the corn gluten in the HF 29), and I carefully monitor the status of those wounds and give her a Triamcinolone pill, prescribed by the vet, when the wounds look bad in my judgment. When I give her Triamcinolone, I have to be especially diligent about monitoring the litter box because it binds her up more than usual. To recap, the HF 29 helps her poop, but it causes allergies, so I give her a steroid pill, which then makes it harder for her to poop.  This is the very definition of a vicious cycle.

The pumpkin remedy I previously mentioned comes in handy when I give a steroid pill, although now I mix about a quarter teaspoon with a heaping teaspoon of Wellness canned food and a small amount of water. I came up with a creative way to make the pumpkin easy to use. I put a bunch of quarter teaspoon sized pieces on a plate and froze them, then put them all into a Ziplock bag. Now I can just grab one or two servings right out of the freezer, put them in a little warm water for a minute, then mix them with the canned food.

I’m working on testing another remedy for Sosa, Complete Probiotics for Pets, but she sniffed out the addition of this powder to her canned food, so I’m having to start with a tiny, tiny amount to see how she tolerates it and to see if I can increase the dosage. I’ve also tried using virgin coconut oil to help with her plaque wounds, but she licked the wounds so much they looked worse to me. I’ll occasionally put the coconut oil on other areas of her skin because it is a clinically-proven anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and maybe some of it will transfer to the wounds through all of her licking. Who knows. I’ve also considered a raw food diet; tried a sample of Stella & Chewy’s the other day, but she wouldn’t go near it.

Update October 26, 2013: Good News!

We’re not doing a victory dance yet, but I finally have some good news to report. First, though, a few updates on lessons learned the hard way. Tired of the corn/wheat gluten steroid pill vicious cycle, I attempted a new grain-free diet for Sosa. At the time, I didn’t realize a high protein diet can cause major issues with an allergy-sensitive cat, and this particular food had 40% protein. Within a couple days Sosa started puking, and within 3-4 days I noticed blood in the clear liquid she vomited. The vet squeezed us in for an appointment that Saturday. I had been flapping in the wind too long and should have arranged a consultation earlier. During that visit we decided to try Royal Canin hypoallergenic (HP) dry food, with HF 29 as my emergency back-up plan. Sosa pooped rocks on the Royal Canin HP. Ironically, that food has 5.7% fiber compared to 4.7% in the HF 29, which makes it clear the amount of fiber is only one small part of the equation — it’s the type of fiber that matters even more.

What next? I had read a lot of cat constipation and diet information from Dr. Jean Hofve (Little Big Cat website), and she speaks highly of Life’s Abundance cat food. I had ordered a sample of their canned food, and Ms. Picky Pants actually ate it, so I wondered if that could be my next diet attempt. I called the company to ask a few questions, and the customer service rep suggested I contact Dr. Jane Bicks, their holistic vet. Dr. Bicks provided a thorough response to my inquiry, and I appreciated her frankness in saying her food would not be the solution for Sosa’s issues. She provided a couple references, including the Cornell Feline Health Center, which she considers “the hub of ALL feline medicine in the world.”

I called 1-800-KITTYDR and arranged a $55 consultation with the vets from the Cornell Feline Health Center. What a wonderful resource. A vet called me back within a couple days, and he spent more than an hour patiently discussing Sosa’s problem and providing recommendations. He admitted that vets are more familiar with prescription foods and said there are so many off-the-shelf foods out there that some of them could work too. I had talked to my vet about Nature’s Balance Limited Ingredient Diet (LID) foods, so after I hung up with the Cornell vet, I created a matrix comparing fiber %, protein %, fiber types and protein types for the two Royal Canin foods I was already using, two possible Hills diets he recommended and the Nature’s Balance LID Duck & Pea. Based on that assessment, it became clear to me that the Nature’s Balance LID was my next best shot; the Hill’s diets both had powdered cellulose as the fiber source, the same thing as the HP, which made her poop rocks. The LID had flaxseed and pea fibers.

Apparently flaxseed works as well for Sosa as it does in my breakfast smoothie. She is now producing lovely turds every 24-36 hours. This is the best poop I’ve ever seen from her, and it’s almost embarrassing how ecstatic I am about that. The reason we aren’t doing a victory dance yet is because she is still getting lick wounds on her lower belly. The vet and I were wondering if this could be seasonal allergy issues — Sosa’s plaque wounds significantly improved when I put her on a grain-fee diet, but she’d still get them once or twice a year in the spring and fall. For now, I’m watching these plaques carefully, and when they look worse I’ll give her a half steroid pill. At least now the steroid pills don’t plug her up like they did with her previous diet. I know she’s feeling better, because she does a lot less meowing. It is so much more peaceful around our home. We have taken a nice step forward in resolving this challenging problem … finally!

Cat Community Support

I’ve opened up the comments section on this blog post because this is the most visited page on my blog, and I’m hoping to create a forum where other cat owners who are dealing with similar digestion and constipation issues can share their experiences. If you have found a healthy diet that works for your constipation prone cat, please share your success story.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I am a medical technical writer, not a doctor or a veterinarian. This story is about my personal experience trying to resolve cat constipation issues; I’ve read about a lot of different remedies, and this story describes what I tried and what has and has not worked for my cat. If your cat is struggling with constipation, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Updated 7/22/13

 

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59 Responses to “Cat Constipation — A Hard Problem to Solve”

  1. Mary Says:

    I too am having the same problem. She hides under blankets from either pain or fear of her HF bowel. Some nights she would just sit in the hallway and vocalize all night. If you listen to there stomach you can hear how hard her digestive system is having processing this food. I almost think it is causing gastritis,and stomach CRAMPING. The gas is so bad that I give her Infants gassy drops. According to Vet Hospital, I can give 1 3 or 6oz. dropper full every hour. It helps,but doesn’t solve the problem. You can’t leave this food out for them to graze on. You must only give depending on weight (10lbs) 2/3 cup a day. So I give half in the day and 1/2 in the morning. She is still afraid of this bowel. I too don’t know what to do. It seems like the perfect food for constipated cats, but something is not quite right, but I can’t figure it out. I hate watching her suffer. Vet says she’s getting all she needs in that food and there is nothing wrong. One night her pain was so bad I had to give her Buprenex to help with the pain. Please contact me with anything that you find Thank You

  2. admin Says:

    Mary,

    Thanks for your comment. I feel your pain! So far I have found no simple solution to Sosa’s constipation issues, and her allergies are only compounding the challenge. It requires daily monitoring of the litter box, and I’m still trying to find a diet that works better for her. One thing I recently learned is that a high protein diet can cause issues with allergy-sensitive cats. I tried a grain free food that had 40% protein, and within days Sosa was puking up blood. I took her to the vet and we decided to try Royal Canin hypoallergenic food. She’s been pooping rocks, and after watching a horrible constipation episode today and consulting with the vet, I’m now adding back in some of the HF29 food. The saga continues.

    I will add updates to this blog post if I discover something that works for Sosa. And if anyone else out there has success stories to share, please do so.

    Barb

  3. charity Says:

    Have you spoken to your vet about raw feeding? We had 7 cats, all medically in need with various ailments including diabetes thyroid chronic poop issues. Raw was amazing for us.

  4. admin Says:

    Charity,
    Thanks for your post. I did one raw food test (Ms. Picky Pants wouldn’t eat it) and talked to my vet about feeding raw, and we decided against it for Sosa. It sounds like that diet has worked wonders for your cats. Thanks for posting your success story. Since my last update on this post, I’ve switched Sosa to a Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet (green pea and duck). Her poop has significantly improved, although we’re still dealing with some allergy issues (at this point I’m not sure if this is a seasonal flare-up or if she’s having reactions to the food).
    Barb

  5. Mignon Says:

    My cat Finn and I are well into our 3rd month of constipation hell. I took him to the vet (new to us) for another reason, when an X-ray showed he was “full of poop,” as the vet put it. Having no clue that my cat was constipated — he came to live with me 4 years ago and has pooped every 3 days like clockwork during all of that time. He’s a very small snowshoe cat, so I assumed this pattern had to do with his size. And because he was so regular, I never gave his every-3-day poops a thought. Even when the vet told me he was constipated, I felt no particular alarm until, in the next few breaths, she recommended 2 prescription drugs, told me that Finn had a “motility disorder,” and said if the drugs didn’t help, surgery would be an option — the lower intestine is removed and the upper intestine then attached to the rectum! And the vet also mentioned “megacolon.” Now, I’m leaving the vet more than mildly freaked out. I don’t believe I’ve really relaxed since, to be honest.

    I’ve been giving him by oral syringe Cisapride for the motility issue (a very, very expensive liquid drug) and also by oral syringe Lactulose which helps to keep the stool from drying out while it sits in the colon. Neither of these seemed to make a difference in the frequency of his pooping. In fact, now he began pooping even more rarely than every 3 days. Sometimes it’s been 4 days, sometimes 5, once he went 6 days.
    The quality of the poop is softer (in a good way), but as the days add up between poops, I’m a basket case. I’ve tried pumpkin. No real help. I’ve tried olive oil. A tiny bit made things way too soft. I’ve switched him from a premium grain-free dry food (Blue Wilderness) to premium grain-free wet food (mostly Wellness), which he loves. We’ve also tried some Stella & Chewy raw food, which he likes too. But the food changes haven’t helped the infrequency. At least not yet. I got some natural fiber in a capsule called Vetasyl (psyllium seeds and barley), but so far he won’t get near it. I’m also trying to switch out the Lactulose (which is horribly sticky and sweet liquid that makes Finn gag) with Miralax (to keep the colon and stool moist). I think that might work. Then there’s the whole debate about low-fiber vs high-fiber being the solution to constipation. I too read the website that speaks about the right kind of fermentable fiber. Must confess, I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I’ve taken Finn to another vet for a consult. He repeated what the first vet said and emphasized that it’s “trial and error.” I’ll say. If I hadn’t had the vision of dreaded “megacolon” suggested to me, nor the vision of a horrible surgery, I think I’d be taking this more in stride. But every day he does’t poop, I go more and more insane thinking his condition is getting worse. Can his motility return, I asked the vets. They can’t say. Both of them looked dubious. I can see by the intricacies of all you’ve tried that you know exactly what I’m going through.
    Written on no-poop Day 3.

  6. admin Says:

    Mignon,
    I hope your switch to Miralax will provide as much relief for Finn (and you) as it has for our situation. I need to update my blog about this: I started to give Sosa Miralax in her water, and as picky as she is, she drank it no problem (I worked up to a dose of 1/2 tsp in the water dish — hard to regulate how much she actually was getting because the didn’t drink the entire dish of water each day). I finally found a wet food she would eat (Nutro Natural Choice adult soft pate turkey, grain-free), so now I am feeding her a can each day, split into two feedings. With each serving I mix in about 1/8 tsp Miralax (adjusting slightly based on what I’m seeing in the litter box). I also give her the Natural Balance LID dry food to ensure she has enough to eat. This routine has been working well. Sosa has been pooping regularly. I’d never say we have the problem solved, because it does seem to be a constant juggling act, but Sosa has gone about 4 months without a constipation issue. Progress! I hope this info helps. Best wishes for Finn and you.
    Regards,
    Barb

  7. Michelle Says:

    I am having the same issue with my cat Tabitha. She has been doing this for a very long time however it was once in a great while and has increased I think due to her older age. She doesn’t like canned food and will only eat dried food or snacks and loves the gravy of canned food but refuses to eat the meat itself. I had her on a satiety diet from royal canin and she did but now that I have her on the gastrointestinal food oh my god it’s worse for some reason! She poops excessively out of the box and I know she has been constipated and I even tried the before grain diet and that made her extremely constipated and like your cat threw up. When she throws up first and tries to poop that is how I know she is constipated. Reading your situation is like it being my own. I am extremely frustrated as what to do for my cat. I hate seeing her upset and this just stinks seeing my cat suffer and then also having to deal with her pooping outside of her box 🙁

  8. admin Says:

    Michelle,

    Thank you for sharing your post. My heart goes out to you and Tabitha. I tried at least 30 canned foods before finding one that Sosa would eat, and her digestion has worked better when she eats canned food each day (I also supplement with dry food). Miralax has been the other big breakthrough for Sosa. I put 1/4 tsp into her water, and Ms. Picky pants drank it just fine. Once I found the canned food she would eat, I mixed 1/8 tsp Miralax in her canned food twice per day. Now I’m trying to scale back on that small amount of Miralax … I watch the litter box every day and adjust based on what I see.

    Best wishes in finding a diet and/or supplement that will offer relief to Tabatha (and you!).

    Barb

  9. Sabrina Says:

    Hullo there! I just wanted to thank you so very much for putting your story up. I have searched long and hard for any help with my cat’s constipation issues. Not only that, but except for the allergy issue, your cat’s issues have been almost exactly like mine. He even had the same trauma with the Royal Canin HF29 and the poop hanging on!! I thought I was the only one, as I’ve never found another story that so closely related. We have been to the vet countless times, paid for unbelievably expensive tests and food. The vets truly do not seem to understand or really care what the cat is going through, they just seem hell bent on having us buy the most expensive prescription food. Any way, sorry for rambling.. I wanted to ask how your cat was doing on the Natural Balance food? I tried mixing the Royal Canin with a grain free food called Orijen. First the Cat & Kitten formula that was fish and chicken. At first things were great, for about 10 days he was pooping perfectly. Then I noticed his poop was looking extremely dry and he was having trouble. So I switched to an assorted all beef Orijen, thinking about cat allergies to fish and chicken. Same thing, super dry poop and I knew that would lead to even worse constipation. Then I found your blog and decided to try the same type/brand you are using – the NB Duck and Pea. All the while I have been mixing it with the Royal Canin fiber response – going from a small percentage and increasing slowing (with the goal of eventually getting him off of the RC.) Well, the Duck & Pea seemed to be working great…for about 5 days. Two days ago (the 5th day, I noticed he was pooping in bits – which I knew was bad.) Well, then yesterday and last night was a round of horrible constipation sickness that he’s had since I started trying foods. Using the litter box multiple times, going but obviously straining, and then throwing up (something he had not done in months.) He was so agitated and in pain I had to give him some Metronidazole (which is the only thing that helps to stop his pain and get him going normally again.) His bum gets swollen when he goes when he’s having problems. The doctor said she didn’t understand how the medicine was working the way we were using it, but agreed that all that matters was it helping. He ends up being on the Metronidazole often because it’s the only thing that gives him temporary relief! I don’t know what to do, I’m at my wit’s end!! I don’t know if giving him Miralax is an option, as I don’t know if it would be good to use long term. And he (and his sister,) dislike wet food. I’ve tried multiple brands, and even though he’ll eat some – I can barely get him to eat an ounce (and that’s once a day.) He’s extremely picky and I just don’t know what to do!! Have you been able to stay with the Duck & Pea? Because I have NO idea what food to switch to/try now!! This constant monitoring of him and his litter box is exhausting, I am up day and night and I am just at the end of my rope. Sorry to rant and ramble..and thank you again for sharing your trials and tribulations!

  10. admin Says:

    Sabrina,

    Thanks for visiting my blog and for sharing your story. Hang in there as you try to find a diet that works for your cat! I am still feeding Sosa the Natural Balance dry food, but I finally found some wet food that she would eat, and I think that food, along with Miralax, is the biggest thing that has been helping her (last constipation bout was at the end of January … knock on wood!). I tried at least 35-40 types of canned food before I found a grain-free version she’d finally eat: Nutro Natural Choice, adult soft loaf turkey. She’s so darn picky that even when I buy a new lot of this food she will stick her nose up and walk away. I make sure to buy food well before I run out, so if she snubs the new lot, I add food from the previous lot on top so then she’ll eat it and get used to whatever difference there is between old and new lots. As I was trying all those foods, I noticed she would be more curious about pates than other textures (chunky, stews, etc.). So that’s one other tip — watch for how your cat behaves with different textures and experiment with different brands that have the textures your cat seems most tempted by. I would even force some food in Sosa’s mouth (like giving her a pill, but not pushing it down her throat) so that she would at least taste it to see if maybe she did in fact like it despite what her nose told her.

    So, now that I found she would eat Natural Choice wet food, in addition to the Natural Balance dry food I give her half a can of wet food in the morning and half a can at night (they are 3 oz cans), and I mix in about 1/8 teaspoon of Miralax in each serving. I’m sure the wet food is helping her digestions system, and I really believe the Miralax has been a key ingredient, too. From what I’ve read, I have not seen any concerns about long-term use of Miralax. The other good thing about Miralax is that I was able to give it to Sosa before I found a wet food she would eat because you can mix it in water and even Ms. Picky Pants did not notice it! It’s much harder to judge how much your cat is actually ingesting when you mix it in with water, but I started out with an eighth or even quarter teaspoon in a small bowl of water and slowly worked up to maybe a half teaspoon. Watch the litter box every day and adjust accordingly — use a little more if the stools are hard and small, and use a little less if the stools are looking softer and skinny. But it’s best, though, if you can mix in wet food so you know how much the cat is getting. If you can get your cat to eat one ounce of wet food, you could easily mix enough Miralax into that amount. I encourage you to do some research about using Miralax for cats — see if you feel comfortable to give it a try. I looked back at my notes from when I talked to the vet at the Cornell Feline Health Center, and Miralax was one of the remedies he suggested. He recommended mixing 1/4 tsp with canned food, feeding that twice per day and titrating down if possible (which I have done — to 1/8 tsp).

    Best wishes for you and your cat.
    Regards,
    Barb

  11. Sabrina Says:

    Hello again Barb!

    My sincerest thanks for your reply and for all your help & advice! While I am hanging in there, I am afraid I really have no hope of any relief (for either myself or my cat.) I am beyond exhausted from the non-stop litter monitoring. I have a feeling this new food isn’t a solution either. He’s better due to medication (Metronidazole) but I think it’s heading towards the same outcome. A few days of doing well…but I think his system is, once again, adjusting to the new food. I purchased Nature’s Variety: Instinct – Duck Meal & Turkey Meal Formula. I really am just flying blind now, as I have no idea what to buy anymore. I am just having to make random choices from the grain-free selections at the pet store… I mix it with the Royal Canin but, again, once I get to an approximate half/half mix, he seems to start showing symptoms! Poops get dry again and I’m just at a loss! Grain-free just seems to continually do that! But I don’t want to go back to cat foods that are high in carbs (or fiber, for that matter.) I just have NO idea what to buy anymore (as I’ve read about a lot of brands being sold and the quality going downhill – so that’s a few types already off the list..) I have to now replace this food and I’m at a loss!

    My cats do not like wet food that is in any way shredded or in chunks/or has ‘chunky’ things in it. They prefer the pate type of food, not that they eat much of that either! I buy 3oz cans and between the TWO of them, they cannot even eat half of it!! And some brands, they eat even less! My boy eats the least amount – just a few mouthfuls..which is very frustrating. It’s such a waste, because they will not eat it again once it’s been in the fridge (even if it’s brought up to room temperature.)

    I am starting to think that something like Miralax is my only answer.. But, I’ve read on a few vet sites that it is not recommended for long term use…(I’ve also read a lot about acclimation to the Miralax, and it not working anymore – and that seems like something that would occur with my cat.) And, I worry I wont be able to get him to get a full dosage in because of how picky he is with wet food. If he doesn’t eat the dose in the food, it’s wasted. (And he doesn’t drink enough water to get enough of a dose.)

    So, I’m just stuck. Out of ideas and just forced to keep buying new food every week, and buying wet food that mostly goes to waste. I’ve got the most difficult picky cat, that just rejects anything I try…

  12. admin Says:

    Sabrina,

    I feel your pain. I can’t tell you how many times I felt like I was at the end of my rope, not sure what to do next, and then I came up with a new idea to try. And who knows … even though Sosa is in a good pattern right now, we may dangle from that rope again. With regard to long-term concerns about Miralax, I don’t recall reading about any major concerns that caused me to worry, and Miralax was recommended to me by vets. A friend who works in the clinical research field reminded me that few treatment options are risk-free and sometimes long-term risks may be worth it considering the current circumstances (taking into account the age of the cat, their health and long-term prognosis when suffering from repeated bouts of constipation and risk of megacolon, etc.). I encourage you to seek out the advice of a vet to get professional input. If you are running out of options to try and your cat is picky about food, the good news about Miralax is you can start out putting it in water. Even if the cat doesn’t get the full dosage you’d like it to get, at least it will get some, and that may be helpful.

    Another suggestion … if you haven’t already read this, I recommend checking out Dr. Jean Hofve’s web page about constipated cats. She provides a lot of suggestions, and she has DVM credentials. By the way, I just checked that page and she says Miralax is “very safe for cats long-term.” Here’s the link: http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/constipated-cats/

    Best wishes,
    Barb

  13. Sabrina Says:

    Hello again,

    My thanks for your reply and kindness. One of the sites I came across for the Miralax info was this one: http://www.vetinfo.com/miralax-for-cats.html#b (which at the bottom gives the statement about long term use.) I have been to the site you recommended. One of the first pages I encountered when I began my search for help. The only thing I found off putting was her constant call for wet food only. As you’ve said, it’s not an option for some of us, and I hate feeling like a monster because my cat eats dry food.

    We have been to the vet, a staggering amount of times, and paid obscene amounts of money to get little to no help. The vets seem to know *very* little when it comes to food and were just offering up random suggestions (which always happened to be really expensive prescription food and nothing else.) None, I can tell you, were helpful. Some made us get extremely expensive tests, only to say ‘oops, my bad, just constipation.’ When it seemed they knew that all along.

    I’m not sure I want to put the Miralax (if I have to go that route,) into the water as I don’t want my other cat to be affected. If it comes to that I shall figure something out for just the male cat. He is now completely refusing wet food, of any kind. He wont even go near it. And, I have had to get yet another new food. And this food is so tiny that even if it were to work, he can’t manage to eat the small pellets!! So he eats around it. Sigh.

    I thank you for all your time and help. I’ll just have to resign myself to slogging through whether or not I can find new options/ideas, and probably never sleep again. But, such is life now. Thank you again and all the best to you and Sosa!

  14. admin Says:

    Sabrina,

    Thanks for sharing that website link about Miralax. Interesting that they say it is one of the safest forms of laxative with the least side effects, but then they say it is not recommended for long-term use but don’t provide any rationale for that statement. They had an interesting suggestion about using a syringe to deliver the therapy. All that being said, this remedy has no guarantees of working for everyone (people or animals), so it’s just another option in this long and painful trial and error process. I used to get frustrated at the repeated emphasis on wet food because my cat wouldn’t eat it, but deep down I really believe Dr. Hofve is offering good advice. Highly processed dry kibble is so different from a cat’s natural diet. I was at my wits end trying to find a wet food Sosa would eat, and even now I feel like we’re hanging by a thread (if they stop making this food, if it goes on recall, and even her lot-to-lot sensitivity).

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story on this blog site. Sending wishes for a breakthrough to health and wellness.

    Regards,
    Barb

  15. Lease Says:

    Thank you so much for this information for the past month I have been researching this topic non stop hoping to find some sort of solution to my kitties constipation problem I have read everywhere about the wet food but she simply will not eat any of them I have tried shreds patte cubed all different flavors when I tell people this they recommend the raw diet well she’s never been one for raw food either I feel so bad for her as she is almost two and I have had her since she was 6 weeks she’s always been tiny from her body teeth and meow and that’s what I thought her bowel movements where the way they where it wasn’t until I came across the chart where I realized she was a 1 and was suffering from constipation but now looking back it makes since the meowing and constant grunting sounding like discomfort now that I think about it I’ve heard about the Miralax from other pages but only mixing it in wet food and since I cant get her to eat it has been a problem I’m going to try mixing it in her water since she does drink quite a bit so I thank you for that Is the food you mentioned above only given by a vet?

  16. admin Says:

    Thank you for sharing your post. I did buy the Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal Fiber Response (HF29) food from my vet. I bought the Nature’s Balance LID duck and pea from a pet retail store. Lately Sosa has not been eating much of the latter, and her weight was dropping. For the past two weeks I’ve been giving her a new dry food from the vet: Royal Canin Selected Protein Adult PR (protein = rabbit). This food has coconut oil listed as the third ingredient, and I would think that would be good for her digestion and skin. She seems to like the taste. So far it is working well for her digestion, but keep in mind I am also giving her canned food plus Miralax.

    Speaking of the canned food, Sosa has absolutely refused to eat the last two lots of canned food I bought, so I don’t know if Nutro Natural Choice has changed any ingredients or processes or what is going on. I still have about 12 cans of the old lot, so before we run out of that I’m hoping to find a new wet food that she will eat. Today I bought four different cans that she hasn’t tried yet. Fingers crossed, but I’m skeptical after all the other trials I’ve done. There aren’t a ton of choices when it comes to grain free, novel protein (no chicken) and pate. She will eat Wellness grain-free turkey, but unfortunately that has chicken in it and she does seem to react to that. I gave it to her yesterday and she had a hyperesthesia bout last night. If it ain’t one thing it’s another. Let’s see what Ms. Picky Pants thinks of the new food. I sure wish I could reason with her to help her understand how important it is she eat that wet food!

    Best wishes for you and your kitty. I hope the Miralax and/or a new food option works.

    Barb

  17. Joyce Says:

    Barb,

    Your detailed blog is so helpful as I thought that my kitty, Isabel, who is 9-1/2 years old, was the only problem child. She started having issues from Day 1, but never to this extent that we have been experiencing for the last 6 months. It has now pretty much full blown for at least 2-3 months.

    We didn’t realize that she was constipated or had issues as we had another cat. During the bouts, and finally learning that it was Isabel, we thought then it was territorial. Isabel was very submissive yet stubborn. We would find “rocks” scattered through the hallway and bedroom. At that time, we really thought it was the other cat getting excited to be playing/chasing each other, and the cat got excited and lost control. Clueless. It was not that cat. Unfortunately when our other cat had to be put down, it seemed that this is when Isabel developed her full blown feline idiopathic cystitis.

    This is what we thought was her main issue–not constipation. She is, and has been, an extremely high anxiety kitty, and we literally tip toe around the house not to pop her bubble as we learned that the cat goes 1000 steps back with any subtle changes, noises, friends, family, etc. She is a total mess with anyone other than me & my husband.

    About 6 years ago, we realized while learning about her bouts of cystitis, every other week, and then a day at the vets with X-rays, crystals, etc., they saw that she had a stock of poo in her. She did not have megacolon. It was advised to take her off her prescription dry cat food diet for tartar control, and switch to 100% wet cat food for urinary tract. It was not easy for her to switch, but happy to say that after the difficult transition period, she now adores her urinary tract formula wet cat food (ProPlan).

    Her stools were no longer rocks, seemed to be a huge improvement. Progress made for a bit. The bouts of straining pee improved although we really can’t tell if she is in pain or not. For some darn reason, it evolved in bouts of constipation, avoiding the litter box to do the duty. She has 2 boxes in one room. She use to do both duties in that one location, then would find she would only pee, and then move 7′ away, under a bed, to poo? She is no longer allowed to be in this room, and her other litter box which is in the next room has been successfully used until recently.

    It is so painful for me to watch her suffer as she refuses to use any of the boxes for the #2 duty.

    She now not only holds her poop on an average of at least 4-days, but has held in 6-days. For the last 2 months, she uses her boxes to pee, but has yet to use the box to do the other duty. In fact, for the first time, she peed on the bed. This has never happened.

    About 4 years ago, our vet told us to start using laxatone. It seemed to be doing the trick until 6 months ago–off and on, but not as nearly as bad as it is now.

    We have a new vet, and it was recommended to try Miralax, 1/4 tsp each day. Too much initially, and well, we know what happened. Start out with less than 1/8 tsp and go from there!

    We went back to the vets about 4 weeks ago, and they prescribed her Paxil. They thought due to her anxiety, this could help her, as she does have a chewing issue with her back elbows. Unfortunately we did not like what Paxil was doing to her from Day 1, so we discussed with the vet, and decided to stop on Day 5. From Day 1 on Paxil, she stopped drinking, eating, peeing, pooping, resting, and she was staring and frantic. Not good. She usually is the mooch of all mooches for her can food.

    Well, since that vet appointment of going on and off Paxil, she has been mostly sniffing like a dog around the house trying to figure out where to go. At one point, my husband and I were trying to block one of the rooms so she could stay in the kitchen area if she was going to do anything since she has 3 other boxes at that end of the house. With all our concentration on putting doors up, she went down the basement, ignored the litter box that she uses to pee, only to poo right on the floor? It has never been this bad.

    We were thinking it’s a litter box aversion due to associating the box with pain. The boxes are squeaky clean, nothing changed until now as we are doing the litter box location test, trying different places just to see if it is the litter box or the location. So far, the box that she really didn’t want to use in one location for a week, she peed since we moved it. However, she is just holding the poo in for now–nearly 5 days. She will sit right in front of the boxes all day, and mentally be in this zen mode…perhaps thinking she can do this, but has not budged.

    I have done everything to help her ease herself in the box…”singing”, “playing”, comb her, you name it…she is a chatty catty, and I have yet to understand what she is telling me. This week, I have tried placing snacks strategically besides the box to reward her to get closer than 2′. She actually went in the box for me, right in front of me, and attempted to do her #2 duty. It seemed like a struggle for her, and a little came out. However, she jumped out like a jackrabbit, and ran to hide under the bed. I stayed where I was (near the box), and called her back graciously shaking the treats in hopes that she would return back so she knows the box is okay, and a good thing. She did return, and she will return, but has yet to go back in that location. I moved that particular box to the bathroom this morning to see if it’s the box or location, and she went in the box to pee. So I’m concluding it’s a poo issue.

    I now have 3 diffusers of Feliway Comfort Zone, spray, etc., you name it. It seems to help her avoid the dining room area where she has done her #2 duty a few times. Another diffuser is in front of her 2 boxes in another location. She will now and then use those to pee, but nothing else. She use to love this other location where she just recently went on Saturday, but since the jackrabbit incident, she hasn’t returned back nor gone since then.

    Last week, we were on a mission in playing musical boxes, adding more boxes, trying new boxes, cleaning boxes weekly. I don’t think it’s the dirty box syndrome issue.

    If I had one recommendation to anyone in trying the Miralax. Start out tops 1/8 tsp Miralax. I wouldn’t do any more to begin with for a few days to test the kitty system out. My vet suggested 1/4 tsp., but think it definitely needs to be worked up slowly for everyone’s sanity especially the kitty, or you will definitely have kitty aversion if there is an accident due to being too strong for the few times. I just started again in trying to sprinkle Miralax lightly on her food. I did not even attempt to do the 1/8 tspn. as I want this to be positive for her.

    I know she wants to go, but guess we will soon find out where it will be. If we are not frustrated, she has to think my husband and I are nuts in dancing around with all these litter boxes!

    We just need to understand the underlying issue whether the pee problem is giving her the pain, or is she really constipated…although her poo is 100% better than it was, it is somewhat sticky, and I do think she has this problem where it does not break off, and it hits her back leg. Who knows.

    These last few months have been the worst ever.

    One thought of many thoughts since day 1: “I had foot surgery nearly 10 weeks ago, and solely using crutches.”

    Are some cat systems that extremely delicate, and can not take change? I do know that she is extremely sensitive, but this is crazy if it’s my crutches making her constipated/sick?

    I wish there was a magic bullet. Hopefully in the next few weeks when the doctor allows me to walk without crutches…we will see some improvement…

    Keep you posted.

  18. admin Says:

    Joyce,

    Thanks for sharing your story on this blog. My heart goes out to you, your husband and your cat, and I hope someone can chime in with suggestions on things that have worked for them if they have dealt with a similar situation. It sounds like you have made diet changes that have softened your cat’s stools, so it’s hard to tell if something is still going on in her digestive tract or if this is a behavior or nervous system issue. I do think that animals are incredibly sensitive. I’m sure my cat picks up on the anxiety I feel when she has constipation issues, and that certainly doesn’t help. And as you pointed out, a change in the normal routine could cause sensitive cats to get anxious, too. A wise energy worker reminded me to not take all of the responsibility on my shoulders — she said my cat brings plenty of her own issues to the table, and she is responsible for that. It was a good reminder for me to keep some perspective — to keep doing the best I could, but realize I can’t do everything to fix Sosa because she has to do her part, too. I tell Sosa that, and while I know she doesn’t understand English:-), I think saying those words to her has created at least a slight difference in our dynamics.

    Best wishes that your situation will improve.
    Barb

  19. Kris Gambill Says:

    Our Siamese cat had some hard stools in the litter box and was meowing a lot, which is supposed to be normal for Siamese but I still worry. We had another cat that had diarrhea so I have been reading the internet web pages and books for digestive issues and also discussed this with our vet who suggested baby food. I found an article written by a nurse that whenever her children took antibiotics she gave them Stonybrook yogurt to restore their beneficial bacteria in their stomachs. I also read it is OK to give cats Pedialyte for when they have diarrhea or vomit to restore their hydration. So I tried Gerber chicken baby food ( just chicken and the broth) and added squash baby food for fiber and then yogurt. I gave this to our other cat with an eyedropper (just a few droppers full) and also some Pedialyte. He seemed to like the taste of this so I gave this along with his regular food. I just tried just the squash with yogurt and Pedialyte for our Siamese and am hoping that he improves with this supplement also. He threw up a few times and there was a lot of undigested dry food so I am going to try this for him too as the other cat seemed to improve with it. Also I use Cat Sure canned liquid supplement as they seem to like the taste and it has all the daily vitamins in it.

  20. admin Says:

    Kris,
    I too would worry about the hard stools and meowing. It may be more “common” for Siamese cats to have constipation issues, but I would hope it is not considered “normal.” Good idea to look for diet improvements. It is quite the challenge figuring out which food and supplements work and are safe and nutritionally balanced for cats. Glad you are discussing this with your vet. Thanks for sharing your story on this blog, and best wishes in finding a diet that keeps your cat healthy and happy.
    Regards,
    Barb

  21. Elizabeth Moura Says:

    Wow….can’t believe I’ve finally found a story almost word for word what I’ve been going through with Chloe. Including stools stuck to behind, running around, being excited when I find a good poop. Chloe also has the tummy plaque – diagnosed by Animal Derm as Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex. Long story short – after all kinds of drugs, etc., she still gets them. Now it seems to coincide with the constipation. Chloe is on HF29 dry and now she’s on no grain wet food, rabbit, lamb. Basic Instincts and Ziwipeaks (that smell awful!) And prednisone tabs and miralax. Geez! I’m concerned about all the corn and wheat glutten in the HP29. Perhaps that is the cause of the plaques?
    What do you think about it? Thank you SO very much for your blog. Best, Liz

  22. admin Says:

    Liz,

    Thanks for sharing your comments on this blog. In my opinion, it’s likely several things that cause granulomas to flare. They did seem to be worse when I fed Sosa HF29 or other foods with grain. Stress likely makes them flare, too, and that stress can definitely come from constipation episodes! Other things that may play a role are seasonal allergies, food allergies (my vet suggested I avoid salmon and chicken — and you have to read ingredients labels for chicken because they sneak it in) and dry weather conditions. My vet prescribed a low dose of triamcinolone (1.5mg pill, and I cut them in half), and I give them as needed. It’s actually been more than three months since I last gave her a pill (during dry winter months in MN).

    The latest dry food I’ve been giving Sosa is Royal Canin Selected Protein Adult; its a prescription from the vet. This food does not have wheat or corn, and the novel protein (to minimize allergy reactions) is rabbit. It also has coconut oil listed as the third ingredient, and that may help with digestion and skin. Not sure if this food works as well on its own as HF29 for keeping the stools moving (I’m using it in combo with wet food and Miralax and the AM and PM), but I occasionally still notice the sticky stool problem and wonder if this Selected Protein has some of the same stool softening ingredients as the HF29.

    Sosa had a constipation episode about two weeks ago, and that was the first time in about 1.5 years (sigh). I had been away from home for a couple days and during that time had fed her only the dry Royal Canin Selected Protein and Miralax mixed in her water dish. Her stools looked really good (she probably had less stress without my cranked up autonomic nervous system in the house!), so I scaled back to one dose of wet food with Miralax for a couple days. Started to notice fewer and smaller stools in the litter box and didn’t adjust quick enough, and about 3-4 days later she puked and pooped on the carpet. I’ve returned to the 2X daily wet food + Miralax and her stools have been looking better. I have to stay vigilant watching that box and increasing her dose of Miralax more quickly when I noticed problems.

    Hope this shared experience is helpful. Best wishes to you and Chloe!

    Barb

  23. Sabrina Says:

    Hi again!

    I know it’s been quite some time…(and a long, painfully stressful road it’s been.) I just noticed you have changed the Royal Canin food for Sosa? Did you notice any negative effects with the Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal Fiber Response or did you stop it a while back? Or have you noticed anything with this new Canin? I ask because my cat, who has been doing as well as he can on the HF29, is now getting sick…

    This constipation (as you know,) seems to cause bouts of vomiting (before or after the pooping..) So I wasn’t sure if the vomiting is also a new side effect or if it is still part of the old situation. But…this last new bag I bought, a few weeks ago, seems to be making him sick. Mainly, all of a sudden he has been having very bad gas and diarrhea for absolutely NO reason! The only things he eats are the HF29 and a grain free food to balance so much fiber.

    I thought it might be the grain free and tried giving him HF29 only for couple of days to test it. And, unfortunately, the situation was the same. I thought perhaps I got a bad batch of the Canin or that maybe his grain free was upsetting him. (He seems to adapt to a grain free food after a while and then doesn’t like it and, sometimes, will start throwing it up all the time.) I was feeding him Taste of the Wild and was thrilled it was working. But lately he seemed to really dislike it and perhaps throwing it up more often (And avoiding it as much as he could.)

    Soooo, I called the vet and asked about getting the HF29 bag replaced with a new one – fearing a tainted batch of food. And then I bought a new grain free food, that is also gluten-free, called Solid Gold. I thought perhaps things were going OK, but this morning (after holding it in for almost three days,) he has gone to the bathroom four times! And had the same bad gas/diarrhea!!

    I desperately started looking up the Canin to see if there were any reviews of it giving cats gas. Well, apparently, RC has changed all their formulas!!! And, as always with these companies, it has been for the worse! I don’t know what they did, but I found countless reviews of people saying the company admitted the change but is swearing that the food is no different. But…cats (and dogs,) are getting violently ill for a myriad of reasons (depending on the problem food they are on.) People are reporting emergency vet visits, major treatments, animals seeming on the brink of death…because their animals are vomiting or getting bad swellings/rashes, having the gas/etc, refusing to eat…and now I’m totally freaking out. Because it seems like that is what is happening with my cat, the problems only started with these new bags! (And his sister, who suffers from allergies, had a massively bad rash reaction.)

    Luckily, so far, neither one of my cats is showing the serious signs others have reported. But…how long until that happens? And this seems to be for the whole range of RC foods! I want to get him off of this, because obviously they’ve changed the food and done something horrible with it (no doubt to save money and still charge top dollar.) But..what high fiber foods are out there to replace it with? I know that the grain free food doesn’t cut it…nothing I’ve found comes close to the fiber content of HF29. And without it, he will immediately become constipated again… 🙁

    Have you heard any of this or seen any changes in Sosa with his RC? Do you know of any other high fiber food that is the equivalent of the HF29? Sorry to ramble, I’m just beside myself. The amount of stress and work I have with my cat and his problems has just been compounded by RC pulling this..

    As always, thank you for your time!

  24. admin Says:

    Hi Sabrina,

    Sorry to hear about the latest issues with your cat. We are dealing with cats that are highly sensitive, so any change in a food recipe can throw them out of balance easily. Even with minor lot-to-lot variability Sosa will refuse to eat certain foods and some foods have caused various reactions.

    I didn’t notice any of the issues you have with the RC food. I stopped feeding the HF29 and the other grain free dry food because of the skin allergy issues, sticky poop problem and because Sosa wasn’t eating enough (apparently didn’t like the taste) and was losing weight. She seems to be doing fine on the RC selected protein adult (the protein is rabbit) along with small servings of the canned food Halo grain-free turkey pate with 1/8 tsp of Miralax in the morning and evening.

    Sosa did have one constipation issue two months ago — that was the first one in about a year and a half. I had been gone over the weekend and her diet consisted of the RC selected protein with Miralax in her water dish (so no wet food). Her stools looked so good when I got home that I scaled back on the wet food with Miralax, but apparently her overall dose of Miralax and/or wet food wasn’t enough and I didn’t adjust quick enough when her stools were slow in coming. Since then I’ve been keeping up with the 2X/day regimen of wet food and she seems to be doing okay.

    I’m not aware of any food equivalent to HF29, but I do wonder if a certain fiber ingredient (not sure which one) is in the HF29 and this RC selected protein. On occasion I have noticed the sticky poop with the selected protein food, but that problem isn’t nearly as bad as it was the HF29. The HF29 is filled with grains and glutens, so that seems to me like it could cause inflammatory issues with cats who have allergic reactions to grains. The RC selected protein has no grains and has coconut oil as the third ingredient; I would think that would help with digestion, but I don’t know. The only thing I know is it seems to be working okay for Sosa — at least for now.

    Not sure how much that helps … all the best as you try to find a diet that sits well with your cat. Oh, and I just remembered one other tip from my vet. Sensitive cats may have issues with high protein foods. I once tried some version of a “wild” dry food and the protein content was really high — it made Sosa puke a lot. So protein content may be something else to watch for.

    Wishing wellness for your cat.

    Barb

  25. Sabrina Says:

    Thank you so much for your reply and help. I truly cannot thank you enough..it helps so much to have someone to at least talk to about these issues! I am all alone in dealing with this and the stress is overwhelming with no support.

    I wanted to ask..is the Selected Protein you have the potato & rabbit or the green peas & rabbit?

    My vet may be able to special order it (as opposed to me ordering it online..) but they only have the potato version. And it costs about $60 – which is almost $14 more than the HF29… But I want to try it, as it’s working for your cat and my cat has so many similar issues. I can’t keep them on this new version of HF29 as they are both getting so ill..

    Plus I am hoping this will help his sister, as she has terrible skin allergies.

  26. admin Says:

    The RC dry food I’m using is “Selected Protein Adult PR” veterinary exclusive; I see peas listed in the ingredients but not potato. If I were feeding this dry food only I think Sosa would still have constipation issues (as evidenced by the last issue she had in July). The Miralax has been the key for Sosa, and I’m sure the wet food also helps. But she still eats dry food each day and this particular recipe has been working fine for her. It doesn’t seem to flare up her allergies as much.

  27. Sabrina Says:

    The vets I was dealing with (including my own,) kept telling me potato. Even though online it said green peas. Turns out they were morons and reading the DOG food one. I mean, how can they all get it wrong when I keep saying CAT?? Even though I repeatedly asked if they were sure. Sigh.

    I understand about your cat and she still needing the additions. My cat doesn’t seem as badly off as yours, because I haven’t need to do anything like Miralax (thankfully.) And I’m trying wet food again, but..as I’ve mentioned. He hates it. :/

    He goes to the bathroom way too much on just the RC food, so I have to cut it with a grain-free to keep that down. And to keep the sticky poop issue under control (not that it always works.) Seems it’s a nightmare on all counts no matter how hard I try. But, we soldier on..yes?

    I am hoping there is as much fiber help in the RC you are using. So I can do the same mixing with it. I’m wondering if grain-free is the way to go with his other food… I mean, does it really help? I have no idea most times and I just start second guessing everything.. This is such a flying blind thing.

    The other reason I would like to try the RC is for the digestive help and allergy issues. If it can help with that, that would go a long way for both cats.

    Another vet has the RC you are using, so my husband is leaving work early just so we can pick it up tonight. (As I just don’t want to keep my cat on this HF29 any longer – the issues are just so bad, why they changed the food..ugh.) But…wow, the markup on this new food is obscene. Even more than the HF29! Sad these companies gouge so much…but, we do what we have to for the sake of the fuzzy kids. 😉

    Thank you again, you are a treasure!

  28. admin Says:

    Glad the vet clinic finally figured out which food it was. I’m really fortunate to have a nearby clinic that specializes in cats, and they are so passionate about ensuring their cat clients are eating good food they don’t do huge mark-ups on the veterinary diet products. They charged me $46 for the 8.8 lb bag, which really isn’t much more expensive than the higher end dry foods at big box stores. But I think it’s rare to find a vet clinic that does such low mark-ups. Best wishes — I hope that food works for your cats. Hang in there!

  29. Sabrina Says:

    It’s sad that they could make such a mistake though. I’m asking, very clearly and repeatedly, about CAT food. And two different places gave me the dog version? I mean, really…

    Wow, that’s great that your clinic is so passionate about cats (sadly, ours frankly seems clueless and indifferent in regards to cats.) It is an emergency vet, which is awful because they charge an arm and a leg for office visits and any kind of care/medication. But…my husband never gets home in time for regular vet offices..so we are out of luck and it costs us a great deal every time we have to go.

    And, again, wow on how great a price the food is for you!! The HF29 was costing us just under $48. This food? This clinic charged us $70 for the 8.8 lb bag!!!! Frankly, I’m not very happy about it… To me,that is just obscene and beyond unreasonable…

    Thanks for the good wishes, I’ll need them! I’m trying the new food tonight – mixed with the old (I hate having to still use something that’s giving him horrible gas and diarrhea…but cold turkey would do the same..I suppose.)

    Here’s to hoping he doesn’t throw it up. He hasn’t gone to the bathroom in almost two days..so my nerves are on edge. Sorry to ramble and thank you again!

  30. Emily Says:

    Hello,

    My cat has constipation issues and nothing I do seems to work long term. She is on the same RC rabbit protein as your cat, and I’ve had to introduce wet food and Miralax to try and give her all the help I can. Once the Miralax and wet food got into her system she seemed to be doing well. But now, after only a few days, she’s back to not pooping much and vomiting after she goes! Do you think that I am not giving her enough Miralax? I am trying to lean on the conservative side of dosage (twice a day,) because I fear I’ll give her diarrhea.

    Another thing I really wanted to ask you about.. In eating the RC rabbit, is your cat’s poop the same color as the food? A very dark brown? Because, my cat’s poop was always a light brown when she was on other foods. But ever since I started feeding her the Selected Protein and wet food, the poop is the same color as the RC… Is that normal? Should it not have changed color like that?? I was thinking it was just the food, but should it be the same color no matter what?

    I just am worried that that means something bad is going on in her system… (The internet can be great, but can also scare the living hell out of you.)

  31. admin Says:

    Hi Emily,

    I did notice that Sosa’s stool turned darker brown when she started eating the RC rabbit protein food. It’s definitely a different color (quite a bit darker) than when she previously ate the HF29 (light brown). The food itself is quite a bit different color too (corresponding to the color of her poop), so I haven’t been worried about that.

    Regarding the dosage of Miralax, I am not qualified to give advice on that, so I’ll share a quote from Jean Hofve, DVM, from the excellent article about constipated cats on her Little Big Cat website. Regarding Miralax for cats, she says, “Start with 1/8 tsp twice a day in food, and increase as needed up to 1/4 tsp twice a day. Active ingredient polyethylene glycol; not the same as poisonous ethylene glycol; very safe for cats long-term, and more palatable than other products.” She shares some other remedy ideas, too. http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/constipated-cats/

    I hope that’s helpful. Best wishes for getting your cat’s digestion in balance.

    Barb

  32. Karen Says:

    Hi Barb:

    I stumbled upon your blog this morning after our Hobbes (11 year old orange American Short-hair) once again struggled with constipation…and for the millionth time, I washed the floors in our kitchen and mudroom from scooting and droppings. I feel so sorry for him, because I can only imagine the stress and anxiety that he is experiencing each time he has to use the litter box. We can get maybe a two or three days of good litter box droppings, but then we are back to square one.

    Our story is so similar to many of those shared here. This has been going on for about three years. Hobbes was diagnosed with megacolon at that time. He is currently on a Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal Fiber Response (HF29) both wet and dry. He started receiving .05mL of Cisapride 2x daily about three weeks ago (tried it last spring with no luck), and 2cc of Lactulose as needed. He also receives fresh pumpkin, about a tablespoon, daily. He receives Cat Lax, 3/4 tsp. once a week. He does enjoy olive oil, and we have give him less than a teaspoon daily.

    I was interested in the switch of foods from RC Gastro Intestinal Fiber Response (HF29) to Selected Protein Adult PR. I see in September you had good results with it. Are you still seeing good results? I will be going to the vet for a recheck (again) this Thursday and would like to recommend this food. I’d start out slowly, mixing it with the HF29.

    I am also going to recommend Miralax vs. Cisapride. Not sure how they will feel about that change.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Best wishes,
    Karen

  33. admin Says:

    Karen,

    Thanks for sharing your story on this blog … sorry to hear about the struggles you are dealing with. You’ve certainly had to try more rigorous remedies than I have, and I empathize with you and Hobbes. For the past year I’ve been feeding Sosa the Selected Protein Adult PR plus Halo Spot’s Pate Turkey & Duck (grain free) canned food with Miralax mixed in, and for the most part that has been working well. I’m giving at least 1/8 tsp of Miralax in a small serving of the canned food (1-2 heaping teaspoons), with 1-2 tsp of water mixed in. She gets that once in the morning and once at night, and the dry food is available as needed. She’s so picky with lot-to-lot variability on the canned food. She didn’t care for the previous lot I purchased, so she was often leaving left-overs in her bowl. I watch the litter box closely, and if her stools are looking smaller or not occurring as regularly, especially if she’s leaving the canned food/Miralax in her dish, sometimes I’ll add 1/4 tsp of Miralax to her water. That seems to help. I’m sure Miralax won’t work for every cat, and the dosage is probably different for each situation, but in our case it truly has been the saving grace. At least for now. It’s a constant juggling act. She would probably still have constipation if she only ate the Selected Protein Adult PR, but this combo she’s on right now seems to be working.

    Other people feel strongly that a raw food diet may help. Raw food has it’s own set of challenges. It seems like getting as close as possible to a whole food diet is the real ticket. In Sosa’s case, it has also helped to go grain-free, and I’ve also avoided chicken because my vet said that is a common reactor for cats who have allergies (it’s possible digestive issues could be related to food allergies, too). I’ve been paying a lot of attention to my own nutrition and working with a nutritionist, and I’m starting to think there’s a great market for pet nutritionists! Humans and pets are eating so many processed foods, and our bodies are protesting. I’d love to get Sosa on more of a whole food diet, but what we’re doing now seems to be working, and after all we’ve been through, I hate to make any changes.

    I hope you have a good appointment with the vet, and best wishes for getting Hobbes’ digestive system into balance.

    Best regards,
    Barb

  34. J Says:

    Wow!!!! SAME story, different cat! I’ve had luck adding plain, no sugar added yogurt to Kitties wet food…. started with aproxy 1/8 tsp mixed well into his 1/4 cup wet, and worked our way up to a small Tbs. (a.m. & p.m.) meals. Definitely an improvement. Poops have improved moisture and he seems to strain less. Fingers and paws crossed.

  35. admin Says:

    Thanks for sharing your success story, and congrats on finding something that worked for your cat! I’ve been wondering about the use of probiotics … I tried to give Sosa a taste of kefir and she wouldn’t eat it, but I never tried mixing it in with her wet food. I did a Google search on this topic, and here are two good articles for any blog visitors who would like to read more about probiotics for cats:

    Dr. Jean Hofve article Probiotics: A Dietary Powerhouse for Your Cat

    Ingrid King (The Conscious Cat) article Probiotics: One of the Most Important Supplements for Your Cat

  36. miriam Says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with Sosa, I read it a few times and I could not believe some of the similarities with what I have been experiencing for over a year now…I have a cat with megacolon(diagnosed in 2009 when she was still a kitten).She was on Lactulose and Cisapride until March 2012 when she got very constipated and had an enema. Since then I’m trying to find a diet that work and I can tell you that I have tried almost everything available on the market with Lactulose and Miralax, with or without biscuits and I just started having some really good results.I have tried weight loss diets, holistic food, raw and cooked, prescription food, grain free and the only one that seems to work is whether I like it or not Hill’s I/d wet food. This food didn’t work with lactulose and with Miralax works with the dose 1/8+1/16+1/32. She gets 2 tbs of food and 10 biscuits to get her appetite going(I/d).She is currently getting 0.9 cisapride twice a day. Increasing of Miralax to 1/4 produces very soft stool larger in diameter and 1/8 of miralax seems to turn her stool to small nuggets that she struggles to push out. Any other dry food caused problems so I’m hoping we can keep it up with just small adjustment.The thing I found worked worst were grain free diets and raw food(dry, nugget shape stool), pumpkin was increasing the diameter too much , slippery elm bark seemed to be firming the stool, foods with fiber % over 2.5 dry matter was producing the stool too thick.Hill’s I/d with miralax seems to form nice soft sausage shape like stool which she can pass on her own.The biggest difference in her case made increasing the cisapride(she can now handle even some problematic stool that she could not before), miralx at the right dose works wonders. I tried fibre response dry food, this worked for about 2 weeks and then just produced stool too soft and it was a lots of it. From my experience the diet to be sustainable needs to be without fast fermentable fibre like psyllium otherwise it’s just short term fix.As much as I don’t like to feed her prescription food this is what works the best so far!Thank you again for sharing your story!

  37. admin Says:

    Miriam,
    Wow — it sounds like you have been through the mill figuring out a diet that works for your constipated cat. I wish you all the best in continuing the success you have achieved thus far. Thank you for sharing your story on this blog. I appreciate your message, and I’m sure many other readers will, too.
    Barb

  38. Patricia Frey Says:

    My cat is 12 years old; he was unwanted by his former owners because of his constant loud cries. These people never give it a thought as to what was going on with Smudge. He cries all the time-my vet. did all the tests ($200)and told me to give him more bowls of water. I have changed his food so many times and even cooked food for Smudge, plus added lots of vegies to the mix. I figured out Smudges trouble it`s a shame he lived so long for no one to care about his pain, until he got to my house last Oct.. The vet charges me $200 every time I take Smudge there; my social security can not take these kind of hits (the people at that vet.s office think I am crazy-I call them a lot because I didn`t get my money`s worth at the first $200! One of the office people asked me,”You sure must like Smudge.”)….I just want to thank all you cat lovers out there in computerland for all those emails-that information will give me more knowledge to help my poor Smudge! Soon no cries, no more! Patty

  39. admin Says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, Patty. All the best to you and Smudge.

  40. Ms S Says:

    Has anyone considered the clumping cat litter is causing the constipation?

    I had 2 indoor cats. 1 just died due to a blocked colon. The mass was the size of half a cigar on xray. He passed away due to the huge blockage in his colon which build up toxins into his body. Poor thing. I miss him! I wish I knew what I know now.

    After he died at ER, I went through trash with gloves to break an old poo. It looked normal in color, slightly larher, but it was so hard! I broke it to see the contents. It was like clay cardboard! Poor thing! I immediately checked my living cats poo. Similar, but not as bad, but bad enough she’s constipated!

    Took to vet, poo screen ok, but it’s hard. My cat still has not poo in 2 days. Normal for her is 2 a day, early am,& later 7pm. Cat is eating, drinking, but throwing up. Took to vet, a good examine. Still waiting on blood results.

    What got my cats so constipated!??

    Well…Months ago, I changed litter to Febreze Multi Cat. Not long after, both cats started regurgitating up hairballs. 2 a day! 1 a week was normal.then the hairballs turned into
    vomiting food, still eating & drinking, peeing & poops.A lot of sneezing, too. So, I started switching foods. Took one to vet. No answers of what was causing it. Told to try other foods. No anwers.

    Cats fur started to get kind of sticky. Constant dreadlocks on long hair even after brushing daily.

    One day my cat put her paw on my face, it smelt so strong of Febreze! OMG! That’s probably what is making my cats sick! I immediately switched litters to Yesterdays News, newspaper with baking soda. Smell gone. Sticky fur felt back to normal minus the unusual dander.

    Unfortunately, I figured it out too late. My sweet 5 year old cat died even after I took him to vet 5 m9nths before & 3 days before! The vets & ER didn’t really give me answers to what caused my cat to get so full of poo. I brought up the litter, they said maybe, don’t know. So, frustrating,painful & expensive not knowing what is causing the sickness!

    My theory is…cat litter accidentally gets ingested by cats licking themselves. Continual exposure and licking builds the clumping toxins and causes constipation. Either the clay swells inside cat or the toxins cause dehydration and robs the body of nutrients which causes a vicious cycle of toxins built up by not being able to poo. Toxins can possibly go through skin, too.
    My friend’s indoor cat is having similar problems + more problems. Her cat has brain damage causing a sense of blindness.He itches & a patch of fur about 4″ diameter fell out! He’s constipated, too. She changed her litter around the same time.

    I’m highly suggesting put gloves on & break poo. If it’s hard luke clay, immediately disgard clumping litters.call vet.get xray of colon & blood work. Ask vet how to get the junk out immediately.

    I’m reaching out to the public in memory of my beloved cat. Maybe his story will save other cats lives.

    Hope this info helps someone help their loved pets.

  41. admin Says:

    Ms S,

    Thank you for taking the time to post your experience and your theories about clumping litter. I have actually wondered about what role clumping litter could play in cat allergies and constipation issues, but to be honest, I haven’t investigated it very deeply. I’m using a clumping litter that claims to be 99.9% dust free and hypoallergenic and would definitely be leery of litters that have smelly toxins for odor control, but how many of those swelling particles of clumping litter could be ingested before causing health issues is a good question. Considering how much litter gets tracked outside the box, we know some has to get ingested while a cat grooms.

    I did a quick search and found a couple articles about people who strongly believe clumping litter could be a contributor to health issues. Lisa Newman, PhD, has one such article, as does Marina Michaels.

    If any other blog visitors have done more research on this topic or have personal experience, please share.

    Regards,
    Barb

  42. Julia Says:

    Hello. When Sosa was on the HF29, did you notice if her water intake increased meaningfully? I recently switched my constipated cat to that diet and he is drinking water constantly. Also, is Sosa still on the LID and does that continue to help her constipation? Or have you found alternate or supplemental solutions that are needed? Thanks for your post.

  43. admin Says:

    Hi Julia,

    It has been a while since I fed Sosa the HF29, and I don’t recall noticing whether or not her water intake increased. At present I’m continuing to feed her this diet: Royal Canin Selected Protein Adult PR (the protein source is rabbit), along with a morning and evening heaping teaspoon of grain-free Spot’s Pate Turkey & Duck with 1/8 tsp of Miralax and a little extra water mixed in. I watch her litter box closely, and if she seems to be having small/hard stools or missing bowel movements, or if she misses her canned food, I will sometimes mix Miralax with the water (1/4 tsp in a bowl of water).

    Hope that helps.

    Regards,
    Barb

  44. Sandra Says:

    Hi Barb, thank you SO MUCH for this thread. I have a 16 yr old cat who has a hernia. He’s never been constipated ever. But just a few weeks ago when he was diagnosed with thyroid issues I changed his dry food to a Hill’s Science Diet active longevity formula. He loves the taste of this food, ate alot but I think it made him constipated even though the vet would not say the food could be the cause. She said he may need more fiber. Through Google I found this page — what you said about plant cellulose made me think. So I’m trying the Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance dry food hoping the flax seeds will help Spur. Today was the 1st day in the past 3 weeks that he has had a normal bowel movement, not too dry, no diarrhea. I know what you mean when you were ecstatic that your cat had a good poop. LOL! I’m hoping we are back on track again with his bathroom schedule. I’ve been giving him lactulose (an osmotic laxative), cisapride (a gastroprokinetic agent) and some olive oil. I’m hoping I can quit the meds after a while, he hates meds. Thank you again! Sandra

  45. admin Says:

    Hi Sandra,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Best wishes to you and Spur!
    Barb

  46. Cp Says:

    This has helped my Siamese for those of you that don’t have to worry about allergies
    Royal canin vet diet gastrointestinal fiber response dry cat food

  47. admin Says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  48. Jude Says:

    Tried Royal Canin Gastrointestinal response. 3 weeks in…. and my 11 year old male tabby who has suffered for years with chronic constipation is pooping ever other day vs. 3 ~ 4! I’ve tried most everything…prescription drugs, holistic remedies, Miralax, etc. I hate feeding him dry but I can’t watch him suffer any longer. I’ve noticed he does drink more water so perhaps his body is adjusting / compensating for the moisture deficit. Only one poop outside his litter box since starting the RC. Pray and hoping this continues.

  49. admin Says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Fingers crossed your progress continues! Best wishes.
    Barb

  50. Laura Says:

    The lists of foods and strategies are really helpful. My cat was a former stray who likely had been hit by a car and had a shattered pelvis. We took him to the vet and a specialist who determined that his pelvis, while slightly more narrow, was not an impediment to stool passage. Cats are incredible and the muscles that hold the pelvis in place were sufficient in this case to allow him to self heal with 8 weeks of cage rest.

    He had an enema at that point because of course, he hadn’t been pooping and was full of stool. For a year, he was fine with canned food and some dry and developed crystals. He wasn’t interested in the prescription food for that, or the pet store versions that help increase acidity in cat urine. I talked to a high end pet store and they recommended Primal Freeze dry raw, which you re-hydrate with warm water. This seemed ideal since he was and is a terrible water drinker. The Primal was fantastic but he got tired of the limited flavors and so I tried Stella and Chewy’s which he enjoyed and it made a nice soupy broth which he drank. however, I had fed him some of the turkey variety which must have had the wrong bone content and he ended up constipated to the point he had to go get an enema.

    After that enema, the vet prescribed cisapride at 2.5 mg concentration 2x a day and Miralax at 1/8 tsp 2x a day. We didn’t discuss the diet much, but it was in this time period that the bone in the freeze dry raw probably wasn’t ideal for a cat that tended toward constipation. But now I had a snobby cat that wouldn’t touch canned food.

    I altered the freeze dry with Rad Cat (heating it though) and added Honest Kitchen. The Honest Kitchen looked and smelled great but as is the case with many cats, this wasn’t his top choice. I rotated Feline Natural which doesn’t have bone in it, which he enjoys. I managed his constipation with all of these food strategies. Primal and Feline Natural have fiber in them which I didn’t really pay attention too as I was focused on the high protein diet.

    I rotated in another brand NW Naturals freeze dried and that is when he got super constipated and completely blocked. psyllium fiber was higher up on the list of ingredients and that may have been too much.

    He spent 4 days in a specialist hospital getting multiple enemas and multiple treatments of golyte (super miralax chemically and what humans take to prepare for colonoscopy) He finally cleared up.

    The specialist recommended Royal Canin Gastrointestinal High Fiber Dry which surprised me because its a dry food. I read some promising reviews on it and discussions about it. I am deeply worried that it will make things worse because of its ingredients (which seem terrible) and because of his lack of water drinking.

    I purchased a water fountain which he ignores with impunity. I make him salt free bone broth, which the first couple of bowls he loves and then gets tired of it.

    I have introduced the RC to his meals and introduced Weruva poultry varieties canned food because of the high broth content and also Wellness Turkey (which is a hit with the other cats and hadn’t been a hit with him) Post enema though, he’s been ravenous and eagerly accepted it.

    The Feline Natural freeze dry is back in the rotation because it has flaxseed and no bone.

    My regular vet is deeply concerned about the recommendation for the RC High Fiber because of the concern that it will bulk his stool and if the narrower pelvis is responsible for his constipation tendencies, it seems like it would make it worse.

    I wondered that too. So I’ve added it as a snack or accompaniment to his wet food.

    Today he had a follow up x ray and things look good and the good news is that his colon is returning to normal dimensions so there may not be megacolon. He was just sprung from the hospital a few days ago.

    However I am trying to be casual but consistent about checking the litter box after he uses it to see if there is poop.

    The first couple of days it was still loose from the procedures. But he hasn’t produced new stool today.

  51. admin Says:

    Laura,
    Wow — you sure have had many challenges to deal with. It sounds encouraging that the X-ray results looked good. It has been a while since Sosa was on the RC GI food, but when she was, I believe her stools were longer and skinnier (i.e., not bulky). Best wishes as you continue to care for your cat, and thank you for sharing your story.
    Barb

  52. John Says:

    Hi Barb,
    Thank you for posting the helpful information. Our 8 year old cat Vince has about the same medical history as your cat. He too suffers from seasonal allergies as well as issues with certain foods. I have not been able to pinpoint his allergies but I suspect that foods with chicken will cause him to scratch almost 24/7.

    He had urinary tract issues so we moved him to a canned diet several years ago and we add water to his food so he is definitely well hydrated. Unfortunately it is not translating to his stool.

    At first we thought hairballs were causing the problem so we gave him cat-lax hoping it would eventually clear but it did not. I did not like the idea of giving him basically petroleum jelly each day. I then gave him canned pumpkin and that seemed to work for a few weeks but then the problem re-surfaced.

    His vet advised us to try Miralax and we have had success but I’m wondering if it might be causing him some stomach upset as well. He seems to be puking a bit more since we put him on the Miralax.

    Ultimately I would like to find the root cause of this and I suspect it is due to the low fiber in his food.

    We are feeding him Wellness Turkey and Wellness Beef and Salmon. He inhales both so I can’t knock them but they both only have a max fiber content of 1.0%.

    I’m thinking of trying him on the canned Natural Balance Green Pea and Duck as it has a 2.0% fiber content and see if that might be enough fiber so he doesn’t need any supplements.

    I read where you had success for awhile with the Nutro brand turkey pate. Is your cat still eating that food?

    Also I have read where some owners who are in the same boat have tried a product called LaxEze. It contains, beet pulp, flaxseed, psyllium and a few other natural products that would boost the fiber in his diet. Have you tried a fiber supplement with the Miralax or should we just have him on one or the other product?

    Thanks!
    John

  53. admin Says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your comment. I have never heard of LaxEze. If you do try that product and have success, please feel free to make another comment to share your experience with the many concerned cat caretakers who end up on this blog post looking for ideas to help their constipated cats.

    I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist, so I don’t have the qualifications to recommend whether you add a fiber supplement to the Miralax or try one product vs. the other. In my experience, I have tried pumpkin and psyllium and didn’t have success. The current diet that seems to be working for Sosa is a small amount of Halo grain-free Spot’s Pate turkey and duck mixed with 1/8 tsp Miralax (AM & PM) and a prescription dry food called Royal Canin Selected Protein (protein=rabbit). I had to switch from the Nutro turkey food because there was too much lot-to-lot-variability for my picky cat and I was making too many trips to the store to return lots she wouldn’t eat.

    If I were to try something like LaxEze I would probably start low and go slow, keeping up the usual Miralax dose at first while monitoring the litter box daily and possibly backing off the Miralax slowly if things continued to look good. Not sure if I want to change things up now seeing Sosa’s stools have been pretty good, but I will look into LaxEze out of curiosity. The info you shared may be helpful to readers of this blog post, so thanks again for taking the time to share your story. Best wishes to you and Vince!

    Barb

  54. John Says:

    Thanks Barb. I’m familiar with the Spots brand. Back when we were trying to get him off the dry food and onto a canned food he would like we gave him Spots Stew and I want to say it was the duck flavor. Like you said it is very hard to find food that does not have chicken in it. He generally liked it but the consistency and availability was a problem. I will look into the Pate version.

    I did notice that there is oven dried chicken liver on the list of ingredients for the LaxEze. Not sure if it is enough to trigger a reaction but if you are concerned about chicken allergies, that might be a problem. What is odd about Vince is that we can give him plain chicken and he will not get itchy so maybe its some other common ingredient in canned/dry food that has chicken in it. It has been a real mystery.

    Sorry I forgot to ask in my previous post, but how much does Sosa weigh? Vince is about 13 pounds so I wonder if weight would make any difference with the Miralax dosage.

    Also will your cat not eat just the canned food or do you give Sosa some dry food to raise the fiber content, etc.?

    Thanks again!

  55. admin Says:

    John,

    Sosa weighs 9 pounds (she has weighed up to 10-11 pounds at times). I’d likely have a hard time feeding her only canned food because she doesn’t even eat the amount of canned food that I give her, which is fairly small, and then it dries out and gets hard. So the dry food is definitely a convenient and practical option because it allows her to eat it throughout the day as needed.

    Very interesting about the plain chicken vs. cat food with chicken in it. I’ve been investigating histamines for my own diet, and I can’t help but wonder if histamines are playing a role with our cats and their allergy/itchy problems. The more aging and processing that food gets subjected to, the higher the histamines. Hmm. Something to ponder.

    One other thought to consider — I looked back at an email I received from Dr. Bicks at Life’s Abundance (a cat food company), and she said that cats can be allergic to any protein in the food, including grains, tapioca, peas and potatoes (all of which can be in grain-free foods) and chelated minerals, brewers yeast, flax, etc. She also cautioned about mixing foods because they are formulated to be 100% nutritional and by mixing it throws off the balance of the overall diet.

    Finally, I looked back at my notes from when I did a consultation with Cornell Feline Health Center, and that veterinarian recommended 1/4 tsp of Miralax two times per day, with the option to titrate down. I started with a lower dose of 1/8 tsp and that did the trick for Sosa, so I stayed at that lower dose. I’ll adjust ever so slightly up and down from that amount if I notice changes in her stool, but I’ve never gone as high as 1/4 tsp for her because she hasn’t needed that much.

    Barb

  56. John Says:

    Barb,

    I know what you mean about the dry food addiction some cats have. It took a lot of patience and trial and error to get Vince converted over. He loved his dry food and when given the opportunity he will snarf up our dog’s dry kibble.

    Fortunately we switched him over before he started having the chronic constipation issues so that one less thing we had to be concerned about.

    This is probably not new news but I have been reading about the inflammatory responses that some cats (and humans) have to carrageenan. I can almost guarantee all the foods we have given Vince have likely had that ingredient in it so I’m going to start paying a lot more attention to it. This is a helpful and informative article on the subject:
    http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/carrageenan-a-common-pet-food-additive/

    This was also a verygood article concerning IBD and includes the different foods that are supposedly favorable for cats that have IBD. As you know IBD covers a wide array of gut related issues but she does pay close attention to cats with constipation:

    http://www.naturalcatcareblog.com/2012/09/cat-foodsfor-feline-diarrhea-ibd-cat-throwing-up/

    I went ahead and ordered the PureVita Grain-Free Beef Stew Dinner Canned Cat Food due to its limited ingredients, and lack of carrageenan. I will probably start Vince on that and see how it goes…

  57. admin Says:

    Thanks for the additional resources, John!

  58. Anna Says:

    has anyone had a problem with the kibble being undigested in the cats stool

  59. admin Says:

    Anna,
    On a couple occasions I’ve seen what looks like a stool surrounded by undigested kibble, and it turned out the stool-looking thing was a large hairball that she had vomited. I have never noticed undigested kibble in Sosa’s stool.
    Barb

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