Outdoor cat with megacolon, advice needed - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
eight kitties's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Southeastern USA
Posts: 4
Outdoor cat with megacolon, advice needed

Hello! I have a predicament with one of my 8 outdoor (on a farm) cats and was looking for some advice.

So one of our cats, Runty (neutered, vaccinated overweight 8 yo cat), was diagnosed with megacolon on May 7th 2018. We have never had any serious health issues with our cats, they have been typical outdoor cats until now just eating kibble and walking around etc. So it was a shock. It is amazing that we noticed that he had it at all since he is outside. Basically in early May we noticed that he was having difficulty going #2 (sitting in the yard trying to go for ages). We assumed it was worms since another cat had tapeworms. After all the cats had been treated for tapeworms though (a couple days later) he was still doing it. We tried giving him tuna in oil and olive oil to no avail. By May 7th he couldn't walk 20 feet in the yard without trying to go (by this time nothing was coming out #1 or 2). So we took him to the vet. The vet looked him over and after hearing that he couldn't go #1, said that it was extremely likely that he had urinary crystals (typical of neutered cats his age) and would need special food/medication for the rest of his life. She said that if he had this it would not be a one time thing and would need continuous care. We couldn't afford that and prepared to have him euthanized as he is an outdoor cat plus we couldn't monitor his litter box food etc as he is outside with 7 other cats. However we did say to at least confirm that was what it was and left him there. On the way home the vet called and said it was not urinary crystals and that he was constipated (so constipated he couldn't go anything). They kept him at the vet overnight and sedated and gave him an enema and x ray. We requested no medication. They had to sedate him because he is so fat the vet couldn't feel his colon. They said he responded well to the enema and had gone so much in the morning they had to give him a bath. They said that the stool was normal, there was just a LOT of it. When we came back in the morning to get him, the vet showed us the x ray and said he has megacolon. She said he would likely need medication but most cats with it end up being euthanized. She said that the fact that he responded so well to the enema (didn't need manual extraction) was a good sign though. We decided to take him home and if he relapsed we would have him euthanized. We got some wet food on the way home (we have never fed our cats wet food) thinking maybe that would help him. Right after we got home we saw him go #2 so we were hopeful. We started giving him 2 mini (half the size of regular) cans of wet cat food a day. This is in addition to the bowl of dry food all the cats eat from. I googled cat megacolon and did not have a good feeling, everything I read the cats were indoors and many had to be euthanized eventually or on expensive medication long term with side effects. Then I saw something that said Miralax was a cheap laxative that drew water into the colon and had no side effects. I thought, since we are already giving him wet food we could just add this to it. So I started giving it to him starting at 1/4 tsp. The next couple weeks were a disaster of me experimenting amounts of miralax, following him around the yard constantly to see if he goes, scares where he tried to go but didn't, and me thinking maybe it would be better to just put him down. Also trying to get him to drink more water which is hard since he is outside and water gets dirty fast.

But by early June I had a system in place:
In the morning I give him wet food mixed with a little water (oatmeal consistency) in a rabbit cage with a net over the door since the other cats steal his food. He has figured out how to leave the cage when he is done without letting them in. This took a while to train him.
In the evening I carry him into the back yard and he goes #2 (I have been documenting he has been going almost every day for weeks). However I am not 100% sure when he is going as he is outdoors. He is a very playful cat though (loves chasing string)
In the evening I give him 1/4 + 1/8 tsp Miralax in the broth from his food
Then I give him his food mixed with water to a soup consistency
Note that he rarely eats all his food (he just drinks the liquid out and leaves most of the meat) much to the delight of the other cats who all wait around the cage while he eats
He is still eating dry food (this food: Purina cat chow healthy weight the rest of the time)
Okay so here are my problems:
I know that the dry food is junk, but I am scared to switch it because after researching online the high fiber may be helping with his constipation. It actually has higher fiber (6.5%) than Royal Canin Fiber Response, which seems to be what a lot of people feed their megacolon cats for dry food.

I also read that the "healthy weight" food is a trick, the high fiber actually makes them gain weight

I read that at some point the miralax may stop working
He is fat, and so is another one of the cats (10 yo Rusty who is 20 something pounds) but I have no way to diet them without the other cats eating their food or vice versa

I know it seems strange that outdoor cats would be fat, but those two are SO lazy, you wouldn't believe.
I do not provide income in my family and I know we could not afford any drastic, expensive measures with the cats. I did research better dry foods for them before he got megacolon but now I am unsure what to do. They all eat out of the same bowls so I'm afraid if I switch the food, then Runty might get stopped up again. But then again the food is unhealthy for the cats (makes them fat) so...?


If anyone has any tips as to inexpensive ways to help with Runty's megacolon seeing as he lives outside with multiple other cats, they would be appreciated. Am I doing anything wrong with the miralax? Even thought they are outdoors I want to help them best I can.
eight kitties is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2018, 06:09 PM
Cool Cat
 
eldercat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 1,255
I am not going to be much help here. I think you've done very well so far.

If it were me.... I think I'd keep on as you are, not switching and changing things. Keep watching. If things go downhill with Runty, you know what has to happen, alas.

(I had a cat who developed this problem when he was 9 - he ate a bird, wing feathers and all, and it got stuck and his insides were never the same afterwards. He got cleaned out a couple of times, but he was not happy or comfortable, he was in pain, so.....)
eldercat is offline  
post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2018, 03:24 PM
Premier Cat
 
catloverami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,134
Here's a cheap additive you can try......You could add some plain pumpkin puree (not the pie filling as that has added sugar, etc.). I'd start with 1 teaspoon of pumpkin mixed with his food. The extra water you're adding is good, and the pumpkin is a good source of fiber. You may have to add more or less, depending on how his feces look.....shouldn't be hard and dry balls, but should be slightly soft and moist. Good luck!

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
in avatar. "Always in my heart."
catloverami is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
eight kitties's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Southeastern USA
Posts: 4
Thanks everyone!

I have another question for you guys. I will have to leave the house soon (from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday evening/night) and I don't know how I will give Runty his meds/food (he is outdoor, see my original post for details of my situation) . Right now I am giving him wet food with added water 2x a day, with miralax added in the evening. He doesn't eat all the wet food though (the other cats eat it) just the broth, and eats some dry food (the kind I mentioned earlier, I still haven't switched to a better one). My problem is that since I will be gone I won't be able to give him the evening miralax/wet food or the next morning's wet food. The other cats are fine with dry food when we are gone, but I'm afraid Runty will pig out on dry food and get stopped up again if I leave. Right now I leave out almost no dry food at night but when I leave I will have to for the other cats since I won't be there the next morning to feed. Any ideas? Do you think he will be okay? I can't think of a solution other than starving everyone till I get back. I really don't want to board him at the vet since it stresses him out super bad and it just seems like one night would be okay....am I wrong? Could he get stopped up in that time?
eight kitties is offline  
post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 05:31 PM
Cat Addict
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 3,001
Do you have a separate room with door that Runty can stay in with lots of water and broth, etc. ?
cat owner again is offline  
post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 09:28 PM
Premier Cat
 
catloverami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,134
Is there someone else in the house that could given him his meds? Crush them up or if liquid, mix them into something he really likes, such as juice from a tin of salmon, or some oil from sardines. If there isn't anyone who can do this, then I would separate him from the other cats, and keep him in your bedroom until you return, with litter box and water. If you roast a chicken, use the oil from it, put it in a jar and refrigerate it, and the fat will float to the top and solidify, and the oil is like jelly. I would mix in a teaspoon of the jelly stuff and a little bit of the fat into his canned food, and see if this facilitates his bowel movement. Try it several days in advance, and if it works for him, give him his canned food, the food is not likely to spoil in the length of time you're away, unless the room is very hot. In my experience, my cats will not eat meat that has gone "off". I actually use my cats to sniff at leftover meat that's been in the frig for a while to see if it's OK to eat. If they sniff and turn away from it, then it goes in the garbage. All the best!

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
in avatar. "Always in my heart."
catloverami is offline  
post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 12:00 AM
Premier Cat
 
spirite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Roanoke, Va
Posts: 8,460
Hi eightkitties,

How did it go with Runty while you were away?

The Miralax was a great idea. It may become less effective over time - it did for my kitty. She had chronic issues with constipation and later the vet suspected megacolon. She was on Miralax daily for at least 6 years. However, you can adjust the dosage up or down depending on the results. We started with 1/8 tsp and ended up at nearly 1/2 tsp a day (she was only about 6 lbs), but some days I upped it to nearly a full tsp. I doubt one day off would create a crisis, but I am glad that you're giving it consistently rather than only when you think it's needed. It's far easier to solve constipation problems before they start.

The plain pureed pumpkin is a great idea - some kitties like it, some don't. Fingers crossed that Runty does.

About the wet food - have you tried a pate style rather than chunks or shreds? Some kitties have preferences, and it seems like Runty is like all the kitties I've had - not into chunks.

You're doing a great job!
spirite is offline  
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
eight kitties's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Southeastern USA
Posts: 4
Update... @spirite so sorry I never saw this!

I ended up not going on the trip.

It has been almost 7 months since Runty was diagnosed and he has not had to go back to the vet once! Miralax/wet food 2x a day has been doing the trick. Pretty amazing for an outdoor cat!
eight kitties is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Closed Thread

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome