Cat Defecation Problem

by Shamim Amra
(South Africa)

Please help! I have an 18 year old spayed female cat, Nico. About two years ago, my cat started defecating all over the house. She will urinate in the cat box, but, when its time to defecate, she just runs and as she is running, she poos. My cat is either experiencing pain or an overwhelming sensation when she wants to defecate, because it is as clear as day that she is making every effort to run away from it. Sometimes I am lucky that it is solid, which makes it easy to clean up, but most times it is not!

For two years I have been cleaning up my cat’s runny diarrhea off my floors and she is confined to my flat, excluding the bedrooms. My cat is not allowed outside as she messes on the stairs and along the corridors and in the potted plants.

The veterinarian has done xrays and examined my cat. The vet says that my kitty is old, but in great shape, and overall very healthy. His diagnosis is that my cat has irritable bowel syndrome. Blood tests for my cat, at her age, would be extremely expensive.
I am going to start feeding her Hills i/d as of today and hope it works. I have a nine year old son and I am worried that this problem may, at some stage, pose a hygiene or health risk. I would love to hear your view on this condition...

Thank you,

Dear Shamz,

Irritable bowel is generally a diagnosis of exclusion. There is no way to know for certain whether your cat has irritable bowel without doing bloodwork to rule out all of the other possible causes for your cat’s illness symptoms, including feline hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, and many other conditions.

I am not sure why you say that bloodwork at your cat’s age is too expensive, as the only additional test that would generally be run on an 18 year old cat is a thyroid level, the cost of which is minor when added to a full blood screen. Without knowing whether there are other conditions causing your cat’s symptoms, or without a surgical diagnostic procedure to officially diagnose inflammatory bowel disease in your cat, effectively treating her cat health problem is going to be quite difficult.

Please consider having full bloodwork done for your cats health and comfort, as well as your own health and your son’s. Many of the cat health conditions that could be causing this defecation problem are very treatable, and the sooner your kitty has an official diagnosis, the sooner the issue may be resolved.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely