by Tawnya
(Valencia, CA)


My 3.5 year old cats name is Dancer! Starting last Friday, my kitty lost her voice. It sounded like Donald Duck every time she meowed! Then, on Saturday, she threw up 6 times and started coughing a lot! On Sunday, her cat illness symptoms seemed to get worse and we took her to an emergency veterinarian!

My cat had xrays taken and the veterinarian noticed an excessive amount of gas in my cat's intestines. So, he gave my kitty two shots (hydration and pain reliever). We took her home and decided to monitor her in hopes she would get better before we took her to the veterinarian again. So, we did not take her in Monday because her cat health condition seemed to be improving. My cat threw up mucus (with no blood) once, ate canned cat food twice and kept it down, and I gave her laxatone 3 times that day hoping that she may have a cat hairball that she was trying to pass and may be causing a blockage in her intestine.

Later Monday night, my cat seemed to get even worse. Her stomach was harder and bigger, her eyes were watering, her nose was running and my cat was breathing through her mouth! We did not notice her drink water or use the litter box at all on Monday!! Being extremely worried, we took her back to the emergency veterinarian at 2 a.m. Tuesday. The veterinarian said her fever had gone up, her heart rate had increased and her stomach was larger. So on Tuesday at 6 a.m., we took her to our vet.

At this point, my cat is being hospitalized for 24 hours and we have done another x ray, blood test, oral exam, and an ultrasound, and NOTHING has caught the veterinarian’s attention. My cat’s temperature is down but the veterinarian doesn't know what is wrong!!

Please help!! I feel like we just keep doing test after test and spending more and more money! Do you think we should just do an exploratory surgery? My cat’s stomach is still very bloated and filled with gas and there is an obvious area in my cat’s xray where intestine has enlarged (possible blockage with no obvious sign of a foreign object). The veterinarian says if after 24 hours unless she finds nothing, she will send my cat home on feline medications, but my gut is saying there is something more going on with my cats health!! WHAT SHOULD I DO?!?! PLEASE HELP!!


Dear Tawnya,

By now, I would be terrified if this were my own cat
and, honestly, I would rather be safe than sorry. A very wise saying in veterinary medicine is that if you aren’t conducting negative exploratory surgeries at least sometimes, you aren’t doing enough exploratory surgeries.

Every moment you wait, if there is a blockage, not only is your kitty getting sicker, but the affected area in her intestines becomes damaged and will eventually die. This poses a risk that your cat’s intestines could rupture.

It would concern me that the change in your kitty’s meow was the first symptom, because that suggests that perhaps something was lodged in her throat or esophageal area. And now, with the bloating in your cat’s stomach area, it may have moved lower in her GI system. It is important to note that most foreign objects will not be seen on an x-ray.

An interim step before doing an exploratory surgery could be to ask your veterinarian to conduct a Barium study, or find a veterinarian who is equipped to do a Barium study. Barium studies in cats are done similarly to how they are done in humans, where the cat would be given barium as a contrast material and then x-rays are taken at set, frequent intervals to see the entire GI tract, helping to identify the location of a blockage, if there is one.

I agree that there is definitely something serious going on with your kitty, and would not advise you to bring her home without knowing what is making your cat so ill. At this point, your options as I see them are the barium study or an exploratory surgery.

Wishing you all the best,
Dr. Neely

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