Molly the Cat

January 12th, 2007 at 4:21 pm ]

Twinkie was observed straining and puking in the litterbox once again, so I am now questioning my previous conclusion about the magical healing properties of wet cat food.

I wonder if there is a psychological explanation for her ailment, perhaps related to Molly’s recent coup which resulted in her taking the throne of ultimate kitty power in my household. Ever since, Twinkie has been meek and subservient when Molly is around. For example, Twinkie refuses to eat until Molly has first had her fill. Is there a similar, unspoken rule in place regarding the litterbox? Something to cause Twinkie to fear the prospect of using it? I shall get to the bottom of this.

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January 5th, 2007 at 5:14 pm ]

Warning: Excessive details about cat poop follow.

Dear Twinkie has been experiencing some gastrointestinal issues for the past year or so. The fun cycle begins every six weeks or so with a case of constipation. This gets progressively worse over a period of days, during which time Twinkie gets more and more agitated, visiting the litterbox frequently to push and strain to no avail. Eventually the effort makes her puke, then she strains some more. After a time she’ll get that troublesome piece of feces out and will return to her more normal 1-2 bowel movements per week.

In spring of 2006, I consulted a vet about this problem and he prescribed a nasty concoction named Lactulose, a syrup that treats constipation in cats. I can report that Lactulose works as advertised. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most vile substances known to felinekind. Twinkie hates it more than anything and will spit up the sticky stuff all over the floors, carpets, furniture, and her own fur, in an effort to get its taste out of her mouth. Meanwhile the syrup is nearly impossible to clean off of anything more porous than a vinyl floor. My carpet still has sticky spots from months-old attempts to medicate Twinkie’s constipation. And Twinkie herself will refuse to lick her fur clean to remove the horrible Lactulose. Thus, scrubbing sticky cat fur with babywipes is necessary. Lactulose is indeed a very unfortunate thing. Since Twinkie always gets over her bouts of constipation eventually, I deemed Lactulose unfit for use. Twinkie and I both seemed to prefer to let her deal with the problem on her own.

And so it went, for many months: the strain-puke-strain-puke cycle. A week before Christmas, when Twinkie inevitably entered that cycle again, I thought nothing of it at first. She spent some time straining in the litterbox for a day or two, as usual, but when the vomiting phase began, I noticed something amiss. It was bloody. Blood-tinged vomit is not a welcome sight for a cat owner. Twinkie also seemed shaken, spending the day in self-imposed isolation in the corner of the closet, unmoving and scarily unresponsive. I had also noticed a sudden, alarming weight loss.

This was a bad situation, I wagered, so off to the vet we went. Twinkie was the happy recipient of an enema (her second!) and some tests were done (a “geriatric panel” — my cat is elderly). She stayed the night and the veterinarians all cooed about how sweet and well-behaved she was. (Note: that’s because she’s not smart enough to be distrustful of strangers.) In the end, it was pronounced that there is nothing wrong with dear Twinkie; she’s just not drinking enough water, causing her to get backed up. Solution? Wet cat food, which contains much more water per gram than the dry kibble Twinkie has gorged herself on since she came home with me in early 2000.

It’s working out well so far. Twinkie loves the new food because it’s made of chicken parts, and Molly prefers the dry stuff, keeping costs for me low because I only have to set out one can of the wet food per day. And Twinks has been pooping almost daily for the past two weeks. Yay for cat feces!

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