It all started about a week ago, when she pooped a lot -- like 4 times. The pooh was well formed but soft. One got caught in her butt fuzz and had to be cut out. She ate breakfast with a bit reluctance, but refused lunch and supper. I was mildly concerned.
On Sunday morning, I found a hairball from another cat. The 'hair' was not hair, but a synthetic fiber, such as the stuffing from a mouse. So, I got wondering if Clarissa ate the other half and this was now lodged in her intestines. Given that she threw up breakfast, I decided a trip to the emergency vet was needed, especially since I couldn't take Monday off to get her to my regular vet.
Off we went to Apple Valley, about an hour away. Initially, they did bloodwork and x-rays, after giving her a mild sedative (as she objected to the vet techs!). The bloodwork was fine -- a few values a bit close to the extremes of normal, but considering her not eating, it was okay. The x-rays showed something in her stomach and intestines. Since she had been throwing up, it couldn't be food. Maybe hair? Maybe mouse stuffing? Maybe...??? They gave her some fluids and then did a series of barium x-rays. The barium x-rays showed that the 'stuff' had moved. The vet felt sure she would be fine and sent us home. (The techs, however, we a bit intimidated by her -- 5 lbs! -- so I had to get her out of the kennel. One person said it took 3 techs and a pair of welding gloves to give her the barium.)
When things like this happen, I always like to figure out why, ask what I should have done differently, and try to learn what I can.
The why is easy. Clarissa weighs ~5 lbs. She had recently been given more food, namely she was fed 1/3 can in the morning, 1/3 can at night, and then 1/2 a small can at noon. This was too much for her to handle. So she got soft poohs. This led to the one in her bloomers which I cut off. I didn't wash her butt so she groomed herself and gave herself a giant hairball. This plugged her up so any food she ate had no place to go. The barium moved it along, so she got rid of it and could eat.
The 'what I should have done differently' is harder. I think at every step, I made the correct decision at the time. I'm not sure the hairball would have dislodged on its own.
There are several things I did learn.
- Don't discount the problems associated with overfeeding a cat.
- When a cat has a poopy-butt, clip and then wash it.
- Keep baby food and chicken broth on hand.
- Try hairball remedy when a cat vomits 15-30 minutes after eating food.