kitten straining in litter box

tracey_bFebruary 10, 2011

For my Ragdoll, Ellie's first months (she's 8 mo. now), we battled diarrhea, but we now have that under control. It seems that the more premium foods AND "Kitten" variety were too rich or whatever. We went down the line until we got to Sci. Diet culinary tastes Adult (in the red can) and Sci. Diet Sensitive stomach (mixed half/half with Blue Buffalo) which seem to be working for the past month. Her stools are well-formed now.

However, about a month ago I noticed her straining to pee. About 3 times in 5 minutes, all that came out were pea-sized droplets. I called vet and scheduled a visit for the next day. By night, though, she was peeing normally and continued to do so. I still took her to vet who kept her for a urine sample. Only the expected trace of bacteria was found--and no crystals. No diagnosis. Vet said maybe she was trying to poop and a bit of urine came out instead.....could be, but she has different stances for the 2 actions, and she was definitely in the peeing stance :-)

She's been fine until yesterday......

Yesterday I saw her poop a good amount, but a few minutes later she was back in there and pooped out a tiny bit more. She seemed to try yet again a bit later. Constipation? But the stool wasn't hard at all.

This morning, same thing, AND she's straining to pee droplets again---about 3 attempts before she goes away from the litter boxes and gets busy playing, eating, or sleeping. Of course if she's still only managing droplets tomorrow, I'll take her back to the vet, but do you have any ideas for me on what might be going on? Maybe she's a bit neurotic / OCD?

Thanks for any thoughts you might have.......

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Straining to urinate is ALWAYS an emergency. Get her to the vet now.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 8:52PM
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It's not actual "straining". She just "assumes the position" about 3 times then she leaves the litter box area and gets busy with other kitten stuff. She's peed normally since, and I've not seen her in the litter box this morning yet. There are urine clumps from overnight--enough that I have to believe she contributed (there's 1 other kitten). She acts fine.

I'll watch her, and if I find she's still doing it, I'll be calling the vet.

If there was a blockage, then it would mean that nothing would get through, right? That it would be there until something was done about it. BUT, she resumes normal urination within the same day. No infection; no crystals last time she was checked out (albeit the next day). What else could it be that might cause her to feel she still needs to urinate even though she doesn't? Should I request xrays or ultrasound to see if there's an anomaly?


    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 9:36AM
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Update: took her to the vet. They got a sterile sample of urine and it shows nothing--again. They'll send it out for culture this time just to make sure there's not something hiding. Vet doesn't have an explanation....other than "it might just be a little irritation". From what?

Oh well. Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 4:34PM
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It sure sounds like a urinary tract infection, which responds to anti-biotics...
I don't remember how they check for it, but it seems like they take the cat's temperature.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 5:08PM
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That's what I was thinking, but initial tests don't indicate anything. We'll wait and see if anything cultures. Her temp. was fine. Vet said no tenderness in bladder or abdomen.

This morning, she followed me from the bedroom straight to the litter box where she peed normally (large puddle). Five minutes later she pooped a large amount. Ten minutes later she was back in the litter box to poop a small, this time mushy. Since then she's stayed away from the litter box. I just don't know what to make of her.....


    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 11:46AM
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Most cats don't get UTIs but sterile cystitis instead. It causes the same type of irritation of the bladder as you'd expect with a UTI but there is no bacteria so antibiotics are useless. The concerns are 1) the cats seem uncomfortable with the bladder inflammation and 2) they can get enough cells to clump together to cause a urinary blockage which is a life-threatening emergency.

I'd have ultrasounded the bladder to make sure there were not any stones or debris. Diet can be helpful in managing stones or excessive crystals, so it would be nice to know if that was the problem. The culture will most likely be negative but I've been surprised upon rare occasion. If negative I would definitely take a quick US look at bladder to make sure nothing is wrong and then manage her for sterile cystitis.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 12:03PM
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Thank you, Meghane. If this continues, I'll certainly be asking my vet about that. I can't stand to think that she's in any pain. She doesn't complain, but I'm not sure she would--I can step on her tail and she won't say anything (of course, I've never stepped hard on it). The Ragdolls just aren't talkers or complainers. Boy, big change from 21 yrs with a very vocal kitty with Torbie-tude.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 7:09PM
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one of the most important steps in treating FIC (which is now what this syndrome in cats is called: Feline inflammatory cystitis) is treatment for pain. Female cats rarely block, but still one should check for stones by doing and x-ray (or ultrasound). Pain control can often make the situation tolerable for the cat, and many times the inflammation will go away on it's own. Canned food is also helpful (has far less carbs for one, and makes cats urinate more and clean out their bladders faster, for two). And reducing stress is where the latest research seems to show the most promise in these cats (so using products that release soothing feline pheremones can sometimes help... there are plug-ins that do this often available at most pet stores), providing more litter boxes, keeping the litter boxes in less vulnerable spots in the house (not in dark corners where we normally like to put them, but where some cats feel cornered, particularly in households with multiple pets), and privacy.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 11:01AM
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My cat had those symptoms, and it was diagnosed s interstitial cystitis. Mghane can probably explain it.

All the vet could do was give me tiny doses of elavil to relax her bladder.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 7:41PM
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Thanks for the advice, everyone. The vet called yesterday afternoon and said that her urine didn't culture anything, and he mentioned what Meghane did: sterile cystitis, as a possibility. IC hasn't been mentioned yet. In the meantime, her litter box usage has gone back to normal. For now, we'll just keep an eye on her, and for future concerns along this same issue, I'll give it more than a day or two to resolve on its own again instead of incurring a $100 vet bill each time. As long as she is managing to urinate and her other activities show no change, we'll assume it to be the same thing.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 9:52AM
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