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Dr. Jennifer
Dr. Jennifer, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
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Experience:  Caring for dogs and cats in general practice since 2005
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my cat seems to be having problems going to the bathroom both

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my cat seems to be having problems going to the bathroom both urinary and fecal. she keeps grooming herself
Hi, just a few questions first so I can get more information about what's going on. I'm assuming you're seeing your cat strain in the litterbox? How long has this been going on, and are you seeing any urine or feces at all? If so, large or small urine clumps? Hard stool or diarrhea? Is she eating, drinking, and otherwise acting normal? Is she long or short-haired? Any matted hair or anything stuck on her back end?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.



I have an american Short hair cat that is eight years of age. She recently has been acting abnormal. I believe I noticed her straining in the litter box about three days ago. She hasn't had a change of diet, though she has gone outside every so often and eats the grass.


She has been straining in the litter box, and I have not seen clumps of litter nor have I seen large amount of fecal matter. She has been grooming her pubic areas and licks them quite often. There is a fecal/urine odor that is coming from her back end. This hasn't had any diarrhea.

Is she eating and drinking normally? How is she acting abnormal other than the straining in the box and grooming a lot?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

She seems to be eating normally, and drinks normally as well. She just has been straining and grooming a lot, in addition to the odor that is coming from her back end.



Hi, there several possible causes of both straining to urinate or defecate. With cats, it can be sometimes difficult to tell one from the other, so your cat may be having difficulty with both urinating and defecating, or it might just be one or the other. If she is having trouble with both, it may be 2 unrelated problems.

Straining to urinate can be caused by irritation of the bladder from an infection or inflammation. Cats can develop a condition called feline urologic syndrome or feline lower urinary tract disease which causes bladder inflammation and discomfort. If you aren't finding any normal sized urine clumps, she may be urinating small amounts each time she strains. A blockage of the urethra from a bladder stone or mucus plug can also cause straining to urinate, but this is much more often seen in males than females. If your cat was blocked, she would probably also be much sicker and be in pain. Most females just tend to get the irritation and inflammation, and they will urinate small amounts frequently, often along with a lot of straining.

Straining to defecate can be seen with both diarrhea and constipation. A cat with diarrhea strains because of irritation of the colon which makes them feel like they still need to go even when they are empty. If she was having very small amounts of runny stool each time, you might not see it in the litter. Cats can also get constipated for a number of reasons, such as dehydration or eating something that causes a stool impaction.

A neurologic issue like an injury to the base of the tail could potentially cause problems with both urination and defecation, but this would more typically cause incontinence, and not necessarily straining.

Especially since there are so many possible causes for your kitty's problems, I would recommend a vet visit so that a vet can examine your cat in person. Many of the possibilities discussed above require medical treatment to help your cat feel better. Good luck, and I hope your kitty is back to normal soon!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you very much. Everything you have just said is right on. She does seem a little swollen on her back end. Also she has been very lazy/ sleepy as well.


What about the odor? Also what can we give her in the mean time till she sees the vet?

With as much as she is straining, the odor may be from small amounts of urine or fecal material that is getting onto her hair. That may be why she is grooming so much, to try to clean herself up. Is the swelling around her back end at her anus? If so, that could be an accumulation of stool, and that could contribute to the smell too.

Especially since we don't know whether the primary problem is urinary or fecal, or what the underlying cause is, there's not much I can recommend you do at home. Make sure she is eating and drinking. If she doesn't feel good and doesn't want to go to her bowls, try taking the food and water to her and see if you can encourage her to eat and drink. If she won't eat her regular food, you can even try things like canned food, tuna, chicken, or meat baby food.

I'd recommend getting her in to see your vet tomorrow if possible. If she starts to act very sick, like not even wanting to get up or not responding to you, you may even need to consider an emergency clinic tonight.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Ok, well luckly she seems to be acting normal when it comes to food and water. I have been making sure she eats and drinks, and have already been giving her wetfood and even some milk so she can drink.


The redness isn't around her anus, and is most likely because she has been grooming herself (which she does alot!).


Currently she isn't acting sleepy and is rather alert. I don't believe that she is in a state of emergency, but yes, it is a good idea for her to see a Veterinarian.


Once again Thank you VERY MUCH! Happy Holidays!

That's good. If she's alert and eating and drinking, then she should be fine until you can get her to the vet during regular hours tomorrow.

You're welcome, and I hope it's nothing serious!
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you!

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