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Lori, Feline Healthcare
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4131
Experience:  16 yrs health care mgmt & issues relating to cats, reproductive issues and multicat environments
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My cat cannot control his bowel movements

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My cat cannot control his bowel movements
Does your cat have diarrhea or is he just going outside his litterbox with normal stool?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Lori's Post: He had diarrhea but now it's a normal stool. My vet had diagnosed my cat with Horner's Syndrome about a month ago. I spoke with my vet again after I observed my cat lack control of his bowels. My vet suggested a possible nuerological problem and to take my cat to a specialist (which will be very expensive). I wonder what a neurologist can do? p.s. My cat is 12 years old.
Does your cat have problems with its eyes also? I'm somewhat confused as to why the vet would associate the inappropriate litter box usage with Horners Syndrome. Also, the treatment for Horners is not typically a neurologist....
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Lori's Post: Lori,

My cats pupils were dilated oddly when he was diagnosed with Horner's Syndrome (one pupil was larger than the other). He also had a discharge from his ear. His eyes and ear appear to be O.K. now after the treatment. Actually my vet thought the litter box usage was a behavioral problem after the Horner's Syndrome symptoms cleared. After careful observation I observed my cat cannot control his bowels so my vet suggested a neurologist.
Thanks! I was a little confused. Actually, before going through the expense and stress of visiting a neurologist at this point, maybe we can try a couple of things....can you tell me one more thing, please? Does your cat just seem to "drop" stool while walking through the house, or does it actively go to an inappropriate spot and actually 'squat' to pass stool?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Lori's Post: He does seem to pick a spot either on my bed or under the kitchen table. I have caught him squatting and I have also observed a "trail" of stools. Yesterday it appeared he was going to pass stools so I rushed to get him to the catbox but the stools fell out.

This definitely falls into the 'incontinence' category rather than 'inappropriate behavior'.

I did some research on this in cats and it doesn't seem to be something that is extremely easy to deal with or treat. Finding the cause was the number one point in every article I found. I'm thinking your vet was probably right on target with the neurologist. I did find a few references to possibly being able to treat the problem with surgery or antidiarrheal products, but in your cat's case, diarrhea is not the issue.

I was going to suggest adding a second litter box to the house as some cats want 2 litter boxes - one to urinate in and one to deficate in. I was also going to suggest feliway plugins as they are excellent in helping to change inappropriate behavior patterns. Your kitty definitely appears to have a physical problem, and I think the neurologist is going to be the best choice at this point. They do have "stud pants" for cats to help with cats that spray, and they may be somewhat useful in helping keep the stool off the floor, but ultimately, they aren't going to solve the problem.

I wish I had some alternative suggestion that I could give you, but in this case, I believe further testing is all that can be done. If you decide to take him to the neurologist, I would be very interested in knowing the diagnosis and prognosis for your boy.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Lori's Post: I have multiple cat litter boxes throughout my small apartment so he can get to one quickly and easily. I have different types of litter pans enclosed and open as well. This has been very difficult. Do you have any research on the successes of neurological treatments i.e. surgery? I have already spent $1,000 on this cat and I am concerned I will spend a lot more without any success.


I really don't; however, I am going to refer this onto some of our veterinarian experts on the site. Hopefully, one of them will be able to provide additional insite for you.

Hi again! I checked with our vets online and was offered the following information. Hopefully, it will be beneficial.

Things to do before going to the neurologist - have the cat seen by your regular vet & have them do a rectal exam to evaluate anal tone and also anal glands for infection in case this is more a case of inappropriate elimination due to pain and avoiding the litter box. Also check tail tone. Also, x-rays of the lower spine to check for impingement on the spinal canal perhaps from arthritis changes.

If these things have been done, and your vet still has no idea, if you go to the neurologist, all you will be is commiting to at this point is the cost of the office call. Ask the neurologist what the possible causes are, what tests are needed to sort them out and how much these will cost, what the potential treatments for each of these are (and the cost of the treatments) and success rates. This should help you decide how to proceed. Bring a copy of the record and any lab test results or x-rays with you to the neuroloist to help keep your costs down.

I think this should at least give you a direction to go in and the appropriate questions to ask. Please let me know what happens with your kitty.

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