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PitRottMommy, Veterinary Nurse
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7775
Experience:  15 yrs experience in vet med, 8 in emergency med. Founder of a non-profit animal rescue
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I have a kitten about 8 weeks old, with paralyzed back legs.

Customer Question

I have a kitten about 8 weeks old, with paralyzed back legs. Vet told me to express his bladder 3 times a day. For a while I could do it, could feel the bladder and press on it. Now I can't, and have had to take him to the vet twice and get it done. I can't feel the bladder any more, just a mass of insides and I can't tell if it's bladder or intestine. Vet says he may be tightening up his sphincter. He struggles. How should I do it?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the kitten?
Customer: No, The vet can do it, does not say there is anything elsse wrong.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

1) Is the vet showing you each time how to express the bladder when you go in? That is, are they showing you what to feel for?
2) Can you explain what procedure you're using/how they taught you?
3) How is the kitten otherwise feeling?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Son't call. Use email. Vet first showed me how to put my fingers just in front of his back hips and hold him under his chest. Later I held him by the scruff of the nexk so he would relax. Worked for a while. For a while, I could feel his bladder. Can't feel it any more. Vet expressed his bladder yesterday, but I could not do it last night or this morning. He is a little bigger than he was at first. How should I hold him? Where should I put my fingers?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
No, I don't want to talk by phone. Use email. Tell me how to use my fingers.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

My preferred method of bladder expression I'll both explain and attach a video for. It may help to try to go longer than 3x daily so the bladder is large enough to feel. On a 4 month old kitten, you're searching for something that should be between the size of a pecan and a walnut. Bear in mind that there is nothing else in the lower abdomen that you will harm by pressing gently, so if you find something you believe to be the bladder don't hesitate to firmly grasp and apply gentle pressure. You'll have to use trial and error to figure this out at home.

I am predominantly right handed and prefer to restrain the cat with my right and express with my left. To do this, I scruff the feline gently with my right hand and lay their abdomen over my left arm. When possible, I try to get their back legs splayed into my open left hand, I can always move them down later. This is both a supportive position for the cat and its an easy position for expression because the bladder falls forward nicely with gravity.

From there, I find the pelvis and search inward and upward slightly. With enough practice, you'll find the bladder almost immediately. As mentioned, there's nothing you'll hurt in the lower abdomen where the bladder is located by applying gentle pressure. Don't be afraid to search, that's going to be your best bet for success. The pressure needed to fully express a bladder will often be akin to squeezing a ketchup packet, if slightly more for cats who have some spincter tone.

There's also a useful video here:

I’ll be standing by if you have other questions. Let me know if I can help further.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

Also, if you aren't feeding a moist food, I would do this at least for the next few days. It will result in more fluid in the bladder so that you can better feel it.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I have ktten and towel in my lap. I m trying what you said, but c an't feel it. Feeling around.May be somwthing ver small. Just before I picked him up, I found him in pool of liquid with small white objects in it. Thought it was vomit. He had just eaten dry cat food.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

Try cleaning this liquid up with a white tissue or paper towel. If slightly yellow, this could be urine. Are his genitals wet?

If he had just eaten dry cat food, the cat food should have come up with the vomit.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
When I think I may be feeling his bladder, he starts to struggle and meow.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I am holding his back end higher than his head. Is that right?
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

This will certainly be something to look for in the future. Some cats do regain their ability to urinate on their own.

Struggling is normal. Kittens want to be allowed to do what is most comfortable for them. Sitting still for a bladder expression is seldom it...and we see this in adult cats too.

How long has it been since his bladder was last expressed?

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

Try to hold the back end lower than his head, this will encourage the bladder to come down into your hand instead of further up into the abdomen. There's not great deal of movement available to the bladder, but we do want it to fall directly into our hand each time we attempt expression, if its possible.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Yesterday morning. Vet said he expressed it 70%.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I have tried several times since, without success.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

The bladder should be palpable by this point. You may need to take him in again for expression. This time I would insist that the vet first check the presence of the bladder and then show you how to find it and express it. Alternately, offer canned food and wait a few hours before trying again. The bladder needs to be expressed at least twice daily.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
OK. Thanks.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
How do I cancel my subscription?
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

I'll contact customer service for you.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you very much. I went to the vet and the reason I couldn't find the bladder was because he had somehow managed to empty it himself. Good resolution.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

Excellent news. Perhaps this was the fluid that you had noted. If he's able to empty it himself, he may be coming to a point of regaining the ability. Let's hope!

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Should I wait to be contacted by customer service?
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

Yes, they should reach out to you soon. I believe you'll hear from them via email.

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