There are a number of possibilities for why your cat cries when she defecates, and why she has diarrhea. The top possibilities that I would consider are:
1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease - IBD is the top possibility with your cat. It is fairly common in middle aged cats. IBD is characterized by chronic (long term) diarrhea and sometimes by vomiting. As you have told me, this is a chronic problem. IBD does also lead to painful bowel movements. Here is more about IBD:
When I have a cat with this problem, I usually treat with an antibiotic/anti-inflammatory called Metronidazole. It is very helpful for most cats. If they do not respond to that, then I might treat with Prednisone. Also, I would change the diet to a prescription food with a completely novel protein source as this is partly caused by an allergic type reaction to the protein in the food.
2. Parasites - if your kitty has not been dewormed since you got her, I would have a fecal sample checked for roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and also for Giardia. There is virtually no chance of her getting worms in an apartment building but she may have come to you with some.
3. An anal gland impaction or abscess - The anal sacs (or anal glands) are little glands located at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock position if you are standing behind your cat. Sometimes they don't empty properly and can become very painful when the animal has a bowel movement. They can be checked and emptied by your veterinarian. Antibiotics can be given if they are infected.
Here are some links to further information:
I do think that you should have Schatzi seen by a vet. Take along a fecal sample so that can be checked for parasites. I feel that this can be treated so she does not have this daily discomfort!
As a Senior, I realize you may be on a fixed income. I will give you some information about financial aid, in case that may help you.
I'd start with the local animal shelters to see if they know of any low cost or subsidized vet care in your area.
Nationally here are some groups that might help you afford the vet bills:
American Animal Hospital Association
" Through the AAHA Helping Pets Fund, veterinary care is possible for sick or injured pets even if they have been abandoned or if their owner is experiencing financial hardship."
Angels 4 Animals
"Our services range from financial aid to complete treatment
to those pets and pet owners in need."
A credit card company for health care, including veterinary care.
"With a comprehensive range of plan options, for
treatment or procedure fees from $1 to over $25,000, we offer a plan
and a low monthly payment to fit comfortably into almost every
God's Creatures Ministry
"This fund helps pay for veterinarian bills for those who need help."
"Our efforts focus on serving the elderly, the disabled, and the
"We are dedicated to insure that no
companion animal has to be euthanized simply because their caretaker
is financially challenged."
The Pet Fund
"The Pet Fund is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit association that
provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need
urgent veterinary care."
United Animal Nations
"The m ission of LifeLine is to help homeless or recently rescued
animals suffering from life-threatening conditions that require
specific and immediate emergency veterinary care. We strive to serve
Good Samaritans and rescue groups who take in sick or injured
animals. In certain cases, LifeLine can also assist senior citizens
and low-income families pay for immediate emergency veterinary care."
They also keep a list of local and national help resources here
Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance (FVEAP)
"Seniors, People with disabilities, People who
have lost their job, Good Samaritans who rescue a cat or kitten - any of these folks may need financial assistance to save a beloved companion."
The Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Prog ram is a nonprofit 501
(c)(3) organization that provides financial assistance to cat and
kitten guardians who are unable to afford veterinary services to save
their companions when life-threatening illness or injury strikes.
If this has been helpful, please accept my answer and leave feedback. I will still be here to provide more information if you need it!
Best wishes and good luck to you and your Schatzi! Fiona