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Constipation and weight loss along with a foul smell

Constipation and weight loss along with a foul smell

by Michelle
(Tweed, ON Canada)

Toby found us 3 yrs ago in our backyard and never left. He gets along well with my other 2 female cats and he is the only one out of them that goes outside. About 4 months ago, he became extremely constipated and I took him to the vet. He gave him an enema and it helped. A week passed and the problem happened again. Back to the vet for a second enema.

The vet told me to give him Metamucil, which he refused to take! Now he has lost so much weight that you can see his bones. He only eats raw hamburger meat and he always smells of stool, whether he’s had a bowel movement or not! He is only 5 yrs old and I fear he’s dying! Please HELP!!!!


Hi Michelle… thanks for visiting and asking. So sorry to hear about Toby’s illness.

The first thing that comes to mind is that raw hamburger meat on its own as a diet is simply wrong and over time a cat will have health problems just eating that kind of food. It lacks some necessary nutrients. Beef does contain taurine and arginine however two vital constituents of cat food.

As you say he won’t eat anything else. He lacks appetite and probably feels ill.

However, (I guess you know this) a pure beef diet is not balanced and is a low fiber and high in concentrated meat protein diet. This is a diet that can cause constipation. I would try and find a way of getting him to eat a high fibre diet. This must be a first step as it may be the single cause. Your vet must have advised on that I would have thought. Your vet has not told you what the underlying cause is it seems to me.

I have listed the possible causes of constipation and some treatments on this page:

Home treatment for cat constipation. One possibility that I mention is megacolon – stretching of the large intestine caused by the fecal material in it. This seems a distinct possibility in fact. Has the vet discussed this?

The thing is, is there something else going on? For example, renal disease can cause dehybdration which in turn can cause constipation. Has Toby been checked out for renal (kidney) disease. How much water does Toby drink?

You say he smells of feces at all times. This would indicate to me that he is passing gas and/or his breath smells of feces. This indicates and intestinal obstruction, which is obvious as he does have an intestinal obstruction that is substantial enough to come out in his breath (possibly).

It seems that there is fecal impaction due to the chronic constipation (a large mass of dry and hard stool in the rectum). Its removal “requires both a laxative and and enema”. If there is dehydration as well “fluid replacement is necessary before attempting to remove the impaction..” (src: Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook).

I have rambled a bit because I am in the dark. I would:

– get the vet to remove the current impacted feces (blockage) which appears to exist. This may require anesthesia and repeated enemas plus manual extraction of the hard mass of fecal material.

– change the diet to a high fiber, high quality wet cat food diet and find a way to get Toby to eat it.

– check for underlying causes such as kidney disease.

-make sure the litter box is perfect and well sited. Plus ensure Toby gets exercise.

-if and when the current problem is resolved preventative maintenance would seem to be in order such as adding laxatives to cat food such as canned plain pumpkin.

Sorry I can’t be be conclusive. Good luck to you both.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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