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Cat straining and in pain.

Species: Cat
Breed: Siamese
Age: 11-15 years
Last night, my cat began meowing as if she was about to vomit but was acting as if she needed to have a bowel movement but could not. However, she did pass a tiny amount of diarreah. She was not in her litter box but in our living area. She is flexing as if she is straining to have a movement. Today, she seems worse and is only laying in her bed, still flexing while laying down. She will not eat or drink and growls when I pet her as if she may be in pain. I lost my job and cannot really afford a vet bill. Given her age, is there anything that can be done for her?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh dear, it sounds like Sassy is really uncomfortable.

I have seen many older cats that have issues with either constipation or diarrhea that can cause straining but have not seen a cat have this level of discomfort all of a sudden like this.

I am concerned that there may be a serious issue such as an intestinal blockage. In a cat of this age, I would be worried about a tumor blocking her intestines.

It is possible that a vet could help her with an enema. This is not something I would attempt at home though.

It's also possible that she has some sudden back pain. Some cats will get a condition called lumbosacral syndrom which can cause pain when they try to poop. But it really shouldn't cause her to be flexing like you are describing.

Is there any way you could have at least an exam done? The vet may be able to tell if there is a tumor in her abdomen just by feeling her abdomen. Or, they may be able to do a rectal exam and see if they can remove any hard stool.

Unfortunately there really isn't anything I can recommend for you to do at home.

There is unfortunately not likely to be a simple condition that can be fixed easily. We may have to be making some hard decisions about her quality of life soon.

I really hope she improves!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you very much. I appreciate your time. I will call our vet to see if I can get her in. Thanks again.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome. Feel free to come back to this page and let me know how things went.

Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.