Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Poo Scream

This afternoon my cat began making her "poo scream."

I've only heard this a few times, and it has always happened when I've shamefully neglected cleaning her litterbox. Her "poo scream" sounds like a regular yowl, but instead of having a clean tone it actually "breaks up" at its peak, as though to say "Before I was only kidding but NOW I REALLY MEAN IT!"

An awful humidity has been playing havoc with the litter -- twenty seconds after she pees, the entire apartment stinks for hours -- so I thought maybe the smell in there was too much for her. I cleaned the litterbox -- it was pretty clean to begin with, really -- and she went down to use it...and started to scream again.

So I went through all the usual distractions -- gave her fresh water, gave her treats, took her outside -- but to no avail; it became obvious that Zsa Zsa really wanted to do SOMETHING in her litterbox, but was for some reason unable.

I called the vet and she told me that Zsa Zsa was probably constipated, and she sent me down to the pharmacy for some Lactulose ("You've got a CONSTIPATED CAT?!?" yelled the pharmacist) and I also bought one of those plastic syringes made for babies. Then, apologetically, I propped poor Zsa Zsa in my lap and squirted one milliliter of bitter-tasting medication down her throat.

She coughed, sneezed, then crawled to the middle of the floor and began to gulp spasmodically. She continued to do this for half and hour -- sort of hiccuping, really -- and then gradually stopped. An hour later she was willing to accept my company again. I can't blame her for being angry; it can't be nice to be both constipated AND hiccuping at the same time.

Unfortunately she still hasn't gone to the bathroom, though she's no longer complaining about it. I'm supposed to give her three doses of Lactulose each day until she finally lets loose, and I'm happy to report that our second session went much smoother than the first; Zsa Zsa's a pretty easy-going cat.

If you have ever had a pet -- or even a pre-verbal child, God forbid -- you know how awful it is to see them suffer, and to know that the only way to help them is to make them suffer MORE, often by betraying their trust in you. I can only hope that, when Zsa Zsa is finally spraying the inside of her litterbox with Lactulose-inspired diarrhea, she understands I'M the one who made it all happen for her.


Jenn said...

"you know how awful it is to see them suffer, and to know that the only way to help them is to make them suffer MORE, often by betraying their trust in you."

Oh, do we know this. See my most current blog post for a fine example. The poor cats.

If Zsa Zsa suffers from this often, you can try giving her some canned food somewhat regularly (if you already don't) or you can buy stuff called 'Tonic-Lax' at the vet and give it to once a week or so. (I really don't know why your vet didn't suggest it??) It coats the insides and makes the hair go down a little smoother. And, most cats LOVE the taste, so you just hold the tube out and she'll lap it up.

Hope she's feeling better soon, and back on a 'regular' schedule. :)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I don't think I can watch your cat video yet...the "poo scream" is still too fresh in my mind!

The vet suggested this stuff on the assumption that the problem is temporary, but said that if it persists (or if she doesn't poo in a few days) I should take her in to be checked out. Her suggestion is that it's probably hairballs -- which Zsa Zsa hasn't suffered for years -- and that she should get occasional soft food (which she only gets on weekends now).

Anonymous said...

this made me snort orange juice through my nose

Jenn said...

The Tonic-Lax is good for hairballs, too, which is why now I'm doubly surprised he didn't sell it to you. It even has directions on the package for both laxative and hairball treatment.


Gary said...

Thanks for the "scoop" on the poop.

I will let my cat-owning friends know about Tonic-Lax if their pets have kitty konstipation.

And, as for any cat videos detailing the matter in question, I'll just "pass" on it!

Raven said...

Poor cat. Poor you.

You're really lucky you know -- a lot of vets would insist on you bringing the cat in for an exam, etc. and then charging you for it. Advice from a vet over the phone sending you to pick-up and over-the-counter remedy is golden.

Believe it or not, plain old petroleum jelly is good for hairballs. Smear some on her paws (not too much or you'll have jelly all over the walls) and she'll lick it off.

If you're lucky, your cat might even like it and lick it off your fingers. :)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Petroleum jelly! It doesn't surprise me that cats like the taste, they have some pretty messed-up food preferences.

My vet's a gem. She actually recommended a bit of home treatment rather than bring her in straight away for an enema, and spent about ten minutes on the phone getting all the information for me, right down to calculating dosages.

I take this for granted because she's the only vet I've had, but I understand not everybody is so fortunate!