3 year old female tortie has loose stool

by Patrick
(NJ)

Please help with this situation. It is so frustrating. Our gorgeous 3 year old tortie goes outside her box (and sometimes in) when she has some loose stool passing. Sometimes she is right near the box and doesn't go in. This usually lasts a few days.


Blood and stool tests came back negative. She is very healthy and active. She drinks water and eats a mixed diet of wet and dry food.

We clean the boxes daily and sometimes twice. There is another cat in our home who is fine but only eats the dry food.

The wet food we feed to our tortie is of the highest quality. They both are on grain-free, limited-ingredient diets. We have experimented with different foods and nothing has helped.

It really feels like we are covering all our bases here. The only thing I can think of as a possible cause is catnip.

The other cat loves it and rolls around in it and goes nuts. The tortie doesn't really seem to enjoy it. We leave loose catnip around occasionally and have filled toys.

She doesn't seem to go near the filled toys but might walk through a pile we sprinkle for the other one to enjoy. Could catnip be the cause?

Thank you in advance for any and all help.

My thoughts: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. It does sound like you're covering the bases. You've got multiple litter boxes and you're keeping them clean daily, which is important.

If she only does this when her stools are loose, then could it be she simply isn't making it to the box on time?

That would explain why sometimes she uses the box and sometimes she doesn't. It also might explain getting near the box but not quite there.

Often, when a cat is going near the box but not in it, it's either a problem with the box itself (cleanliness, litter type, etc.), or pain or a bad association. In this case, though, maybe it's just a matter of timing.

Of course, anytime a cat isn't feeling quite right, they can stop using the litter box, so it may be as simple as that.

With regard to the catnip, I've never heard of catnip causing loose stools. If your vet doesn't have an explanation for the loose stools yet, then perhaps further testing is necessary.

With respect to the food choices, I have heard from some cat parents that food that is too rich can sometimes cause some stomach upset. I know you said changing foods didn't help, but some of the premium wet foods may be too much for her.

On a personal note, Jazzy goes through periods where he's got some loose stool, which is usually just after having drier stools.

From what I can tell, he's getting a bit constipated by having too much hair in the gut. When that clears up, the flood gates seem to open up, so to speak, and then he settles back into normal.

I'm not sure if that matches your experience with your cat at all, but I know I need to groom him more often to help him out.

Have you tried pumpkin? Some of our readers have used unspiced canned pumpkin to help their cats regulate their bowels.

We normally think of adding pumpkin or another fiber source to a cat's food to combat constipation, but some readers have reported it can help with diarrhea as well.

You can buy Nummy Tum-Tum Organic Pumpkin from Amazon.

I would not make that move without consulting the vet, but if your vet agrees, it's something to consider.

I hope that helps and please let us know how things go with her.
-Kurt

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