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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 22462
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My female cat Jess woke me I think it was early hours Friday

Customer Question

My female cat Jess woke me I think it was early hours Friday 'crying'. Not her usual meow. Gave her a couple of treat sticks and she settled. But yesterday, and most certainly since I got home from work at 4.30 today, she has been trying to do a poo. She seems desperate, and not even a wee. So I don't know if she hasn't been since early Saturday. She was a little sick a hour or so ago. What do I do ????
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 years ago.

Hello, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with wee Jess today.


If Jess doesn't normally cry in the night, then it may be that her discomfort drove her to do so Friday night.


Now with the signs of straining that you are seeing, it can be difficult to determine which motion they are struggling to pass.


Since she is a female cat, she is less likely to have issues with the life threatening urinary blockages that we see in male cats (since female cats have broader urethras then males). But if she is older and perhaps had a bladder tumor then this could be a concern for her (uncommon but possible). So, close monitoring is key.


Still, much more commonly, urinary straining of the female cat will be secondary to cystitis. And this could easily cause her to be uncomfortable, vocalize, strain often and appear to pass little (often blood stained) or no urine. In either case, urinary-wise, I would advise keeping a close eye on her for urination. Also consider checking the house for little puddles, since a lot of cats with bladder issues will urinate out of the box (ie in the tub, the bathroom mat, carpet, etc). If you continue to see no urine or her belly is tense and sore, then we'd want to follow up with her vet to make sure there isn't a more serious issue.


To address potential bladder discomfort (which will help constipation issues too), you can try to get her to drink more if possible (which can be hard to get a cat to do). You can also offer her low-sodium chicken broth to encourage drinking. As well, aloe vera berry juice (available at health food stores) can be helpful in changing the urine pH and making the bladder more comfortable. As well, I usually advise upping their wet food portion of her diet, as this is 35% water and will sneak some water into her system. By diluting and trying to alter urine pH, general bladder irritation can be reduced.


Turning out attention to fecal straining and constipation for Jess. Now again this could cause all the signs you are seeing. If you think she is straining to pass feces, then you can help relieve mild constipation at home with a number of wee tricks.

First, you can offer some cow milk. Kitties are like little lactose intolerant people, and while the love milk it can move things down the gut a bit quicker (ie. Cause mild diarrhea in an unconstipated cat). If she is mildly constipated, this might just get things moving in the right direction.

You can also treat them with hairball medication (ie. Catalax). This is available from the vet or the pet shop. It works to lubricate the gut and can facilitate the movement of hard feces out of the rectum. . Alternatively, you can administer a small volume of Miralax (1 tsp per 24 hours), lactulose (LINK) or mineral oil orally (ideally offer in food or if given via oral syringe then take care to avoid aspiration, since that would cause problems we'd best avoid) as a GI lubricant.

Furthermore, if she is eating you can mix in some canned pumpkin or a 1/4 teaspoon of unflavored Metamucil or Benefiber. Just like people, these can restore fecal output regularity. I would offer these with wet food to ease her eating of it, while making sure we are getting water into her (as canned food is 35% water).

You again also want to encourage Jess to drink as constipation and UTIs can be complicated by dehydration. So, again, fluid intake is important for her here.

While you are doing this, I would advise that you continue to monitor urine and fecal output. I would advise trying the above measures, but if you aren't seeing feces in the next 12-24hours (sooner if you do think her abdomen is tense, sore, you can feel a 'rock' like bladder in her abdomen or she continues to produce no urine), then she needs to be evaluated by a vet. If they confirm bladder issues, then they can address this (ie unblocking if obstructed, treating with antibiotics and kitty safe pain relief if she has cystitis). If they confirm constipation and she hasn't responded to your home treatments, then they will likely have to use more 'aggressive' treatments like enemas to clear her out and halt her signs.

So, there are a few things to consider with the signs you are seeing. Therefore, I'd advise treating for both and monitoring her closely. But if you are not getting some feces moving or continue to see no urine with these home supports, then those would be your red flags to get her seen by her vet.

And just to note if you do want to have her seen tonight, I wanted to mention that most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients. This means that if you ring the practice, they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their emergency service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check RCVS register (LINK). or you can check here to find your local Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

Dr. B.


Remember that if you have any lingering questions or concerns, please reply so that we may continue our conversation. I will be happy to work with your further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Please remember to rate my answer when you are satisfied (with4-5 stars or a happy face) so that I may receive credit for my assistance. Thank you & have a great day. : )