Update on Maggie

Those of you following me on Twitter already know some of this but I’m about to go into a whole heck of a lot more detail about Maggie. She’s been terribly unwell and while I was away, Rob sent me a warning that he thought all we could do at this point was make her comfortable.

I got home and she was basically a skeleton with fur and just hiding in the closet.  I called the vet, explaining that she wasn’t eating or drinking.  We discussed humane euthanasia, but decided that as long as she was still happy sitting in someone’s lap that we’d let nature take its course.

I was struck by the fact that she kept trying to go to the litter box with no success.

Now, this serves as a warning to everyone that I’m going to be talking about the tail end of a cat’s digestive system.

Seriously, read no further if you don’t want to know about a kitty enema.  I’ll let you know right now that she’s much better, but it does involve an enema and a cat.

I mean it.

You’ve been warned.

Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Right… so, I researched “constipated cat” on the internet and found several different sources that talked about how this was fairly common in older cats, particularly ones on a high meat protein diet. Now the only thing she’d really been eating last week was tuna, so this seemed to qualify.  Several of the sites had people commenting that their vets had told them to adminster a glycerin enema for infants.

It was fairly late, but Rob and I talked about it and decided it couldn’t hurt at this point.  I trotted off to the pharmacy and came home with a box of them, guaranteed to invoke a bowel movement in 15 minutes to one hour.

The results, shall we say, were astonishing.

I’d read that what would happen to a cat would be that water would leach out of the colon and turn the stool into a “hard, concrete-like object.”  Yes.  What nothing prepared me for was that the gylcerin greases the system enough so that these hard pellets come out of the cat like projectiles.  Thankfully, Rob had the foresight to do this in the bathtub.

Basically, he laid her on her back in his lap on a towel. My job was to scritch her ears. We alternated between saline enemas and glycerine three times. The tube for the actual infant enema seemed awfuly large for a kitty, so Rob inserted it into a narrower tube from the bottle that I use when dying my hair. It’s totally clean enough for use with her, but I’ll be buying a new one for me, thank you very much.

There was nothing wrong with her vocal cords, but she was weak enough that she just let us do this unpleasant thing to her.  So, we cleaned out her, um, system and washed her off. She hated us but seemed to be moving better.

Then this morning, a miracle occurred. She jumped onto the bed and demanded to be fed.  She’s been eating and drinking normally all day. Now, she’s still feeble and not back to her old self, but the turnaround is so astonishing. I mean we both really thought she was dying.

She might still be, but we’re hoping that we’ve got a reprieve.

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28 Responses

  1. JennaW

    And the award for Best News Involving an Enema goes to….

    That’s great news. I’m going to remember that for the (I hope) distant old age of my two kits.

  2. Julia

    Good to hear and also another nice tidbit to add to the personal knowledge collection. Has Maggie had any B12 injections for general down-feeling? At the vet clinic I used to work for, we would call B12 “the miracle drug” because the blast of vitmins helps an elderly cat or dog feel MUCH better, and the effect is seen within moments. B12 might be good for elevating her quality of life as it stands, make her feel even better. It’s an idea, anyway, particularly if her colon’s working but she just seems depressed/unhappy/tired.

  3. Mike Munsil

    I am fairly sure that at some point we will read an MRK story that makes use of this information. Let us hope that it is not the EVIL MRK persona that writes the story…

  4. Mike F

    I never would have thought of this. I’m glad it worked out, even if it was a little gross. We really need some way we can talk with animals, it would make this so much easier. 🙂

  5. Juliette Wade

    Wow, that’s amazing. And you have such the dramatic turn of phrase – “projectiles”, hmm. I’m glad she’s feeling better and hoping that she has a bit more time with you.

  6. Aimee

    So glad to hear she’s feeling better!!!

    Ah… The wacky things we do for our pets… some would say above and beyond the call of duty, but furfamily is SO worth it. When I think of all the gross things Moosedog has treated me to… he’s lucky I love him so much. 🙂

  7. Jeff P.

    Glad to hear Maggie’s on the mend. That’s a brave thing you did, administering an enema to a cat! Mine won’t even let me clip her claws!

  8. Todd

    Projectiles from glycerin… as in nitroglycerin. DARPA may come knocking at your door. Or Homeland may come to take you away.

    Glad Maggie is feeling bettah!

  9. Mike Brotherton

    “There’s really not another word for hard objects that fly through the air in an arc and then whack with a thud against the tile wall of the shower.”

    Sure there is. The phrase “powered attack” comes to mind, or simply “superpower.” Cat powers are not as impressive as those in the X-men, but comparable to those of others like Grow Arm Hair Lad.

  10. John Chu

    Wow. I don’t think everybody would have been so observant under the circumstances. I’m glad that you were and that Maggie is ok.

  11. Steve Buchheit

    Went through this with our own kitty last fall. It does help them feel better. Also it’s good to have an extra set available for the future. It’s a way to make them comfortable.