I found this experience quite informative and hope, by adding it to this site, someone will benefit.
In December (2010), I adopted a Manx cat (Sumati… Sumi), 7 months old, from the Humane Society. He had been in the shelter for only 10 days, long enough to be vaccinated, treated for worms, and neutered. I ignored some obvious signs of illness such as a dime-sized puddle of poop on the shelter floor when he was the only kitty out of his cage, flinching away from my hand when I petted him on his sides, and hiding. I visited him twice, paid the $50, and took him home.
Sumi had diarrhea and soft stools; his poop looked like undigested food; he dribbled at times from his bottom; he had gas. He spent up to 5 minutes very thoroughly burying his feces in the litter box and, in process, scattered the soiled litter onto the floor outside the box. I changed his food, shopped for litter that could absorb the messiness (Cellulose litter), and got out my old hand-made covered litter box (large storage box with a dinner plate sized hole cut in the lid … the cat enters from the top modeled after the Clever Cat litter box) to contain the mess.
A week or so after Sumi was home, resident cat Ariel played with him and became very sick and three days later was at the Vet’s on an IV for fluids, antibiotics, and nutrients where she remained for two days. Meanwhile, I took Sumi into the Vet’s for an exam and fecal analysis. Both cats came home on medication; Sumi on meds for two weeks to treat an over-abundance of the bacteria, Clostridium. I was to clean and sanitize his litter box daily. During one 36-hour period I cleaned and sanitized the larger bathroom where he was housed three times due to soiling.
At the end of three weeks, forty pounds of litter later, medication gone, and on a limited ingredient diet, Sumi still had soft stools. His bottom was red and sore looking. He was too quiet for a cat not even a year old. He went into hiding.
By this time, I had spent hours on the internet investigating diarrhea, soft unformed stools, and cats. There was one piece of advice that continued to crop-up: Fast the cat for 24 hours (water to be available) and then feed him boiled white chicken and boiled white rice. A little yogurt (nonfat, plain) can be given, too.
Sumi hid for 12 hours. I took his food away for the remaining 12. I bought chicken and rice, boiled the chicken, boiled the rice, blended them up, added a little oil, and fed it to the cat. On the side, he had a little unsweetened nonfat organic yogurt.
A short time later I had a very lively Manx cat, batting and chasing his toys around the floor, interacting with the other cats. In 12-hours following the fast, I found a single shorter cylindrical piece of dark brown poop in Sumi’s litter box. I was amazed! A few minutes after discovering the poop, Sumi sought me out and got on my lap for the first time since moving in. He no longer flinched when I petted his sides. That afternoon, I had a Manx with a normal looking bottom, sleeping in his cat bed – a bed he wouldn’t sleep in before perhaps because he couldn’t get comfortable due to a persistent tummy ache.
In January, after acquiring Sumi, I spent $487.38 in vet expenses, $22.26 on special food, $40.00 on litter, and $8.96 on cleaning supplies to make my litter box duties more efficient, total $558.56. My budget was way over-spent. Yesterday, I spent $1.49 on some brown rice (white was recommended but brown has some fiber and more nutrients) and $3.47 on some organic chicken legs (breast/white meat is recommended but brown has Taurine) and a half-an-hour to boil it up.
(A few days after writing the entry above …) Sumi left a perfectly formed cylindrical piece of near odorless poop on top of his litter pile this morning … He has apparently given up the incessant burying. So far I have not given him any commercial cat food but have added gizzards, liver, a little vegetable pulp (carrot, celery, parsley), salmon oil, and Taurine to his chicken and rice. The two other resident cats continue their commercial food diet. I looked into the three companies whose cat food I recently purchased for Sumi. Unknown to me, the small pet food company (with previously good quality control and my favorite -- Natura Pet) was purchased by Proctor and Gamble last year. The second cat food company was sighted several times during the pet food scare a few years ago. The third is still a small privately owned company striving for excellent quality control but despite Sumi’s diet of their limited ingredient food, he did not get better. Foods I don’t use, Iams was purchased by Proctor and Gamble in 1999; Science Diet is owned by Colgate-Palmolive.
What caused Sumi's condition? I have some guesses. So far I am not willing to carry out any experiments to find the answer.
Hope the solution to Sumi's diarrhea is helpful to someone out there.
Kitties: Zen & Ariel. Litter Box: Litter Robot. Remembering Nuba, Ceba, and Yang Su Ling.