"4 days ago, my cat was not eating and was straining to pass motion," the young couple consulted another vet. The vet inserted his index finger into the cat's rectum and there was blood seen but no stools. "He asked us to come back the next day for a blood test to check for kidney disease. But we researched the internet and our cat was not drinking or passing urine excessively. so we did not go back."
There were medical cost considerations of the blood test as well as the couple's internet diagnosis. They believed that the cat was "straining" as he did not pass stools. As for urine, they had seen it in the cat litter and so presumed that the dog had no urinary tract infection.
"The cat was not happy when I palpated the kidney and abdominal area," I said. "However, there are no hard stools in the large intestines and so this cat does not have constipation. The straining would be due to urinary tract infection. Some male neutered cats suffer from FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract infection) when there is a change of management or environment from the usual daily routine. Did you change the cat food brand recently or introduce a new cat?"
"We ran out of the previous brand and gave him a new brand," the couple said. "He ate the new brand but then we gave him the previous brand. He vomited and did not like it."
So, there was a change in dry cat feed causing "stress".
"Are you sure you did not touch any new cat?" I asked the husband.
"Well, lthere was a stray cat who would appear in front of my apartment despite a solid outer door. I had patted him and fed him outside the apartment. I live on the 3rd floor and yet this stray cat knew how to come to my apartment through a solid door with no openings!"
"The stray cat is no longer coming, " the husband said. "I have put him back on the streets."
So there was a history of a new cat being handled, causing "stress" to this cat based on the smell of the new cat in the husband's handling. The cat could have stopped drinking and then have difficulty in urination. Hence the straining.
"Although urine was seen in the litter, this could be due to the cat finally being able to pee after some straining," I said to the couple.
FLUTD was my tentative diagnosis and the wife had considered this condition. There was no constipation. I prescibed medication and to feed only canned food.
For the last 3 days, no news from the owner. I will follow up again on this case..
CONCLUSION. FLUTD in neutered male cats fed on dry cat food do occur but the exact cause is unknown. One reason is the change in the cat's daily routine e.g. change of cat food brand or a new cat is introduced. So the owner sees the cat straining in the litter box. In this case, the cat stopped eating for 4 days ago and the couple decided he was "constipated".