Ask US Anything: Ragdoll Cat Shakes Head, Diarrhea after Surgery and Pooping Outside of the Litterbox

Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Jenny

Our “Ask US Anything” is a series of posts on the site where I share the questions/concerns/ideas that readers have sent in and then the responses from our readers about those questions/concerns/ideas.

Ragdoll Cat Shakes Head/ Jerks Head

Steve wrote in about their Ragdoll cat, Charlie, saying, “I have attached a video of our boy, Charlie. It shows him shaking his head. He has done this is a while. Regrettably, we have a vet who thinks we have an open wallet. While we spend our last penny on our boy; I don’t want to put him through unnecessary testing and the stress it will create for him. He does it when he wants feeding, when he yawns and after feeding. Sometimes it can be quite random. He is 10 years old. He has had dental, but he did it before the tooth removal. It does appear to be more prevalent after the dental. He also meows a lot. Also, he had a front canine removed and when he licks his lips, tongue flicks out of his mouth. He had dental about 2 months ago. We cannot link it to a specific event.

Have you seen this before?”

I suggested we post it on Facebook to see what our Ragdoll cat community on Facebook had to say:

Ragdoll Cat Diarrhea after Surgery

Marissa wrote in, “Hi Floppycaters, my Maxwell ate foam about a month ago. He had surgery, was on a feeding tube and a ton of medicines. He’s currently having diarrhea. Refuses to eat food that is sprinkled with probiotics, will not eat the treats I bought him that are probiotics. Help! I need ideas. We probably need something that I give to him orally. This morning we woke up to poop all over the floor. We also moved him back to his normal food.”

I posted it on our Facebook page per Marissa’s request.

Ragdoll Cat Pooping Right Outside of the Litterbox

Sue wrote in, “Hello!

I have had my ragdoll kitties for 4 years now and they have both been wonderful at using their litter boxes (I have a boy and a girl and 2 boxes). About 3 months ago my girl pooped right outside the box. I didn’t think too much of it but a couple weeks later, again. I have been spending more time at work due to issues there and thought it was behavioral because she is very attached to me. I did my best to play with them when I was home even though I was completely exhausted. Then she did it again and I noticed a very small bit of blood on her butt so I took her to the vet. He found nothing wrong after a physical and fecal exam, in fact commented on how healthy she is and it was likely behavioral, then sent us home.

A month and a half later I took her back because she was still pooping outside the boxes and I again saw a small amount of blood. This time he palpated her bowels and determined she had IBD which I later found out was common in Ragdolls. He gave me some liquid antibiotics which was a nightmare to get her to take but we managed. He also put her on Royal Canine Hydrolyzed HP Feline dry food which she loves. After two vet visits and a very expensive bag of food later, I told her to start looking for a job 😁

Long story shorter…she still poops outside her box and the vet said she may now always do that. I know it’s gross but when I say outside the box I mean a few inches from the edge and on a tile floor so I pick it up and sanitize the tile floor with alcohol so it’s doable, but I would prefer for her to go back to using the boxes. If she decides to start pee’g outside the boxes I’m afraid I won’t be able to accept that as easily so I’m hoping I can get her retrained to use the boxes.

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?

Thank you and Happy New Year!”

I replied:

Hi Sue,

Yes, I have a lot of thoughts.

What was their diet before you changed to the prescription diet?  Dry food often causes constipation.  Please see our vet interview here: What Should Cats Really Eat? An Interview about Feline Nutrition with Dr. Sarah Brandon, DVM

So if she was constipated – then her poops would become painful – and often times, they associate the pain with the liter box, so they go outside of it.  Yes, pooping outside of the litterbox is usually behavioral – but to me, not when it’s that close to the litterbox.  The blood might be hemorrhoids – which I just learned cats can have – and that would align again with the constipation hypothesis.

Lastly, please check out this page for ideas/suggestions (be sure to read the comments) – Cat pooping outside of the litter box

Is your vet well-versed in cats?  Do you have an all cat vet in your area? Find a cat-friendly veterinarian

Please let me know how it goes!

Enjoy reading common reader inquiries?  Check out more of our Ask US Anything here: Ask US Anything

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One thought on “Ask US Anything: Ragdoll Cat Shakes Head, Diarrhea after Surgery and Pooping Outside of the Litterbox

  1. Patti Johnson says:

    Poor kittehs and owners! I have no experience with any of these very frustrating and worrisome issues, unfortunately. Wishing, hoping and praying for some good healing and sending positive energies and vibes to everyone to find a quick solution for their kitties and stress to improve! <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

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