In case you don’t know off the top of your head, scatalogy is “the study of fecal excrement.” Yes, I do mean poop, ca-ca, or whatever else you call it around your kids. Admittedly, a fascination with this stuff is usually the provenance of three year old boys. But, here at Tabby’s Place we spend an inordinate amount of time with cat poop.
Particularly because cats can’t talk, examining their “output” is a crucial tool in maintaining a cat’s health. Poop tells us a lot about cat’s state.
For example, during their quarantine period, we take multiple “stool samples” to check for internal parasites (e.g., hookworms and roundworms are common).
The presence of blood in the stool can also be an indicator of a a gastrointestinal issue. Dark blood means that the problem is before the stomach (the blood is dark because it has been digested). Bright blood indicates a problem after the stomach (usually in the large or small intestine).
Even the color of the stool can tell us a lot. Clay-colored stool can mean a problem with gall bladder or bile ducts. Yellow stool is often a sign of pancreatitis, a serious disease in cats.
In fact, we take the examination of stool so seriously that we use a formal Fecal Scoring System, developed by Purina. The number of each cat’s stool is noted in their record ruing their three week quarantine period.
Of all the poop issues we have, however, our biggest headache is intractable diarrhea. We have a number of cats who have chronically runny stool (e.g., Blossom, Hawkeye, Nimbus, Beatrice, Hootz) that have so far resisted every attempt to restore normal consistency. These cats have been examined through every opening, been medicated, had dietary changes and seen specialists. All to no avail.
But, we may have found a new arrow to add to our quiver of scatalogical weapons. It is a technique known as Fecal Microbiome Transplantation. I will have more information for you as (and if) we move forward. I warn you, however, that it is not for those with weak stomachs.