Manx cats are prone to a narrowing of the anal cavity that may result in bowel stoppage. The cats cannot pass fecal matter and the bowels become distressed. Another common problem for the Manx breed is spina bifida, where the spinal vertebrae do not form properly. The defective vertebrae may press the bowels or rectum and cause stoppage.
Even if you understand what causes bowel problems in a Manx cat you may not be able to ease its discomfort. The same genetic mutation that causes the breed's signature short tail can also result in serious deformations that make the breed susceptible to bowel problems like incontinence, stoppage, constipation and megacolon. However, the Manx mutation is not the only cause of these and other bowel problems. If your cat appears to be in distress, take it to the vet immediately to rule out treatable conditions.
Spinal deformities in Manx cats can also cause them to be incontinent. Incontinence means the cat cannot control its bodily functions and it may urinate and defecate involuntarily; they may even void their bowels in their sleep. However, this problem is not necessarily the result of the Manx's breeding. Bacteria, parasites, viruses and the cat's diet may result in Irritable Bowel Syndrome that causes incontinence. Some cases improve, though most become progressively worse.
Cats who do not defecate in a 24-hour period become constipated. The cat's digestive system pulls water from the fecal matter causing it to harden and making it more difficult to pass. Manxs' predisposition to spinal and pelvic deformities increase the chance they will suffer from constipation. It may be a singular occurrence or a chronic bowel problem. Other causes include, but are not limited to, stress, unsanitary litter box conditions and a poor diet.
In extreme cases where constipation is frequent or untreated, cats' colons can swell and extend into a condition known as megacolon. The colon swells and prevents the cat from defecating, making previous constipation worse. The Manx breed's unique genetic makeup makes them more likely to suffer from megacolon even when fed the proper diet with a clean litter box and no other contributing factors.
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