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Dr. Hanscom's Blog My Cat has Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Back In Control Blog, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Back In Control Blog

    Back In Control Blog Well known member

    We have a cat, Sophia, who is remarkably attached to my wife. She may pay some attention to me when my wife isn’t around. She rolls over multiple times when my wife comes home. She will come on command to lie on my wife’s chest when we are watching TV. She runs under the bed when I try to hold her. Such is life.

    Sophia relaxed

    She is clean like most cats and was easy to train. About a year after we adopted her, she began to mess on the carpets and sometimes on our bed. We somewhat panicked and called the vet. She didn’t have a lot of suggestions but did point out that cats have strong behavioral patterns and can’t be trained like a dog. The episodes would occur when we were packing for a trip. Then she would pee in the suitcase. We were assuming that she was “angry” and acting out. After we were back home for a few days, things would settle back into a routine.

    Last Thanksgiving, we took our usual precautions of locking her out of the bedroom and keeping the suitcases somewhat out of sight. I woke up early and saw that she had thrown up twice and created two unpleasant messes both up and downstairs. I also noticed she was meowing frequently and following my wife everywhere she went. It finally hit me that she wasn’t a malevolent cat with an agenda. She was anxious and it was manifesting in creating physical gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. She had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

    Sophia feeling abandoned


    The essence of IBS is the occurrence of multiple disruptive GI symptoms. They are unpredictable in the types and timing. Symptoms includes:

    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal pain
    • Excessive gas
    • Bloating/ cramping
    • Nausea/ vomiting

    The symptoms are more frequent in females and are associated with multiple other physical symptoms. I am going to simplify the cause and effect. Anxiety is the sensation that is experienced when your body is full of stress chemicals such as cortisol, histamines, endorphins and adrenaline. Any mental or physical threat results in different levels of these hormones depending on the severity. Unpleasant mental input (thoughts and concepts) are more problematic because humans can’t escape their thoughts. This results in chronic exposure to an adverse chemical environment and people become ill. The list is almost endless but here are some of the ones listed as being associated with IBS:

    • Fibromyalgia
    • Chronic fatigue syndrome
    • Chronic pelvic pain
    • Dyspepsia
    • Gastroesophageal reflux
    • Major depression
    • Panic disorder
    • PTSD
    • Higher chance of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative colitis.

    Physical symptoms

    There is a large paper out of Sweden that documents a strong association between chronic stress and all autoimmune disorders, including the bowel disorders. All these symptoms are included in the list of problems that are associated with chronic pain. The constellation of these symptoms is what I have termed, “Neurophysiologic Disorder” (NPD). Other names include:

    • Stress Illness Syndrome
    • Mind Body Syndrome (MBS)
    • Tension Myoneural Syndrome (TMS)
    • Central Sensitization Syndrome (CSS)

    The bottom line is that a sustained adverse chemical environment causes physical symptoms. In addition to the above symptoms there is a higher incidence of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and early death. This unconscious survival response is about a million times stronger than the conscious brain and can’t primarily addressed by psychological means, although it has a role. The key to solving these symptoms is to use techniques to change the body’s chemistry to a more favorable environment. When you are truly relaxed, laughing and at play, your body is full of oxytocin (love drug), serotonin (antidepressant), dopamine (reward drug) and GABA chemicals (similar to Valium). This is a great chemical bath and you will feel relaxed along with a high chance your physical symptoms will abate.

    I thought I was so smart because I figured out that Sophia had IBS. Then I looked it up on the Internet and IBS is an established diagnosis for cats. The symptoms are similar. One of the listed causes is, “separation anxiety”. This is probably what is happening with our cat. At least she isn’t an angry cat that is acting out.


    The DOC process represents a set of concepts that allows you to become aware of when you are triggered and teaches you strategies to alter your body’s chemistry to a more favorable state. Not only will IBS symptoms resolve but so will the multiple other ones. I was experiencing 17 of them simultaneously while I was in the depths of my own Abyss. It is still surprising to see most of these gone. I had migraines, tinnitus, and burning feet for over 25 years. Who would have thought they would disappear?

    Related posts:

    1. C – Neurophysiologic Disorder (NPD)
    2. Neurophysiologic Disorder
    3. Stress, Illness, and Photovoltaic Cells
    Gusto and westb like this.

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