Funny you should ask... Gertrude has the new nickname of 'The Wanderer'. Shortly after moving house, Gertie decided to explore her new area. By this, we mean she went missing for two weeks. During this time her distressed owners door knocked, put notices up and imagined the worst.
Two weeks later though she returned and decided to wait outside the bedroom window until her owners turned the light off, then another 10 minutes for them to drift of too sleep and then....'miow'. Like a shot owners Sally & Kristian were up and at the door. In Gertie strolled looking very healthy, but with a HUGE abdomen.
Although her coat was still in great condition, her eyes clear and bright, she was lethargic and refusing to eat. Given that her abdomen was excessively distended and felt very tight and tense off to the vets she went!
All of Gertrude's vitals were normal (temperature, respiratory and circulatory function) although she was dehydrated and obviously uncomfortable. Intravenous fluids were given and maintained for several days and strong pain relief was given via injection several times each day.
The risks and treatment plans needed to be assessed. The risk involved in performing surgery would be the introduction of aerosol bacteria from the environment into Gertrude's abdomen during surgery. Also the added handling, incision and hydration efforts necessary of Gertrude's organs can increase the likelihood of peritonitis. This is the inflammation and subsequent infection of organs, in Gertrude's case, the stomach, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and her intestinal tract.
This is not to say that the avoidance of surgery would be without risk. If Gertrude was unable to pass the material she has eaten it would obstruct in her stomach or intestines. As both the stomach and intestines require a large amount of blood supply and fluid, the obstruction could cause stretching of the organs. This can then affect the much needed blood supply and cause degeneration and necrosis. If this was to occur surgery would be required and the risks associated would be much greater.
The action decided upon was concurrent intensive pain relief, antibiotics therapy, intravenous fluids multiple enemas, repeat radiographs and of course, hospitalisation. The signs were good through Gertrude's increased appetite and explosive flatulence, which kept the staff taking small shallow breaths and having many a giggle!
After two days, movement began and Gertrude was passing the huge amount of material that she had eaten and was eating to make up for lost time. Come Day 5, Gertrude was looking much better, eating and drinking extremely well and her vital signs were completely normal. Her abdomen was pretty much back to normal size and her faeces were back to normal.
All of this was such an adventure for Gertrude that she has elected to become an indoor cat, choosing to only go outside via the purpose built cat run and enclosure for a change of scenery.
In answer to your question, all sorts of trouble as she's not so innocent!