Veterinary Follies

Posted by on December 30, 2013 in life in klaskyville | 5 comments

Here in Klaskyville, we have two cats — Poppy, an 11-year-old 7-pound long-hair ginger tabby female (who runs the house) and Sam, a 4-year-old 12-pound short-hair black male (who is very, very sweet, which is fortunate, because he’s also very, very dumb.  Just about a week ago, I was thinking to myself how wonderful it’s been to have two relatively-young cats in perfect health, without the anxiety and expense of veterinary catastrophes.

So you know what happened.

Late Friday afternoon, Sam came into my office to use the litter box.  I noticed him arrive, as I was editing Chapter 5 of CATCHING HELL.  About half an hour later, I realized he hadn’t left.  Sure enough, he was sitting inside the covered litter box, looking out at me with a placid expression on his face.

Fast forward four hours, after the emergency vet visit (and the emergency phone call to my college roommate who is a vet 3000 miles away).  Sam has *lots* of both bacteria and crystals in his urine — a bad combination for any cat, and a potentially deadly one for fixed males (who might end up with blocked urethras and subsequent catastrophic bladder damage.)

He was given a painkiller and a two-week slow-release antibiotic, and we’re administering muscle relaxants twice a day, to facilitate urination. I’ll spare you the litter box details — suffice to say he’s not out of the woods yet, but he isn’t blocked.  (Yet.  We hope that’s “ever”.)

He refuses to eat the special food that is supposed to help him, so we’re watering his usual food.  We stayed home from a play on Saturday afternoon, so that we could monitor him, and I’m staying close to my office now to track his behavior.  As with any animal-crisis, I wish I could explain to him what’s going on and have him explain to me precisely what he’s feeling.

(Poppy, who gets frantic when thing are out of the norm in any way, shape, or form, has been needy, but less so than I expected.)

So.  A weekend of stress here.  But I’m hoping Sam’s on the mend and will make a major turn for the better in the next day or so.

Sigh.  I never should have thought about the joy of healthy cats…


  1. All the best for the poor little guy. Have you ever thought about giving the cats raw food? (BARF or ready made minced meals) We’ve been doing this for years now, ever since my friend and colleague who had 7 cats at that time, all different ages and 6 of them had kidney problems. They only ever got dry food, with lots of cereals in it. I now have 9 happy and healthy cats. They still get a little bit of high meat content canned food and dry food (both without cereals.) . I know raw food isn’t the answer to all problems, but it might be worth it to see if it’s an idea for your cats?

    Take care and have an amazing New Year!!

    • Thanks for taking the time to reply! Alas, Sam is a very picky eater – I can’t convince him to eat any human food. I suspect a raw diet would fall in that category of Oh My God, You’re Trying To Poison Me! We’ll see, though. If that’s what he needs to survive, we’ll transition him slowly or … something! He seems to be feeling much better, but his litter box activities aren’t quite back to normal… (I’ve been told it can take 1-2 weeks for normalcy to return…)

      And happy new year to you!

  2. My sympathies. We ran into the same issue at one time or another with both of our most recent male cats some years back. Happily, both of them were willing to eat the special low-ash cat food we bought from the vet. It was called Hill’s Science Diet, if memory recalls.

    Actually, at first the older cat, Solomon, refused to eat it, so we ended up supplementing his diet with canned food – Friskies Special Diet (Purina), which is also low ash, designed for urinary tract health. Eventually he started eating the dry again, but we never did stop giving him the canned.

    Nowadays we have two beautiful little girl cats, twins about nine months old. After our experience with males, we definitely wanted females. We just about had a heart attack when the vet thought one of the “girls” was actually a “boy”, but it was a false alarm. (Whew!)

    At any rate, I hope things work out for you guys.

    Bob Shepard from Denver

    P.S. I had this momentary thought of putting dead mice in a blender, for a truly all-natural diet. Then sanity reasserted itself.

    • I’ve heard good things about Hill’s.

      As for whether health care is easier for girls or boys when it comes to cats, girls are probably easier (although spaying is much more invasive than neutering!) All of my female cats have been *personalities*, and all of my male cats have been sweet, easy-going boys. (They’ve also been a bit on the dumb side of the feline fence, but I’ve never held that against them 🙂 )

      As for blending mice, no thanks! 🙂

  3. The bigger of the girls is a lynx-point Siamese (a Siamese/tabby blend), and is turning into a big teddy bear. Very even-tempered, just like our male cats were.

    The smaller one is a brownish-grey tabby, and definitely has a “personality”. Somewhat volatile. Gets jealous if we spend too much time lavishing attention on her sister. Goes over and makes like she’s going to shred the furniture, or rips shreds out of the scratching posts. We’ll have to replace them soon.

    That’s taken some getting used to. Our previous generation of cats, dating back to the 1980’s and 90’s, were all declawed, but nowadays that’s frowned on.

    The issue of spaying being more invasive was definitely something we thought of, but 24 hours after their surgery they were literally bouncing off the walls. I guess they know what’s appropriate behavior and what isn’t.