Monday, October 20, 2008

Feline Trouble


I've been taking a break from posting stuff because things are going on at a personal level. Along with moving out of my place at the Continental (downsizing to a small office across the street) and what that entails, I had a personal emergency. I awoke a couple days back to find Alexander, my "occi-tabby" (he's a tabby but has spots and a wild nature that reflects his former feral status) going to the litter box several times with little to no results.

I immediately recalled my cat Tigger who I had for some 11 years before I lost her. She too had these problems evacuating and at the time I was ignorant of the importance of these warning signs. Cats are susceptible to urethra blockage where crystals will form in their urine and block their urethral tubes. Male cats especially are susceptible to this. Having lost a cat to this medical problem through ignorance on my part, I never want anything like this to happen to any animal in my care ever again.

Cats who have this problem can die of kidney failure within days if left untreated. No one knows what causes this problem but usually it's less likely if you feed your pets special food. We have in the past fed the cats Science Diet Indoor formula which the cats both like. When the melamine scare occurred we were fortunate, but eventually did switch the cats' food to Trader Joe's canned cat food and Nutro Max Complete Cat Indoor Formula. This was so that we'd be more likely to order local if need be. We live downtown after all, and so saving gas and buying locally from one of the downtown pet food providers seemed like something we wanted to pursue.

So back to Alexander and his frequent Litter Robot visits: I kept an eye on him but then had to take care of something and then left Sean to watch him. After doing some online research and observing Alexander he agreed with me something was off. A neighbor referred us to the VCA in Arroyo Parkway who wasn't able to take Alexander but suggested we keep calling around til someone said yes. It is that important!

Fortunately a search of the American Association of Feline Practioners gave us another options -- TLC Pet Medical Center in South Pasadena -- and they said they would be able to see Alexander.

Immediately I put him in his carrier and we drove over to be seen as a walk-in emergency (non-critical). Alexander is a sweetheart (those who've met him) with a mean streak.. and going to the vet his most vicious nature comes out.. No one at the vet would imagine this little guy was the same fuzzy fellow that prefers to eat out my hand, walks around on his hind legs like a meerkat, wakes me up at 630am without fail and gets very upset if his cat-mom is out of view and LOVES playing hide & pounce with his big sister Kiki. He was frightened & mad.

Alexander Bunny at a random "calm" moment at the Vet.

So saying all this we were very fortunate to get him into one of these little acrylic boxes so they could anesthetize him and run tests without him ripping their arms off in the best cat impression of a German Shepherd in K-9 mode.

Alexander has a shoe fetish & loves chewing on a random sandal.

We left him to be poked & tested and had lunch at a local place in SoPas and when we were called back it turns out we had one lucky cat. While his tubes aren't blocked, he does have crystals (our vet said after performing a feline ultrasound the inside of his bladder looked "like a snow globe" after gently rocking him on the examination table).

He was given a shot of penicillin and prescribed some liquid antibiotics to take orally 2x daily. Along with this we were advised to change his diet to the Science Diet C/D which is for lower urinary tract health. While we haven't been able to shoot the medicine in his mouth we were given permission to stick it in his food, so I'm doing that and hoping that he'll see some relief soon. It's only been one & a half days, so there's about 14days til we need to take him back in. The last couple days have been overwhelming but the food seems to be going over well with Alexander (Kiki doesn't like it!) which does a lot to relieve the stress of giving the medicine. He's settled down a lot and that will do a lot for him to recover, I think.

Anyone who has cats need to be sensitive to what you're feeding them, especially male cats. I know first-hand what happens if you ignore or mis-diagnose these things. (cats who eliminate outside the litterbox aren't naughty, it could be stress or something new or like with Alexander a very dangerous health problem).

LEARN MORE on urethral obstruction in cats.


Li said...

I hope your oci-tabby feels better soon! I had a problem with my calico girl, Chula. It turned out that we were feeding the cats too much tuna. Her older brother, Archie, was fine with it but Chula got pretty sick. We cut out the tuna and now she's fine.

Our cats love the C/D food--I can't believe your cat doesn't like it! We joke around and call it kitty crack.

Big City Poz said...

I've always been impressed by the loving, outstanding care you give your cats. This is just another example of you doing the right thing by them.

I've never seen Alexander's mean streak, though. The times I've been with him, he has always been a perfectly charming gentleman. Kiki, however, totally snubbed me and gave me major attitude.

I hope Alexander heals fast. I'm sure this has been stressful for all involved.

shannon said...

glad your boy is feeling better. lizard got that when he was only 2 years old, he had to have surgery so maybe technology changed since the early 90's.

later in his life i had to deal with his constant constipation. fun! hopefully you'll never have to go through that ordeal. if it doesn't come out one end it will come out the other!!

meekorouse said...

hey everyone! thanks for the kind comments! =) It's slow going over here.

Li: are you feeding your cats the chicken or seafood? They don't usually eat seafood flavor catfood but when I've gotten it before, Kiki has liked it. This stuff she doesn't care for at all! I'm hoping next time we'll pick up the chicken flavor.

Kiki isn't eating enough and Alexander is eating a LOT (so long as I hand feed it to him)

Joe: Alexander turns into the Tasmanian Devil I was saying earlier tonight when you try to pick him up or touch him in a way he doesn't like. He starts screaming bloody murder just putting him in a towel (to hold him while his legs thrash and claw) You have NO idea how glad I am I can put his medicine in the catfood!

& as far as Kiki she acted like that w/ Eric R. (skidrowdude) she's very shy w folks.. I don't know why she ran from you! I told her how nice you are!

Shannon: I wanted to say the other day (the shootdowntown meet-up) how sorry I was to hear about your cat. I lost my 11yr old cat Tigger in 1990 to a UTI. I didn't know about these things. I am fairly sure she had blockage. Alexander (according to the vet) doesn't have blockage yet but crystals irritating the lining of his bladder and if left on it's own we're sure blockage would occur. We caught it early.. otherwise, yes, there would be surgery in his future. Also with younger cats (like the formerly 2yr old Lizard) surgery is more likely.. Alexander is 7yrs old so they were able to get the catheter in there under light anesthesia.

I'm keeping watch over him as much as can be, he's my special little cat. (Kiki is special too but she's not so needy). ;)