>> Thursday, December 4, 2008
No, not the kind you're thinking.
Our kitty, Cassius, is very sick. After coming back from the Thanksgiving holiday, Jason wakes up on Monday to find him laying in his litter box. Not only is this weird and disgusting, it's really out of character for Cassius. We decide to take him to get a bath to get rid of the "ick" factor when petting him. He acted a little strange, so we searched for vomit, but luckily he spared us.
He did vomit while at the vet's and they gave him some anti-nausea medicine. When I got him home late in the afternoon, he vomited again. Cat vomit is not all that strange, so we decided to watch him. He tried to drink some water that night, but couldn't keep it down. But then again, water is hard to keep down on an empty stomach. Hangover memories anyone?
The next day, we called the vet and they made an appointment for the following morning at 8:30am (Wednesday). She said to watch him all day (Tuesday) and see how he is. He still looked bad in the morning, but by afternoon, we thought we could see some improvement. He was weak, which we attributed to not eating and drinking, but he was moving himself around a little. He also kept trying to go the bathroom. We didn't think that was a problem. We just thought he was dehydrated from not having any water. We planned to keep his vet appointment and take him in regardless.
Wednesday morning comes and Jason checks on him. Cassius' breathing is very shallow and he's not responding too much. He's awake, but not by much. He wouldn't even pick up his head when we tried to pet him. At this point, we knew we didn't have much time. It was 7:20am. I got out of the house by 7:30am and raced (as best I could in morning traffic) to the Emergency Pet Clinic. We didn't think he would make it to his 8:30am appointment. I arrive by 8:00am and bring him in. They immediately take him in and start to work on him.
Right away, the on-staff vet knew what was wrong with him. It is called Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease or FLUTD. Please read about it here. It's an infection of the urinary tract that results from a blocked urethra. In males, it's even more dangerous because their urethra is so long and narrow, it gets blocked easily. This is what happened to Cassius. Once it's completely blocked (i.e. can't pee), they have 24-48 hours to live. We think we were on the last part of the 48 hours.
When I was able to see Cassius, he was under a warming blanket because apparently he was hypothermic. He had a catheter inserted with blood coming out and an IV inserted to rehydrate him. He had a halo on so that he wouldn't try to take out the IV or catheter. He had several blood tests taken so he was shaved in weird places. He was sprawled out on a counter because he had no energy. The vet told me very bluntly that my cat was dying and he was going to try to save him. I nearly lost it at this point. I felt like the most horrible pet owner ever.
We were very lucky that the Emergency Pet Clinic had such a great staff on board. I arrived during their shift change, yet it didn't affect how they worked on Cassius. When I came to see him with Jason that afternoon, he was already looking better. He was more aware and was holding himself up. He was still out of it due to the anesthesia, but he looked a little more like himself. The vet told me that we were very lucky and that he was already doing better.
I visited him today and he was almost himself. He saw me as soon as I walked in and responded well to all the love I gave him. Everybody knows that Cassius is a sucker for pets. I called in the afternoon and the vet told me that they had removed his catheter and that he was urinating well. We expect him to be released sometime tomorrow. I will pick up Jason from the airport in an hour and go straight over to see him again.
What we've learned is that if your cat has trouble urinating, then you need to treat it as an absolute emergency. It will back up his/her system, putting their pH level out of whack and begin to shut down their body organs. We will most likely have to change his diet completely and not deviate from that. But if it keeps him healthy, it's worth it. Had we realized what a problem this was on Monday, we could've taken Cassius in and simply fed him some medication as an outpatient.
I never thought I'd be the person that would throw back $1500 on a vet bill, but as Jason said, "He's family and you can't put a price on that." So please keep this little guy in your prayers. He will appreciate it.