October 29, 2014

Errands, With a Cat (FLUTD)

We have two orange tabby cats in the house. Collins and Colby are brothers, the only two kittens in the litter. They're the same color, but they are very different. Colby is afraid of his own shadow and will hide under the couch for two days when we have company. Collins is king of the house, he's grumpy and he's FAT.

Symptoms of feline urinary tract infections.

He's significantly bigger than any of my cats, both indoors and outdoors. He rivals Garfield of comic-strip fame. I think he gets fat on air. He, Colby and Tink eat a quality dry cat food. I can't really cut down on Collins' food amounts because Colby and Tink have to eat too.

Over the weekend I realized that Collins was spending a lot of time in the litter box. I cleaned the box and kept an eye on things for the rest of the day. Not much was "happening". Monday morning I found urine tinged with blood in the bathtub.

I've had a lot of cats in my life, and I've done a lot of research on this particular topic over the years for articles for cat magazines; these are classic signs of a cat with a urinary tract infection.

Symptoms of feline urinary tract infections
Collins often investigates my projects; you've seen him in many photos.

Monday morning I called my vet and was given an appointment later in the day. I had errands that had to be done. There wouldn't be enough time to do those and come home for the cat before his appointment, so he went with me. We did an abbreviated version of the errands so that he didn't have to stay in the car alone, and arrived at the vet's office during their lunch break. I put the carrier under a tree and sat next to him to wait.

When the vet and his assistants returned from lunch, Collins was diagnosed with a UTI, just as I suspected. I'm supposed to give him half a pill every day. The vet warned me that the drug makes cats drool, and yes, it does. He also warned me that Collins will hate me before it's over, but Collins has never really been fond of me anyway.

This drug comes in both pills and liquid, and the vet said "pills are usually easier". I beg to differ. I wish I'd followed my gut instinct and asked for the liquid. Cats have teeth and don't like it when you try to push a bitter pill down their throats. After Collins spit it out twice the next morning, bloodied my hand with a claw and bit my fingers, I crushed the pill into a powder, added a bit of water, and syringed it into his mouth while containing the sharp parts of him in a bath towel. That was fun.

Symptoms of feline urinary tract infections
The original Grumpy Cat.

The vet asked me if we have rural water at home, if it's high in calcium, and if we drink it ourselves. I said I don't know if the calcium level is high, and that we filter the water that we drink. He suggested that we filter the cats' drinking water too. Calcium oxalate is one of the two most common minerals that cause feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).

Although some cats show no symptoms, the usual signs of FLUTD are difficulty and pain when urinating, increased frequency, and blood in the urine. Some cats will urinate outside the litter box and often prefer a cool, smooth surface such as a tile floor or bathtub.

FLUTD occurs most often in middle-aged, overweight cats that get little exercise, use a litter box, have little or no access to the outdoors, and eat a dry diet. That describes Collins to a T.


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12 comments:

  1. I so feel you on the matter of pilling cats.

    I also have a funny story behind the feelings, hehe.

    My veterinarian happens to also be my childhood best friend. So it's not uncommon for her to give us help at home that she wouldn't necessarily do for her clients.

    I don't remember what exactly we had to give the cat medicine for (a few years ago), but it was a pill.

    My husband and I tried to get it down the cat's throat. No avail. I am not a stranger to shoving pills down cats, so the fact that I couldn't get it on my own should have been a big clue.

    About 20 minutes, a towel-cat-burrito, a few bites, and pinning-the-cat-down-with-my-full-body-weight later... we finally got the pill down her throat. Well. Most of the pill.

    And my best friend looked at me and said "So. I'll put 'injections only' on her file on Monday." and I said "... that would probably be for the best."

    So yeah. That cat does not get pills. Ever.

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  2. Oh Rebekah, that's so funny! Yes, I can relate. I've never had this much trouble with a cat before. We did the towel-cat-burrito this morning, and I still have a new puncture wound on my leg.

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  3. Oh Lord, we have a cat. His name is "Badcat". He has no manners and is such a pil, but we love him anyway. I feel your pain, lol. Gotta love 'em. :)

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  4. They can sure be difficult, can't they, Bobbi?

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  5. Kathi, for UTI's, our vet now uses an injectable form of an antibiotic that lasts for 10 days. One injection is all it takes. No pills, no liqiids. I forget the name of the antibiotic, but could find out if you like. I have several very old cats with multiple medical problems, so UTI's happen here, and we've already had 2 of them successfully treated for UTI's in this way.

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  6. Janet, yes, thank you, I would like to know. If he has to go back to the vet - and I don't think he's improving so it's likely we'll have to go back - I'd like to be armed with the information. Thank you.

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  7. I never knew that water could cause FLUTD - it makes sense now I think about it. We haven't had a problem since I massively reduced my kitties dry food intake. Fluff monster insists on her dry food though so I can't remove it entirely.

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  8. Purfylle, I'm glad you've been able to "fix" your cat's problem. It would be easier if I had just one indoor cat. The other two have to eat, and poor Collins doesn't tolerate canned food well either. I'm going to have to figure something out.

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  9. Yes giving pills to cats is difficult. I do hope your kitty is feeling better soon.

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  10. Thank you, Ida. This cat in particular!

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  11. I'm glad you figured out whats wrong with him! I use those pill pocket things for cat medicine. It's like a cat treat that you sort of squeeze around the pill to form a ball. The cat eats it like a treat. Once in awhile my Trixie would spit the pill out and I'd have to try again....but at least there are no claws involved! lol

    Hope he feels better soon!
    ~L

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  12. Lisa, it's good to know that those pill pockets will work with cats. They might not with THIS cat - what a pain he is! - but I will keep them in mind when my others need meds. Thank you!

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