Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pity the Kitty

(Or more than you might want to know about the output end of one of our cats...maybe a bit TMI if you are squeamish. Be forewarned.)

This week started out with an appointment at the Veterinarians first thing Monday morning. As you may guess or know from your own experience, it's never a good way to start the week.

Kitty the Younger is also known as the Houdini as she likes to position herself to scoot through the outside doors, especially when I am entering or exiting. So far she's been pretty easy to round up (especially with the help of our dog - perhaps she's spent a little too much time with the Aussie-Doodle next door given her herding skills?), but given that late this summer / early this fall I may not be quite so up to chasing her and that with visiting parents who despite being warned and careful about entry and exit might miss an escape*, DH and I had discussed updating her shots in the event that she does have an opportunity to explore outside for a while. After an allergic reaction to the rabies/distemper combo landed Kitty the Elder in the Emergency Vet as a young cat, we have not pursued those for him, and had followed in the same pattern for her. But that's not what happened on Monday.

On Monday, wait, let me back up a day...okay...On Sunday, we noticed that she was paying a great deal more attention than usual to cleaning her hind parts, but I (at least) chalked it up to a little digestive trouble and figured it would sort itself out. Well, Monday morning we noticed that she was making rather frequent visits to the kitty box, and as DH was cleaning the box he noticed that immediately outside the box were some small puddles of what looked like urine mixed with blood. Furthermore, before he could return the lid to the kitty box, but after the new litter had been filled, she hopped in and spent several minutes obviously straining to produce. The end result was a tiny little spot of damp on the litter. This was the last straw in the decision to bring in medical care.

Of course, when I went down to the basement to retrieve the travel carrier she pulled a Houdini and slipped down the stairs ahead of me. Fine. For once she proved easy to retrieve and I did so, tucking her to my side between my left arm and body as I went to grab the carrier. Well, it figures that as I turned from picking up the carrier, I tripped over the weight bar DH swears he'd use if there was a proper area in which to use it. (That was two years ago and several other large scale projects ago. Intent and action are not working together to convince me that he really wants to use it.) Well, as may be expected, with the cat in one arm and the carrier in the other, something had to give. Houdini extricated herself from my grasp with the assistance of her claws (ouch.) and I managed to catch myself before going splat face first (a few scratches & a couple of bruises, thanks, but no lasting damage). Now that we've established Trauma #1 for Houdini, lets move on, shall we?

Based on prior experience, I tried to leave plenty of time to stuff Houdini in the carrier before departure. Apparently after suffering through Trauma #1, 10 minutes was not enough time to overcome a kitty so very determined to not suffer the additional indignity of entering said carrier. Her grasp and employment of the starfish position showed she had learned well. (Make this Trauma #2) Now running late, against my better judgment I grabbed the empty carrier, an extra towel, and the cat and hopped in the car to make the 10-15 minute trip.

It's fair to say she does not enjoy riding in a vehicle. (Make this Trauma #3) When we purchased her, the 3 hour trip home was a constant barrage of pitiful whines, moans, and yowls. But add the activity of a curious, climbing kitty to the mix and driving became a tad difficult. My shoulders, the dashboard, my lap, the steering wheel were all areas to be explored, in rotation. The one place she didn't want to explore, the carrier I had carefully positioned to have the open door facing me. She seemed to particularly enjoy the steering wheel apparently hoping I would allow her to pull a Toonces (link provided for those not watching SNL in the late 80's/early 90's). It was either during one of those times or when she was perched on my shoulder that I hoped oncoming drivers could see and only wonder what was going on... Of course, when I realized she had urinated on the steering wheel at some point in her cycling, it wasn't quite so cute. Thank goodness for that extra towel, and that she didn't go on me.

Finally we get there (isn't it strange how time compresses and expands at different rates?) and Houdini still wants nothing to do with the carrier. Go figure. Since I had been told to come in before the first appointment I took a chance and grabbed the cat and the aforementioned towel and headed in. Only to be way-laid on my way to the receptionist by someone a few cookies short of a package who was there with a family group and bored, so wanted to chat about my cat and my belly and finally got blown off as the cat squirmed and I barged past him to the receptionist.

(Gawd. Such a novel I am writing.)

Anyway - there was a new Vet. Whom I hope sticks around since he has a much better manner than the one I was fearing would be there, but who apparently left the practice since my last visit (yay!). And three options for the issue of many non or little productive visits to the box - (1) UTI, (2) Crystals/stones, or (3) a shifty little fucker called Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUT-D) which is the diagnosis of last resort when (1) & (2) have been ruled out. Oh, and my casual mention of the events of Sunday (the hind parts) turns out to be an equally fun diagnosis of slightly compacted anal glands. In the end, they need a urine sample to run the tests, and I make the unilateral decision to deal with the urinary side before addressing that the treatment for anal glands requires anesthesia. So, Houdini stayed with the Vet to hopefully produce enough urine for testing before they resort to a catheter, which also requires anesthesia. While there she also won the double prize of the 3-year rabies and yearly distemper shots. (Traumas #4 & 5)

Finally, she produced enough to test and wouldn't you know, the results came back with (3) FLUT-D the clear winner as the bacteria were behaving themselves and no crystals or stones appeared. Apparently, 50% of felines suffer from this at some point, some repeatedly and without obvious trigger. Yippee. It should clear up within 7-10 days, but the anal gland issues still remain and may require another visit (but hopefully they will clear up without intervention). So, after work I returned to the Vet's office, gratefully accepted their offer to stuff her in the travel carrier for the trip home, and melted my credit card paying the bill for the visit, the testing, the two vaccinations, and drugs of both the twice-daily antibiotic and as-needed pain remediation varieties. (Interesting side note: liquid Veterinary ammoxicillin smells exactly the same as human ammoxicillin, but is white instead of pink.)

Home we headed, where I was grateful to have had the kitty in the carrier as I soon discovered that the small towel inside had been christened during the short trip. After cleaning the carrier, I also made sure to spray the steering wheel thoroughly with the spray we keep for animal accidents in the house as I had noticed a faint cat pee odor already when I went out to grab lunch. But that's what you get in 90+ degree weather. Thankfully, despite another hot day, the odor seems to have been neutralized.

I think I mentioned at some point that we've resorted to shutting Kitty the Elder in the laundry room at night thanks to his never-ending talking and nocturnal movements disturbing our sleep? Anyway, both kitties spent the last couple of nights in there and went back in before I left for work this and yesterday morning as I left thanks to Kitty the Younger christening a corner of a rug Monday night instead of making it to the kitty box. At least I caught her in the act, and I very much hope she didn't hit any other areas of the floor when I wasn't looking. We just don't want to give her the opportunity during the day while DH & I aren't around.

Yesterday she was pretty lethargic, but appeared to be feeling a bit better this morning as she came to visit me upstairs in the bathroom after DH let them out this morning and took some time to check out the world beyond the windows. She's obviously not 100% but we'll take progress where we can see it.

So, that's why you should 'Pity the Kitty' as she isn't feeling so hot right now. Hopefully both issues will clear up quickly and she will return to her normal self without having to suffer any further Traumas.

Of course, Kitty the Elder (all fur, no brain) doesn't understand why she doesn't want to play with him...and is resenting all the extra attention she's getting. He's the one I worry about come the end of August - Kitty the Younger and the dog should be just fine.

*Funny story about this: one of our neighbors has a similarly colored cat who roams the neighborhood freely (I don't agree, but different strokes) and the last time my mother visited to help with / learn Bunco I warned her about the Houdini tactics of our kitty, so she had been very careful as she went in and out of the house. But I had forgotten to mention the neighbor's kitty, and while half-dressed, my mother saw what she thought was our kitty outside (our cat can be a bit of a loner so pinpointing her location at any given time isn't always easy), so made a frantic effort to dress and retrieve said kitty before getting close enough to realize it was not our kitty. Of course, on my mothers re-entry to the house, our cat comes casually strolling out of which ever hidden area she had been occupying while my mother thought she had slipped outside.


  1. you crack me up! :) Love your story telling! Hope the kitty feels better soon!

  2. Ohhhh you poor thing. Vet bills make my heart hurt. We have to take Oscar (scrap that. *I* have to take Oscar) for his yearly shots in the next few weeks - something I don't look forward to because a) he hates his carrier, b) it freaks him out WAY too much and c) I have to walk to the vet, which is a good thirty minutes with a 5kg cat. Dude. Hot!

    I haven't seen what he's like in a car yet.. because we don't have one here. But hey, think of the positives - at least Houdini doesn't have to put up with a 24 hour plane ride + 30 days of quarantine! More to come on that later.

    Hope she heals quickly and you get a break! xx

  3. Oh, poor thing! My cat had to deal with the crystals, so I know your pain. Funny thing, ever since that problem, he absolutely hates wet food. He wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. He literally backs away from it.

    I am also familiar with the Houdini manoeuvres (although we managed to outsmart him until now), and since we live in a flat, not a house, that makes it all more dangerous (at least in my mind). It makes me wonder how we will be able to get in/out with a pram under these conditions... Time will tell.

  4. Oh no. So glad you got Kitty the Younger to the vet and squared away. I have 2 kitties too and my older one is a nightmare, after also having suffered an allergic reaction to vaccines. Now the vet is like an all out war everytime we go. He has to be anesthetized for every little thing, even a simple yearly visit. So I hear ya on the credit card melting trips to the vet. A few weeks ago we dropped $700 to have his teeth cleaned!! So glad it doesn't cost nearly as much for mine. I hope your Little Kitty starts feeling better soon!! :)