|Jinx (sitting) and Max (lying down)|
First off, I'm blaming myself, because the stress of being left with an unfamiliar pet sitter may have led to this, according to the vet. But it's unrealistic to never take a family vacation, and we've certainly gone away before in the two years since we adopted a pair of brothers named Max and Jinx. This isn't the first time we've had someone stay at the house, either, since we also have a high-maintenance (read: timid/fear-aggressive/high energy part-border collie) rescue dog. But this time, I guess a combination of factors led to Max's illness, which has been diagnosed as FLUID, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.
We arrived home late Friday night, around midnight, and the cats seemed fine...although I didn't spend a lot of time with them since I was exhausted. The next morning all seemed basically okay, and the cats were excited to go out in the yard for the first time in a week, since the pet sitter did not want to let them outside while she was responsible (understandable...I wish the two cats were happy indoors all the time, but they are not, and we compromise by allowing them out for a few hours a day. Somehow this actually works and they don't go far).
But when Max came in, he didn't want any food, which is very unusual. Both of them usually eat quite a bit. As the night wore on, I noticed he still wasn't eating much, although with two cats, it's sometimes hard to tell who is doing what--especially in terms of litter box activity. But Max did let out a few plaintive meows, when normally he's much less vocal than his brother.
In the morning, I couldn't find him, and my husband just assumed he was sleeping in one of our sons' rooms. But at that point I had pet-mom's intuition, and I absolutely knew something wasn't right. I raced around the house, looking in all the regular hiding spots, terrified I would find a worst-case scenario. I finally found him someplace he never is, lying against a wall behind a table in the basement, and when I touched his abdomen, he mewled in pain.
Of course this would happen on a Sunday, when our beloved regular vet is not in, so I raced Max to the closest 24-hour Animal Hospital, which was still a half-hour away. It was $500 to even get in the door, but my gut was telling me this was an emergency, and I was right. I told the front desk I felt like he might have a bladder infection, since I remember one of our childhood cats having similar symptoms. They said that absolutely is an emergency and whisked him away. But it was even more serious than an infection--he had a complete blockage, which meant he was unable to urinate at all. Left untreated, he would die.
The first line of treatment was to prepare him to be catheterized, so they sedated him and also administered medication for the pain. I was able to see him after that, and he appeared very calm for a cat who is usually quite skittish. But I think he knew he was getting help, and certainly the drugs already flowing into his legs were helping. I gave him a kiss and said goodbye.
|Max and Jinx - Jinx and I and the rest of the family |
can't wait for him to get home
The vet will work to eliminate the blockage and drain his bladder tonight, while also checking blood work and urine for infections. Best case scenario is that Max will be able to urinate on his own tomorrow, after the catheter is removed, and I can bring him home in the afternoon. A diet change may help to keep this from happening again, but apparently he will always be susceptible.
I don't want to think about anything beyond best case right now, but worst-case involves kidney damage, which would be awful. From the initial tests, his levels are off-the-charts (bad), but that could come down with time if there's no permanent damage. I also can't think about the already enormous bill, because I love my pets and there's no question I have to do whatever I can to help him, even if it causes some hardship in other areas for a while.
So all I can do at the moment is wait to hear, and say some prayers, and ask for prayers or good thoughts from anyone stopping by. I'll post updates at the bottom once I get any. And now I'm off to scour the internet for more information and the best ways to keep this from happening again. Thanks for any healing prayers you can send!