Tucker is in the hospital. He has a urinary blockage. When I woke on Sunday, my roly poly one was crying in an uncharacteristic manner, similar to how Tungsten cries when she’s about to throw up; Tucker rarely gives such warning. He was growly and trying to lick his private parts. I thought he may have been dirty, though that too is unusual for him. He was, in fact, adequately clean.
I was puzzled but not worried. As you may know from recent articles on this blog, Tucker has been having some litter-box issues. He was banned from the carpeted basement except under close supervision, and a litter-box brought upstairs. That put me in the position to watch him go into the box. This day, not a minute after he came out, he went back in. I thought that most strange, but I still thought there was nothing dangerous. I did believe that there may have been too much litter in the box. Tucker is a big sausage of a cat, and he may have had trouble positioning himself.
So I switched that litter-box for another and prepared to clean out the one Tucker just used, only to find that he had not used it. This was worrisome. I wrote an e-mail to a friend in the Lethbridge PAW Society, a rescue organisation with which I work. She advised me that it may be a blockage and that it can kill a cat within a day. So I called the veterinary clinic and took Tucker down there. His bladder, normally the size of a plumb was the size of a grapefruit. It was no wonder the little sausage was in so much distress.
He was sedated and a catheter put in to drain his bladder. That worked but it took a while for the blood to clear from his urine. After two nights in hospital he came home. He must have felt like he had to wet, because he made about thirty trips to the litter-box in ten minutes, though he couldn’t go. I was told this was not unusual.
I put Tucker in isolation with all the comforts he needed, and ‘soaker pads’ on the furniture, because for a while he would have no control over his bladder and would leak. He did wet a bit in the litter-box, which was encouraging. But that night, he did not go at all, though in the morning, he was energetic and interested in food. At noon, when I returned home to check on him, the situation was the same.
By 4.30 that afternoon, though, when I came back from work, he was in a bad way. He had not eaten, not used his litter-box and was lying on the floor, squeaking. He favoured one of his legs and kept trying to lick his bottom - all the same symptoms as on Sunday. He was blocked again.
He was taken to the hospital yesterday evening, and is there now. He is relaxed, I am told, and wetting through a catheter once more. What bothers me is that it seems that an adequate job was not done on him by the veterinarians the initial time. I was informed that recurrences of blockages are common; I did not receive a good explanation of why this is. If it is due to crystals forming in his bladder and urethra, I can think of only two explanations for a recurrence: the crystals grew again overnight (which seems incredible since they took eight years to form in Tucker’s bladder the first time) or they were not sufficiently flushed out the first time. Though the cost is secondary to his health, no one who has a pet can ignore the issue of money, and it seems as though the $1,000 I spent on Tucker’s first flushing was a waste. I can’t afford to subsidise the veterinary clinic to that amount every two or three days. I will demand a thorough explanation of Tucker’s condition when I visit him today.
I give all my cats what the veterinarians consider good food. I was told that in some cats, the propensity for crystals to form is simply greater than in others. Tucker has unluckily drawn a short straw in this case. I will have him on a special diet from now on. He won’t like it because one of his enjoyments in life is poaching from the other cats’ dishes when his is licked clean. But anything that will cause my roly poly to live a long and healthy life, I will do.