The 9 Lives of Whiskie: Life 1-2 1/2: Urinary Crystals, A Freak Allergic Reaction to Antibiotics and Loss of about ¼ of a tongue
Whiskie was the sweetest, most dickish cat I ever had. He was cat number 2. We found him downstairs outside my grandma’s building. He was an orange tabby about 6 months old with dirty looking ears. We brought him home in 1990 when I was 10. I carried him everywhere. He was easy going, loved attention and made the perfect air guitar. He was also my most expensive cat that almost died a lot but lived to 19 ½. Till this day we joke he really liked to test his lives out. He used about 7 1/2. This story counts for about 2 ½ lives.
Whiskie was a really healthy cat for 10 years. We brought him to the vet for annuals and everything was fine. One day we find him straining in his litter pan. That was an odd thing for him, never had any issues. He was a sweet, playful, happy go lucky guy that never complained about anything. Since this was odd behavior for him we brought him to his vet.
A check up, blood work, and a urinalysis later, we find out he has urinary crystals. There are two types: Struvite and Oxalate. I don’t remember which one he had, it was a really long time ago. I do remember we followed the vet’s advice, we changed his diet and put him on antibiotics. They advised us to keep an eye out for straining, meowing or howling while peeing. If it looks like it hurts, that could mean he is blocked and you don’t want them to block. A bladder can burst and that is very bad.
One day Whiskie was howling and we raced him to the vet to find that he was blocked. They unblock him, give him back to me and he re-blocks a few days later and they unblock him again. What I didn’t know at the time was that when a pet is blocked, the catheter should stay in them for 24 hours or they will re-block again and that is exactly what happened to Whiskie. I found that out a month and a half later when I went to a new vet after several trips to my old local vet and a stay at the emergency hospital.
I’ve also heard that sometimes when they are blocked and you go in to unblock it, that can also make the bladder burst if it isn’t done correctly. You can read more about it here under Emergency Treatment for Serious Cases. Overall it’s a very informative article on bladder issues. http://yourownvet.com/bladder-problems-in-cats/
Life 2- 2 1/2
After being on antibiotics for almost 3 weeks he started to breathe funny. Like he was heaving, breathing slower and deeper. I brought him back to his local vet. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. Gave him an antibiotic injection and sent us home. A few hours later Whiskie is breathing with his mouth open and his tongue is swollen. We race to the emergency hospital. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. Several emergency vet specialists look at him and they keep asking over the course of 3 days, “Has he licked anything caustic?” I keep telling them no and I ask if it could be some kind of allergy because he was a pig but only with food. The house cleaners were in a cupboard that he never went near. He was released to my care with more antibiotics, a mouthwash, a hard Elizabethan cone with a Naso-esophageal Tube.
Since they couldn’t figure out what was going on his tongue, it swelled to the point where it hung out of his mouth and he couldn’t eat. I was told his tongue may sloth off if it dries out and doesn’t shrink back to normal size. If his tongue disappears we can get him a feeding tube but that one will be on his side (gastrostomy tube).
I’m desperate at this point and think my cat is going to die. Phil from Whiskers the Holistic Pet Food Store in the East Village and Anita Frazier from The New Natural Cat Book recommend Dr. Jill Elliot a homeopathic and traditional vet. (After having her as my vet for 10 years, I now work for her. She’s been my boss for the past 5 ½ years. I work with her part time.*)
Years later, Dr. Elliot tells me that Whiskie was her first complicated case after becoming a homeopath. I know not everyone is into homeopathy but I was desperate and thought my cat may die so I figured what the hell I have nothing to lose. So I went with it.
Whiskie was taken off antibiotics after Dr. E really thought about it (conventionally antibiotics should be used to prevent infection and she was worried about taking him off it but she recognized he was allergic to something and he had already been on 3 types (No longer recall which ones). We used a chamomile and goldenseal tea mouth wash we made at home with her supervision, gave him a cranberry supplement called Cranberry Comfort we bought through her (since he had a feeding tube I bought nonalcoholic herbal tinctures of the ingredients in the cranberry supplement.), he was given a homeopathic remedy in the office for an allergic reaction and another remedy to take home. Can’t remember what remedies anymore. The next day he is more relaxed. Tongue is still swollen and eventually ¼ slothed off. Victor suggested Vaseline to keep it most. We used vitamin E oil instead but it was a very good idea Victor had – it saved the rest of his tongue from drying out and slothing off.
Thankfully after a few more weeks of TLC, Whiskie got better with most of his tongue intact and a new “I kicked Death’s ass attitude.” After this whole thing my sweet, easy going cat became a brand new cat. Once he had a tiny “Mew” that became a giant “Mo” and he became more alpha with each brush of death.
Eating with a bit of tongue missing is a messy business! ;)
General things to keep an eye out for (overall health):
1. Peeing in strange places.
2. Pooping in strange places.
5. Weight loss, especially when it’s sudden weight loss
6. Sudden weight gain
7. Not looking as bright and alert
For this post, we’ll address Urinary Tract Infections and Urinary Crystals.
Things to look for:
1. If you see straining in the litter pan. Like they are straining to pee and little to nothing comes out.
2. If you notice your cat is running to the pan frequently.
3. Peeing in strange places.
4. Blood in urine.
5. If your cat gets vocal while urinating
6. Acting like he/she is constipated in the box.
7. If you notice their urethra is blocked or partially blocked its crystals. (For my cats it looked like a plug at the tip of their penis). GO TO YOUR VET RIGHT AWAY.
* I’m not a vet, not even a vet tech. I’m a holistic assistant/front desk for a 1 person practice. I really love animals and have had 16 cats over the years.