I have been a nervous wreck, stricken with dread, anxiety, and sadness. In early to mid-September, Roadside began to show signs of urinary issues. Spending a lot of time in the litter box, peeing outside the litter box, etc. I took him to the vet and he of course had struvite crystals in his urine. In order to prevent a urethral obstruction, he was prescribed medication and a prescription diet to help dissolve the crystals. It’s a fairly common illness for male cats, although terrible.
After a week of medication, he was doing great. I figured the food was working well and things would resolve after all. Well, last Thursday, October 4th, he suddenly began to show these symptoms again. This time it was very sudden and he seemed more distraught than before. The next day, I took my kids to school, called the vet and rushed him over there.
Much to my extreme dismay, he was “blocked”. A veterinary term for having a urethral obstruction. It is a medical emergency that is fatal very quickly if not treated. And while it’s “easy” to fix, it’s extremely expensive, and not always perfect. I say easy, but things are not always black and white.
When I worked as a veterinary technician, having a blocked cat come in was like the epitome of emergencies. Sometimes people could afford treatment, and sometimes they couldn’t. Some cases were easier than others. I always told myself that if it were to ever happen to me, I’d be forced to select euthanasia anyways because there’s no way I can afford the treatment.
And now here I am with a blocked cat. I sat in the exam room with him and I was completely beside myself. I can choose to have a urinary catheter placed and a chance to save his life. A “chance”. I say chance because he could get another obstruction in a few days. The estimate is $1100, for initial treatment. I’m offered a payment plan as well, if I like. I definitely don’t have $1100, but my heart cannot say no. I don’t think I’ve loved any other animals as much as I love this cat.
So after much deliberation, I opt for treatment and a catheter is placed and he’s hospitalized. The next day, Saturday, I learn that the catheter also got blocked overnight and they had to flush it to clear it up. He’s also in acute kidney failure, which happens when the urine backs up into the kidneys. That can go away though with time. He also has a lot of sediment in his bladder. It’s described as being incredibly sludgy, sandy, and gritty.
He continues to stay hospitalized over the weekend. Sunday night, his catheter as pulled as they are only left in for 2-3 days. Monday, I’m told he’s doing well and I can pick him up after 3pm. Shortly before 3pm, I get a call. He’s blocked again and the doctor is having a hard time getting a catheter in due to all the crud in his urethra. I drive up to the hospital prepared for the worst. However, another doctor at the clinic was able to pass the catheter.
Since they already have the catheter in place, I decide to go for round 2 and let him stay in the hospital for longer. And here I am today, a complete emotional mess over the whole thing. I did get to see him yesterday for a few minutes, and plan to visit him again today. Yesterday, he had just woken up from anesthesia so he was completely out of it.
And that’s where we are now. I know I’ve been in a blogging funk lately, but I just wanted to share what’s going on with everyone. Like I said, it helps to write it down and talk to someone. Something I definitely need right now, so thanks for listening.
Also, a huge thanks to my good friend and veterinarian, Lisa. She’s amazing and has gone above and beyond for us.