There are all sorts of cat health problems you should look out for but I’m going to tell you about this one because I had recent personal experience with it and it was very bad news for our six year old boy cat, Rafiki, usually called Raffers. I hope that what I write will help someone else to recognise the symptoms or if not, then to help with the treatment of a beloved cat.
The unfortunate thing about cat health problems is that often, there aren’t any really obvious symptoms.. If a cat has sickness or diarrhoea or is coughing then you know there’s something wrong but many times your only clue is a change in behaviour.
In this case, Raffers seemed to be eating and drinking normally and going outside as he usually would. We noticed that some of the plant pots in our front porch had been dug up quite vigorously (there was soil all over the step) but blamed that on young Scruffy, who is a hooligan at the best of times.
Eventually, after a day or so, we realised that Raffers was just lying around on the front door mat and hardly moving. We brought him into the house and provided a litter tray which he went to straight away, scratched around a lot and appeared to be peeing but nothing happened. That set off alarm bells so we rushed him to the vet (after hours the day before a public holiday, naturally) and the vet immediately diagnosed a kidney stone stuck in his ureter (the tube which leads from the kidney to the bladder) hence he was unable excrete urine at all.
The vet did an emergency operation laparascopically to remove the stone by breaking it into smaller pieces (I think). He then inserted a catheter, tied on a collar to stop Raffers from trying to remove it and we were able to take him home just about an hour later. The vet had warned us that if things didn’t go smoothly, it could take up to four hours so we were relieved.
Ongoing treatment involved washing out the bladder twice daily using a small syringe and sterilised water. The urine leaked constantly from the catheter so to stop it going everywhere, we borrowed a cage from our local cat charity and lined it with newspaper, a towel for comfort all covered with a human bed protector bought from the pharmacy. The bed protector needed changing about three times a day but it was a bit big for the cage so Raffers became quite adept at folding over the damp bit and using a dry part to lie on. We let him out of the cage to use his litter tray for defecating and for exercise. Fortunately, we have tiled floors so the leakage from the catheter could easily be wiped up. It would be a different matter for carpets!
As well as the bladder washing, we had to try to keep Raffers clean as he couldn’t clean himself because of the collar. For this we used baby wipes. He never really look dry round his rear end but it was the best we could do.
Every few days we went back to the vet for antibiotic injections and after ten days or so, the vet removed the catheter. The collar could go too but we had to keep Raffers in for another ten days so there was no risk of infection; we didn’t use the cage any more though as he wasn’t incontinent and could clean himself properly so he just sat on the sofa as usual.
All was well when we returned to the vet for Raffers’ check up and he was given a clean bill of health. but barely two hours later, we noticed that he couldn’t stand up. Literally, his back legs had given way.