Having a cat with bladder problems can be very disheartening for both you and the cat. It all started for us earlier this year with our sweet baby boy Aspen. The first sign that something was wrong is he started peeing everywhere, especially on the bed. When we finally took him to the vet they said he had crystals and that it could be caused by stress or by the solid cat food that we had been feeding him from Costco, the Kirkland brand. He had oxylite crystals, which were the ones that do not dissolve on their own. We had to give him relaxing and pain medication to try and make him as comfortable as possible while trying to pass them through. We also immediately stopped feeding him the dry food, as the vet recommended and started feeding him C/D urinary care, wet food and that we will pretty much have to keep him on this food for the rest of his life. This food is meant to balance his pee PH level, and reduce crystal build up.
We kept him on this diet, he passed the crystals, and everything seemed to go back to normal for a couple of months. Then all of a sudden he started peeing every were again and was dribbling all over the house, he would go into the litter box and be in there for minutes trying to pee and only droplets would come out. We took him to a different vet this time, and found out that his crystals had turned into stones and one large sized one was stuck in the bladder and a line of small stones were stuck in his urethra, so they had to stick a catheter in to remove the urine for him. We at this time were informed that the first vet we had taken him too, missed a couple of extra steps that they could have taken in order to prevent this from happening! They told us he was crystal free but clearly he wasn’t because it was about the appropriate amount of time for the crystals to have turned into stones. Yes, of course I am outraged about that!
So because of the severity of the situation he needed to go into surgery for a cystotomy ASAP, the question of the matter at that point was how to go about doing the surgery. Our vet was uncomfortable performing the surgery because what they needed to do was try and push the row of stones in his urethra back into his bladder, then go into his bladder and collect all of them. The sensitive part about this whole surgery though was if they damage his urethra since it was already inflamed and sensitive from the catheter they had previously stuck in him. And if they weren’t successful and able to push the stones back into the bladder then they needed to do an emergency surgery and perform whats called a perineal urethostomy aka PU surgery and change his male parts into female parts because female cats have a shorter urethra which also has a wider hole to pee out of.
This was a rough couple of weeks for all of us because these surgery’s were about to cost us a small fortune, literally. Not to mention finding out your cat is in this much pain and then the kind of surgery they were about to perform was intense to say the least. Since our vet didn’t feel comfortable performing the cystotomy because she doesn’t know how to perform a PU surgery we had to take him to a pet hospital which costs even more. We found a great one in Kaneohe though called Feather and Fur and everyone there was very helpful and nice. The vet tech there was confident they could push the stones back into the bladder and extract them without having to perform the PU surgery which for me was such a relief to hear. They did let us know though that even if they do the surgery and are successful that its not a permanent guarantee, so if it happens again putting him to sleep would be an option or to have the PU surgery done. We were confident though that if we keep him on the proper diet that he won’t have to get another surgery.
The cystotomy was a success and all of the stones were removed. He had to stay in the hospital for 3 nights but we were able to go visit him, we even took Milo up there to go say hi. Milo tried to hide the whole time though and poor Aspen was so loopy and stumbling everywhere, he was also still getting used to his cone, which he absolutely hated. One of the nights we stopped in as we were leaving he let out the loudest, saddest meow we had ever heard. Aspen never ever meows so I of course instantly burst into tears.
The vet recommended keeping him confined for the next 2 weeks while he had the staples in and monitor him because he couldn’t do any jumping or get anxious. so why he was in the hospital we went and bought him a new fuzzy blanket for him to nurse on while recovering, he loves fuzzy blankets. We also bought a large size wired dog kennel and set it up next to our bed, because he sleeps with us every night we knew we had to still have him next to us, we even decorated it with white Christmas lights, and we had to cut up newspaper to put in side a small litter box for him inside of the kennel.
When we brought him home, he still hated his cone and come to find out he hated being in the kennel even more. We even played on you tube cat relaxing music to try and get him to calm down, I want to think it helped. The first night was very rough for all of us, he meowed,once again this was unusual, he tossed and turned, kept biting the kennel, kicked out all of the newspaper out of the box which then all fell through the wired kennel and onto the floor, he also managed to get his arms stuck a couple of times trying to get the cone off.
My boyfriend and I were extremely good at recording his every move for the next 48 hours, every time he went to the bathroom, when we administered the medicine, when he slept, and even wrote down when he was cuddly. We are home a lot so we tried to let him out of the kennel as much as we could to make him more comfortable. About 2 days go by and he started straining again, so we rush him back to the vet, and he is already clogged again. This time because his urethra was so inflamed it was closed shut. They kept him for another 2 nights, which was even more stressful, a lot of questions, and a lot of tears, and a lot of money down the drain.
When we brought him home again, he was fine and 2 weeks later his incision healed perfectly, his staples were removed, the cone was off, and he was cage free.
So present day, today in fact, we took him to the vet because this last week he has been dribbling again around the house, and he has been peeing on everything! Come to find out our poor baby boy Aspen has an inflamed bladder, so inflamed that when the vet stuck a needle in to remove a urine sample she poked an inflamed blood vessel so for the rest of the day he has been peeing blood. She said to let them know if he doesn’t stop bleeding by Monday. She gave us pain medication to administer every 8-12 hours which is the most effective and an anti-inflammatory pill every 24 hours. Now these only come in a pack of 3 because they are so strong their bodies will need a break for awhile before you can give them more. Now if these solutions don’t relax his inflamed bladder, which she said was also very unusually hard there really isn’t much they can do for that so we might want to start considering putting him to sleep. Because a PU surgery wouldn’t be beneficial for an inflamed bladder, it might help his inflamed urethra but there is no surgery to fix a cats bladder.
Obviously this news after everything we already went through was like a bomb, I instantly started crying and felt sick to my stomach, I couldn’t even eat all day. Now that time has passed and I’ve relaxed from earlier, and Aspen is rolling around and being sweet, and he has been eating just fine and hasn’t lost any weight, I want to think he isn’t in as much pain as the vet perceived him to be in. But I am glad he has pain meds to help if he is. I really don’t want to think putting him down is our only option, I want to be optimistic and believe we can find a natural healing solution to calm his bladder and relax him.
In a previous blog I talked about pet calm, which I know does help him so we are going to administer that consistently, as well as adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar to some water and giving that to him, and we are looking for a house to move too where it will be much quieter than the place we live now. Also his scent won’t be in the new home so we are hoping that will help prevent him from still peeing everywhere. Please comment with any stories you have to share, experiences you have had, or if you can think of any solutions to help us out. I will do my best to keep you guys updated through this journey, and please keep him in your healing prayers. Mahalo!