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Otherwise I might be a lot more freaked out about having had to spend New Year's Eve at the emergency vet with Angus.

He refused food and was straining and producing a couple of drops of urine each time. I know urinary tract blockage is a serious condition for male cats so I took him to the emergency vet. But they couldn't find a blockage, so they took an X-ray. It turned out the problem was with the other sort of elimination - he was chronically constipated.

They gave him an enema. Then they had to wash him. Then when I got him home, I had to wash him some more. Poor guy. I also have to switch him to high fiber food now, or add pumpkin or metamucil to his food.

I had no idea how lucky I was with my cat Selkie, who never had a single health problem until the last couple years of her 12 years with me. Both of my cats have chronic problems now. At least Biscuit's vomiting episodes seem to be staying under control with application of allergy pills.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 1st, 2006 07:30 pm (UTC)
*whew*. glad angus is ok, though i am sure the washing hurt his dignity.
Jan. 1st, 2006 07:53 pm (UTC)

Poor Angus! I can't imagine what it would take to give a cat an enema, bathing Miss M at the moment is more than enough of a challenge.

We put pumpkin in our Affie's food to control his weight (he has elbow and hip dysplasia so we have to keep on top of it). The pumpkin is also insanely good for them. I just zap up a batch in the microwave every couple of days, keep it in the fridge and then mush it in to the mince (the mushing it in is the disgusting part).

Pats for Angus, I hope he's feeling more regular soon.
Jan. 1st, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, poor kitty. I hope the fiber keeps everything... er... running smoothly, as it were.
Jan. 1st, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, doesn't sound like the most pleasant way to spend an evening, but definitely good work on your part!

Good luck with changing his food -- we had a problem with Balor recently where he absolutely refused to eat Trader Joes catfood instead of his usual IAMS, so I hope things go easier for Angus in that regard.

I wonder if the "cats eating grass" thing happens often enough to add regular fiber to their diets, or if it's generally only a pretty rare event.
Jan. 1st, 2006 08:47 pm (UTC)
Poor Angus. That's something a cat just shouldn't have to endure. There's just no way to maintain the whole "I meant to do that" haughtiness.

Hope both ends of both kitties keep functioning within normal parameters this year :)
Jan. 1st, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC)
Seconding what others have said. As an omen for the new year it could be worse -- you were taking care of important business and improving someone's health. :)

Pumpkin as a laxative -- didn't know about that one. I hope he takes well to whatever you give him.

(offers a toast to the health of you and yours)
Jan. 1st, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC)
Poor Angus. :/ I'm glad they figured it out, though.
Jan. 2nd, 2006 01:23 am (UTC)
as you know, buster_kitten is chronically constipated. he also hates pumpkin :/ i have solved this issue. if Angus won't eat pumpkin/flavored foods, let me know and i'll write out various antidotes to get things moving again :)

i'm glad he seems like he's going to be OK. poor guy!

Jan. 2nd, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
I swear, angus and buster_kitten must be twins.

I would love to know about your antidotes, if it's not too much trouble to write out. Congrats on solving the problem!
Jan. 3rd, 2006 03:05 pm (UTC)
hi, sorry to come back ot this so late.

what i do is this:

i pre-mix fiber. so, i get like a 2 cup container. into it goes 1 tablespoon of psyllium. the rest is filled with water. mix well and keep in the 'fridge.

at feeding time, i mix 1-2 tablespoons of this particular mixture into Buster's food. if he's been dehydrated (like he has been lately), then i mix in a couple of extra tablespoons of plain water too. you can also use broth, but the vet told me to make sure that it does not have dehydrated onion in it, as that's bad for their kidneys. i was using "Imagine" brand organic chicken broth, so that wasn't a problem.

when he got stuck this last time, i would give him lots of water in his food, plus 2000 mg of flaxseed oil. i got (very cheaply) a big bottle of the 1000 mg capsules at the vitamin shop, and would squeeze them into the food. he didn't notice at all.

and he came unstuck right quick, too.

the main thing is fiber and water. the psyllium has no taste, so as long as it's mixed with meaty goodness, Angus shouldn't have too many issues with it.


Jan. 3rd, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks! That's really helpful!
Jan. 2nd, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
I'm glad to hear Angus is doing better. That's a scary, expensive, frightening trip.

Tell me more about allergy tablets for vomiting. Steve was good up until the beginning of December, but since his winter coat has come in, he's Mr.Vomit again. Not much hair in the vomit, so I don't think it is hairballs, often it is just a lot of food.

Thankfully, our kitties are both healthy (except for the vomit, which I take more as an annoyance).

Friends mentioned the _Bissell Spotbot_ at a party this week. It's an unattended spot cleaner that does a great job on pet fluids.
Jan. 2nd, 2006 07:38 am (UTC)
This time it wasn't terribly expensive, thank goodness.

Biscuit seems to have a problem with itchy skin that leads to overgrooming and repeated episodes where she vomits multiple times for as much as six or eight hours. There's never hair in it, but the vet thinks the vomiting is the result of hair anyway - it can sit in the stomach and irritate the lining. The vomiting started after we got our second cat, and she grooms him too.

I tried a bunch of things. What seems to work at the moment anyway is giving her 1/4 tablet of chlorpheniramine every three days or so.
Jan. 2nd, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
Glad Angus is okay. You probably know (or were told this) already, but make sure he has good water consumption along with the added fiber- esp. with Metamucil. :) Adding a bit of water to the food can really help.
Jan. 2nd, 2006 07:41 am (UTC)
Thanks - yes, the vet told us those things, but it's nice to hear from another knowledgeable source. Angus already drinks a lot of water. I'm planning to change his ratio of wet food to dry food. Maybe I'll set up the various water fountains I have around the house again. I turned them all off when Selkie died.
Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:43 am (UTC)

I think on you them.
Jan. 4th, 2006 01:33 pm (UTC)
We were actually just talking about this the other day at our New Year's Eve party. We'd recently brought Brucey in to the vet because of his lingering sneezing (diagnosis: Just a cold, ride it out and if it just doesn't go away, bring him back in) and Bean because of the insulin overdose, which ended up being totally fine but cost a fortune in tests and overnight monitoring. In talking about it, everybody said that at some point they've had to bring their cats in at huge expensive for stuff we totally don't remember ever being an issue with the cats our families had as kids. I'm not even totally sure if my family brought our cat in for regular checkups / shots when I was a kid.

On the one hand, it's possible that I just don't recall it all, because my parents would have handled it. But I think that there used to be more of a tendency to just not get medical attention for pets unless it was ridiculously serious like a broken limb or something. I think my parents would never have dreamed of bringing a cat into the fet for a lingering sneeze. I don't know what they would have done upon finding out the cat was diabetic, but I think it's likely they would have never found out. I imagine cats then pretty much either made it or didn't on their own.

The flipside may be that we overtreat cats and a lot of these situations are ones that they could have survived on their own, or that something is happening in response to breeding or cats having access to medical care (and the alleviation of evolutionary pressures) that makes cats more sick than they used to be.

I don't like those latter options, but there may be something to them to some degree. Certainly most real-world answers seem to me to blend several explanations in varying degrees. I like to think, though, that extra hassle and expense aside, cats have a better life due to the additional medical care.

Have you tried the high-fibre food on them before? Would it be bad for Biscuit to eat it too? It's much easier to feed special diets if you can feed them all the same food. Some dietary changes end up not being bad, though. When we had to put Brucey on tooth and dental food, it turned out that he was nutty in love with the stuff and was thrilled with the change.
Jan. 4th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
I'm quite sure that the bar has been raised on health standards for pets. Vets offer procedures and options they didn't offer before. Also some vets are much quicker to suggest procedures than others.

I do actually think I was lucky with Selkie, because I've noticed since working at the shelter that shelter animals, especially the ones that were stray for a significant amount of time, are quite likely to have health problems. I doubt that this is evolutionary pressure per se. Other shelters have fewer resources and might euthanize a larger percentage of their older animals or animals that got sick in their care.

I think animals bred by responsible breeders are less likely to have health problems but that's at the expense of euthanizing the ones that test as carrying genetic problems of the breed.

I'm sure some people overtreat their animals. I don't think it's unreasonable to take a cat to the vet if it has a cold or an insulin overdose though.

I'm not going to have them on different foods if I can help it. I haven't tried high fiber food yet; I am switching them to more wet food and less dry food, and giving angus hairball remedy. It seems to be loosening things up a bit.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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