Tuesday, February 9, 2010
About two weeks ago, Merry scared the hell out of me. He'd gotten into the laundry room - a room the animals aren't normally allowed in. It was a bad day for me; I wasn't feeling well and there wasn't a bunch of laundry to be done so I didn't bother removing him. The day passed. The cats get their night feeding around 9 PM and it usually causes a feeding frenzy. He didn't respond. I go in the laundry room. He's curled up on a blanket, asleep. I pick him up - he meows pitifully and I hug him close. I feel something warm running down my stomach and leg. I look, it's blood. I examine the blanket where he was sleeping - it's covered in blood. Of course, I freak out.
With Olivia and Dylan's help (thanks you two!), I get him to the emergency vet, where he is diagnosed with Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Freshstep actually has a good page on the condition, which I will quote:
"Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a catch-all term for disorders that affect the lower urinary tract of cats. This could include infections, inflammation, bladder stones, bladder crystals, cancer and congenital disorders of the lower urinary tract."
The disease can be fatal and can kill within twenty-four hours of a blockage. This was the first sign we had for symptoms but now we're keeping a closer eye. He had to go back to the vet, a week later, because the blockage (urine crystals) came back. The vet put him on a new diet, with food formulated for his condition. And we've been fighting with him to eat the new food. He doesn't want to eat it. Of course, all the other cats want it.
Another solution is to give them canned wet food, which helps because it increases their water intake, but Merry develops diarrhea when we try this so...he's getting about half a can in the evenings and dry food in the morning. But he didn't want to eat his dry food...
Now, I keep his dry food in one of those containers that's actually suppose to store cereal. If I don't, the other cats - who all think his new food is awesome, btw - chew into the bag and devour it (Merry would probably be fine with this). So, I racked my brain, trying to figure out a way to get him to eat this food and finally came up with a solution, which I feel I have to pass on. I think this may work for a lot of cat health issues involving diet changes...
I added a bag of cat nip to the cereal container and gently shook it around so that the catnip was distributed through the food. And guess what? He's eating his dry food now, with no problems.