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Anxious Sweet Boy | Neutered | Urinary Problems

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:09 pm
by LunaPiper3
My 3.5yr old male c h o n k has recently come home from the vets with a urinal blockage.

He has been neutered and is on a diet of sheba flakes in gravy and purina urinary biscuits. I always add extra water to his wet food. He doesn't like it on biscuits.

Since getting him at 6 months he has always been a nervous boy and a clingy one despite living in a quiet home.

A few weeks ago I took him into my local vet as he was weeing bright red blood. They told me it was cystitis and to keep an eye on him.

The weekend just gone he had a weekend trip to the hospital due to his blockage. Myself and the vet agreed it was most likely through stress as I had just moved (which came out of the blue) and went on holiday all within 6 weeks. The blockage almost caused kidney failure, a burst bladder and caused an arrhythmia which has now gone and everything is back to normal. His urine is still slightly pink and he's choosing between the litter box and the bath tub. I'm pondering whether the vets had it right with cystitis in the first place to get this bad?

I absolutely do not want this to happen again to him. Hes such a gentle boy and I feel like the worst person because this happened, as I was away I was unaware as were my parents looking after him until 2 days later and he was yowling.

I've purchased Cystaid and hemp oil 1500mg to try and reduce symptoms and relieve his anxieties. As well as a feliway plug in and some catnip mice.

I wondered if anybody had any tips on preventative ways for this type of condition?

I'd love to know if anyone has gone through behaviour training to get them used to the doorbell for example? Or ways to "train" his anxiety away? Admittedly he is better than he used to be but not where he needs to be.

Thank you in advance.

Re: Anxious Sweet Boy | Neutered | Urinary Problems

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:37 pm
by Mollycat
As a fellow anxious cat owner you have my greatest sympathy and I'll offer what I can later when i have more time.

Some will advise not to feed dry at all to boys that are prone to blockages and the health benefits or problems from dry are the topic of a whole lot of debate. But there's a caution on adding water to food as well. Natural prey is around 80% water and wet food mimicks that, so a cat fed wet should have enough moisture. They are not naturally great drinkers, but there is a reason for this.

Cat urine is quite acidic and concentrated, and it needs to be to kill bacteria that can cause urinary tract inflammation. Thay can track back up and cause kidney infections too. So too much fluid can actually make the problem worse, if it's being caused by bacteria.

If the blockage was caused by crystals rather than bacterial infection, dry food can be to blame through struvite crystals. I know this is pointing towards avoiding dry altogether but do your research carefully as dry may have some benefits, I was reading some research recently that found cats fed both dry and wet were less likely to suffer from diabetes and thyroid problems.

Re: Anxious Sweet Boy | Neutered | Urinary Problems

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:42 pm
by LunaPiper3
Thank you!

I have debated leaving him off dry food altogether, he does like it though! Maybe less biscuits?

There were very very slight traces of crystals in his urine rather than it being bacteria related. The blockage was caused more by the irritation and how narrow his urethra had become, they really struggled to get a catheter in to unplug him.

I just can't take my eyes off him now, he's wanted to sleep most of the afternoon but has eaten, drank and passed urine at least twice. He's happy to play too whereas I know something is not right if he doesn't.. He's still very kitten like and playful. Maybe the runt? But he is a BIG boy. 6.3kg to be precise😳🤣 a diet needed there on that front anyway!

I've even looked at videos if I have to try expel his bladder myself to prevent a build up and blockage again.

Maybe wet food more often is what he needs.


Re: Anxious Sweet Boy | Neutered | Urinary Problems

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:51 am
by Mollycat
Apparently carrying extra podge can be a factor for urinary problems, maybe a little gradual weight loss might not hurt if you say he's a chonk.

Ok, so, can you tell us more about his anxiety nervousness and clinginess? What sort of things make him nervous and how does he respond? Is it sudden noises, people generally, people doing certain things, etc? Does he jump and bolt or calmly trot away, does he hide and for how long?

How do you deal with his nervousness at the moment? Do you let him calm down on his own, go to him and give cuddles? Does it make you feel anxious and sorry for him?

What do you know about his history for the first 6 months of his life? What kind of household he came from, whether this was his birth home or he went to one home first and was then given up, or was on the streets, etc.

You can also try different plug-ins, my cats don't respond to Feliway but there is a real difference when I use Pet Remedy which also has the benefit of diffusing at a lower temperature so the diffuser doesn't get hot and give off that slight burning smell. It's quite a strong smell though.

A doorbell to be honest I wouldn't worry too much about at this stage. It signals people coming into his space and that's quite an advanced thing to ask a shy cat to be ok with. There may be easier places to start helping him build confidence.

Re: Anxious Sweet Boy | Neutered | Urinary Problems

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:20 am
by LunaPiper3
Thank you so much for your response.

He is definitely on a diet at the moment to get rid of that extra weight. He is a naturally big cat, I'm guessing due to his breed.

My sister had him before me for the first few months, maybe 3. I don't know about his birth home but I'm certain he's not been on the streets. There was one child under 5 in the home, I'm unaware of any problems there. My sister is a naturally loud person in comparison to myself. I'm going to enquire about anything she noticed with him being nervous.

So up until he was maybe 1 he stayed by my side always by laying on me. He ventured outside a little bit but always came bounding back in panther style due to anything as simple as a leaf blowing. I've chosen to keep him as an indoor cat now along with the other (she's always been indoor) I feel indoors will be best for him, he has a good look out of the bedroom window at night time and will sniff the fresh air. Too loud a car or something he will go somewhere else. He has way more confidence now definitely, but still not where it should be for him.

I think a sudden house move has caused it since as we had only 3 weeks to pack leaving not enough time for a calm adjustment. It was a stressful few weeks due to the landlord we were moving from so maybe he felt it from me? Then 6 weeks after moving in we went on holiday, this was already preplanned before any move or anything came up, and plans were there for my parents to tend to them, of whom he is comfortable with.

In our home now he is scared of the doorbell. He seems to have gotten used to it a bit better already. He used to run away but now seems to just watch intently. He will run away if he is in the area of the doorbell and it goes off. It's a flat so I can't get rid of it or have access to "turn it down" if that makes sense.

Strangers again he is aware of. He has gotten used to my parents, brother and a couple of friends where he feels comfortable to be in the room and share affection with them. A new voice, like the postman or someone coming to sell for example, he realllllly doesn't like. I've gotten used to closing the doors and limiting the noise to what he will hear and try to make my voice louder, thinking it will be more calming. Then when I come back in I'm reassuring him it's okay and it's just me with something or what not and he will just lie back down. I feel like talking about what I'm doing as I do it really helps him.

He has a mixture of being left to himself to calm down and being given love. I can tell by his body language what he wants (I know that sounds ridiculous) in those instances I just want to make him feel better and Im confident with him when I do this.

I'm finding since he went into out of hours hospital and bringing him home I am much more anxious for him and feel sorry for him. I can't really take my eyes off him and I'm conscious when I go to sleep of noises around me. (god it's like having children at this point🤣)

Last night he was lifting his tail slightly and I was internally anxious. I found a wee in the bath this morning, dark but not pink. He has eaten this morning with extra water in his food and had a run around giving chase to my other cat. (she is absolute opposite to him, older etc, they generally stay in their own spaces but he has moments where his kitten play side comes out) he seems much more himself again this morning and is now back to sleeping next to me on the sofa. Last night he got under the covers a couple of times and lay in front of me with his head against my tummy. He really is a sweetheart.

I'm nervous that if this happens again, I am aware my insurance won't cover it and I won't be able to cover those costs. I'm unsure if there are surgeries available to help or stop this altogether, but would that be best for him also? Would the vets consider putting him to sleep as to be kinder so to speak? It just breaks my heart, he's so gentle and none of this is his fault but I feel like I'm to blame or could have noticed it way sooner.

I honestly never want to hear him make those cries again and would give him my own bladder if it stopped it for him.

I have got a feliway plug in arriving today so I will see how we get on with it. He doesn't seem to mind having the hemp oil, as a homeopathic measure I'm skeptical but reviews were rated high.

If you need any more info, let me know! Thanks again for your reply.

Re: Anxious Sweet Boy | Neutered | Urinary Problems

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:47 am
by Mollycat
Ok thank you for so much detail, I feel I'm really getting a picture of your little family. That cats get on well together, no problems there? If your other cat is calm and confident and they get on well this is likely to be helpful for him. But i would think you're right about him picking up on your anxieties and feeling sorry for him, especially as you seem to have such a strong bond and if you are that sensitive to the subtlest changes in his mood, needs and fears, you can bet he he probably twice as sensitive to yours. Difference is he won't understand why you feel this way and that will reinforce his nervousness. If you can find a way to relax about it, that could help him a lot.

Understandable that he would tend to need reassurance and be anxious, it's a long time ago but he did have 3 homes in his first 6 months, and recently the upheaval and stress of the move and then you disappearing for a while could even have brought back some old anxieties for him. Let me guess, you feel guilty for putting stress on him and you desperately want to put that right and make it up to him? Relax. It's in the past and it wasn't your fault, he wants to forgive you and move on and take each day as it comes, and most days will be better than the day before. He needs to know you are there for him, not that you feel bad about something that is done and gone.

I have an extreme nervous girl who I inherited at 6 years old after 5 years in a normal family but her early months were in a noisy chaotic home plus I believe her other may have been young and not protective enough for her. One of the most important things she has taught me is to let go of my ambitions for her. She is happy and relaxed, some things still unsettle or scare her, she hides from strangers too, but these are passing stresses and her bottom line is a stable, quiet, gentle, loving home and a strong trust and attachment with me. I don't hope any more that one day she might curl up on my lap, I am happy that she will sit on the arm of the chair next to me, or let me cuddle up to her on the bed. If you have a read of the Coco and Chanel story in this forum, it might help relax your mind about things a bit, it's quite inspiring for nervous cat owners.

All the doors in my home are always open, but there are plenty of cosy hiding places my girl can always access. This gives her the chance to assess for herself if visitors are safe for her to come out for, or if she prefers to stay hidden until they leave. I don't call her out though in the early days I encouraged her but only when we were alone again. It helps her to be more confident and trust her own judgement and I back her up rather than trying to push her to stretch herself when she's not ready.

For noises outside, I talk to my animals a lot too, I acknowledge that I have heard them but the talk is calm. I don't buy into their fear, I might say something like oh is there someone outside, it's all right sweetie it can't get in you're safe here and nothing is going to hurt you. And it teaches me to be very calm too. The dog who moved in with my partner is now much less afraid of fireworks than he was 2 years ago, with this approach.

As for the doorbell maybe it's just got a different and scary or unpleasant sound to him, if he didn't have a problem with it in your old home. If you can't do anything about it and he is getting calmer about it, I really wouldn't worry, just talk to him as you do and give him time to hide before you open the door and let the dreaded people in. My girl still hides from the doorbell and strangers after 6 years, it's an entrenched pattern of behaviour and it's harmless really. It's almost more habit than fear now. I just go to the door slowly and calmly giving her time to hide, and sometimes now she goes into the bedroom but not under the bed, that's progress.

Believe me we have spent £7000 on 3 animals in two years if you really have to find it somehow you do, but of course you don't want this to happen again, either for him or for you. Be vigilant, know the early signs of trouble and act quickly, and do what you can to prevent it, but try not to be paranoid. There is a ton of stuff on the internet about UTIs in cats, prevention, early signs that need vet care - read everything you can from reputable websites, be armed with information. Know your animal's condition better than your vet does. Fear holds us back from loving fully and in the end there is nothing to fear but the fear itself. Obsessively watching for any sign of illness prevents us from enjoying moments fully whether it be sharing play and affection, or simply the joy of watching them wash or sleep. Fear will eat your life away if you let it.

Re: Anxious Sweet Boy | Neutered | Urinary Problems

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:01 pm
by Mollycat
Here's just one of those helpful websites on urinary problems and there are more links at the bottom of the page.

Re: Anxious Sweet Boy | Neutered | Urinary Problems

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:59 am
by LunaPiper3
Thanks for your response!

I believe living with my sister may have been too chaotic for his nervous nature.

Things seem to be going in a positive direction with him. I was worried yesterday because he wouldn't drink and didn't want the food presumingly due to the medicine, he's a fuss pot! Also no signs of a wee. So I gave him food with extra water but no medicine and he lapped it up. Soon after had a good wee in the bath, no signs of blood but it was almost green tinge? His stools are still quite soft, whereas they are usually a human size! (he really is a naturally large cat despite being a bit overweight)

He is DESPERATE to eat biscuits, but I'm concerned this is what is causing the slight crystals in his urine. I've given him a small amount to coax him to his wet food but feel nervous doing it (I give them the purina one urinary care)

My older cat is a natural grazer so it's difficult to stop biscuits altogether. I'm thinking of just cutting the amount so they have it at wet food time if they want it. I'm not too sure as you can probably feel😂

He's passed more urine in varying amounts which has given me more confidence for him. I do keep having a feel of his bladder and sort of massaging it where I can in hope it might stimulate some sort of movement for him.

With the doorbell in the new place he's more calm with it more so than our last home. He used to always run away whereas now he will just stay where he is unless it's in the space of it going off. I have left it muted most days as I know I'm not expecting anything or anyone and when I go out I mute it too. I've also put a bit of tape over the front door bell so people will knock instead.

I think I'm more aware now of what to look for. His tail for example he sort of keeps raised. It's sort of still lifted when he is walking, I don't know how sore he might be from the catheter or is it more than that that could be causing discomfort? It's not in any way the same as before he got admitted he couldn't curl up or anything it was awful.

If I happen to be there when he chooses to go Ive been keeping an eye on how much he strains if any and then am looking at his wee to see how it is.

Are there any litters that are better for these conditions as I'm aware they like cold flat surfaces but naturally they try to hide it with the fresh air haha
They've always had a good quality clumping litter, there's a woodbased one and a grainy stone one. They like both but have been using the grain one for some time.

He's been having plenty of love when he wants it and more than probably necessary in reassurance.

I suppose time will tell in this instance. Over time I hope to manage it for him as best I can. Thanks for the links!

Re: Anxious Sweet Boy | Neutered | Urinary Problems

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:35 pm
by Mollycat
If it helps you feel better I'll share with you what my cat's previous owner said to me - all her cats are raw fed and I just know she didn't approve that the one I got from her refused point blank to touch raw the moment he came to me and I caved. She said think of dry food like sweets, and cats like kids. They want, of course they want, and they will make a drama out of it. But you wouldn't give them sweets all the time, so you shouldn't give cats biscuits all the time either.

If you need to feed the two of them different diets I can recommend the microchip feeders, expensive but a good investment specially as they keep the food covered so it stays fresher.

Raised tail awkwardly can also be a sign of impacted anal glands or other reasons for soreness around the area.

Litter I would say keep dust to a minimum, if he is happy with something other than clay based that might help a little.

But do try not to be too anxious, just be awake to any early signs of trouble and do what you reasonably can but don't let this one issue take over your life.

Re: Anxious Sweet Boy | Neutered | Urinary Problems

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:47 pm
by LunaPiper3
Aww thanks I think that's actually a nice way of putting it re the biscuits being sweets.

Sometimes they do graze too much and leave half their wet food so I've more than likely been giving too many thinking it was a normal amount. I've considered raw diets but I know I've got a fussy pair on my hands I will have a deeper look into it.

Hes been his normal noisy self today. I've not seen him go to the box too much or seen him in discomfort. He has been sleeping next to me or on me every night since he came home so I think he is getting the reassurance he desperately wants.

I found out some history that he came from a home with children. When he went to my sister one night he got out and was 2 gardens over meowing but couldn't find his way back. I'm wondering if it could have anything to do with him not straying too far whether it was when he went outside vs him at home (if I go to the toilet, he's coming with.. He might use the box but usually wants to sit in the sink with the strange water giving feature it has🤣)

He was clingy with my sister too or he used to hide, she said they would often find him in an empty mop bucket.

He really is an absolute sweetheart. He's showered myself, partner and a friend with so much love today its been heartwarming to see. Although he has been a noisy boy today haha but he has always been noisy, it's when he is quiet I pick up on something.

Thanks for the advice again!