It is becoming painful to urinate, so I decided to go outside of my litter box. My family isn’t too happy about it and are threatening to put me outside. Help!!
Unhappy in Salt Creek
I am sorry that you are uncomfortable urinating. It is no fun and in fact , is an emergency if you can not urinate at all. There are several potential causes: a urinary tract infection, urinary bladder stones/crystals, interstitial cystitis, neoplasia (cancer), kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, and occasionally there are behavioral causes.
Your family needs to schedule you for an appointment, during which the veterinarian will examine you and most likely need to get a urine sample. There are three ways of doing this: cystocentesis, where a needle is put through the body wall into the bladder and a sample taken (this isn’t as bad as it sounds), staying here to urinate in a special litter that doesn’t absorb urine (or going home with the litter), or catherization. The doctor will look at your urine to evaluate it, and depending on what she sees, may put you on antibiotics or other medications, recommend x-rays, urine culture, or bloodwork. She may recommend a food change too, depending on what is found.
The worst is if you have interstitial cystitis. This is, unfortunately, when the bladder becomes inflamed for unknown reasons and causes blood in your urine and painful urination. What is awful, is that there is no good treatment for it beyond time, usually. The doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic trial, to see if you will respond to them.
If there is a new stress in your house, such as new carpet, new litter, or a dog (ugh), I can understand going outside of the box, although this isn’t a good way to express your displeasure. Explain to your family that clay, unscented, clumping litter is usually our favorite and a litter box per cat, plus one extra.
If you (or your family) have more questions, please schedule an appointment !
I am afraid to get neutered. I heard it will be too painful, will make me gain weight, will change my personality, and what if I want kittens of my own? Please help, URGENT!
Shaking in My Paws in Pueblo West.
Dear Shaking In My Paws,
Just look at me, I am neutered and I have the most GLORIOUS fur, and am a lean, mean machine. My people just had to make sure that they didn't overfeed me because they knew that sometimes neutering does cut down on caloric needs and can cause weight gain if you're not careful. And have you seen me at the front desk? I am still a very sociable, happy guy. Now I can just hang around and greet all of the nice clients without worrying about finding female cats, fighting off those other males, and ending up getting treated for abscesses or, worse, finding out I have feline leukemia or feline AIDS (FIV).
As for the pain, it was prevented by the nice pain medications I was given at the time and for a few days after the procedure. It was way less painful than bite and scratch wounds! In fact, here at Pets & Friends, we often see cats purring and kneading in their cage right after the procedure.
And have you ever been to an animal shelter? There are so many homeless kittens and cats there, and many of those will never find homes and may have to be euthanized. I would have hated to have that happen to my children, who I know would have been beautiful like their dad.
So relax and let your people make that appointment, you are tougher than you think. You will thank them in the long run, and will be making a wonderful contribution to your community and to all of catdom.
I overheard my people calling the vet clinic to make an appointment for my shots and I would like to know why I need them. I’m an indoor only cat and don’t go anywhere except for the vet clinic, so I’m off the hook, right? I get why the dog needs them—he goes places!
Please tell me I can have the appointment cancelled.
‘Fraidy cat, University Park
Dear ‘Fraidy Cat,
I wish I could tell you that you don’t need vaccines, but that isn’t the truth. I don’t like them either, believe me, as I have a vaccine reaction and don’t feel good for a day or two after I get them, but it is much better than getting sick from something that could be prevented by a vaccine.
There are two core vaccines that all cats should get: the DRC combo vaccine for upper respiratory viruses and rabies. It is important to get the DRC as your people can have viruses on their clothes and bring them home to you and they can also be in the environment or if a new cat comes around. I know you would never bite someone, but being stressed in an environment, such as the clinic, can make us do unusual things. If you aren’t vaccinated and do bite someone or are bitten or are exposed to a creature that could have rabies (i.e., bats, skunk, that crazy dog you have to live with), you will have to be quarantined at the very least and in some circumstances, euthanasia has to be considered. Also, it is the law in Colorado that all cats must be vaccinated unless very special criteria are met.
Have your people ask how often the vaccines are needed—some are every year and others are every three years. There are other vaccines that should be considered too, depending on your lifestyle such as if you go outside, etc.
So, while I wish I could tell you to cancel your appointment, you need your vaccines to stay healthy!