Hi everyone, Mommy A here. Friday was Rainbow Bridge Remembrance day. I had intended to share about the profound relationship Lexi and I had and the way she changed my life forever. While I don’t believe in a rainbow bridge, I do believe in heaven and every day I think of and remember Lexi. So, I hope you’ll allow me to share what a Blessing Lexi was today.
Well here we are a few weeks after meez diagnosis with Sterile Cystitis to tell ya’ da truth as we have found it. We told you then what we were told by da VET. We told you dat this was very common ‘specially among cats who eat Blue Buffalo foods and dat it was caused from too much protein in da diet. Yep we wrote it as we was told, but we also included dat mommy wuld be duin’ a lot of little research herself. Just didn’t seem right dat an obligate carnivore kuld be eatin’ too much protein?.
Meez sure glad you don’t believe everything your told mommy. Me just wuldn’t like eatin’ salads and cereals.
No sweety you sure wouldn’t have, nor could you survive on those. Quite frankly I’m sick and tired of hearing from vets and pet food companies that cats, who everybody knows are “obligate carnivores,” need less protein. And I’m tired of pet food companies including so many ingredients in their foods that cats don’t need, can’t process and that could literally kill them.
Me thinks we oughtta ‘splain what dat means. Wikipedia says Obligate means by necessity. And Carnivore means flesh (meat) eating animal. In plain human English dat means Cats MUST eat meat. So how is it dat me kuld eat too much meat?
Pull up a chair, get’cha’ a cup of joe, tea, or whatever you dwink and let mommy tell ya’ how it is.
That’s just exactly what I wanted to know baby, and one of the many reasons I like to research everything myself. And the biggest thing I found in my research was not the amount of protein in cat foods but the amount of carbohydrates. High carbs can cause inflammation in the bladder and thus bring on a bout of Cystitis. Your grain free diet was full of them as are many cat foods regardless of quality or price, grain free or not. Pet parents almost need to become scientists to understand the labels on their pets’ food. The photo on the package is rarely indicative of the actual ingredients in the bag or can of that food in your cabinet. You can read the Truth About Pet Food for more information about what’s in your pets’ food and the FDA regulations, etc. Again, there are many other places to gather this information and you need to research and decide for yourself what is fact and what is fiction.
Ingredients on the Hills bag the vet recommended below:
Sterile Cystitis can be called a myriad of things such as, Idiopathic Cystitis, Urinary Tract Infection, and others. Anything having to do with the lower urinary tract is put under the umbrella of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. Altho’ Sterile Cystitis is NOT an infection.
Sterile Cystitis is a condition that can affect both cats and kittens, male and female alike. The first occasion of Cystitis often occurs in young cats between the ages of 2 and 6 years old. The name implies an inflammation of the bladder of unknown origin with no infection present. In other words, they don’t really know what causes it. And altho’ there’s no infection, the cat is most likely in pain.
Vets make assumptions and all too often give bad or outdated information. We were told Dezi was eating too much protein and that the prescription diets for this condition (like the one for Lexi’s CKD) had a lower protein percentage and would clear up her symptoms. And that a lifetime switch would keep it from coming back.
Another assumption is that stress is a leading factor in causing Cystitis. For cats, stress could be anything. In general (not always) cats don’t like change. They are creatures of habit. Anything out of the ordinary can stress a cat. Boredom can cause stress as much as a thunderstorm or a house full of guests.
You can find a list of “typical” symptoms all over the internet, but I will list them here as well.
1. Frequent attempts to urinate
2. Straining in the litter box
3. Crying out while in the litter box
4. Blood in the urine
5. Urinating outside the litter box
These are the main symptoms that alert to a problem in your cat or kitten’s urinary tract. BUT Dezi had none of these symptoms. Altho’ Dezi went to the litter box 4-5 times a day, she never strained or cried out and there was never blood in her urine. She wasn’t drinking excessively, altho’ she did like to play in the water fountain, thus justifying her 1-2 extra trips a day. When she did use the piddle pads instead of the box, it was always because the box had been used and not yet scooped. If she poops before urinating, she won’t go in the same box. The only time she will do both in the box at the same time is when she urinates first. Yes I know she’s got a few strange quirks, but that’s my baby girl and I love her no matter what.
So what were Dezi’s symptoms you ask? What caused me to think a urinalysis would be a good idea as it’s not really part of the complete exam the vet was offering? Well a lot of you know I lost Lucky to a urethral blockage, and Dezi was mimicking some of the behaviors that he had. So we are going to list them as well because feline health is so important and they can hide an illness so well.
1. Excessive licking/cleaning of the genitals immediately after urinating.
2. Appearance of spraying without actually spraying. Example:Tail straight up, cat backed up to wall/chair/leg/etc. and then tail shimmies/shakes with no urine produced. (This is something both Lucky and Dezi did when they got excited so I never thought it was a symptom of anything other than joy. They would both sometimes chatter at the same time. However, Dezi no longer does this regardless of her excitement level so this is a symptom of a problem).
3. Smaller than normal urine clumps.
Meez harness helps keep da stress down durin’ a funder storm.
With Sterile Cystitis there is also the possibility that crystals have formed in the urine/bladder. There are 2 main forms of crystals called Struvite and Calcium Oxylate. Since this didn’t happen in Dezi’s case we won’t go into them here, but you can read more about them at uvma.org.
With a condition that has no real explanation as to it’s cause, how do you go about treating it? Something you should be aware of is the fact that cats can have this condition and have it clear up on its’ own in a week or two with no treatment whatsoever. Since there’s no infection, antibiotics are not helpful and should be avoided so your cat doesn’t build up a tolerance. If you’ve been alerted that there’s a problem then no doubt your cat is in pain. Since the bladder is most likely inflamed, an anti-inflammatory may be prescribed for 1-3 days as well as a pain medication by your vet. If you suspect anything is wrong with your cat’s health, please see a vet immediately.
In Dezi’s case, there was no infection and no formation of crystals so after a few days of an anti-inflammatory, pain meds and an increase in hydration, she appeared to be doing better. We also began a food change as I personally didn’t like her eating the BB kibble due to the ingredients. (We’ll cover all of this in another post) We have urine pH testers on their way so that we can test her urine pH and be sure, but she is leaving larger deposits in the litter box fewer times a day now and no longer “faux spraying”. She can also leave the litter box without plopping down immediately to clean her genitals.
As you all know, I’m not a fan of prescription diets from any manufacturer since they are all based on the studies done by Hill’s Pet. Instead of doing their own research they rely on old studies performed by a food manufacturer more than a decade ago. Now having said that, you must make the decision for your own cats. I only ask that you do some research before you believe everything you’re told. Vets are an invaluable resource, but even they don’t know everything, and can’t keep up with all the new information and studies. And you know your cat better than anyone. Okay, off my soap box now and back to the known facts.
Cats don’t drink like other species so a wet diet is preferred to aid in keeping them well hydrated. Water fountains are also a good choice because cats like fresh running water. (please clean your pets’ water bowl or fountain regularly.) A batch of cooled nip tea, cooled chicken broth or a few ice cubes in your pets drinking water may also entice your cat to drink more.
We’ll be discussing Dezi’s food change and supplements in a future post as well as the stress relieving supplements and changes we are making in our everyday lives so that we can lessen the possibility of a recurrence of Sterile Cystitis or any other FLUTD’s.
Fank you all fur helpin’ us. Our Chewy box arrived today wiff our noms, litter and pH testers.
Well mommy ifin anypawdy was wonderin’ where me got meez wordiness from, they be wonderin’ no more. MOL We know this is a long posty, but it’s full of good infurmation and in human English so it shuld be easy fur everypawdy to read. This post is in no way a comprehensive look at Sterile Cystitis, but is the truth as we have found it.
Hey Dezi since we are going to run a series about the training we received to become Service cats for mommy, I was thinking maybe we should tell the story of when mommy got her first wheelchair. Even tho’ that story would really be about Lucky. what do you think?
Me thinks that’s a great idea sissy. Me never gets tired of hearing your stories ‘bout Lucky. And mommy thought it was a good idea fur her to type out our dictation in mostly human speak so that if somebody needs it translated to a different language they can. And those that have a little trouble reading our regular posts can understand everything. These training stories are impurrtant and serious. That’s not to mean that they aren’t sometimes funny cuz we can be characters, but they’re serious cuz what we learned is real and is meant to help our mommy live an independent life.
Yep Dezi you’re right. And I’ve gotta tell ya’ your training was probably the most fun of all mommys service cats. But we’ll get to those stories soon. Today I’ll tell ya’ ‘bout mommys first ever wheelchair and my then Meezer brofur Lucky.
It was a really really long time ago. I was still practically a kitten at 3 years old. My brofur Lucky was a whole 28 days older than me so we were both still big kittens. That seems like a lifetime ago now but it’s still clear in this old girls mind. Anyways one morning a man came to our apartment and brought mommy a new chair. This wasn’t like any other chair she had, it moved. Mommy could put this chair anywhere she wanted in the house including the kitchen all without lifting a finger or breaking a sweat. It sure did look scary cuz mommy wasn’t vey good at steering it and she kept running into walls and doors and tables and well generally anything that was in her way. Lucky and I had to watch our tails or she might have run over them too. (she would have never done that)
Lucky and I meowed ‘bout it a little and thought that this new chair was going to be a great help for mommy except…If her driving was this bad while she was mobile then just what was it gonna be like in the mornings when she couldn’t actually move?, Oh kittens were we ever in for a surprise. Lucky seemed to be really interested in the workings of this chair and would hop up in it when it was still and when mommy was just sittin’ in it. We both loved mommy so much and our favorite place was (and still is) in her lap. Well Lucky would get in mommys lap and then rub his face on the joystick and put his mouth on it and push at it. So a light bulb went off in mommys head and she put Luckys paw on a button on the arm of that moving chair and pushed it down. It beeped at him and he turned and looked at mommy fur reassurance but he didn’t jump down. So mommy did it again and again until Lucky was pushing the button on his own. We found out that button was the power and turned that moving chair on and off.
It wasn’t long before Lucky would push that button all on his own even without mommy askin’ him too. And then he went and pushed the button and put his mouth on the joy stick and bit it. When he did that, it pushed the joystick forward and the chair moved. Well he quickly pulled his mouth away from the joystick and looked up. Mommy said his face said it all. He wasn’t sure whether to be proud or terrified.
Me remembers that feelin’ sissy. OMC The first time the chair moved meez heart nearly jumped outta meez chest. MOL
Yeah Dezi I magine that’s exactly what happened to Lucky. But he was so happy to be in mommys lap that he didn’t move. Mommy took full advantage of his love and gently put Luckys mouth back on the joystick and gently pushed so the chaiir moved a little more. He got scared and wanted down. So mommy gave him a big hug and kiss and told him how pawsum he was and put him down. He scampered off to hide. He didn’t go far tho’ and he kept his eye on mommy when she went looking for me. This whole thing had scared da bajeebuzz outta me and I had hid under the covers on the bed. I thought fur sure there was no way mommy would be able to find me. Somehow she seemed to know the bump in the bed was me, and she grabbed me up and loved all over me while taking me to the chair.
First thing we did was go fur a ride. Hey, this isn’t as scary as I thought it was gonna be. It’s actually kind of fun. I could even see the countertop from mommys lap in the kitchen where she prepared our meals. I got to thinking this might not be so bad after all. So when mommy repeated the steps she took with Lucky on me, I soaked it all in. I was driving in no time at all. I wasn’t any better than mommy, but I was driving. MOL Okay, really I was kinda scared and wanted down right away. And it did take a week fur me to get used to the chair being around. But once I got used to it, I learned really fast. Mommy said so. She also said she was very proud of Lucky and me. Back then we didn’t have a working camera much less a video camera. There was a whole year mommy didn’t get to take photos of any kind of Lucky and me. She hates that, but there’s nothing she can do ’bout it now. Except to tell you to take as many photos as you can and don’t delete anything. Buy those little thumb drives or external hard drives or whatever you must to store them on, but you will regret throwing photos away. (mommys PSA fur the day)
Y’all were so brave sissy. The chair sure scared me at first. Meez so glad y’all were able to learn to drive the chair and help mommy.
Me too Dezi. And I’m glad that even tho’ it scared you, you were able to overcome that fear and help mommy too.
Yeah Lexi it’s really not that scary and knowing that me is helping mommy is the best feeling ever. We’ll be telling more training stories ‘bout Lexi and me. These stories altho’ true are not meant to be a training handbook or guide. Countless hours, weeks, and months of repetition went into our training and we couldn’t possibly cover every minute. If you have specific questions you can email us via our contact page and mommy will try to help you. The ADA just published a question and answer document about the Service Animal act that you can read here. It may answer some additional questions that you have that we didn’t cover.
Meowllo everybody Lexi here and in charge for one more day. Dezi will be coming back from all the fun at the Cat Scout Jamboree today, so I’m going to wrap up our series on UTI’s. I saved Lucky’s story for today because I wanted you all to have a better understanding of this horrid disease, and we needed to prepare ourselves to relive it in writing.
Lucky was born on April 1st in 1999. He was 28 days older than me. And of course from a completely different litter, mother and father. Mommy rescued him and his 2 brothers when they were 2 weeks old. He was a feisty little kitten and took to mommy right away. And when I came into the picture we became inseparable. He was a great helper for mommy, and another rather large boy. He was a flame point Siamese and very chatty. He and mommy would carry on conversations for hours at a time. And he was a huge mommy’s boy. He would follow mommy everywhere. Altho’ I love to sit in mommy’s lap, Lucky wasn’t big on lap laying. But he would always squeeze into the chair or whatever mommy was sitting on so he could be close to her. We moved with mommy quite a few times in our lives till we ended up where we are now. And he was a happy kitty who just enjoyed life.
We both had yearly checkups at the vet and always left with a good report. That’s why his death came as such a shock to us. Let me just say Lucky and me loved to eat. We never wanted to miss a meal. And anytime we didn’t feel good, we wanted mommy to hold us and pray over us which is not typical cat behavior. Normally when a cat is unwell it will hide. Not us tho’, mommy just says it’s because of our unique bonds. So one night 10 years ago December 22 mommy started getting our dinner together and called for us as she always did. Naturally I came running and sat watching mommy prepare our dinner. But Lucky didn’t come to the kitchen. Mommy called and called to him and nothing. Not even a meow. Member I said he wuz really chatty. So mommy told me to wait a minute and she went to look for Lucky.
In the bedroom under mommy’s jewelry box Lucky lay. Mommy asked him if he was hungry, which always elicited a loud deep meow. But not this time. He just looked up at her. So mommy reached down and gave him a pat on his head and picked up all 36 pounds of him and carried him to the kitchen. Once there she sat him down and went back to preparin’ our dinner. There was a box in the floor that we had been playing in. Mommy looked over and Lucky was trying to balance on the edge. He made no sound and had no expression that said something was wrong. So mommy brought us our plates. Lucky ate a couple of bites but continued to go to the box and try to balance on it. After a few times, finally he left a drop of urine in the box. Only it wasn’t urine he left, but blood. Mommy had been a vet tech a very long time ago and when she saw the blood she panicked. She grabbed the phone and Lucky and called the VET who said to bring him in immediately.
Once they arrived at the VETs office Lucky and mommy were rushed to a room and tests began as well as questions. The typical ones, you know, How long has he been straining? How many times a day does he use the litter box. What size were the clumps in the litter box, has he gone outside the box and, has he been yowling?. Unfortunately mommy’s answers were, “this was the first time I noticed anything was wrong. He ate fine this morning and had a great litter box deposit.” Lucky was poked and palpated and x-rayed and finally the VET came back and said he had a complete blockage. It appeared as tho’ he had scar tissue that had developed over the years and it had almost completely closed his urethra. Mommy begged the VET to fix him and was told he really needed surgery but that couldn’t be done until he was stabilized. She wanted to put a catheter in and let him release the toxins in his bladder and hope they hadn’t already traveled throughout his urinary tract which could end up causing liver failure. Our VET at the time new mommy’s financial situation and so she developed a course of action that required mommy to take Lucky home and watch his catheter and force him to drink water. She wouldn’t discuss payment arrangements with mommy. She said she wanted to try the catheter and see what happens. She told mommy that she couldn’t afford the surgery nor could she afford to leave him at the clinic because they were going to be charging holiday rates for any animal in the clinic until after the new year. At that time mommy had never really dealt with this type of thing before and had no idea how serious it was, much less that it could be deadly. And the VET wasn’t actually giving her any other options.
Assuming our VET had Lucky’s best interest at heart and was trying to help mommy out, she didn’t argue. She brought Lucky back home with his catheter and instructions to put newspaper in the litter box and bring him back in the next day. They were going to be closed for Christmas on the 24th and 25th. Lucky seemed miserable but never once cried out. The next day December 23rd mommy and Lucky again went off to the VET. Not much had changed, and the vet sent mommy and Lucky home once more with instructions to force feed and force water into him. Mommy pleaded with the Vet for something else to help him. She just kept saying there had to be something they could do to help him and take away the pain. The vet told mommy she didn’t have the money for those kinds of treatments and that’s why people in her situation shouldn’t have animals. Mommy cried and cried and tried to force Lucky to eat and drink and we prayed and prayed over him so that he wouldn’t be in pain and he would get better. Mommy called around to other VETs but being the Christmas holidays they had all closed and weren’t seeing new patients on an emergency basis. And mommy new she didn’t have the money if one had actually said yes. I know my mommy, and she woulda gone even without the money if one had said yes. But according to “everyone” we were seeing the best VET for cats in town.
And then at 3:22 a.m. on December 25th Lucky crawled from mommy’s lap to the litter box and collapsed and died. Following his death mommy researched like crazy and learned everything she could about this horrible illness. She could never find an explanation for why Lucky had scar tissue in the first place, Nor could she determine when if ever he had been stricken with a UTI in the past. How could every VET we had ever seen not have known this? Lucky’s death left us with no answers, only questions. It also almost destroyed mommy because all she could hear over and over again, was the VETs words that people in her situation (poverty stricken) shouldn’t have animals. It wasn’t the first time mommy had been told this, and most certainly wouldn’t be the last. So mommy blamed herself for Lucky’s demise.
Of course we found a new VET after that and mommy did make it as did I, but we were both lost for a very long time. We still miss Lucky but are so grateful that he is no longer in pain, and awaits us in heaven. And mommy named UTI’s the Silent Killer. They can happen to any animal at any time, for no apparent reason. And they can go from mild to deadly in just a few short hours. So again we say to you, if you suspect your cat or other animal is sick or having trouble eliminating/urinating, DON’T WAIT!!! GO TO THE VETRANARIAN ASAP!!! It could mean the difference between life and death. Lucky’s silence cost mommy a piece of her heart, but it cost him his life.
We had hoped to have tried this by now, but we’ve had a lot of other things going on and haven’t had the chance. We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you about it tho’. There is a new litter on the market that claims to be able to alert you to problems with a cats urinary tract. And if you order right now, you can get a 1 month supply (14 pounds) for free, just pay $4.95 shipping and handling. Mommy says that if you’ve ever gone through this before, there is no price to high to pay for an early warning. If you’re interested in the Perfect Litter, you may order it here and try it for yourself. We truly hope that we have helped someone and their beloved furry to avoid going thru what we had to with Lucky. Thank you all for reading the blog while Dezi was gone. I know she misses all of you and will be glad to be posting again. We are joining Athena’s Caturday Art Blog Hop. You can see lots of other great photos around today. Have a great Caturday.
And we have a favor to ask of you. Our sweet furiend Nylablue has come to a turning point and isn’t doing well at all. We would ask you to purray fur her and her mommy Miss Sherri Ellen. Fank you.