Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Importance of Water

We all know as humans we are supposed to drink plenty of water. But how much water should our feline friends drink? Water is very important for the urinary health of your cat. Indoor cats especially tend to not drink enough water. Look at it this way. In the wild your cat would kill and eat its prey. That prey is made up of 70-75% water. Now, if you are feeding your cat dry food the moisture content is less than 10%! Cats depend on their food for their water. While they may still drink from a bowl they may still be lacking in H20.

Carson LOVES dry food. He will hardly touch wet food. How strange? However, I'm going to have to try out different canned food prescription diets because canned food contains approximately 75% moisture!

When a cat is not getting the water they need their urine becomes concentrated. Toxins and minerals are not being flushed out of their body like they should. The minerals then begin to clump together to form bladder stones, which then creates a urinary blockage.

The best way to make sure your cat is getting enough water is to feed it canned food. You may also add some sort of broth to their dry food which tends to make them thirsty for water. A lot of cats love running water (Carson included) so you may consider purchasing a pet water fountain. Chemicals in our water sometimes cause cats (like people) to not want to drink the water. A fountain typically purifies the water and keeps it cool and more appealing to the cat.

Bottom line, cats are extremely difficult to force to drink. You know the old saying..."You can lead a camel to water but you can't make him drink." This is the same with cats. We must be tricky as owners and make sure our cats are getting their daily moisture content from their food.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Did I say a 100% recovery...

This would be the look Carson gave me when I told him he was going back to the Vet.

Let's change that figure to an 80% recovery. Last Friday night I got home late and right away Carson and I took one of our frequent field trips. There he was urinating away in the litter to my ears, but then the music was interrupted by wretched growls and howls coming from Carson as he finished. Pure discomfort after urination, again.

Not good. Here he's made excellent progress for an entire week and then BAM more urinary trouble. So, why now? What had changed? Thursday I gave Carson his last dose of antibiotic. Could this have triggered the change? And so quick? Was he reblocking?? I wasn't sure. But one thing I was sure of...the vet would be called first thing in the morning.

Saturday morning Carson and I took another field trip. Again, music to my ears as I heard him came to an end....and then very unpleasant noises came from Carson once again. Dang! He jumped out of the litter box and immediately started cleaning his genitals. Alright, that was it...time for the vet.

Luckily, the vet clinic is open until 1:00 PM on Saturdays. But, of course Carson's Doctor had the day off. However, he was kind enough to give us his personal phone number in case Carson started having any trouble at all. A little reluctantly I called him, feeling a bit bad knowing he had the day off. I described Carson's problem and he wanted to know if Carson was still on his antibiotic. I told him no, that Friday was the first day he'd not taken a dose. He said he believes Carson still has a UTI and that is what is causing the pain after urination. He wanted him back on antibiotics and also to come in for a urine sample. I had already made a Monday appointment for a urine sample, but he didn't think we should wait. I called the clinic and told them Carson would be there in 20 minutes. Unfortunately he'd see a different Doctor....but at least it was a Doctor!

I loaded Carson up, and off we went. Half way to the clinic Carson started breathing the air hard and letting out a pitiful meow. Poor guy. He was begging me not to take him back to the vet! Can you blame him?

When we walked in, out came Carson's vet. I couldn't believe he'd came in on his day off just to personally help Carson. We got Carson's weight and he was 12 lbs, 1 pound less than his healthy weight. Carson was sat on the exam table and had his heart listened to and his bladder felt. The Doctor said his bladder was empty, which was great. He said sometimes they have a partial obstruction which is where they can urinate but they can't empty their entire bladder. He was confident this was not Carson's case and that he was not obstructed. Since the bladder was empty we did not get a urine sample. However, Carson did have his temperature taken which did not make him happy, and he let us know. But on the bright side, his temperature was normal.

The Doctor put Carson on a new antibiotic. He said sometimes an antibiotic will push an infection back but not kill it completely, which is why we are trying a different kind. Carson would be on this new antibiotic for 14 days, and he still had a Monday appointment for a urine sample. The urine sample would let us know if he is still passing the stones and crystals.

Sunday Carson urinated strong with no unhappy vocalizing afterwards. He is still doing a lot of licking of that area but I believe that is normal since he is still suffering from an infection. Let's hope the new antibiotics do the trick!

Monday morning I asked Carson to load up in his carrier (he is typically so willing). But, that boy is getting smart. He said "No, way! I'm not going back to that vet!" Unfortunately for him, he was going back to the vet. Again, half way to the clinic he started crying. It is truly amazing how intelligent animals are. I dropped Carson off and headed to work. By Noon he still hadn’t urinated. Go figure, he goes on the hour at home! By 5:00 the Doctor called and told me the sample came back great. There were no crystals and only a few red blood cells indicating an infection.

The next few days Carson urinated like a champ. But then his vocalizations started again! You must be kidding me! Is my cat ever going to get well?? I spoke with the Doctor and he believes Carson is still experiencing urethral spasms and discomfort due to all that he has been through. So, he is now on 3 different medications…and I am praying they will work!

Until next time…