Nothing worse than a stoned cat…

I could use some help from you cat folks out there.

My big gray cat jumped on my head last night and started crying. Four in the morning and I knew I had an emergency on my hands, because this is one of those cats that will come get me if he’s got a problem–and he was clearly very unhappy. Usually he’s only insistent when he’s got a dirty butt and he wants me to help clean it off (yes, I know–but I crossed the line over into crazy cat-ladydom a long time ago).

Otto was in so much pain he was panting, and he growled at me when I tried to check his back end–in fact he looked so upset and was staring at me so intently with such dilated pupils that I scrambled out of bed (I was afraid he was going to go after my head).   He let me press up into his abdomen, and I could tell his bladder wasn’t distended (thankfully) but it was obvious he was really suffering. Finally got him to settle down and we both tried to go back to sleep–not easy since he’d rolled over on his back right where I wanted to put my feet, his back legs kept twitching whenever he’d have another spasm, and I was worried that if I moved I’d incite a bobcat-style attack.

We drove the forty miles to the vet so we could be there as soon as they opened at 7 a.m., and of course they couldn’t squeeze pee out of him, so I had to leave him there and then drive back to town later (160 miles? For a cat? Just another fringe benefit of living out in the boonies and being a crazy cat person).

Otto had this same kind of  trouble last month, but they told me back then that they didn’t see any crystals, and his urine PH was great. They guessed he just had a bladder infection, and since he improved rapidly on antibiotics, I thought that was the end of it.

This time, his urine was full of blood AND crystals, even though I haven’t changed his diet–and it’s only been a month. And he’s on steroids and antibiotics and on a canned SD (dissolution diet).

What gives?

The vet can’t tell me. I really don’t like the Science Diet CD “maintenance” dry food for urinary cats–for one thing, it’s hard for Otto to digest (and I really do have better things to do than wash off the butt of a 17-pound cat off every day) and for another thing, one of our other cats pops us with food-related skin allergies whenever he eats it.

So I have been feeding everyone the Wysong “uretic” dry food for months, even though I know you’re supposed to feed urinary syndrome cats canned food.

But apparently that’s not enough. The vet said to try Royal Canin, since they have a brand of dry food for “stony” cats, but I bet you that will bother Notch as well.

Could some of this problem be due to the fact that our water is harder than snot and has a lot of dissolved calcium in it? I haven’t asked the vet yet, but I’m wondering. We have a softener, but I water the animals with water from a tap that isn’t salted–same water that that we drink to avoid upping our sodium content.  I’m wondering if I should try distilled water to see if that helps.

And if you happen to have any more tips, lay ’em on me.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Nothing worse than a stoned cat…

  1. When we had our house built we also had to drill for a well. We had the water tested and the report that came back stated that our water was of excellent quality, pure, crystal clear spring water and as hard as a rock. So hard in fact that in a very short time it clogged up the showers and we were using a lot of anti lime scale stuff to keep the washing machine from breaking down. I didn’t like the idea of using salt to filter out the calcium, so I did some research and asked around. Finally I was told that water as hard as ours would be almost guaranteed to give us kidney stones, if it didn’t kill our kidneys altogether. We had the filter installed.

    I water all the animals with rain water. For drinking I use bottled spring water, although the guy who installed the filter said that the salt would not pass into the system.

  2. Sorry, no cats live with me, but I have a friend with cats (he’s the crazy cat man 😉 and one of his has urinary crystal issues. I’ll ask him, but I fear that he’s going to reply that all he does is feed the special, dry food.

    I will be thinking good karma thoughts for poor Otto.

  3. WordPress cut me off there.

    Anyway, those kidney diets for cats are not great, and a lot of cats hate them. You could try feeding him light meals of boiled chicken with white rice and give him a vitamin supplement, it’s what I did for my old cat. Did your vet say anything about putting him on a drip for a day to flush out the kidneys?

  4. Twohorses, I took care of an old cat for many years with kidney trouble, but the bladder stones are a different issue (although getting them as much fluid is possible is a challenge with this is as well). This is a young cat and his kidneys are working fine, and the kidney isn’t making the stones–the stones form in the urine in the bladder.

    I think one of the reasons Otto seems so susceptible to this is the fact he normally has the energy level of a stuffed animal, so he doesn’t empty his bladder as often as he should. Male cats out in the wild pee a little all the time as they mark territory, but neutered, lazy male cats don’t do that.

    Everything I’ve read online says that urinary stone cats should be on a wet diet, and that cats in the wild never have the bladder stone issue. It’s a lot more convenient for me to have the dry food out, but not exactly convenient for me to be taking cats to the vet all the time…!

    Won’t be convenient to do the distilled water thing, either, but I think I’ll give that a shot.

  5. I’ll bet it’s the hard water. I guess you can get bottled water stored up, good thing horses aren’t bothered by it!

  6. Lori E

    Ah, I had a cat that was a UTI dude. Yes, it was our water. He never had problems except during the time I lived in Florida. The sulphur in the water there is terrible and I had to give him distilled water. Or, I would fill up a container of water and let it sit on the counter for 24 hours or so before giving it to him. After I left FL, he had no more troubles…but while in FL it was a mess for the poor guy. They put him on some Valium during an episode once and boy, was he a sweetie!! He lived a long life, though, and I finally lost him in May of this year at age 20.

    • Lori E

      PS: My Po’ Kitty was only on the soft food during his UTI episodes and then not again until he was 17 or so. He liked the dry food, I liked the dry food, and once he wasn’t drinking Florida water (seriously…you can smell the sulphur in a hot shower), he didn’t have issues. I truly believe it was the water, at least for him.

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