Monday, October 26, 2015

Scarlett Update

Scarlett was on a course of antibiotics for a possible urinary tract infection, but unfortunately, she had one of the classic side effects: major diarrhea. Because dehydration can be dangerous, particularly for a cat with kidney issues, the vet advised stopping the meds. I increased the amount of probiotic and pumpkin in the cats' food, and Scarlett's stool seemed to be normalizing.

That was early last week. On Thursday, I noticed that Scarlett was straining to urinate, and she kept going in and out of the litter box, trying to pee. The vet had mentioned this as a classic UTI symptom, so I was a bit alarmed. Since I was supposed to collect a urine sample anyway to see if the 2 weeks of antibiotics had actually worked, I figured this would be a good time to try. So, I shut Scarlett in the office with an old litter box with non-absorbent litter provided by the vet.

And... Scarlett refused to use it.

"I don't know what this thing is for, but I shall sit next to it and lick my paw. Ho hum."

My friend Sarah, who is the cats' sitter and a vet tech, advised keeping Scarlett well hydrated in hopes that she'd eventually have to go. So, I gave her some extra food with a lot of water mixed in.

The hydration station.

I ended up leaving Scarlett in over night, much to the angst of Melly, who voiced her objections loudly and attempted to burrow under the office door. And still, Scarlett refused to use the litter box.

"I shan't go. You can't make me."

I finally let Scarlett out in the morning before I left for work, and she made a bee line for the usual litter box, which she used without incident. 


Sarah said that maybe Scarlett's bladder was so full that this appearance of normalcy could be misleading. She got us a prescription for a painkiller, in addition to the phosphorus blocking supplement, in case pain was keeping Scarlett from using the litter box.

I added some cut up packing peanuts to the litter box in the office and shut Scarlett in there again on Saturday evening. Once again, she remained stubborn. I made the cats' breakfast yesterday, which now takes longer to prepare than anything I ever make myself to eat (kidding [kind of]), gave Scarlett her first dose of painkiller, and then put her back in the office. I checked on her periodically, and was relieved when I walked in and smelled the unmistakable aroma of cat urine. 

My relief was very short lived. It turned out that Madam Stubborn had peed in the box where the cats' toys are kept! So frustrating. Not only was there no sample, but most of the cats' toys were ruined. 

My next plan is to try crumpled shredded waxed paper in the litter box, and this time I may put Scarlett in the bathroom, where there are fewer things she could ruin. The bathroom is also where the litter box is normally kept, so hopefully the familiar location will help things along. (This means I'll have to put the usual litter box somewhere else, which hopefully won't confuse Melly too much.)

The upsides: Scarlett seems to be using the litter box just fine and the diarrhea is gone. Also, she is so happy on the painkillers. She seems a tad loopy, but is very energetic and affectionate. I am not sure how much of it is the painkiller making her drunk, and how much of it is her just being relieved at the lack of pain. The thought of the latter makes me sad to think about, since it would mean that she's in quite a lot of pain normally, poor thing. Well, hopefully the kidney and joint supplements will help her feel better in the long run.


Heather Moore said...

My cat wouldn't use that special litter either. I finally just stuck a container under her when she was peeing and collected it that way. That probably won't work for most cats but she didn't seem to care!

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

I hope she feels better soon and you can get a sample too.

Rene said...

We never had luck with that litter either. With Tucker, I used to stick a container under his behind when he went to pee. However, like Heather said, not all cats would put up with that. Glad she is better.

Marilia Bavaresco said...

Purring for Scarlett!!!

Karen said...

This is a tough time, I know. I did the same as Heather: stuck a big serving spoon under my cat as he was using the box. Can she stay at the vet until THEY get a sample?

Summer at said...

Some vets do collect samples at the clinic - I don't know why they didn't offer to do that with Scarlett. I'm sending lots of purrs her way!

Photo Cache said...

Sending purrs.

Emma and Buster

debbie said...

Echoing what Summer said. They can get a sample at the vets. Mine absolutely refused to use any litter box that wasn't the "normal" one.

Tails from the Foster Kittens said...

packing peanuts.. lol.. yeah, that's just not natural. I had one vet recommend aquarium gravel, but it was too heavy. Some vets carry 'no-sorb' which are basically plastic pellets like you might find in a beanie type stuffed animal.

If this is something you think you are going to have to do from time to time, you might want to consider a smart litter box.