Monday, December 15, 2014
Eli and the very bad no good day
So as I mentioned on Saturday, Eli was the first of my two urinary boys to block. He was about three years of age, and we were feeding dry food at the time. We put him on C/D canned and he liked it well enough, but when Jack blocked a few months later we thought we would try them both on just a regular canned diet instead of dry. I went to the store and found a urinary diet, but oddly it was a chunked food (if I knew then what I know now I never would have purchased chunked food)
Eli did fine with that, Jack did not and blocked again. This started us on our journey through feline nutrition and what constitutes a healthy diet. At the time I also had a diabetic cat who was on one type of food, Jack and Eli who were on another, and two other cats who were still eating raw. Mealtime was a complicated mess, especially since Eli was so skittish back then that touching him was near impossible.
So we got them all on a raw diet and Eli hasn't had an issue since.
Why is he having an issue now? I do not know. I can speculate - I'm very good at that. Click here to jump down to if you want to hear more about Eli without listening to me speculate.
It might be due to food insecurities. We were feeding Bravo. Bravo was completely raw, it had a good texture and it was well received by my crew. The FDA imposed a zero tolerance level for ecoli and salmonella and Bravo had a batch test positive for it after leaving the facilities (they say the batch tested negative when it left the manufacturer). To comply with the zero tolerance, they started HPP (High Pressure Pasteurization) which kills pathogens. It also completely changed the texture of the food, it was denser and didn't seem to have nearly the moisture content that it used to. This change in texture was not well received by my cats. Proponents of HPP say that the food is still raw, but since it does kill pathogens, I can not see how it wouldn't change other things. I complained - as did many other consumers not only about the texture but the fact that HPP really isn't raw.
Bravo then went to a new type of "organic rinse" that is supposed to take care of pathogens. It is a very interesting concept but it took quite a bit of asking on my part to get the information. Since the implementation of this 'rinse' the food has had a different smell... one my cats weren't particularly fond of. Very quickly after that they had another recall, and getting our hands on more product was near impossible.
We went back to an old brand I used before, Oma's pride. I liked Oma's well enough until we had an issue - including a big chunk of bone that got stuck on Eli's tooth and some diarrhea in the house. I contacted Oma's about it and was really completely and utterly turned off by their reply to my multiple inquiries. I was polite and simply wanted to know if they had made any changes to their formula and I was ignored and rebuffed. That was years ago and since then I have heard several great things about their customer service, so I though what the heck. Well shortly after feeding it, a big bone fragment got stuck on one of the kitten's teeth. It was also not well received by The Crew and a lot of it ended up in the trash.
I spoke to my local source for Bravo about our options and while having the conversation he called his distributor and found some cases for us. They came in with that same near chemical smell to the food... The Crew will eat it, but they are not happy about it and much is left behind.
I imagine all of these food changes have been stressful. Stress is a problem for cats with urinary issues.
I also started giving some "vac detox" from Spirit Essences. It was suggested a while back that Fleurp's anemia might have roots in her being vaccinated, so I thought I would give this a shot. If this does help the body deal with the issues of being vaccinated, it might have stirred something up in him... which along with the stress of the food, the stress of Jack's recent issues, my going away last month, etc... maybe..
But that is all we have, a bunch of maybes.. oh if only cats were algebra instead of biology.. *smile*
anyway.. so I knew he was uncomfortable and I knew he was not blocked because he was peeing, so I set about trying to catch my boy so I could 'pamper' him. He is far from the skittish boy he used to be, but he still is not a fan of being 'caught' and since my husband is out of town and there is only me and it was NOT easy.
I caught him once, and locked him in the back bathroom while I prepared the bedroom for observation... which means kicking everyone else out of prime real estate, getting a litter box, food/water and getting him the supplements he might need. I was lucky enough to get one of Jack's urinary tablets in him when I caught him, so that was on board, but when I went to get him out of the bathroom he escaped. I figured it was hopeless, but went after him anyway, just long enough for him to figure out I REALLY wanted to get him... and he was having NONE OF THAT, thankyouverymuch. I immediately gave up and went and spent some time with the kittens.
When I was done, I came out and Eli was sitting there waiting for me just out of reach. He knows I can help him, but his fear is so very powerful. I went very slowly.. playing ninja and only walking towards him when he wasn't looking at me. Other cats showed up, and I sat down and gave them some attention hoping Eli would walk over wanting static but no such luck. I laid down on the ground, I texted my husband.. still he would not come closer. I figured I better get up and give it a shot and hope for the best, and going very slowly I was able to get my hands on him. He meowed in protest, but thankfully didn't squirm. His belly was tight, yes he was uncomfortable. I put him in the bedroom and he immediately ran under the bed but came right out again which was a very good sign. He ate the baby food I had put some supplements in - another good sign. He climbed into the litter box and went pee.. also a good sign. I knew I had until morning and didn't need to run him to the emergency clinic. I gave him a dose of buprenex and called it a night.
He woke me up several times digging around in the box. Broke my heart because I knew that he must be so uncomfortable. I got up much earlier than normal and thanks to a lack of internet (Thanks Time Warner - ugh) and TV I had little to do but watch my boy. He is not a fan of being watched, so when he realized I was doing it he would jump out of the box. Fortunately he was still peeing so I gave him some more supplements which he gobbled right up and some (new to him) food which he didn't. I gave him some time to eat it but he wasn't having any of it so I left him with a can of FF and went off to work with strict instructions to eat it or he was going to the vet that afternoon. This would be Friday.
Eli had eaten his food and when I was able to put my hands on him he felt better - not as tense - so I spent the afternoon watching him. He went into the box about once an hour, each time productive. I got him some more supplements and things continued to improve. My husband came home and Eli climbed up on the bed and asked to be patted and have his belly rubbed.. I thought we were over the worst of it.
Around 11pm when I went to bed he was very vocal at me and jumped in the box and peed. His belly felt a little tense-er than it had earlier.. and he hadn't eaten his dinner, so I had a feeling he would be going to the vet in the morning.
Saturday morning showed up and Eli had signs of improvement but he also had signs that he was still having issues. Being that it was now the weekend, and I still really had no idea why he was having issues (his urinary PH was 7 so it was higher than I would like but not so high to scream crystals) I decided to take him to the vet. The vet was booked up, but they agreed to double book me if I was okay with waiting.. yes, I was very okay with waiting.
Sadly my boy didn't have much of a bladder when we got in there, so they weren't able to get a good sample, but they used an ultrasound machine to find the bladder and it showed some calcifications. The vet then suggested an xray which I thought was a bit excessive, but since this is the first time he has had issues in nine years I didn't want to miss anything. Since he was in to the vet five months ago I thought it might be a good idea to do senior blood work on him so I wouldn't feel the need to bring him back in another month or so to do a six month check up especially since thyroid issues seemed to be at the root of Jack's peeing all over.
The vet of course wanted to put him on C/D *sigh* and was quite incredulous that I wasn't going to do it... despite that she didn't ask questions about my plan, just accepted that I was going to give an acidifier and recommended a recheck in a few weeks. She also recommended that I use an ear ointment on him since he had an abundance of debris in his ears.. yeast maybe? She told me at the time and I promptly forgot. so now not only did I have a pill to give him but ear ointment as well... I was having a little internal freak out since again Eli does NOT like it when you try to catch him.
When I got home I put him back in the bedroom and went about my plans for the day. When I got home I was given the report that Eli did not want to be in the bedroom any more. I went to visit him and it was pretty obvious he wanted out, so I gave him a second dose of supplement incase I could not catch him later on in the day and let him out. Yes I panicked, but I do know I need to trust in the process. Before I let him out I told him point blank that he needed to accept these pills and this ear ointment for the next ten days or I would have to lock him up. I explained what the process would be and mentally tried to picture it in my head. I explained why I was doing it and that I loved him very much.
Sunday morning came very early and very shortly after I woke up Eli walked up to the side of the bed and pawed it. I sat up and very easily put my hands on him and pilled him. Sunday night the same. I am both shocked and very very pleased.
I know he is feeling better because he is being playful and very interactive. His ears are looking better than they have in years. His ears have always been a mess because of his tear ducts. I wonder how he is going to be in the morning or in a few days from now when he is feeling better and doesn't think he needs it any more.
so.. as a result.. we are once again making our own cat food.. Fun fun..