Blocked Tom - Please Share a Message of Hope

Zuni Monster

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All my life I've had female cats. Then four years ago, an 8-week old male brown tabby kitten caught my eye. He turned into a very big tom cat, who is the sweetest cat ever. My husband calls Simba, Mr. Snuggles. Then last Saturday night, he just seemed off, not his usual affectionate self. Sunday morning, I found him hiding in the guest room, yowling in pain. I knew something was terribly wrong when he went to the litter box and nothing came out.

We rushed him to vet where we were informed he was "blocked." Having never had a male cat, I knew nothing about this. The vet put a catheter, explained to me what was going on, kept him for two nights. She called me Tuesday morning, said blood tests and urine looked great, he's ready to go home, just need to make sure he pees on his own. I get a call five hours later -- he can't go. Vet says we'll give it five more hours, but then he'll need to put catheter back in.

Of course, all this time, I've now been reading about blocked cats and how devastating FLUD can be. We decided to take him to the best of best, Colorado State research and teaching animal hospital. He's been there three nights. He's doing ok, but the kidney values got jacked up on Tuesday when he couldn't go and she said they are ever so slowly coming down. Urinalysis and x-rays show struvite crystals, no stones of any kind. All other blood tests are normal, and they are hoping if kidney values are normal, we can bring him home tomorrow. Rather than waiting for him to pee there, vet says she wants us to pick him up right after they remove the catheter. She's hoping bringing him home to familiar environment will help him to pee. But if he doesn't pee within 12 hours, it's back to the vet again.

I feel so discouraged. One, why doesn't anyone tell you about this when you adopt a male kitten? We've been giving him the same dry food (although very high quality) our female cat eats. I never knew this could happen. Two, we took him for a check-up three weeks ago, and mentioned he'd peed in the laundry basket a few times. We honestly thought it was a behavioral issue. The vet didn't say anything about crystals or him potentially getting blocked. She casually said we should try to get a sample of his urine and bring it in when we got a chance.

I feel like I've read nothing but sad stories from cat owners who've had to put their cats down from this. I need some sort of message of hope from people who've had cats who managed to recover through whatever method (diet, environment) and live long lives. I need hope.
 

Ash's_Devoted_Owner

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I know that it is EXTREMELY difficult to watch your cat suffer. I do not know whether this will give you hope or not, but I have a male cat who has never had crystals (he's two know) because I have always given him wet food. Kibble, no matter how high quality it is, dehydrates your cat. I know that there are people here who have seen their cats recover from struvite crystals from I high-moisture diet. Do not give up! You clearly care deeply for your cat, and, after reading your post (even though I'm sure I am not much help) I couldn't just turn a blind eye. Just remember: your cat knows how much you care for him, and if you do everything in your power to help him, he'll recover.
 

DreamerRose

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Not all male cats get blocked or have crystals, so that's why nobody warned you about it. Most cats don't drink enough water, which causes the crystals. All is not lost if this situation gets worse. They can always do PU surgery, which means cutting the tip of the penis open and stitching it open.

But the real cause in your case is the dry food. Take him off that right away, and get him canned food. It doesn't have to be a prescription food or expensive. I feed mine Sheba and Fancy Feast. When I give him the Fancy Feast, I add about 2-3 tablespoons of water, and mix it in. He had a bad case of struvite crystals about five years ago, and since I've been feeding him this way, we've never had a recurrence.

Don't even think about putting him down. You're a long way away from that. Just make sure he gets enough water to dilute his urine.
 

CatladyJan

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So way back in the dark ages (like 40+ years ago) I remember we fed our cats canned food but it was some dirt cheap stuff. We had many of our cats on acidifiers and one of our cats had PU surgery. I had 2 male cats for 18 years and fed them dry and never had an issue because I think it had more to to with something in the content of the food.
 

maggie101

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If you have facebook, I have joined this group. more sad stories but also how people dealt with it.⁴ Support Group for Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. She has struitive crystals and eventhough she no longer has them, they can come back so I feed her purina proplan ur. She did not like hills cd or rc SO. True, flutd is not talked much about. I was shocked when I learned about this. I don't like the vet I went to but he was more knowledgeable and immediately ran a urinalysis when I told him about her symptoms.
 
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Zuni Monster

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Thanks to all of you for welcoming me and being encouraging. We already purchased the Royal Canin UO wet food for him. I just am hoping to get him home and am praying he's able to urinate.
 

maggiemay

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Thanks to all of you for welcoming me and being encouraging. We already purchased the Royal Canin UO wet food for him. I just am hoping to get him home and am praying he's able to urinate.
I don’t have sn FLUD kitty, but one of my boys had a blocked urethra six years ago. His was idiopathic, no stones or crystals, my vet could never tell me what caused it, but it could have easily killed him. He was in the hospital for a week. He eats wet food, no dry. Once you’ve had a cat in that situation you are always hyper-aware. Believe me, there is hope. My little boy has never had another problem. He is not on veterinary food, he hated it. He is on a low carb wet diet and he ‘s the very picture of health.
 

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Struvite crystals can be disolved that's the good news, no operation needed to get rid of them. If you are feeding dry food, that could be the problem as he will need to drink a lot of water. Change to all wet if possible. Do it gradually, if your cat only wants dry, mix some wet with the dry, increase wet and decrease dry. When on all wet, add a couple of tablespoons of water and mix to a gravy. You could also give something like Nutracys daily to keep his bladder happy.
 
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Zuni Monster

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We absolutely will be feeding him wet only. We did buy a small bag of the Royal Canin SO dry in case we have a hard time transitioning him to wet. But the plan is to keep him on wet only. I'm just praying this time that he'll be able to go even if it's just a little bit.

Our cats have always used pellet litter. I'm now wondering if part of the reason he couldn't go Tuesday is they had an entirely different type of litter, the clumping kind. He loves to dig in his pellet litter and I know cats can be fussy about litter and that any type of stress can be bad. Someone also suggested he could have had a bladder spasm and that anti-spasmodics could help. I'm going to ask the vet about this before we bring him home.
 

maggiemay

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We absolutely will be feeding him wet only. We did buy a small bag of the Royal Canin SO dry in case we have a hard time transitioning him to wet. But the plan is to keep him on wet only. I'm just praying this time that he'll be able to go even if it's just a little bit.

Our cats have always used pellet litter. I'm now wondering if part of the reason he couldn't go Tuesday is they had an entirely different type of litter, the clumping kind. He loves to dig in his pellet litter and I know cats can be fussy about litter and that any type of stress can be bad. Someone also suggested he could have had a bladder spasm and that anti-spasmodics could help. I'm going to ask the vet about this before we bring him home.
Litter changes can most definitely cause this. Can you get some of the pellet litter for him?
 
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Zuni Monster

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Litter changes can most definitely cause this. Can you get some of the pellet litter for him?
The vet who's been caring for him the last three days has a different plan. They are going to remove the catheter right when we go to pick him up so he won't have to use their litter. Because it's an hour's drive home (we live in a rural area), I have a large dog crate with a litter box set up for him for the car ride home. That way if he wants to go on the way home he can. The vet thinks the stress of staying at the clinic and the change of litter could have caused him not to go. She's hopeful that back in his regular environment, he'll be less stressed. She said give him the full 12 hours at home and even if he goes just a little bit, that would be ok. Of course, if he doesn't go at all, it's back to the vet.
 

maggiemay

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Do you have access to an emergency vet where you are? I’m sure stress has a lot to do with it. Praying for him!
 

verna davies

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Have a look at Cornsilk (non alcoholic) and D-Mannose. I give my cat these when he has a flare up and he's back to normal in a few days. If you want to know more or the dosage, just let me know.
 

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Long ago when our boy neutered blocked, the vet fixed it when we brought him in and sent him home with us that day. The vet didn't say he had crystals or nor did she do an x-ray. She said, low ash food, no fish. This advice was repeated over the rest of his life -- 15 more years. I read every can of cat food every time I shopped no fish, ash way down the list of ingredients. He never blocked again. I only fed him and his group, wet food. Later I did fed dry, but not fish food dry. I never fed another male cat fish food, none blocked. Of course, it may all have been chance.
 
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Zuni Monster

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Well, the vet called with an update and it's not good. His kidney values have not normalized. When we first took him in on Sunday, by Monday evening, his values were normal. They took the catheter out Tuesday morning, waited 12 hours for him to pee and it's pretty obvious he re-blocked. I guess that second episode now caused damage to his kidneys because she says they have plateaued at around 2.3, not horrible, but not normal. Level 2 kidney disease.

She said they can either keep him another day in hopes that they'll fall, but she doesn't think so, because they haven't changed from yesterday to today. The other two options are to bring him home and hope that he pees, or to make the decision now for him to have PU surgery.

I have to be honest, I'm not feeling optimistic right now about his chances for survival. I'm also so upset about how our regular vet handled this. We took him in four weeks ago for his check up and mentioned he'd been peeing in the empty laundry basket. She was very casual about it, and said if we had a chance to get a sample of his urine. Why didn't she tell us this could happen and communicate some urgency around it? For that matter, why didn't they keep him there and try to get a sample of his urine? This could have been avoided by changing his diet right then and there. We just didn't know.
 

maggiemay

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Well, the vet called with an update and it's not good. His kidney values have not normalized. When we first took him in on Sunday, by Monday evening, his values were normal. They took the catheter out Tuesday morning, waited 12 hours for him to pee and it's pretty obvious he re-blocked. I guess that second episode now caused damage to his kidneys because she says they have plateaued at around 2.3, not horrible, but not normal. Level 2 kidney disease.

She said they can either keep him another day in hopes that they'll fall, but she doesn't think so, because they haven't changed from yesterday to today. The other two options are to bring him home and hope that he pees, or to make the decision now for him to have PU surgery.

I have to be honest, I'm not feeling optimistic right now about his chances for survival. I'm also so upset about how our regular vet handled this. We took him in four weeks ago for his check up and mentioned he'd been peeing in the empty laundry basket. She was very casual about it, and said if we had a chance to get a sample of his urine. Why didn't she tell us this could happen and communicate some urgency around it? For that matter, why didn't they keep him there and try to get a sample of his urine? This could have been avoided by changing his diet right then and there. We just didn't know.
Is the vet currently telling you to take him home and let him use his own litter box the regular vet you mentioned above? I have to be honest, the current treating vet sounds like she is in way over her head. Is there a more experienced vet at that clinic? And I agree re your assessment of the original vet. At the very least, imo, a wellness exam should always include a urinalysis, especially if the cat was peeing in the laundry basket. These behavioral changes are the only way they can “talk” to us to let us know something is wrong, i would change vets in a heartbeat if that is a possibility. I know you’re upset, and I am so sorry about the way this is going, If there is an emergency vet anywhere nearby, that’s where I would be taking him if he were mine. They are used to dire situations, this vet is not. He may still require surgery, but I don’t know that I would want her to do it. Praying for you and your boy.
 

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Your boy is only 4 years old as I am reading your post. Is there some reason you are concerned about his recovery if he has the surgery? If it becomes necessary, he is not an older, sick cat who might not withstand the surgery.

The vet at CSU is the one telling you to see if he pees in the car on the way home? I see her thinking, about the change in venue and upsetting hospital stay, but still find that to be an odd diagnostic option. I wonder if you put him in the car in his crate in his litter box if he might pee immediately, which would be great, or if you just drove around locally for a few minutes to see what is going on. It might spare you the long ride back if he does not appear to be able to pee.
 
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Zuni Monster

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Your boy is only 4 years old as I am reading your post. Is there some reason you are concerned about his recovery if he has the surgery? If it becomes necessary, he is not an older, sick cat who might not withstand the surgery.

The vet at CSU is the one telling you to see if he pees in the car on the way home? I see her thinking, about the change in venue and upsetting hospital stay, but still find that to be an odd diagnostic option. I wonder if you put him in the car in his crate in his litter box if he might pee immediately, which would be great, or if you just drove around locally for a few minutes to see what is going on. It might spare you the long ride back if he does not appear to be able to pee.
Yes, it was the vet at CSU and it worked! I did exactly what you said, put his litter box with his regular pellet litter in the dog crate. While I was driving I could see him squatting in the litter box but didn't know if he was just straining. However, when I got home, I could see the pellets were squishy and moist and there was actually pee in the bottom of the box. I was never so happy to see cat urine!
 
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