Cat have signs of a tumor? Check for urinary crystals too. Buddy's story.

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LilBuddy

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This is buddy, our 1-year-old sweetheart, a male long hair cat with a white mane and white boots.
buddy.jpg


I'd like to share buddy's story because we almost lost him this weekend and a lack of information online, combined with circumstances that masked what was really going on, might happen to someone else. Last Thursday he seemed perfectly fine, now he's fighting for his life, and it happened so fast.

- Two months ago: Buddy, a perfectly healthy and happy 10-month-old cat, got fleas. It happens, they were treated successfully.

- One month ago: Buddy unfortunately got worms from the fleas, we noticed he was growling at his own bottom and licking it a lot, so we took him to the vet where they diagnosed worms and gave him medicine. They were treated successfully, and he stopped itching.

- 4 days ago: Last Thursday, buddy seemed fine, but vomited after eating and drinking that morning. He wasn't feeling well but was behaving normally and was as playful as usual.

- 3 days ago: Friday, He ate and drank but didn't go potty. He began going after his bottom again, so we called the vet and got another appointment for Monday, they don't give worm meds without prescription and need to see him first.

- 2 days ago: Saturday. Something is clearly wrong. He's becoming lethargic, didn't want to eat or drink in the morning, and he still hasn't pottied. He's still going after his bottom, too. The emergency clinic is not open this weekend.

By Saturday evening, he's crying occasionally and clearly in pain. He won't walk and is very lethargic, sleepy. We noticed a mass in his lower abdomen. We also noticed blood and a really foul odor in his mouth.

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The following is why I'm sharing buddy's story in hopes another cat and owner can benefit if they experience this. It is NOT medical advice, ALWAYS get to the vet quickly if you notice a change in behavior, etc. This is what was going on...
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As you can imagine, we're really worried now. We're on the phone talking to local vet and clinic 'after hours' personnel, scouring the internet for possible causes, calling shelters in case they know a vet we could talk to.

1 day ago: Sunday morning. Everyone we spoke to, and everything online, led us to believe our little buddy was suffering either from a tumor that had now ruptured and so surgery was too late, or an ingested object, and he's now going septic. Neither of those, in his current condition, have a good expected outcome. The blood in the mouth help mask the real problem.

He's in pain when he's not unconscious now. We won't give up. There isn't anywhere to get him a painkiller, and it's clear he can't wait until Monday morning. Bad timing, but it's Sunday afternoon now and in this rural area there's nowhere to bring him.

Luck, we reach an animal hospital that is two hours drive away. It's closed, the phone message says come in the morning, but hold to speak to someone. We literally said we think we have a cat needing Euthanasia because it's in pain, not eating or going potty, and getting very cold (temp dropped 10 degrees, buddy was critical). The vet said she was afraid that's what it sounded like, but she'd give him a look immediately.

Sunday: 5pm. The vet agrees to open the hospital for buddy for a fee. Two hours later we're there.

Sunday 7pm: A quick look at buddy and the vet knows exactly what's wrong, and it's nothing the internet or the people we reached by phone thought. Buddy has a total blockage from urinary crystals. His bladder can't empty, his kidneys are swollen, and even if she operates he's suffered damage, the odds aren't good. We opt for the surgery, buddy is young, but that's the only thing going for him at this point.

Sunday 9pm: He survived the surgery, as many of the crystals that could be removed were, he's sedated with a catheter and IV and now we wait.
Monday 8am: Buddy is still very sick, but he survived the night. Bloodwork will tell how bad the damage to his kidneys is, but it will wait until he gets a little strength first. The crystals might keep forming and block the catheter, but he'll be watched closely for several days in the hospital.

The crystals might immediately reform and block him again if we get him home, too. He's young, he'll be taken well care of, he'll need a special diet for life, but it's now Tuesday morning, and he's fighting. Our little lion of a sweetheart will need round the clock care for a few days at the hospital.

So what happened - hindsight is always easier to evaluate.
- The previous worms delayed suspecting something else might be wrong, like urinary crystals
- The symptoms fit tumors and ingested objects, as well as parasitic infection
- Blood in his mouth was from chewing on himself to try and pee, but we didn't see the wounds and suspected the blood we did see was from his bum, it was intermittent, not constant(occasional stains in his bed the past few days). Even his long hair made checking him out while he was in pain difficult.
- The timing, weekend, snow storm, nothing open...

The biggest thing in hindsight is that crystals would have begun forming after he was being bothered by the worms, they made him itchy, and he wasn't drinking as often. They would have been forming for days before completely blocking him. Buddy was getting sick and didn't show signs of it until they were very serious.

If you ever notice crystals in kitty urine, get to the vet. We never saw any in his litter, and we feel guilty of not having caught this sooner. If anything seems wrong, get to the vet asap! Cats can deteriorate very quickly sometimes.

Again, my hope is that by sharing this, someone else out there might consider looking for urinary crystals or a urinary blockage, especially if they've been told by ANYBODY other than a vet WHO HAS SEEN the cat it sounds like a stomach tumor or parasitic infection. Get it checked out IN PERSON, these little friends have so much love to give, they deserve it in return.
 

Furballsmom

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Thank you so very much for registering with the site and for sharing his story.

I'm so glad that he's made it this far through it all, and I'm sending tons of thoughts and prayers that he can come back home soon :vibes::redheartpump::crossfingers::redheartpump: :hugs:
 

fionasmom

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Thank you so much for sharing Buddy's story with us. Please continue to let us know how he is doing. He is so lucky that you pushed for him as much as you did in order to save his life.
 
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LilBuddy

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Thanks for the kind words and well wishes. I'm going to bookmark this page as much for me as for you.

I'm truly heartbroken to update that we lost our little angel tonight at 5:30. We visited him this afternoon to keep his spirits up, being in a strange place was probably scary. After initial relief from the surgery, his sugars were rising and his liver was failing. He wasn't strong enough to eat or drinking and had endured all he could.

- When we drove out to see him, the plan was that he spend another night at the hospital and then come home for TLC back to health. He was still extremely weak but perked up his head, he recognized us and wanted to be held when we got there.

- When we got there, the plan changed. Because he was alert and focused on us, accepting love despite not being able to move much, and really not doing well, we thought we would take him home for the night and bring him back to say goodbye tomorrow. Leaving him alone another night no longer made sense. It was clear he was dying.

- By the end of the visit, he let us know it was time. When we got there he was breathing alright, but after accepting pets and looking at us a long while as we admired him, he collapsed in our arms, closed his eyes and started struggling to breathe(fluid). Now bringing him home felt selfish, he was in no pain, but when the liver fails the lungs go quickly too, and they had started to go. He got love to the very end.

He's home with us tonight and tomorrow he'll be in the field he enjoyed, not too far from our apple tree. We went out to visit him, he was happy to see us, but he wanted to come home with us, and seeing us seemed to signal to him, it was OK to close his eyes now.

No, we didn't disturb him from rest he could have used to recover. The inside of his ears were a greenish deep yellow(jaundice) he would only grow weaker from now. He held on hoping to see us, or felt relief that he did. Either way, we spent his last few hours in the room with him.

SOOOO so thankful for every day of the two great years we had.

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I'm sorry if this was hard to read. It was hard to write through blurry eyes. I'm not OK right now, who can be when they lose a member of the family, but I do have another purpose for this second post. It's to share the rest of Buddy's story from when he was tiny, so you might understand just how a little handsome fellow in a tuxedo could crawl so deeply into our hearts.
___

Two years ago we found our little sweetheart, and his brother who is doing well, in the loft of our barn. His mom left them there as kittens after having caught five field mice and left them there, too, to feed them. They were too small for mice, eyes open but barely able to walk and not weaned yet, tiny.

We brought them into the house, bottle-fed them, and set up a camera to see if mom returned, but she never did.

Right from the start, our little buddy warmed our hearts. His eyes changed to the color you see above eventually, but they were initially the deepest, brightest blue I've ever seen in a kitten. His brother would close his eyes as we fed him, but not lilBuddy. He would open them wide, fixate his eyes on ours, and it's like he would stare into our soul as he ate. Cute as a button.

When he ran around the house with his brother a few months later, he'd always stop when he ran by the couch, if we were sitting on it. If we were, he'd climb us, look right into our eyes with that gaze, give us a little head bump on the chin and run off with his brother. He was just saying hey. The cuddles would happen when he tired of the chase.

He always slept near us, was a great alarm clock when it was 7am, even on weekends he'd try to wake us by sliding his head under our hand and lifting it, then watching us from under it.

His hind legs were ridiculously strong, his brother couldn't tackle him once buddy was on his back. His hind legs could reach everywhere and win every wrestling match. It was fun to watch his brother keep trying.

Sometimes I would be on the computer, and he would jump between the keyboard and I, put his paws on my chest, stare into my soul for a moment or two and climb on me. It was cuddle time, for an hour.

He was always the perfect gentleman, finishing off the cuddles with his little head bump before walking off in his tuxedo. I miss those already. His brother will miss him, too, they were inseparable, especially at nap time. At bedtime, though, buddy preferred the big people bed.

The kids miss him horribly tonight, and we're all thankful we got to spend his two years with him. Please, urinary crystals are not to be ignored if you find out your little friend has them. The vet said they are treatable, if the cause is also addressed, but if total blockage occurs the consequences can be rough, and it can happen so quickly, we never knew he had them until it was already too late.

I wrote the first post because I didn't know what to do with myself last night. I write this one for the same reason. The family turned in early, it was a rough day, and now it's my turn. Give your little friends a gentle head bump sometime, for buddy, to show them you love them (or do what your pets like most, of course). Just, please, don't forget about urinary crystals if something seems like a stomach tumor or parasitic infection, the crystal symptoms can behave the same way. SEE A VET ASAP.

I'll be back when I can load this bookmark to smile and remember. And to get to know you all better, but it might be a little while, my heart hurts so much right now.

Until we share cuddles again, /head bump
 
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LilBuddy

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Note: The picture is him at 1 year. We had two wonderful years with him.
 

Furballsmom

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I'm so very very sorry 😞

RIP sweetheart :vibes::redheartpump::rbheart::redheartpump:

For any other cats you have, cat music may help them during the transition 💗
 

fionasmom

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I am very saddened to read that you lost Buddy. Right now this is raw, and his young age makes it seem even worse, but I hope that in time you will be able to take some comfort in the fact that you left nothing unturned in your search for help for him.

You are a brand new member and may not be familiar with TCS in its entirety. We have a forum called Crossing the Bridge where you are welcome to write your thoughts about Buddy and create a memorial to him.

Crossing the Bridge

When a cat passes on, we lock the thread out of respect for him.
 
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LilBuddy

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Thanks fionasmom,

This wasn't originally meant to be a memorial thread, he was still fighting when I wrote it. I'll create a proper memorial to help family remember him as the years go by, soon.

About the reason I shared this thread... it's the type of thing owners need to be aware of BEFORE symptoms arise. There may be few, they may mask as something else, and different cats behave differently at first. SEE A VET, trust me, there is confusion online as the symptoms fit several other things.

Please, if you have a cat, especially a male neutered cat, learn about urinary crystals, their causes and understand why immediate vet evaluation is urgent if you even suspect them. Depending on the cat's behavior and number of cats you have you may not see any signs until the situation is dire.
 
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