Post PU Surgery Life: Litter Box Problems

mwhitlow13

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My 4-year-old cat Max was our perfect boy. We called him our love bug. He greeted us everyday when we got home from work, he hardly left my fiance’s side, and he used to sleep with us every night. All until he had his first urinary blockage a year ago.

We spent pretty much all of August 2022 in and out of multiple veterinary hospitals. Our first vet was negligent (long story) and sent Max home when he first took him and didn’t warn us of the potential and inevitable lethal dangers of urinary blockages in cats. We got a second opinion at a different vet, but they sent him to an emergency veterinary hospital with urologists available. The choice was either put him down or get Perineal Urethrostomy surgery. We couldn’t bring ourselves to put him down because we loved Max so much and we felt that he would never have gotten so bad if our first vet realized how serious his condition was.

It was touch and go for a while, but Max finally came home after almost a month in the hospital. Max did really well for the first six months after surgery. He was his normal self. But he got a UTI after six months, which did clear, but he hasn’t been the same since. He has a very hard time using the litter box now. We’ve tried what we think is everything. We’ve eliminated all stressors: strange people coming over, no changes in the household, giving him plenty of outside time, and he has a couple of cat trees and plenty of toys to keep him stimulated when we’re not at home. And we got him everything the vet recommended: dietary food, Feliway pheromones, multiple litter boxes, a water fountain, and more. We tried the collar, but he wasn’t a fan. The vet also prescribed him some anxiety medication, but giving the medicine to him seemed to be giving him even more anxiety so we stopped doing that.

We went from calling Max our perfect little angel to our perfect little piss-ant (we use it as a term of endearment!). He goes through periods where he uses the litter box for 3-4 days straight, then he won’t use a litter box hardly at all for days or even weeks at a time. It’s becoming a huge problem and is a strain on my relationship. I’ve kept a journal trying to track his incidents, but I haven’t been able to find a pattern or trigger. Has anyone else had a cat have these kinds of issues after getting the PU surgery? Or does anyone have any advice to help cats use the litter box, other than what I’ve already tried? I’d appreciate any help!
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. Sorry to hear what Max and you are going through.

Are you currently working with a vet urologist from a specialty group for long term care? Based on all you have described; Max should be under the ongoing care of one. They would have a wealth of information about issues that can arise after surgery, and beyond, and help you to know what to look for that would suggest things to be concerned about.

Aside from that, until other members who have direct experience with post PU surgery care, maybe you would like to take a look at previous related posts?
Search Results for Query: post PU surgery | TheCatSite
 

Alldara

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For pilling Max with his anxiety medication, how were you doing it?.

What litter are you using?

What type of boxes do you have?

What type of food is he eating and what is the ratio of wet and dry?
 

MoMoMeow

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Hello!

My boy recently had PU surgery, although he's had some complications and is still currently healing. It's been almost three months post op and his litterbox situation has improved drastically from what he was doing before so far (besides a bit of dribble when he gets out of the box), so I'm really sorry that your kitty is going through this.

Before my boy had the surgery, he had three really strong infections in cohesion to his FIC flareups. He was on antibiotics for a long time before the surgery and after, but in addition to that, I give him a plethora of urinary supplements to help out - and for the most part, it does seem to help. It kept him going at least semi regularly at the time, at least.

D-Mannose and Cornsilk in particular, I think help with some issues of a UTI. Consulting a vet before using any of them is ideal, but also a urologist doesn't sound like a bad avenue to venture into if your cat is free of infection on tests and still has these issues.
 

silent meowlook

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Just off the top of my head: I wonder if things go well and Max uses his box etc. then for whatever reason, he experiences pain while while using the box and, being a cat, associates the box with pain and doesn’t want to go back in it.

When Max isn’t using the box where does he go? Is he only urinating outside the box? Is he spraying on verticals surfaces? Or going flat on the ground? Is it always on carpet or floor or does it-not seem to matter? Do you have other animals at home? If so, how many, what type? Any changes to the environment? Most importantly, when was his last vet exam? Was is a specialist or a regular vet? What food does Max currently eat? Dry or canned? Are you using tap or bottled water in the fountain? Was there kidney damage from his being blocked?

Sorry for all the questions, but need a better understanding of Max and his life before I can make suggestions.
 

Zuni Monster

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I know this post is almost a month old, but I wanted to share our experience. Our boy, Simba, had PU surgery more than two years ago. One of the things the vet recommended was changing to pellet litter (Fresh News, Feline Pine). We did that, and he hasn't had a single issue -- no infection, uses the litter box just fine. I know this goes without saying, but we are vigilant at scooping both the poop and the urine soaked pellets every day.

I don't know if you've considered a change of litter -- and you would need to do it gradually -- but perhaps that might help?
 
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