Worried a cat with FLUTD might block over the holidays

profcat

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We have a very difficult cat. He was feral and still, after years, does not let us touch him, although he is very comfortable and happy living here and is very affectionate with our other cats. 3 years ago he had a penis plug (from debris in his urine) and blocked and had to be catheterized. He's been fine for the past few years.

Until last week we noticed him sitting in the litter box for long periods of time and only producing tiny bits of pee. So we brought him to the vet. He is VERY difficult to get. It's traumatic for him and us. We have to chase him into the bathroom and scruff him and drop him into a crate. We cannot give him meds or fluids. He hates the UR diet and only really eats dry food so that makes hiding meds inside impossible (we stopped the urinary diet last year and that was probably stupid). Our vet kept him there overnight and gave him fluids and a steroid shot and an antibiotic shot. We brought him home and are keeping him in the bathroom so we can keep track of his urinary output and take him to the vet if we need to.

He's been peeing good amounts, but also tiny amounts. And I found some blood with pee in the bathtub yesterday. We know it's FLUTD and that means straining and having urgency to urinate, and we are happy he's not blocked. But we're worried that could happen again over the holidays when are vet is not in. And we know it takes a few weeks for the UR diet to work to help dissolve whatever issue he has going. How normal is it for them to continue to strain and have urgency?

We also hate having him confined to the bathroom but it's the only option for keeping an eye on him. He hates it in there and cries so I think the stress doesn't help. Of course we're driving an 1.5 away for thanksgiving dinner and we are so worried he'll block while we're out of town. What are people's experiences with this?
 

Jem

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I had one boy who developed cystitis (blockage due to stress) and it took over a month for his urinary system to get back to normal with the use of a few meds. Another one of my boys had severe straining due to crystals and it took a few weeks for him to pee normal again once we got him on the urinary food. We tried to see if we could take him off the food after a while but he just ended up having peeing issues again so he had to stay on it for life. The one who blocked from stress did re-block after a few days of coming home after the first vet visit, however that vet was a dink...that's a whole other story. The other never blocked, but he never fully blocked from the beginning.
Will you only be gone for the evening? How long has it been since you brought him home from the vet?
Probably not something you want to hear but I wouldn't be going anywhere if it's only been a few days. And if it's been at least over a week and no blockage re-occurrence then I wouldn't be going anywhere for longer than "a days work" until he has decent pees with some regularity.
 
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profcat

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We had him at the vet this past Monday and he stayed until Tuesday getting fluids etc. He was not blocked but had some debris/crystals in his penis (but his urine was fine!) So it's been about a week. He is peeing BUT it's clearly more frequently. Sometimes it's about the size of a golf ball, and sometimes it's maybe the size of a quarter. Not the kind of huge pees we'd usually see. But he is definitely peeing.

We'll only be gone for less than 8 hours. We're going to keep him in the bathroom tonight and talk to the vet tomorrow. Maybe they can give him fluids there again this week, since we can't do it at home, and that will help keep him ok over the long holiday weekend.
 
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Furballsmom

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Check the rest of the article, maybe there's something else to help with hydration, even a couple tall water glasses filled to the brim with filtered water :).

Plus try Cat Music for the stress aspect of this.
 
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profcat

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Check the rest of the article, maybe there's something else to help with hydration, even a couple tall water glasses filled to the brim with filtered water :).

Plus try Cat Music for the stress aspect of this.
Never thought of cat music-- didn't realize its a thing! We do have a bowl in there and a tall glass of water because he does like to drink out of glasses. I know being in there is depressing for him, but it's the easiest way for us to keep an eye on him.
 

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We have a very difficult cat. He was feral and still, after years, does not let us touch him, although he is very comfortable and happy living here and is very affectionate with our other cats. 3 years ago he had a penis plug (from debris in his urine) and blocked and had to be catheterized. He's been fine for the past few years.

Until last week we noticed him sitting in the litter box for long periods of time and only producing tiny bits of pee. So we brought him to the vet. He is VERY difficult to get. It's traumatic for him and us. We have to chase him into the bathroom and scruff him and drop him into a crate. We cannot give him meds or fluids. He hates the UR diet and only really eats dry food so that makes hiding meds inside impossible (we stopped the urinary diet last year and that was probably stupid). Our vet kept him there overnight and gave him fluids and a steroid shot and an antibiotic shot. We brought him home and are keeping him in the bathroom so we can keep track of his urinary output and take him to the vet if we need to.

He's been peeing good amounts, but also tiny amounts. And I found some blood with pee in the bathtub yesterday. We know it's FLUTD and that means straining and having urgency to urinate, and we are happy he's not blocked. But we're worried that could happen again over the holidays when are vet is not in. And we know it takes a few weeks for the UR diet to work to help dissolve whatever issue he has going. How normal is it for them to continue to strain and have urgency?

We also hate having him confined to the bathroom but it's the only option for keeping an eye on him. He hates it in there and cries so I think the stress doesn't help. Of course we're driving an 1.5 away for thanksgiving dinner and we are so worried he'll block while we're out of town. What are people's experiences with this?
I have never liked the idea of boarding but I did once for my cat with ibd+. It was best friends and had emergency in the same parking lot. Big rooms. They had video to check how she was doing. Just don't tell them he's stray. Stray cats get scared seeing someone taller than them so try crawling. See if he will eat a weruva shredded chicken can or lick a tiki stick.
 
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Alldara

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profcat profcat Blood in the urine is always a sign for sure. It doesn't necessarily mean a blockage will happen. My cat has never had a blockage and has passed many stones like that.

Urinary food takes a full year being on it to dissolve anything. It's a prevention, not a cure to something that's already happening, unfortunately.

It can be normal for this to go on for a bit. If he's peeing more frequently, it may not become large.

If you can get him eating any kind of wet food or dry food with water soaked into it, that will be your best bet to prevent future episodes. All of the studies show that any wet food for cats with urinary issues is better than even a prescription diet.
This is not easy, and I know as I have an addict as well. I found this with many things to try: Transitioning Dry Food Addicts

I also want to let you know that plugs and other such issues can be partially addressed with litter change. I recommend finding something that is not clay and not pine if you aren't already using something else. This was a lifechanger for us.

the above posters are correct that if you can even if you can get him eating a wet treat at first it's an AMAZING start and you can start that right away. Actually, it's better to start while hes eating a dry food he doesn't like. He's more encouraged to try new things.
 

moxiewild

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We have a very difficult cat. He was feral and still, after years, does not let us touch him, although he is very comfortable and happy living here and is very affectionate with our other cats. 3 years ago he had a penis plug (from debris in his urine) and blocked and had to be catheterized. He's been fine for the past few years.

Until last week we noticed him sitting in the litter box for long periods of time and only producing tiny bits of pee. So we brought him to the vet. He is VERY difficult to get. It's traumatic for him and us. We have to chase him into the bathroom and scruff him and drop him into a crate. We cannot give him meds or fluids. He hates the UR diet and only really eats dry food so that makes hiding meds inside impossible (we stopped the urinary diet last year and that was probably stupid). Our vet kept him there overnight and gave him fluids and a steroid shot and an antibiotic shot. We brought him home and are keeping him in the bathroom so we can keep track of his urinary output and take him to the vet if we need to.

He's been peeing good amounts, but also tiny amounts. And I found some blood with pee in the bathtub yesterday. We know it's FLUTD and that means straining and having urgency to urinate, and we are happy he's not blocked. But we're worried that could happen again over the holidays when are vet is not in. And we know it takes a few weeks for the UR diet to work to help dissolve whatever issue he has going. How normal is it for them to continue to strain and have urgency?

We also hate having him confined to the bathroom but it's the only option for keeping an eye on him. He hates it in there and cries so I think the stress doesn't help. Of course we're driving an 1.5 away for thanksgiving dinner and we are so worried he'll block while we're out of town. What are people's experiences with this?
Why can’t you give him meds with the dry food?

We frequently hide meds like gabapebtin in dry food by wrapping it in a pill pocket and serving just a small amount of dry food with it whenever they’re hungry (then feed the rest of the meal after we confirm the pill has been consumed).

For extra stubborn cats, we cover the pill pocket in things like Fortiflora.Or if they love fish or chicken, we make a pill pocket as best we can out of that (but it works best if the cat REALLY loves those things).

For the most savviest of cats, we cover the pill in as thin a layer of pill pocket as we can manage, wet it a tiny bit to get it a bit more sticky, then stick on one or two kibbles to the pill pocket.

If that still doesn’t work (I recommend practice rounds before you the day you need it to figure out what works. Most vets will be okay with prescribing extra for this purpose, as gabapentin is very low risk and often beneficial for FLUTD cats anyway), we take their regular dry food they love, use a pill crusher to crush up a few kibbles, then roll the pill pocket in that and throw it in with the dry food, which works very well to conceal it.

Have you tried anything like that?

Does he like ANY wet food, like Churu, Temptations lickable treats, etc? What about fish, chicken, butter, etc that you could try mixing a gabapentin capsule into?

Can you handle him AT ALL, for any length of time? Like long enough to burrito him in a towel or get him secured into a restraint bag?

Did the vet run a urinalysis or culture of his urine? Did he have an ultrasound? Were crystals present?

What else have you been doing to help the FLUTD? More specifically, to aid in reducing his stress?

As far as the holidays, if you’re really worried, you could always stay home. Obviously that’s not ideal, but it is an option.

Otherwise, I would recommend hiring a pet sitter. And I would very highly recommend offering well beyond average pay since it’s a holiday and short notice, but sitters are often needed during holidays anyway.

Ensure they know exactly what to look out for. You can also try calling your vet or other clinics to see if any techs are looking for extra work, as they often do pet sitting on the side.

You could also see if a friend or neighbor wouldn’t mind dropping by periodically to check on him every hour or so.

Boarding at a clinic or other boarding facility during the day could be an option too - although please know this would be incredibly stressful for him, and I’d urge you to consider staying home forThanksgiving over choosing this particular option.

Whether you hire a pet sitter, have a neighbor check on him, or leave town and hope for the best, I would highly recommend buying a nanny cam to keep in the bathroom so you can check on him yourself while you’re away (we personally use Netvue cameras from Amazon, they’re about $35). Maybe you could talk to a neighbor or friend nearby, and if they can’t routinely check on him, maybe they would be willing to go over if you noticed an emergency or unusual behavior by viewing the camera on your phone.

You can make catching and transporting him easier on a pet sitter or friend/neighbor by keeping him in a small-medium wire dog crate while you’re away - something light and compact enough that they can carry themselves and get through the doorway in the event of an emergency, but big enough for a small litterbox, a bed/blanket, and food and water (I recommend getting bowls that attach to the crate to maximize space/use space more efficiently). You can also attach a cat hammock to the top if that’s something he’d like too (let me know if you need any recommendations for Amazon, as many “cat hammocks” are too small for many adult cats).

You can cover the crate with a sheet while you’re gone to help keep him calm. You’ll just need to ensure you secure the camera under the sheet to keep an eye on him to where it can’t be knocked over and the sheet can’t move and cover it (as he may pull at the sheet from inside the crate at first - although you can prevent this by wrapping the crate in deer or bird netting from Home Depot so he can’t get his paws through the crate in the first place in order to avoid this risk altogether).
 

moxiewild

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There's some terrific sources, harp music for cats, music with purrs in it, and one where the originator actually did scientific research as to what cats responded to. 💗
David Tiei’s Music For Cats, I highly recommend this!

We have a 4 and 8 hour cat music playlist we made through Amazon music and Spotify with David Tiei’s music, harp music, etc that we play on the little plug in Alexa’s (Alexa Flex, I think?) and operate through our phones.
 

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Our cat, Casper, has ongoing urinary problems. Our vet said to us, "Water! Water! Water," as she pounded her fist on the table!

Always try to make sure your cat gets as much water as you can encourage him to drink. That will keep his urine diluted so that there will be less chance of developing crystals or other problems. It will also help wash away any crystals or other buildup that can block the urinary tract. (More dilute urine smells less, too!)

As for food, try to keep your cat on as much wet food as possible. As per our vet's instructions, we try to keep it at 50% wet or better. (Casper eats approximately 50/50 or 60/40 when we can encourage it.)

Our vet also said that special urinary foods aren't always what they are cracked up to be. They often put in additives to balance the urine pH but they are not a cure-all. Given the extra expense of "special" foods, it's a tossup as to whether they are worthwhile. It's probably just as well to buy a decent quality dry cat food. As long as the cat drinks enough water, the only real difference is the expense.

We try to keep Casper eating 50/50 or better with wet food and make sure he drinks plenty of water and that's enough to keep him going steady. We do have some pills for him in case he starts to have problems but we don't give them very often.

Casper does well with just controlling his diet and water intake. :)
 
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profcat

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Thanks, all! He is peeing normally enough now that we let him out of the bathroom. I think part of his stress was being stuck in there, and he's not going back and forth to the box anymore. The vet said to keep him on the urinary food (we ordered wet but right now we only have dry) and keep an eye on him. Hopefully he'll continue to do better over the weekend!
 

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Thanks, all! He is peeing normally enough now that we let him out of the bathroom. I think part of his stress was being stuck in there, and he's not going back and forth to the box anymore. The vet said to keep him on the urinary food (we ordered wet but right now we only have dry) and keep an eye on him. Hopefully he'll continue to do better over the weekend!
Wonderful! That's true for our home too. If it's further away Nobel doesn't hyper focus and pee too frequently.

I'm so glad you're finding what works for you. Best wishes continued forward.
 
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