Friday Dec 21st I took BigBoy kitty into the vet after he began to display unusual symptoms. He was defecating unexpectedly. Not that he was simply dealing with diarrhea, no, I mean unexpectedly, even to him!
The first symptom that I noticed was when he was lying on his side on the floor. My back was turned, but I heard a noise and turned around to find that he had pooped. However, it happened so fast that even he was surprised and jumped up quickly because it startled him. Which, now that it’s done and over with and he’s ok, I can totally laugh about it, but at the moment it happened I was worried.
He wandered off to the cool tile floor of the kitchen and sat in what I call the “loaf” position. That’s when a cat sits with all their paws tucked in and look a bit like a loaf of bread.
He never hangs out in the kitchen, so that alone was a sign. I went to check on him after I cleaned up the mess. I went to pet him and I got near his sides in front of his back legs and he squealed.
Ok, just so you understand… BBK (BigBoy kitty) is a LARGE cat. He’s not just overweight, as some might claim; he also has a very large build. His skull is much bigger than my fist and his front paws are as wide as 3 of my fingers across. He walks like a small gray fuzzy bull. I often say he reminds me of the bulldog from Tom and Jerry cartoons. He’s lost weight and is down to 25.8 lbs. He doesn’t eat people food and doesn’t eat any more or less than his siblings who are all much more “normal” sized cats. His brother Ed is big as well, but very lean.
Granted, with his size you might think he has an equally impressive voice. I tend to liken him to Mike Tyson in that regard. He’s a big cat, with a much higher pitched meow than you would expect. However, when I tell you BBK squealed, this is not at all a normal noise to come from him.
Just to be sure, I tenderly prodded at his sides with a more investigative determination. I wanted to know if he squealed just because he wants to be left alone or are his sides tender. I determined that indeed he was tender.
He had a couple more incidents, and knowing he’s diabetic (I give him insulin shots twice a day) I didn’t want to take any chances so I rushed him to see the vet.
He was understandably unhappy about being crated and put into the car. He bitched the entire ride there. It’s a good thing I don’t speak Catonese and there were no kids in the car, because I suspect he was being less than kind in his language.
We got in there about an hour before closing. Eventually we were brought into a room. I contacted Chris so he’d know what was going on and could meet us there.
A new vet entered the exam room. She was so new she informed me she’d only been in California for the past month and had been on staff for just about one week.
Based on her reaction to him coming out of his carrier, I don’t believe she thought his name would be so literal, she appeared surprised at how big and strong he was. She informed me of a number of issues; his weight (which she mentioned about 5 times during the exam), the fact he has tartar on his teeth (also noted about 4 times), but no info on how to solve either of those issues, nor anything related to his actual problem.
For some reason she focused on his ability to urinate, except, it’s not an issue. I witnessed him in the litter box earlier doing that exact function with no problem. I really wasn’t sure what her deal was, but she was really focused on that particular non-issue.
She suggested a lot of procedures: blood analysis, urine analysis, x-rays, etc; all to determine if he had a blocked urinary tract… except, again, that wasn’t the issue. I did voice it, numerous times that this was a non-issue for him. I have another cat for which this is a constant concern so he’s on prescription food which keeps his system flowing, if you know what I mean. He’s good, and I’ve seen when he’s bad, so I know what to expect.
Once I agreed to the course of investigation they took BBK back to get poked and prodded. At some point, she came up front to tell me the x-rays revealed nothing so they were doing an ultra-sound. This was to check his kidneys and liver, which thus far were showing to be healthy. I mentioned my concern about his glucose level and so they did a stick test to check him. Again, he was fine. However, they were unable to obtain urine.
We took him home with plans to bring him back to retrieve urine for analysis. I got him in the house, opened his carrier door… Wow. I got the cat version of “eff you, lady!” I had to give him his insulin, which of course did not endear me any further to him at that moment, only to find he needed a bath. He smelled of rubbing alcohol around his tummy, and had blood all over his neck, presumably from one of the blood draws. I wiped him clean as best as he would allow so I opted to just dose him and leave him be until morning. The bath could wait for a little while, no need to traumatize him any further.
Next morning the vet called to tell me nothing new. Oh sure she said some things, like he had cholesterol, which was annoying to learn. He doesn’t eat wet food, nor any people food, save for the occasional bit of tuna. His food is a turkey and oatmeal kibble that I choose because he and his siblings are intolerant of corn, which unfortunately is in almost every freakin’ dry cat food out there. So I’m thinking, “isn’t oatmeal supposed to help with cholesterol?”
Again she brought up the fact that he’s fat and had tartar. I was beginning to doubt her ability as a vet mainly because she kept stating things that were obvious, but nothing that had to do with the reason I brought him to see them in the first place.
They still wanted to do a urine analysis, so we agreed to bring him back in on Sunday morning. We went in just as they opened and after waiting ½ an hour to have him returned to me, the vet tech brings him out and explains they were unable to get anything from him. They asked if he could stay the night, at no charge, so they could collect a urine sample and I could get him in the morning on Monday. Reluctantly I agreed.
At some point we had gone out later that day and returned home. Upon doing so I immediately went to get BBK’s insulin ready. I stopped just as I got to the fridge and remembered he wasn’t even home. I spent most of the night missing him.
Monday morning I got a call they were able to get a sample, but that he was also laying in said sample. I was asked to come for him closer to closing time as they were going to give him a bath. Since it was Christmas Eve they were closing at noon so I only needed to wait a couple of hours.
After I retrieved him from the vet, the whole ride home he was complaining. “How dare you leave me over night in that horrible place…” is what I suspect he’s saying. Once we get home and I release him from his carrier he just walks away from me. You could tell he was just done.
Later on I found him helping gravity hold my bed down. I go to pet him and I realized he smells like fresh clean laundry. He looked fluffier as well! (Is “fluffier” even a word?)
The vet called me Wednesday morning about the urine analysis. Guess what? THERE’S NOTHING WRONG. Of course there’s nothing wrong! THAT wasn’t the issue. Frankly, I have no idea what the issue was because it discontinued after Friday. This pet hospital normally has awesome service. This is the first time in perhaps 20 years that I ever felt as though I was pushed into unnecessary services. On the one hand I’m glad all is well, but on the other hand I felt as though I never had the original issue addressed despite voicing it repeatedly.
Since Friday he’s been just fine. He does what he’s always done and meanders about the house. It was a fine way to add unnecessary stress and unexpected expense to my holiday weekend.
I’m posting this, partly because for you it might be random, but for me it’s been stuck in my head since the guys were singing it at our geek karaoke event about a week ago. We have video of that somewhere, if it gets posted I shall share. In the meantime, enjoy!
He Man – What’s Going On