Eli Hits the Road

26 Apr

We may not have kids yet in the conventional sense, but we still get high marks for being fussy parents.  Who are we parenting exactly?  Our cats of course.  This Easter weekend one of the little furballs got the special treatment.

When you’ve lived with any animal for a long period of time, you start to notice patterns in their behavior that make up their personalities.  In Eli’s case most of the time these are endearing traits of cuteness laced with evil intentions thinly disguised as squirreliness.  I spend most of my days at home with the cats, so I tend to notice when something is out of the ordinary, which is what happened Wednesday night.  I think I’ve mentioned it before, but Eli is a creature of habit.  If things aren’t just so in his little feline world, he get’s vocal about it.  He is fastidious to a fault, and will often drag objects such as paper, plastic bags, socks or my flip-flops over to the litter box to cover excess messes if it isn’t being cleaned out fast enough.  So when I noticed him squatting down in the bathroom sink right in front of me, I knew something was up.  First of all, the bathroom is Eli’s safe haven.  It’s where he goes when he gets overstimulated and starts biting everything in sight.  Usually mom and dad get tired of the nipping and give him a time-out, but sometimes he goes in there himself and has a little sit-down relax time on his pink rug.  I knew something was really off when he decided to take a squat on the rug almost immediately after he did a little business in the sink.

On our last visit to the vet for yearly boosters, I mentioned that our older cat, Thora doesn’t like to use the litter box in an attempt to gather some advice on what to do with her.  The vet told me about Feline Urinary Tract Infection as inappropriate urination is one of the symptoms.  It wasn’t what was wrong with Thora, but I kept the information tucked away just in case.  When Eli’s behavior hadn’t returned to normal last Thursday, I went on an info hunt to make sure I wasn’t just being paranoid.  I found that Eli had at least half of the symptoms listed on multiple sites and called our vet.  There wasn’t an appointment open that day, and we were scheduled to leave in the evening for the weekend, but the vet-tech I spoke with told me if I could bring in a urine sample, they could test it without an appointment.

This is where my story gets funny.  A URINE SAMPLE?  I was thinking.  How in the world was I going to get a urine sample from a cat?  Here I was, it was a little after 1pm on Thursday afternoon.  I had 4 loaves of bread proofing in the other room for the weekend, I still needed to go work out, I was due at the animal shelter at 5 for my volunteer work, and now I had to try to get a urine sample from my little baby boy who was sulking in the corner.  Luckily, Eric brought the car back to me after his afternoon meeting (I honestly think he was more worried about Eli than I was) just as I was able to get a tiny sample from Eli.  I called the vet again to see if this would be enough, and as luck would have it, an appointment had opened up.  Working out for the day got bumped off my to-do list and I was just able to finish my bread before heading to the vet with angry Eli in his crate.

The vet didn’t have anything really interesting to say.  Nothing came of the sample I brought in, so all we could do was watch and wait.  So, Eli came with us to Minnesota.  He’s a great rider as long as he isn’t stuffed in his box and doesn’t get carsick.  He spent both the trip up and back in my lap cuddling like crazy and hissing at passing trucks and rain.  Once we got to Eric’s parents house, we picked up some Purina Urinary tract health food and let him have an Easter feast of his own.

So, after a weekend of cuddling and relaxation away from Thora, Eli is back in the saddle, peeing like a champ, and I think we’re out of the woods for now.

As a worried feline mom, I will pass on a little bit of advice.  If you have a cat and don’t know the symptoms of a urinary tract infection, look into it now.  This can be very difficult to detect in your cat because as naturally solitary creatures, they tend to internalize their pain, and won’t give you a lot of cues that something is wrong.  Left untreated, this can lead to fatal infection.  There are a lot of good sites out there devoted to pet health and your vet probably has brochures in their office.  It’s not paranoia, just something to know about.  Ten minutes of your time could save your cats life.

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