In this house, with seven cats, we have had a variety of health issues.
We have cats which have had UTIs, crystals in the urine or idiopathic cystitis. There has been an eye infection or two. There are constant hairballs, mostly accompanied with food that the cat vomits up. There has been a fever or two, a bee sting, and a bloody nose. And probably more. Below are links to blog posts that provide more details. You can also do a word search up at the top; a topic search in "Categories".
Fever, Vomiting, General Illness
This post discusses in general what to do when a cat is sick and vomiting and about what tests might be needed at the vet's.
In this blog post, a cat saw the vet for a fever. She wasn't eating and she seemed lethargic at home. It was good that we took her to the vet.
Don't try this at home-how to make a cat vomit and when? Katharine likes to swallow objects. She swallowed one too many and I gave her something to make her vomit. But she vomited up not only the object but everything else for over an hour. I had to take her to the ER. I will never make a cat vomit again. Nor should you.
Part of the problem with making a cat vomit (again-never try it) is that they may not fully recover. Katharine did not recover by the next day and we had to return to the vet for more care. This was getting expensive, all because I was afraid that swallowing more than one object would make her sick. Well, it did but it wasn't swallowing the object which made her sick. She had me for that.
There are many reasons why a cat's stomach could be upset. (See posts above under Vomiting.) Medications, supplements, fish oil, dairy products, plants cats should not eat-they can all cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can be minor-soft stool but formed, or a very soft blob; or major-liquid. Liquid diarrhea can lead to dehydration and a drop in electrolytes, making the cat weak, faint, and primed for more illness. Some diarrhea will present with blood, indicating irritable bowl syndrome. Sometimes a cat may develop constipation-either an inability to push out stool, or hard stool inside the intestine; or what looks like diarrhea but it is a form of constipation and will come out soft, wet, maybe with mucus, maybe with hair (hair the cat licked off and digested but did not fully digest.)
These issues need to be resolved to improve the health of the cat and to avoid litter box avoidance and to help the cat not get dirty and make a mess (when severe diarrhea occurs.)
You need to figure out if it is caused by something the cat needs to avoid (like dairy or a plant). Sometimes it requires a visit to the vet. Maybe a change of diet is required or medications to calm the stomach and antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria. A disease could be a cause or medications to treat another disease such as heart meds or antibiotics can be the cause.
With Myrna, we have used club soda mixed with her food to calm her upset stomach. When she was on antibiotics, we had to suspend them because of how sick she became. We have used bananas, rice, and rice water to calm her stomach when she had diarrhea. For Baby, who had soft constipation with hair, we give her 3ml water by mouth, a couple inches of Laxatone (a supplement that helps them digest or pass hair), and 1/8 of Miralax (generic store version) mixed in her food twice a day.
Here are some blog posts related to these issues and links to further information:
Cats can no longer take Kaopectate because it is now made with kaolinite and instead has bismuth subsalicylate (a form of aspirin) which cats cannot.
Blood in stool and issues with constipation.
A website with more information on solving constipation.
Myrna developed upset stomach issues due to antibiotics.
Important to solve diarrhea and other stomach issues for HCM cats.
Baby developed hair in the stool and constipation which required Laxatone and Miralax.
UTIs, Crystals, Bladder and Kidney Health Issues
This blog post discusses the importance of having a normal urine pH and what can happen when it is not normal.
In order to achieve a balanced urine pH, you can feed cats special diets such as Max cat food which has dl-methionine-an acidifier, or Royal Canine SO-which has a lot of sodium and induces drinking which helps flush out impurities from the bladder, or Hills c/d wet cat food, which is suppose to prevent crystals.
You could also use Methigel, which his dl-methionine, an acidifier.
1) The cardiologist showed me how to tell if there are clots or oncoming problems with circulation in the legs-how to test the color of the paw pads, nail beds, and other signs the cat will exhibit.
2) I list health issues that require an immediate vet-regular vet or the ER vet-and that you should not wait for the regular vet if they are not available.
3) I discuss what I had read at another site about pet owners changing medications without first discussing it with the vet and how that should be avoided unless you it is making a cat sick or you have previously discussed with the vet when and why such a move would be necessary.
4) Why renal failure occurs and why it can be prevalent among cardiac patients that are on many meds.
5) Discussed how some cats suddenly die and how some of that could be due to a lack of owner awareness of symptoms and vigilance with medications and schedules.
Dental Issues and Resorption
One Cat's History With Prozac and the Effect It Has On Him
Our cat Jimmy Stewart takes Prozac because in 2010 he developed the inability to use the litter box and he was spraying around the house. He was already neutered but kept spraying. We developed a routine to improve his behavior and it worked to prevent about 75% of the markings. But in the end, we decided he needed medications as well. We first tried amitriptyline and finally landed on Prozac. We started at a large dose of .125mg, found he needed a smaller dose, and switched to a compounded liquid version so that we could decrease the dose and gradually increase it. We eventually worked back up to .118ml.
His only issue with either medication was that he developed severe bladder retention which caused his bladder to balloon and he would not urinate for almost 20 hours. That could have led to UTIs or a stretched bladder which would mean he would not hold in his urine. We found if we reduced his dose (and then we switched to the liquid version)-that he could go 3-4 times a day and still had some markings. We eventually worked the dose back up to .100, then .110, then to .118-.120 as needed still. Along the way, the markings decreased and his ability to urinate more than once a day improved. The entire process is still working and is adjusted as needed. Please see the tab "Litter Box Issues" for more information on solving marking, litter box issues, and on medication for litter box issues.
Cat is on Prozac and showing urine retention. But vet doesn't recognize it as such and there is no online information. But we know what we are seeing. So, we choose to reduce the dose and to work with him to see what he needs.
Due to urine retention, we continue to adjust the Prozac.
Eye Infections, Eye Injuries
Conjunctivitis in the eyes of cats requires a visit to the vet. Need to make sure the eye is not damaged and that there is not an underlying disease causing the issues. Usually antibiotic drops in the eyes for 7-10 days will work.
Uveitis-there is a condition that has affected two of our cats in the past-uveitis. It causes blood in the eye and it's due to different causes, most likely being exposed to the herpes virus. Apparently, I did not blog about them at the time. They must have occurred prior to the start of the blog. Here are links below so that you can learn more about it. It required two drops in the eyes-steroids (which the HCM cat CANNOT take), and an antibiotic. For more information, check this site.
Jimmy had a scratch to the outside of the eye which led to an infection. Antibiotic drops were required. Tests were done to make sure the eye was not scratched on the retina or cornea.
Cats and Asthma
Myrna has developed asthma as of June 2014. We are using albuterol and a mask device to administer the med. We will give it in the morning and in the day or evening as needed.
Here is a link to a site with photos that show how to administer albuterol to cats with a mask device and an inhaler of meds. She takes this for asthma which developed June 2014. It is not common in heart diseased cats but can happen due to inflammation. And it can occur in cats which do not have heart disease. The site is called Feline Asthma with Fritz the Brave.