My cat has never had an emergency before. Yes, she’s had medical problems in the past, but none of them were emergencies. All of that changed last Wednesday.
The trouble started at 5:30 AM. My cat Autumn entered my bedroom, meowing at the top of her lungs, barely pausing for breath. She only does that when she really needs something. So like a good cat slave, I dragged myself out of bed and followed her downstairs.
But wait — something was seriously wrong. Her meows sounded like desperate cries. Her litter box was knocked over; that had never happened before. As I watched in shock, she peed outside of the litter box, something she hasn’t done since she was fixed. She was pacing, only pausing to lick her privates or to use the litter box. But not much was coming out.
My heart beat faster. What’s wrong with my baby?!
As someone who has studied cats for years, I had a vague idea of what might be wrong. It had been a while since I studied cat medical problems, but the first thing that came to mind was constipation. If she had that, then it might just pass in time. So I waited a couple of hours.
During that time, I was not idle. I concentrated my energy into 4 tasks. First, I spent a lot of time trying to comfort Autumn. The second task was watching her and memorizing her symptoms. Next, I cleaned up the mess she had made. Last but not least, I spent quite a bit of time researching. I dusted off my cat books and plunged into the internet. I had to know what was wrong with her!
Finally, Autumn lay down and relaxed — she even went to sleep! I breathed a sigh of relief. She must have had a bowel movement, and that meant the worst was over!
I left her alone and headed to the kitchen for breakfast. I was starving.
But the worst was far from over.
In the middle of my meal, Autumn started crying out again. I darted downstairs to see how she was doing, and was dismayed to find that she was as distressed as ever. I realized: “This isn’t going away on its own.”
I plunged into my research again with renewed vigor. Gradually, I figured out what was wrong. It wasn’t a single light bulb moment; it was more like the truth slowly dawned upon me. And the truth was this: she had all the symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
Cold fear gripped me. UTIs are serious. They can even be fatal.
I called my mom over to help, and when she arrived, I explained the situation. I finished by saying: “I think we need to take her to the vet.”
She agreed, so the next thing to do was look up the hours of our local vet.
AAAHHH! The vet’s walk-in hours closed in 30 minutes, and his clinic is 15 to 20 minutes away! My panic kicked into high gear. Would we make it in time?!
The next few minutes were a blur of stuffing Autumn into the cat carrier, rushing out the door, and zooming to the vet.
As soon as we parked, my mom jumped out and tried to vet’s door. Yes! It wasn’t locked, we could still get in!
While my mom talked to the receptionist, I cradled Autumn on my lap. “Everything’s going to be okay.” I kept telling Autumn — and myself.
After a short wait, we got in to see the vet. As he examined Autumn, I described her symptoms. He said: “Oh yeah, that’s definitely a bladder infection.” The assistant held Autumn still while the vet gave her a shot. When they were finished, my poor cat scurried back into her carrier, eager to escape this horrible place. The vet handed us a little bottle of antibiotics to give Autumn twice a day, and we left.
I was finally able to relax during the car ride home. The worst was over. For real this time.
However, animals don’t know what’s best for them, so getting Autumn to take her medicine was a daily “adventure”. Now, my cat does not bite, thankfully. But when you try to do something that she considers bad, she will fight! She put up such a struggle that it took 3 people to force the antibiotics down her throat. Here was our procedure: my sister held Autumn’s body; my mom gently but firmly held Autumn’s head; and finally, me. I forced open her mouth, inserted the syringe, and squirted the medicine in.
Autumn is a vocal cat. So when we first started doing this procedure, Autumn would meow in protest. This made getting the medicine down easy. But then, she wised up and locked her jaw shut. I was stumped at first, but then I discovered a natural gap in her teeth, and squirted the antibiotics in through there. So Autumn had to innovate; she learned how to raise her lower lip and block the spot. Later, she even used her tongue to block me. My cat is too smart for her own good! But with helpers and opposable thumbs, I had the edge. Like it or not, she ended up taking all of her medicine.
When the procedure was over, I always gave Autumn treats, to get ride of the medicine’s bad taste. We rinsed and repeated this for 5 days, until all the antibiotics were gone.
And it worked! Autumn is completely healthy again!
Looking back, I see I have much to be thankful for. We caught the problem early; we got in to see the vet right away. Plus, I have a sweet cat who would never bite me, and I have a loving family who helped me every step of the way. All I can say is… Praise the Lord!
And so, they lived happily ever after.