Charlie’s illness. An update

I don’t want to bore anyone. I’ll keep it short. If I do bore someone tell me. The experience is instructive, though. [Earlier post]

My cat, Charlie, was particularly poorly again this morning. He had not improved over the course of the antibiotic treatment so I had to conclude that the antibiotic was not working. Was it the wrong one? Sarah Hartwell advised a swab to test for the bacteria type.

I decided to take charge and requested that the vet:

  • did a blood test to check for any underlying illnesses which may be reducing the effectiveness of his immune system and which caused him to get infections
  • did a swab to find out what bacteria he is infected with
  • did a biopsy on the mobile lump under his skin at the base of his spine. I discovered this and it is about the size of a kids marble. I don’t think it is relevant but it has to be checked out
  • provide me with something to make him feel better

I took him in to the vet at around 9am and picked him up at 2pm. The vets took blood, swab and material for the biopsy and while they waited for my return “steamed him” with a vaporiser.

They also gave him an anti-inflammatory jab. This always makes him feel better because he becomes more animated and talkative. I have some more antibiotics, the same type as before (a general one) to extend the existing course and Metacam – a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) – which I am to give daily (5ml). I have to squirt it into his mouth or get it down him any old way!

I have also moved home! For a while. I have moved back in with my girlfriend with Charlie. He knows the place and is he has settled in quickly.

Here he is looking better at his new home in bed with me. The improvement might be temporary due to the anti-inflammatory. He is much better in this video.

I thought there may be the remote possibility that he has some sort of hayfever. As I work outside in the garden to my apartment I discovered there was a lot of fine pollen and other particles being shed by the trees and bushes. There is a lot more foliage where I live now compared to where I lived before and I wondered if this was causing sinusitis and/or an allergic rhinitis which in turn could be causing the bacterial infection.

That is a very long shot but I have to try everything in my power to cure him.

The tests come back next week so I’ll report back then. There it is. I have thrown some more money at this problem. This morning I was once again galvanized into action when he looked so miserable and had no desire to eat or get up.

65 thoughts on “Charlie’s illness. An update”

  1. You made me laugh, Dee, about cats not wanting to be watched while using the toilet but there is certainly a double standard there.

    I’m so glad to hear Charlie is a bit better and others could give you some specific things to look for to know whether you needed to rush him to the vet or whether you could wait.

    Monty’s vet showed me how to check to see if he is dehydrated by gently tugging at the loose skin at the scruff of his neck. If it snaps right back into place he is right as rain. If it kind of stays pulled up and seems to lack elasticity, then he is possibly dehydrated. I use that test whenever it seems like he’s not eating or drinking enough or if he is not keeping food down.

    It is a horrible feeling when your cat stops doing the normal routines in his normal way: eating, pooping, peeing, sleeping, playing. You just feel so helpless and want him to be ok, but there is no way you can force him to eat or use the litter box, you just have to wait it out and keep a close eye on him. Every time Monty has trouble with hairballs or feels ill from ingesting too much grass outside I know I feel worse than he does the whole time. My tummy feels as upset as his, I’m sure, because of worry about him.

  2. Well, taking a guess and treading lightly…

    Breathing and peeing are mandatory.
    Eating and pooping can be foregone a couple of days.

    Is it possible that Charlie is dehydrated? Have you seen him drinking water? If not, will he drink cream, half and half, or even whole milk with a bit of vegetable oil added?

    There are problems with cats on a very high protein diet. They can develop a gooey mix of mucous and protein (called matrix) that can obstruct the urethra and impede the flow of urine.

    Can you palpate his bladder to see if it is full? One of the fastest ways I can think for you to find the EXACT location of the bladder is to grab a water-soaked cotton ball, turn Charlie flat on his back (don’t worry, he’s not the only cat in the world who doesn’t appreciate this) and squeeze the water onto his lower belly. The water will pool at the direct center of his body, over the bladder. If it feels very firm, you need to rush to your vet to have him catheterized.

    Pooping is an easy fix when peeing is resolved.
    All drug stores sell glycerine suppositories and baby enemas.

      • Wondering how Charlie is today? His system may have slowed down from whatever sedative the vet gave him to calm him down for the tests. If he hasn’t passed anything by now though I’d phone your vets for advice, I’m sure they won’t mind and will see him if they think it’s necessary.
        We are lucky that our vets have appointments on Sundays, no extra charge, maybe yours will too, but anyway there must be a vet on call.
        I’m really hoping and praying Charlie is a lot better today though and on the road to recovery.
        If he isn’t I really do think you should phone your vet.

        • He may have peed (it is hard to tell because he does it lying down – his 3 legs makes him do this – on the earth outside and he did it on a pile of leaves). I have let him out. He knows the place and the garden so he as gone out alone. I thought hard about this but I wanted him to do the things he normally did which was to poop and pee outside plus the movement may assist bowel movement. He is behaving fairly normally this morning at 6:30 am. He was talkative and ate breakfast (no cooked chicken). He had a decent night. No scares. I have palpated his belly and it feels normal. I gave him antibiotics and Metacam yesterday. It is a watch and wait game I feel.

          • Good news that Charlie has gone out, I’d have done the same as you, let him go alone, cats do hate a fuss and anyone watching them when they want to pee and poo.
            Talkative and eating are good signs too, you are doing a great job with him Michael, I think things look more hopeful today.

            • Thanks Ruth. It helps to have support. I agree that cats don’t want people watching while toileting and also on a lead as he was yesterday. I want to recreate normality so he feels settled and relaxed to help heal himself.

              • It does sound as if he’s a bit better, eating and wanting to go out must be hopeful signs surely. Sometimes you just have to go with your instinct, I’d have let him go out alone as well so he can get on with doing his business without feeling watched.

              • None of my cats like being watched when they toilet either.
                Good thing I don’t feel the same, because they sure don’t mind watching me.
                It’s like a party.

  3. This is awful Michael, I’m really sorry for Charlie ad your situation now. Don’t even know how much of a mess I would be in your place. The not peeing looks like kidney issues doesnt? I know usually they pee alot and often when the kidneys start to fail. This is very upsetting.

    Gigi is the ambassador, the only one who can be in the same room as Piki for now. But much much better than yesterday anyway, the day she arrived, so she was exhausted from 12h on the train.

    I really hope Charlie gets much better very soon. I wish I could say something useful or be helpful.

    • Hi Marc. Thanks for visiting. I don’t know what more I can do. I am now dealing with not voiding. I took him outside today specifically to go to the toilet but it didn’t work. He still eats though. I’d give anything for him to be well again. for me there is something more going on than a infection.

    • Good to hear that at Least Gigi is getting along with Piki 🙂 Will Prob take a wee while while the others get used to her. Is she feeling Calmer. Yea your Ex feel exhausted travelling that far on the Train. That be like going the length from Home to Top of SOuth Island.

    • Thanks Ruth. We are in this new but familiar place together. Charlie was more animated after his 4 hour stay at the vet probably because of the anti-inflammatory injection. He is now not bad but not great. I have a new worry: constipation and not peeing. I have gone outside with him (on a leash because this place is more dangerous) and he tried to pee but I could not see any and he briefly tried to poop and failed. I have now limited him to cat food (as opposed to cooked chicken which he loves but it is unbalanced) and I’ll try the usual remedies.

      • Michael,
        If he’s not producing urine or unable to void his bladder you’ve got I act fast. Maybe you already have. I know it will cost more because it’s the weekend and all, but I think he needs to be seen by a vet ASAP. I’m still hopeful this will work out in the end, but you may need to act quickly to ensure that outcome. Praying very hard for Charlie.


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