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.

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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.

      1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

        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.

        1. 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.

          1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

            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.

            1. 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.

              1. 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.

              2. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. Good to hear that at Least Gigi is getting along with Piki πŸ™‚ 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  4. Michael,
    You told me you have a bad feeling about Charlie being ill. For what it’s worth I have the feeling that he is going to recover and be ok. I think there will be some hard times ahead, but in the end he will be ok. Nothing to base that on, just intuition or something like that. So if you have to believe something, try to believe that in the end he will get well. Charlie will pick up on what you believe. Try to be hopeful. Hang on to hope. Tell him he will be ok. I’ll keep sending prayers and good thoughts your way. While there’s life there’s hope.

    1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      So wonderfully positive Ruth, your prayers for Charlie will be heard I’m sure, you have such faith.
      I had a bad feeling until yesterday when Michael went ahead and had those tests done, then took Charlie back to his old home. Now I think he has a good chance of a proper diagnosis and recovery….I do hope so.
      If our love and prayers can help him get well then he will!

      1. I truly believe he will be ok. Miracles do happen, but I’m not even sure one is needed here. There may still be tough times ahead, but as you say, with a proper diagnosis… It helps that Michael acted right away, not waiting until Charlie’s at death’s door to do anything. Too often cat guardians wait too long, ignoring minor symptoms, and by the time they act it is too late. I don’t see anything in Charlie’s case that indicates it’s too late. At least so far, I see a strong possibility for hope, and a good chance that he will be all right in the end.

        1. Thanks Ruth. I am still hopeful. Still trying anything to get to the bottom of this. The worry though is immense. Today he is middling. I just feel there is something wrong that we have not yet diagnosed. Hence the tests.

          I gave him Metacam today (injected into the mouth) and antibiotics for what they are worth. He complained big time. I don’t like that.

  5. Aww I cried when i saw Charlie he looks so in Pain. Poor baby. I hope he gets better. Its possibly about the Pollen as it definitly getting stronger every Year. Even myself Get it alot more than I ever used to. I have noticed my Cats Sniffling alot and Sneezing. More than they have other Years. Hang in there both of you, thinking about you all. Its such a hard thing when animals are ill.

    1. I agree with Kylee. The pollen has been very bad her too, all year. (Except winter, of course) I wouldn’t underestimate the effect the pollen could be having.

  6. Hi sorry to sound so drastic but could he have ingested something from the outside and inadvertantly been poisoned?? I’m sure you thought of this but just incase I thought I’d mention it. I do hope he improves enough to get on the mend ASAP poor boy. Take care both of you

  7. Wishing “Charlie” a quick recovery.Michael i can understand the financial as well as mental strain you might be undergoing due to the sickness of cat “Charlie”.Veterinary costs in the U.K are much more than the average health costs of humans in India although the same is compensated by higher wages and earning power of the average Britisher. Non pet owners will never ever understand the bond between a pet and its human owner.As for me i am happy that cat “Matahari” has recovered from her abscess illness and is now her normal self.

  8. Bless him I will continue to say a prayer for a good recovery. I imagine you feel better because you’ve told the vet what you want to happen. Good for you, now you know without a shadow of a doubt that you’re doing all you can for him poor little man πŸ™ He looks contented in his video which is good.

  9. No worries Michael; I don’t find what you say boring. I may not really know you personally … but that doesn’t matter. I’m concerned for a friend of sorts .. who is worried about someone he loves (Charlie) .. a beloved pet who isn’t feeling well. I worry about how some people not understanding the bond some have with their pets. It’s not just a “pet cat” but a beloved family member who you’re worried about. Any person (animal lover or not) who has any kind of compassion … would totally understand. I may not have a fur angel anymore (my little guy went to Rainbow Bridge back on Mar 8/13). But .. I still miss him and mourn him daily that he’s no longer here with me. Sometimes .. I find .. an animal companion to be truer than most human ones. I miss having one and hope sometime soon I can have another one. An animal’s love is “unconditional” and they require so little in order to give you their love. It’s more than I can say for “some people”!!!! Please feel free to keep us updated! Comforting <<>> for both you & Charlie. Hope he’ll be alright soon .. healing thoughts & prayers!!!!!

  10. Not at all boring MICHAEL. We are all here for the same thing. To express, to be heard, to extend out cat loving with each other and be in the company of others who share a common bond. In my time here, you guys have shown me some powerful support. I APPRECIATE it all. We want to give it back to you too. Charlie is your life and our fur buddies are our life as well. Charlie is fortunate to have you on his side. He looked so cute in that video. He clearly had some awareness and he was alert. You are doing a fine job at taking care of him. Keep your chin up. Remember, Charlie will feel what you feel. If you feel optimistic, it will show in Charlie as well. My best to you!!

  11. Michael, your posts are NEVER boring. . . I just need to get time to read all of them!!In any event, I am praying for you and Charlie. I totally understand how it feels when you have one of your “kids” ill and can’t seem to get them better. PLEASE keep us posted on Charlie’s progress. Who knows? Your results just might help someone with the same issues!

    Love, prayers and healing purrs from myself and my crew of 12 kitties. .. β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯

    1. Thanks a lot… well in our new home at the moment Charlie is on the bed with me. He is not making a nasty gurgling sound which is good. Long may it last God willing. I’ll just keep trying to fix him and hopefully I’ll hit upon the answer.

  12. just saw comments for first time. Now is the time to change to a new vet. there are a lot of differences in them. prayers.

  13. This is so sad. Why can’t they figure out what is making him ill? For now it is good he is feeling better. Healing prayers for his recovery. Keep us posted.

  14. You can see Charlie is still under the effect of a sedative/anaesthetic because his pupils are large but he’s looking around and interested so hopefully will improve as the evening goes on especially if he will have something to eat or a drink. I had a steroid injection in my knee a month ago, it didn’t give me a rush but it damn well did me good and reduced the inflammation so here’s hoping it helps Charlie as much as mine did me. Many good wishes and prayers and remember the words of our own Winston Churchill, “Never give up – never, never, never give up!”

    1. Thanks Babz. In the video he was much better. His mouth is still open all the time but he was talkative and wanted to be close to me. I am more optimistic. Before things were intolerable for me.

  15. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Did Charlie have a sedative to have the tests done Michael? I’d think he must have done to have the biopsy at least. So he has to recover from that and all the tests he had too.
    I’m still thinking positive, sending good vibes, it doesn’t help to think the worst. Hoping and praying for good news soon.

  16. My first thought was allergies or hay fever as well. Interesting… I’m glad you took the extra steps to help Charlie. You’re doing the right thing. We’re all behind you. I’ll keep Charlie in my prayers.

  17. May he be okay, worries continue though . . . Can’t say any word because I am always demoralize due to not eating any thing of any cat or kitten. It just shake my spirit badly πŸ™

    Agreed with Ruth

    1. Yes, the steroidal injection will give him a big rush, like speed, but short acting.

      Metacam, a glorified and expensive aspirin, will help.

      Thanks for the update.
      Wishing the best for Charlie.

        1. Please understand that the very expensive feline Metacam is no more than aspirin, and paying that price is gouging.

          And, no, the steroid injection is no more than an injection of speed. It’s short lived and doesn’t help a thing. It’s an illusiom of getting better.

          I’m so sorry.

          1. I agree. The whole business is based on money. All of animal health turns on money ultimately. That is the way I see it. I know I am being ripped off to a certain extent but I have to keep the peace.

          2. So true Dee. So true. Sometimes you feel at their mercy as they try and give you this and this and this and before you know it, you have spent well above cost to do the same thing something in Walmart could of done for much less. Such was the case with me lately when i was dealing with a battle of fleas. The vet provided me a can of flea home treatment spray for 25.00. I could of bought this same stuff at Walmart for about 7 dollars a can with the same active ingredients. Grrr… Education is the key i think in some matters. I am learning. ha.

    2. “Can’t say any word because I am always demoralize due to not eating any thing of any cat or kitten. It just shake my spirit badly”

      What do you mean by that Ahsab?

        1. I mean, many cats and kittens do not eat. Stop eating every meal they loved to eat without any reason here in my feral cats colony. I try my best to save their life and provide them the best meal but they even not snif on that, this behavior of my tiny fellows make me demoralize and really sick.

          The same, when I read of some other cat or kitten on internet, I just become sick and lay on bed think a lot why this behavior happens to be.

          I am not a vet my friend, DEE but I am a human being and it hurts me a lot πŸ™

          1. Thank you, Ahsan. I understand what you mean now.
            Yes, it’s very, very heartbreaking.
            Sometimes kittens will just fail to thrive for no obvious reason. I feel helpless when that happens.

  18. Thank you for the update, not at all boring and very relevant as I’m sure we were all waiting for news, I know Ruth and I were just talking about you both at lunchtime and hoping for some news. You are doing everything you can and I really hope that good comes from this, how strange it will be if the symptoms subside while you’re staying back at your old place, then you’d have a big headache! Wishing Charlie and you nothing but good luck and hoping that things start to improve and the tests results are helpful next week.

  19. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Not at all boring Michael, I think we are all very concerned about Charlie and waiting for updates, hoping for good news.
    Well you’ve done some very positive things today so good on you!
    Costing money is nothing compared to getting our cats well again, I’m afraid vets take advantage of that but it’s worth every penny in the long run.
    We pay up with a smile then have a moan outside lol
    Most important that Charlie, like our cats, has the best chance possible to get well.

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