Mini has coped his whole life with a urinary disorder that is not uncommon in male cats, where if he feels anxiety or sometimes just randomly, his urethra can spasm shut, making it difficult for him to urinate. If he becomes completely blocked, he can die within hours. He got completely blocked on Friday.
I don’t need to tell y'all that I love my cats. You all know I love my cats very much. When something’s wrong with one of them, it can be like my whole world is collapsing around me. My cats are my sanity, and especially during the winter, a powerful bulwark against depression and boredom. Jinxii and Mini mean the world to me. So, when I saw that Mini was hiding in an unusual spot in my apartment and refusing to come out, and when it was nearly 4:30pm and I hadn’t seen him successfully pee in the litter box all day, I knew I had to act. I called his regular vet and they confirmed my worst suspicions, that Mini was probably blocked and would need immediate medical assistance. When he didn’t protest much while I put him in the cat carrier, and was listless instead of feisty on the drive there, I knew this was different than the other times I’d taken him to the vet. He was in a desperate fight for his life and he couldn’t tell me anything about it.
The veterinarians at Urban Veterinary Care, up in Lincoln Park, are some of the best most hard-working people I’ve met. Each and every one of them is singularly committed to giving the best possible care, and I can’t possibly thank them enough. They’ve been with Mini all 3 years of his life and they all acted together, close to the end of the day, to catheterize Mini and get him unblocked. He survived and doesn’t appear to have any permanent damage, except perhaps psychological trauma, from the experience.
From the regular vet’s, I had to take him over to the emergency clinic for additional monitoring. They put Mini up in a sparse but comfortable crate, about 100x100x200cm in size, with some blankets and a box to hide in if he’s feeling shy. He has been there since Friday night, with doctors checking up on him every hour of the day, waiting for some of his urine test values to go down enough that they know it’s safe for him to come home.
As I said above my relationship with my cats is very special, and each cat is very unique. Mini’s my little buddy, and the unofficial mascot of this apartment. Usually he beams cheerfulness and wants to snuggle up to every single human he sees, ever, but Friday night when I said goodnight to him he was upset and scared, and I just didn’t have anything I wasn’t already doing that I could do for him. It was terrifying, because he was okay, but he didn’t know that, and because I came so close to losing him. Even though I made the right decisions at the right moments and I got him to the vet’s on time–even though I did everything I was supposed to–, it’s like surviving an almost-car-crash. You swerved out of the way just in time, came within centimeters of serious injury and possibly death, but you swerved at the right time and avoided it. When that happens to you, you don’t get scared in the moment because there’s no time for it. There’s no time for fear when your body instinctively executes a maneuver like that at speed. But you get scared afterwards. Even though everything’s okay and you’re safe and you’re going to be okay, you still need a moment to pull over or slow down for a second and just collect yourself, because you came so close to the brink and saved yourself. That’s how I feel right now with Mini. The crisis isn’t over yet because he’s not safe at home, but he’s safe and he’s in the best place for him to be, surrounded by dedicated professionals with several decades of experience among them, yet I am still shaken from the experience because he came so close.
Those aforementioned dedicated professionals tell me that they’ll probably try to remove his catheter midday today, and that’ll give him enough time to recover a little bit before hopefully getting him home sometime tonight. In the meantime I’m getting some treats and a new toy or two so he has a good welcome home and can start to get past this experience. I know he’ll be pretty shaken but I’m sure he’ll be super glad to be back home with me and Jinxii. I can’t wait for this to be over and for me to start the process of making sure it doesn’t happen again.
We’ll talk soon, space cadets.