Two and a half years ago, I moved from a small, hellish town in the literal middle of Pennsylvania to my hometown. Pretty much the only good thing about that place was Dr. Griffiths, the vet who took care of my cat, Mr. Sniffles. He was one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve ever met. Once, when I took Sniff in for an upper respiratory infection, Dr. Griffiths told me he couldn’t hear his breathing because he was purring so loudly. What kind of fabulous vet gets cats to like them, much less purr while being examined?
I had adopted my cat while I was in grad school, and I’d never had a proper pet growing up. Oh, sure, there was Little Fishy Watery, but he and the other occasional carnival fish didn’t require extensive vet care. Not knowing any better, when I moved back here, I foolishly chose a vet based on proximity to my apartment. Our experience there was less than stellar by any objective standards, and positively abysmal compared to the previous vet. So I made an even more foolish choice. I didn’t just not take my cat back there, I was too thrown by the whole experience to even want to try somewhere new, for fear of the same thing happening again. I knew Sniff should probably get a check up, vaccine boosters, whathaveyou. But I figured that as an inside cat in a one-pet home, he was less at risk for things like picking up feline leukemia, rabies, or fleas.
Flash forward to present day. This weekend, we noticed that Sniff had been… well, licking himself a lot more than normal. At The Mister’s insistence, I called a vet, the animal hospital where my coworker takes his dog. After a long examination, we discovered that he might have crystals in his bladder. This can be a Big Problem for little boy cats that needs to be closely monitored. (Raise your hand if you’ve never been in the position of trying to collect cat pee from a litter box filled with popcorn. What? Don’t look at me.)
Fortunately, even among the hubub of getting married this past weekend, we noticed the excessive licking, which can be a sign of crystals. I sucked it up, called a vet, and was able to get Sniff in to see her right away. But this could have ended very unfortunately. Crystals can build up and, especially with male cats, cause a blockage that makes them unable to pee. This can be deadly within twelve to twenty-four hours, sometimes less. Two clinic visits, three sets of prescriptions, and a special diet for life later, he is thankfully doing fine. But we were lucky.
So don’t be like I was. Take your pets to the vet. Take them in for check ups, just like you would yourself. Actually, scratch that. If you’re anything like me and avoid check ups whenever possible, treat them better than you treat yourself. Otherwise, you might lose your fuzzy little friend over something easily preventable.
(Photo taken by me back with the little guy was still a little guy.)