Bugs has started spraying.
Maybe “started” isn’t quite right. Maybe he’s been leading up to it for longer than I realized, as for some time I have seen him “vertical”-peeing and straining in the box. Maybe now he’s just “out” about it. Now, it’d be hard to miss. He climbed up on the kitchen sink and, right in front of me, sprayed the splashboard so hard I could have used safety goggles.
Mindful of advice to check whether there’s a medical reason for this behavior change, the vet found that Bugs flinched on palpation. He had white blood cells in his urine. No blood, no crystals, thankfully – but, still, we have a problem.
Another piece of advice, though: Watch out for some of these medics.
The first vet gave him an antibiotics injection. She scared me into agreeing to this, thanks to her dire warnings about blocked urethras in male kitties being possibly fatal. The shot had no effect; Bugs still tested positive two and three weeks later. Another vet proposed an estrogen pill to address the behavioral aspect. The homeopathic vet we eventually ended up with said the estrogen had been banned for people, but was still permitted for animals. (!!!) In any case, the vet said, it would be like tuning a watch (the endocrine system) with a sledgehammer.
Nobody had any certain read on what could be causing this.
Hence, the blues. Compounded by news of B.B. King’s death the other morning. King of the Blues, the expansive wise presence that he was, is now gone from us.
“B.B. King con Lucille” by Stoned59
One of the first things I did when I moved to Arkansas was to travel to Little Rock to see B.B. King play on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The whole King family turned out. It was highly memorable. I am very sad.
And I’m truly perplexed about Bugs.
The homeopathic vet said he might not necessarily have a biotic infection; white-blood cells could be present with inflammation, too. After extensively interviewing me, the vet concluded that Bugs is an intense little man, conscientious, hyper-responsible, sensitive, regal, self-contained, not notably demonstrative but, still, deeply attached. He was greatly affected by Fang’s death, hence the vet’s finding of “sensitive.”
So maybe Bugs is reacting to stress and emotional factors. New cats in the neighborhood? My own stress?
Through a glass darkly
So now we wait, to see whether the homeopathic remedy the vet prescribed will work.
In the meantime thanks to the Conscious Cat and very timely too, we have now been educated about the “Pandora Syndrome.” It turns out that urinary issues in cats can be far from straightforward. The allopathic docs have a name for it: “feline idiopathic cystitis” (FIC). “Idiopathic” meaning who knows what. “Medically unexplained.”
Vet Tony Buffington, of Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, says cats with FIC “often have multisystemic comorbidities.” Dig the multisyllabic thingamahoojiggies. Meaning that the focus needs to be widened from just the bladder to include skin, neurological, endocrine, immunological, and behavioral effects – including the cat’s environment.
Dr. Buffington notes an increased risk for FIC in indoor-only cats.
Oh no. Not that again.
Yes, ’fraid so. That’s why Dr. Buffington calls FIC the “Pandora Syndrome” – it equates with the troubles that fly out on opening Pandora’s Box. According to Wikipedia, opening Pandora’s box might seem innocent enough, but, once done, it has “severely detrimental and far-reaching consequences.”
Pandora, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Pandora doesn’t look too thrilled. I likewise.
So where FIC is concerned, since Pandora’s Box has now been opened, let’s just have a look at what flies out. Here, per Dr. Buffington, is the confusing welter of potential contributing factors to FIC:
* Indoor litter boxes
* Close confinement with other cats
* Rainy weather (even for indoor cats)
* Dental disease
* Sensitivity to threatening stimuli
* Heightened sensitivity of the sympathetic nervous system
* Early adverse experience (orphaned, bottle fed, rescued)
“Nonspecific behavioral and clinical signs” may also be present, like overgrooming or vomiting. The “first line of therapy” to resolve these is “environmental enrichment.” “The broad categories of food, water, litter boxes, space, play, conflict management, and pheromones should all be considered [for their] influence on the health and welfare of indoor-housed cats.”
Dr. Buffington provides a nifty 36-item questionnaire that, all by itself, might serve as a primer for what to do about environmental enrichment.
So according to the homeo vet, all the dietary supplements I had been feeding Bugsy after the diagnosis – d-Mannose, Vitamins C and E, cod-liver oil – might not necessarily help, if the problem is Bugsy’s emotional state. The homeo idea is that Bugs’s system might be trying to compensate for a chronic condition of imbalance. If the right remedy, the right match for Bugs’s temperament, could be identified, then the symptoms might no longer be necessary.
As for managing my own stress, progress is being made. Read about it here, in my other blog on the FELDENKRAIS METHOD.®