Monday, February 13, 2006


Cat Trouble

My second cat arrived in November. I was a bit anxious, as my first cat is a year-old male, and the second is a male, too. I was assured that the second had been examined by a veterinarian and had had an orchidectomy (was orchidectomied, or is it orchidectomized?); quasi-peaceful cohabitation seemed a realistic goal under those circumstances, although not guaranteed success.

For the most part, the cohabitation has been peaceful. Although they rarely seek each other's company, and only occasionally dine at the same time, they do go out together to watch each other hunt (I suppose). They take turns. "A" goes out at night and sleeps all day (normal cat schedule); "B" goes out in the morning, and comes in to nap at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. When one is on my lap or sleeping next to me, the other goes off to sleep somewhere else; well, most of the time, anyway-- "B" has jumped onto my lap when "A" was sleeping there, but fortunately I caught him and tossed him away before serious fighting ensued. They each have their preferred napping places; however, I've noticed lately that "A" has taken to squatting "B"'s sites (but not vice versa): domination tactics. "A" may creep up to sniff "B"'s tail while "B" is eating. From time to time, "A" chases "B" out of the house (and once drew blood from his ear); when that happens, I let "B" sleep in a closed room (like my bedroom) and hold and pet him in front of "A" and "A" seems to realize that I want "B" to live here, too.

When I came in Friday evening, "A" came to greet me at the door (usual, when he is in the house). After half an hour, I still hadn't seen "B". Then, he staggered out of the travel cage--a place I had never known him to go. He was dirty and smelly; his right rear leg and tail were soiled with feces, urine, and possibly blood. We (my younger daughter and I) tried to wash him and noticed he was bleeding; we called our vet and took "B" to get emergency care.

The vet quickly dispelled the hypothesis that "B" was wounded fighting. (He also dispelled the belief that "B" is a choir-kitten; it would be his youth and his submissiveness, not a total lack of testosterone, that have mitigated conflict). "B" had blood in his urine (hematuria), and quite a lot of urine. Diagnosis: either a bad urinary infection, possibly with calculi, or internal injuries due to a blow. Treatment: I. V., antibiotic, analgesics. Or, he might have eaten some anti-coagulant rodent poison: give him vitamin K, too.

Yesterday I tried to understand "B"'s hematology report, which the vet had produced on Saturday.
  1. His white cell count is high, but in the normal range; the proportion of neutrophil granulocytes is rather high.This does not look to me like a "bad infection", more like he was hit in the gut.
  2. His ALT is very high; this indicates liver damage (not muscular damage, since his creatinine is not high). Might the liver have also been damaged by a blow to the gut?
  3. Platelet count is mid-range, but mean platelet volume is very high: what does this mean? I could not find a good explanation on the Internet.
  4. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) is lower than normal.
    Causes for decreased plasma urea levels are low protein diet, anabolic steroids (diverting proteins from
    catabolism to tissue formation), liver failure, porto-systemic shunt, diabetes insipidus, psychogenic polydipsia and
    primary hyperammonemia.
  5. Mustn't forget the hematuria...
    1. Chronic irritation from crystals that form when the pH is out of normal range and the urine becomes relatively concentrated.
    2. Uroliths or bladder stones can form as the result of FUS or chronic infection.
    3. Bacterial infections can occur as the result of trauma, poor hygiene or spontaneously and is treated with antibiotics.
    4. Idiopathic cystitis can occur which has no known cause and is usually self-limiting. This is a diagnosis that we “back in to “ by eliminating the other causes of hematuria.
    Source: Hematuria

I know he crosses the street (and his white fur often has traces of axle grease from crawling under parked cars). Yet, he does not seem to have broken bones, not even ribs. Perhaps "A" chased him and "B" leapt from the upstairs landing onto the stairs, bruising his gut on the edge of a step? If only he could talk! And I'd like to know how "A" lost a small chunk of his lip the same day. Now, back to waiting for the vet to call with news.

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