On Christmas Mr. Roberts brought Tommy, his 3-year-old chunky orange male kitty, to All Creatures Veterinary Emergency Clinic, Stockton because for two days his cat had not urinated, had stopped eating, and began vomiting. Tommy was still amazingly active and alert; but he was in pain and his bladder had swelled to the size of a small grapefruit.
Tommy was suffering from a urinary obstruction. In this situation treatment has to be done, or the cat will die a slow, unpleasant death. Urinary obstruction is common in overweight male cats, and is life threatening in many ways.
These patients are usually not stable and often present in distress with shock and dehydration. They are not in good condition for anesthesia; but it is required for care. Some cats unfortunately do not survive the treatment process.
Prevention is a lifelong process involving multiple factors. Some clients are not on board with this. Financial restrictions can also be a determining factor.
For Tommy, his owners unfortunately opted to not treat him and opted to euthanize.
Before a cat becomes fully obstructed, they will often experience straining, urinating small amounts, often with blood, and licking their genital area often. As this continues they will become progressively more uncomfortable and start to cry. Eventually they stop eating and begin vomiting. By this time they often scream when they are picked up. They will then become weakened and show signs of shock as their temperature drops, their heart slows down, and they become pale.
Long-term therapy includes special diets-preferably canned, weight control, increasing water consumption, having clean easily accessible litter boxes in the right number (1 plus beyond the number of cats), increase exercise, and reducing stress. A small percentage of cats will continue to block, and may require a surgery to open up the urinary tract more.
The most important thing is to treat the moment you notice a problem. Other problems can present in the same way.