Monday, September 13, 2010

Side Effects

Our cat Potter has given us more than her fair share of scares. On multiple occasions we have carted her off, clawing and howling, to the vet or the Pet ER when things looked dire. I've never tallied up exactly how much we have spent on her medical care, mostly because it would depress me too much. Don't get me wrong, I love my kitty and would go the extra mile to make sure she is okay, but on every single occasion the results have been inconclusive, and basically, she just got better on her own. Thousands and thousands of dollars have been spent on what time alone fixed.

She's always been a puker. At least once a week, sometimes more often, sometimes less, she would revisit upon us her lunch. But lately things have been bad. Because of her history, we were hesitant to rush her to the vet, spend a ton of money and get no answers. However, after weeks and weeks of her throwing up A LOT, as in multiple times a day and on our bed on more than one occasion, we finally decided to take her in.

OF COURSE, the vet couldn't find anything wrong with her. All bloodwork came back fine. The diagnosis, such as it was, was that hair must be accumulating in her digestive tract and causing a backup. So the vet prescribed her Catlax, a molasses-like substance that serves in much the same way as Exlax does on humans. Which is to say, it greases the chute.

You might think this would cause a disturbing litter box situation, but in fact had almost no effect on that end. And at first, the vomiting slowed down and we thought "HALLELUJAH! We're on the right track."

But then we woke up Friday morning.

It was a morning like any other. Sophie woke us up at ohgod o'clock. We went through the upstairs part of our morning: pottying, face washing, changing diaper, putting on warmer clothes; before we headed for the stairs. And that was when I saw it.

It was everywhere.

It was on every step from the top to the bottom. That's thirteen steps. It was on the wall from the top nearly to the bottom. And there was clearly a spray pattern. It was like something had stood at the top of the stairs and a fire hose of vomit shot out of it. I didn't need Dexter or a team of CSIs to figure out what had happened.

I called out to Neil. When he met me at the top of the stairs, his mouth fell open and he said, only half kidding, "Do you think she's alive?" I'd had the same thought myself. It was an explosion. I have never seen an animal produce that kind of mess. HazMat teams usually deal with this sort of thing.

I went downstairs to track down Potter to confirm that she was, in fact, still among the land of the living. I found her in the kitchen circling her food dish waiting for some breaky as if nothing had happened. After refilling her bowl, I headed back upstairs to clean that ungodly mess up. It took a half a bottle of 409 and an entire roll of paper towels, but our stairs are back to their pre-disaster state.

We called the vet's office as soon as they opened and it was decided that we take a break from the Catlax and proceed to the next level of treatment: prednisone. So now our 7 lb cat is on steroids.

The good news is that the puking has slowed down to once a day for the last three days and we're optimistic that things are on the up and up. The bad news is that she's got acne and her meow is three octaves lower.

Whatever. As long as I never have to clean a mess like that again.


  1. That is the worst cat story I have ever heard! You win the cat-lovers award of the year, for sure!

    I'm not joking here, but have they ever done a CT scan of her head? To check for a brain tumor? Projectile vomiting is a sign of that in humans, don't know if it's the same for cats...

    What a way to wake up in the morning :(

  2. Did the vet take films? Is she the kind of cat that eats things that are not food? How old is she (she looks a little small so I am assuming she is older.) Did he check her thyroid along with the bloodwork?

    Just a few things running through my head. I've also had my share of puking cats, and in Jameson's case, it was related to a food allergy that he developed at 5. Other cats had thyroid disease and one ate a rubber band and had to have it surgically removed.

    Feel better Potter!

  3. Oh, and if you refilled her bowl, with dry? Switching her to most or all canned food will do wonders for her health.

    Jameson once sat on my printer, which is on the top shelf of my desk, and puked down the back. I had to move the desk, which is incredibly heavy, to get the barf off the wall behind and everywhere else it had splattered. Cats are so inconsiderate.

  4. Oh my. This is my worst nightmare. I don't envy you. If you ever figure out what's up with the daily puking let me know, because Buzz and Maggie are both pukers. Maggie's is clearly hairballs. Buzz, well, I chalk it up to him being a huge pig, but who knows. He's healthy otherwise. I just hate stepping in puke nearly every morning.

  5. Oh, the things we do for our pets. So sorry to hear about the explosion. I keep fearing we are headed that direction with Scout, but then, like Potter, she magically heals herself for a while.
    When J. and I first started dating, he occasionally let Scout out for me when I was at class late. He came across a similar disaster one day, and cleaned it up. That's when I first knew he loved me and was a keeper.

  6. Having pets is AWESOME. I had cat vomit in my bedroom just yesterday. Don't you feel better now? And I stepped in it. IN MY BARE FEET. Ahem.
    In any case, hope the prednisone does the trick for Potter!

  7. Ewww!!! I just don't get you cat people. And this is just another reason why I'm NOT a cat person. Eww! Eww! Eww!

    I do hope the meds work, for your sake! =)

  8. Oh.My.God! That sounds TERRIBLE.
    Here's hoping the Prednisone doesn't make her pee everywhere too!

  9. OH my gawd! I can only imagine what that mess was like.

    But I must say that you thought it was because the cat exploded killed me. LOL!

    Hope things begin to stay in.

  10. Gross! We have a pukey cat that I self-diagnosed with the hair issue too. We started feeding them science diet hariball formula. I think it has somehting to 'grease the chute' in the middle of the kibble. It really helped. Still some puke but waaaaay less. Maybe the catlax was just overkill?

  11. Kitty is just prepping you for a Sophie moment! Try switching food. Keep cat on food for at least 2 weeks to see any difference. Highly recommend the Science Diet hairball formula. Kitty may be telling you that food isn't doing her good. Oh and the steroids will make her hungrier. She'll stalk you. :)

  12. I don't know whether to laugh or send you a big virtual hug. How about both? :o)

    And ohgodO'clock? OMG, you are hysterical!
    Hope kitty gets better soon! That sounds like absolutely NO FUN at all.

  13. Um... I admire you greatly for not puking at the site.


    This is NOT a one-up-man thing at ALL... please don't think it is. We had a yellow lab with a loose bowels problem.... usually she did it all over the back yard but one day she got stuck in the mud room and that's all I have to say about that.

  14. And THIS would be the kind of stuff you will NEVER tell the realtor, should you decide to sell the house.

    (Fingers crossed that Potter continues to improve.)

  15. We had our dog on prednisone for a few months. Holy cow did she beg for food during that time. Here's hoping it helps your adorable kitty. Nobody should be suggested to that much vomit - feline or human.

  16. You have set me back several years on my mental preparedness to get a pet!

  17. I feel your pain. I have been through hell with my dog, from upper respiratory infections to pancreatitis to diabetes. I've spend untold dollars (like you, I'm afraid to calculate it) but he's worth every penny.

  18. I just had a weird moment of relief that our Coal is now gone. He was a life-time puker and sicky and I can't tell you how many times I cleaned something like that up, except that he did have it happening at both ends. Which, um, ::gag::. I loved that cat to pieces, but hooboy I don't miss that part of having him.

    Glad she's OK, and I hope the new course of action works!

  19. Eww! What a scene to wake up to. And poor kitty. I'm sure it's not what she wanted to be doing either. My dad's cat was doing the puke thing and they told him she was stressed. No lie. Even prescribed some armotherapy thingie to plug in for her. ::sigh::

  20. Our cat is rather pukey, but nothing like Potter. Poor thing!

    Just to set the record straight was this puke or poop all over everything. When I hear CatLax, my mind directly goes to a rather hilarious scene from the classic, "Dumb and Dumber".

  21. Don't you just get tired of cleaning up gross messes that you didn't even make yourself?!?

    Seems everyone I know has a puking or pooping problem with their cat. I had a cat that quit peeing in the litter box some years ago and decided that indoor cats were not for me. I love a kitty, but they are just a constant mess. Maybe they will really be domesticated in a few more thousand years.

  22. Oh my gosh! Your poor kitty! I am so sad that she is feeling terrible! I know what you mean about adding up vet bills. It makes me cry when I think we have to go to the vet.... So flippin' expensive!


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