Be Your Pet’s Voice: Pay Them Close Attention!

Leo, our soon to be 6 year old furry adoptive son and NautilusMODE mascot fell ill this weekend, and not in the traditional manner. The cause: a blocked urinary tract.  Not something my wife or I expected, but it is incredibly serious and apparently common in male cats. The terrifying part? If let unchecked he could have died from kidney failure within 3 to 6 days.

The Back Story

This all started on Saturday.  For the majority of the day nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  Leo was himself; playing, jumping, running, basking in the sun while napping.  Then around 10 or 11 PM he started to act strange.  First he seemed very bent on getting our attention which we thought was understandable as he was lounging all day.  However, his mood seemed a little sour, but at this time of night normally he is ready for bed.  So we played some and all seemed OK.  Then one of our box fans tipped over and scared him.  From then on he seemed skittish, but nothing too strange.  Around 11:30PM he squatted in a box of computer parts and acted as if he had to use the litter box.  He didn’t, but considering the fans were in the hallway on his way to the litter box, we both thought he was just skittish still. All seemed reasonable enough though and we all went to bed.

Freezing In Place

Sunday morning, Allyson and I awoke at 8AM.  Odd, Leo normally wakes us up at 5 in the morning for breakfast, or at least to cuddle.  We got up and Allyson put food in his bowl.  Strangely he sat still, frozen without movement other than heavy breathing.  We instantly became alarmed.  He then suddenly moved and slowly walked to his dish.  He ate part of his food and then left.  In the living room he paused again.  At this point we were looking up the nearest emergency animal care clinic.  While looking up the emergency center, and after a minute, he moved.  Back to the food bowl.  Then back to the living room and frozen again.

Allyson called and reported the issue.  This time Leo walked to his litter box and sat trying to go for minutes without movement or success.  We packed him up and rushed him 30 minutes away to the care center.

At the Emergency Center


It was at the care center that we were informed he had a blocked urinary tract and that we should have brought him in as soon as symptoms started.  We were baffled as we keep an extremely close eye on him and he was acting fine until less than 12 hours prior to being in the waiting room.  Apparently he was completely blocked and unable to urinate.  If left go he could have died or kidney failure from being unable to get rid of his urine in as little as 3 days from the initial blockage. They catheterized him and hospitalized him until Monday morning when Allyson transferred him from the emergency care center to our local vet for further treatment.

At the Veterinarian


Monday he was cared for at the vet.  His right front paw had swollen from the IV he was on but he was kind to the staff and generally quiet and content.  We did stop by in the evening to see him and he wasn’t in the best of spirits, but seemed glad to see us. The vet told us he will have the catheter removed and then monitored over the next day to ensure he is completely unblocked.  We are expecting to have him back again in our home on Wednesday.

Be Your Pet’s Voice

We were struck to find out that Leo’s condition had no noticeable signs until what the veterinarians told us was almost too late. Leo seems to be rather pain tolerant and wasn’t even meowing in pain.  He tends to get very quite and hunched over when he isn’t feeling well. Only because we pay him close attention and he is our only cat did we notice anything was really wrong on Sunday before starting the plans we made.  Knowing that if we would have ignored him could have killed him is both troubling and worrisome.

Pet’s can’t speak and don’t know how to tell you what’s wrong.  The only way to know if through observation.  Please take our story as an example to keep to heart.  Take note of your pets personality in it’s entirety and call the vet immediately if anything seems out of sorts with their actions or mobility.  The only one who can speak for your pet is you and they are counting on you to ensure they are well cared for.  In this case something as simple as a temporary behavior change was the first symptom nearing the end of progression of a problem that needed immediate attention.

We’ll keep you updated on Leo’s current issue in upcoming posts, so if you would like to know how his story ends, please stay tuned.



2 thoughts on “Be Your Pet’s Voice: Pay Them Close Attention!”

  1. Oh. 😦 I hope he powers through and can get back to fighting crime and napping.

    Can anything be done to avoid these blockages? Like diet, exercise, prayer, or cutting down on smoking?

    Now I’m afraid this will happen to General Tso. (he’s a boy cat too)

  2. Hi Josh(ua,

    Thank you for wishing Leo well! He is back home now for continued recovery. He is still sore and using his litter box often which should lessen as the week goes on.

    This issue is caused by crystals building up in the urinary tract. There are ways to avoid this happening to General Tso, which I think we will cover in depth in a future article, but the main thing is to ensure he is hydrated. The general consensus is that wet food is better than dry food as any additional moisture will help them urinate more frequently to flush things out. Of course you should talk to your vet about your cats diet before making changes.

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