CatFilter: Help! One of my male cats has FLUTD/FUS and I'm at my wits end try to deal with it.
April 14, 2009 11:33 AM   Subscribe

CatFilter: Help! One of my male cats has FLUTD/FUS and I'm at my wits end try to deal with it.

Both of my male cats suffer from FLUTD/FUS. One has been in good health for several years now. The other has been through several episodes in regards to FLUTD.

This most recent episode has lasted more than two weeks now. He's been to our normal vet several times. Since they know his history, they keep telling me to just "wait it out". They've put him on a light pain killer and Phenoxybenzamine (to relax the bladder). He's also been there three additional times so they could re-hydrate him as his interest in food/water is minimal at the moment.

I also took him an kitty ER one night because I was getting worried about him. They found he had an infection (put him on antibiotics), and has Struvite crystals in his urine. Bladder was clear and in good shape other than being inflamed. He was also backed up, so they did an enema on him as well. Then they recommended putting him on a prescription diet for cats that suffer from FLUTD.

That in itself poses a problem because both of my boys have food allergies. It took me a long time to get them on a diet (Duck and Pea dry food) that didn't make them throw up. I've heard dry diets are bad for cats with FLUTD so I gave the wet prescription a try anyway. Neither cat was horribly interested in it. And my regular vet recommended keeping them on the Duck and Pea since it did take a long time to find a good that didnt make them sick.

At home, I've been trying to deal with by confining him to a room with multiple litter boxes/ food/water (since he is straining to urinate all over the house). We've had to move him several times already because every room we put him in, he literally uses the whole room as his litter box. He's very slowly ruining our house.

Have any other owners out there dealt with this before? Or anything similar? Any tips, suggestions? I feel like I've tried everything and I'm not sure how much longer I'm supposed to "wait it out". The vet bills have cost a small fortune so far, the house is turning into a litter box, and the stress of dealing with this is getting to me as well as the cat.
posted by pghjezebel to Pets & Animals (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh no, I'm really sorry for you and your little guy! I've never had a male cat, but I had a diabetic cat and another cat who got lots of UTIs and eventually kidney failure. Basically, both ended up peeing all over the house and it was unpleasant to say the least. The only thing I can think to suggest is to maybe keep the cat confined to a tiled room (bathroom? kitchen?) when you can't watch him. Does your vet have any suggestions other than waiting it out or at least an idea about how long you might have to wait?
posted by Maisie at 11:48 AM on April 14, 2009

Best answer: You have to put the cat with FLUTD on the food. As far as I know that's the only way they get better. I think that you will just have to practice tough love.

I would feed them twice a day in separate rooms. Give them a half an hour with the food, then take it back up. If they don't eat, then don't feed them until the next time. Eventually they will eat what they are given. There are different brands of the prescription diet food that you can try if your cat has digestive problems. If you were changing their food a lot before, then that might have been part of the problem with them getting sick. Cats that just eat cat food don't tolerate changes in their food very well.

I have two cats, one with FLUTD and one without and we feed them separately. The prescription food is not good for a cat that doesn't have FUS. A cat with FLUTD that develops a blockage can do into a coma or die from kidney failure. We saw a lot of urinating in improper places when our cat first starting having problems, this got much better once he was on the prescription food. There are pheromone sprays that you can get that can be helpful with encouraging a cat not to urinate some place, but if a cat has painful urination this will not help.
posted by jefeweiss at 11:57 AM on April 14, 2009

I had a cat who had this and eventually ended up paying for what they called the 'boy cat' operation' st the time. I don't know the proper name for the operation but it involves quite a bit of cutting and resectioning and the cat comes home with a shaved rear end with so many stitches it looks like a railroad yard map.

But it did the trick--he might have had a couple of bouts of a urinary tract infection after that but no more. Of course, he then developed hyperthyroidism and literally melted away before my eyes. Until I started to pill him twice a day, every day. Then he had his thyroid removed in another operation. Then it grew back, and he went back into the always hungry and running around crying all the time mode and so I had to go back to pilling him every day. And despite all these ills, he lived to be 17 and it was a happy life, to boot.

Between bladder and thyroid, I think I spent around $6000 on that cat over his whole life. It was worth every cent, too.

But at one point there, I was holding him and pointing him butt first at the cat pan and squeezing his bladder whenever he had an episode. Which was every couple of weeks.

After the vet showed me how to do it, let me add. But it was a lot cheaper than running him in every time he got a mucous plug in his uretha.
posted by y2karl at 12:03 PM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: @Maisie - No, the vet really hasn't given us an idea of how long this might continue. He's held his ground and said that what we're currently doing is what he feels is the best form of treatment. The cat is actually at the vets right now as I dropped him off this morning to get an IV under the skin so he can get some water in him. I haven't noticed any feces in the litter box so I was concerned he was backed up again or simply not eating. Not to mention that while I sat with him last night he was straining every minute or so which is even excessive for him.

@ jefeweiss - These cats have had digestive problems since they were kittens. I kept them on one food until the vet suggested food allergies, then we switched around a few times until the Duck and Pea food stop all the problems. Both cats prefer dry, and even withholding food doesn't force them into eating wet. I'm also fine with separating them for feeding times, but didn't do so this time because both cats have had FLUTD problems in the past. And the vet said it was safe to try the new food on both of them.

I've been using Natures Miracle to clean up the stains, but maybe I'll grab some pheromone spray to see if that deters him from returning to certain spots! Thanks!

@y2karl - Oh my, poor kitty. I've heard about that operation. I can't afford to spend $6,000.00 so hopefully it doesn't go that route!!
posted by pghjezebel at 12:33 PM on April 14, 2009

Best answer: First of all, if he isn't on Cosequin, he should be, it can help with decreasing inflammation and improving mucus production in the bladder.

Second, he really HAS to be on a prescription food (and most are fine for all cats to eat, whether they have a problem or not, it's only stone-dissolving diets like s/d which are a problem for the non-affected cat). Hill's c/d has been reformulated, you might want to try it again. Purina and Royal Canin both also make appropriate diets. All prescription food companies will take back the food and refund your money if your cats can't or won't eat the food, you should be able to just return it to the vet clinic and get your money back, they can then return it to the manufacturer for a full refund. Where I work, we often give people a few different ones to try and have them return the ones they don't use. Alternately, you can spend some money and have your vet contact and have them send you a recipe for making your own food.

Third, if he is currently straining to urinate, he needs veterinary attention, most of the time you can keep a FLUTD cat pretty comfortable and able to keep urine inside the litterbox, so your cat is either having a crisis or wasn't well-controlled to start off with. Either way, I think managing this issue needs to see you back at a vet asap.

Finally, do not rule out urethrostomy surgery if he gets bad enough.

More info here.
posted by biscotti at 12:33 PM on April 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Had you ruled out Royal Canin Urinary SO food? My 13.5-year-old male cat, who has this condition, loves the dry version and seems to do very well on it, but it also comes in a wet version. He did seem to start forming dandruff after I switched him to this, but that's gone away as well since I began to supplement the food with fish oil sprinkled on top. I also refresh his water bowl every couple of hours, and leave a tap dripping slowly to tempt him when it seems he isn't drinking enough.

During the worst of his flare-ups, I had to keep him in the kitchen whenever I was out of the house because any soft surface would be dotted with highly potent pee.
posted by notquitemaryann at 12:53 PM on April 14, 2009

Ah, it's been so long, I had forgotten the word urethostomy. Thank you, biscotti, for that. And thank you for the model of an informative answer.

And, pghjezebel, that amount of $6,000 included the costs of two operations--a urethostomy and a thyroidectomy-- and all the veterinary visits and prescriptions filled and cases of cans of C/D cat food added up over 17 years.

Biscotti, as per usual, has given you the best practical advice a person could ask for in this situation. I just popped in here intending to say that I have an idea of what you are going through. Having a sick cat can be round the clock, hands on for long stretches of time and it can wear you down. But it comes with living with a cat and, while there is any hope that cat can keep on purring, it is worth the time, the cost and the effort. Always.
posted by y2karl at 1:27 PM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: @ biscotti - I'm writing most of this down to discuss with my vet today after work so thank you for the Cosequin suggestion! As for the food, the only food I've tried so far was the Hill s/d. That was what was prescribed by the ER, and my regular vet didn't agree with it for two reasons: 1) The food allergies and 2) He said that he could understand if they had given me Hills c/d but the s/d didn't make sense as he wasn't (nor has ever been) fully blocked. After reading some of these posts, I called the vet back and asked if he can please give me some dry/wet samples of the c/d to try on both cats. As for the straining, that's why he's back at the vet today. Because he won't stop straining and I find that highly alarming. Before this, he had no litter box issues what so ever. Always uses the box, never has had an accident outside of it.
posted by pghjezebel at 1:34 PM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: We don't have cat insurance, I'm wondering if with these problems persisting and the urethostomy being mentioned, maybe I should look into it. Soon. :(
posted by pghjezebel at 1:36 PM on April 14, 2009

Best answer: Insurance won't cover a pre-existing condition as a general rule. :(

s/d is sometimes used in FLUTD for some cats as a prevention for blockage (usually during flare-ups or mixed with c/d, it is NOT a long-term maintenance diet), but it is really something your vet and you need to discuss and feel comfortable with. c/d is now called c/d Multicare, and is a suitable maintenance diet. The Royal Canin Urinary SO is really looking like the best of breed for FLUTD diets right now, it's very palatable and seems to work very well, and it has better ingredients than most of the prescription diets IIRC. Definitely try to use canned rather than dry if you can, your cat needs as much water intake as possible. But definitely don't use a regular cat food unless your cat is starving himself.
posted by biscotti at 4:32 PM on April 14, 2009

My big cat boy has some UT issues, that at their worst resulted in a week's stay at the vet's office with an IV in his little paw. Since then (2006) has been on Science Diet c/d and only had one minor recurrence, which pretty much cleared up on its own. I recommend sticking with the prescription food.

Even though they do recommend more wet food for cats with these problems, he really prefers dry food, so I just get them c/d dry food (all three of my cats end up eating it), and he eats a small amount of regular Friskies wet food each morning. The vet said it's fine to give him the non-prescription food, since he eats so little of it. So probably it would be okay to give your kitty a little of his Duck and Pea food, in addition to the prescription stuff.

Also, encourage him to drink more water - a sneaky way to do this is to put extra water bowls around the house, and change their position frequently. They go over to check out the new bowl/new location, and end up taking a drink.
posted by LolaGeek at 5:39 PM on April 14, 2009

Best answer: I have four cats, one of whom has FLUTD.

Mingo was put on s/d for one month, plus antibiotics (I think it was Baytril). He was fine and using the litter boxes correctly within a few hours of starting him on antibiotics. No straining or peeing where he shouldn't. He's been on c/d for a couple weeks now and all seems to be well.

I've had to switch from free feed to twice a day feedings. And with four cats, that ain't no picnic.

I didn't know Royal Canin had a FLUTD management food. I like RC's analysis much better than Hill's.

Protein 36.1
Fat 16.7
Carbohydrate 41.1

Protein 33
Fat 14
Carbohydrate 4.4

Mingo is due back to have another urine test for crystals. I check with my vet about the Royal Canin food before switching.

I'm not the original poster, but many thanks to you all for the shared info.
posted by deborah at 6:02 PM on April 14, 2009

I know you've been going to your vet for a long time, but have you considered seeking a second opinion? It sounds as if you're not comfortable with a "wait it out" approach. Why not try another provider and see if they offer you something that feels more natural to you?

My last kitty had FUS, so I feel your pain. My current has inflammatory bowel disease, so I can sympathize regarding the vomiting/poo problems/special food as well. After another flareup of the IBS while on a restricted diet, we've recently started Mr. Smee on a low daily dose of prednisone which has helped a ton. While not directly applicable, I have to wonder if there's not some way to manage the two - or at least get more information about the nature of the "food allergies" and how to operate within their constraints. Were there tests done? Do you know if it's a specific thing (eg wheat, corn)? Maybe there's a diet that can meet both needs.

Best of luck to you.
posted by lilnublet at 8:18 PM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks all for your advice. I brought the one cat home from the vet tonight, and he's still straining but due to the fluids the gave him under his skin, at least he had something to strain with. I bought a couple cans of the c/d food and left half of one out for him, but as usual he had no interest in it.

I'm not comfortable with the wait it out approach, but I have consulted other vets. One vet in our area deals solely with cats, and I did a phone consultation with them. They agreed with all the lines of treatment my current vet is doing. As did the ER Dr, and my sister in law who is a vet tech. I'm going to see how it goes for the rest of the week - and if I'm still not happy with his condition, I'm going to take him in for a visit at the cat only clinic.

If that wasn't enough (it must really not be my month for cats) tonight my other cat walked to the center of our living room licking his lips and doing that crazy meow thing and then proceeded to vomit all his food up. *sigh* I'm not sure whats doing on there. I've never seen a cat throw up that much. He seems fine at the moment, so I'm hoping he ate too fast (as there was a lot of whole food in it). His diet hasn't changed, hes been on his regular food. Guess I'll have to call the vet about him tomorrow as well!
posted by pghjezebel at 9:08 PM on April 14, 2009

Seconding (thirding?) Royal Canin Urinary SO. One of our boys has FLUTD and this works really well for him. He's not fond of the wet version, but the dry version is very popular and we have water all over the place for him.

As for the other one vomiting, maybe the stress of his brother being gone got to him? I know when one of ours is at the vet, the rest of the animals act oddly.
posted by crankylex at 6:25 AM on April 15, 2009

Response by poster: I called my vet and asked them for a prescription for RC food. Unfortunately they don't receive many orders for it, so I'll have to take it to a Petco/Petsmart to have it filled.

The cat looked well this morning, and hopefully both of them will be fine when I get home. *Crosses fingers that she doesnt find any puke or pee anywhere*

Thank you for all the suggestions, especially the Feliway one. I don't know if the cat is just feeling better or if the Feliway worked because he stopped using those spots after one application!
posted by pghjezebel at 11:30 AM on April 15, 2009

Regarding the hurling, do remember to try to maintain some perspective on things and avoid catastrophizing every event. I had a cat who would swoon and faint after throwing up. I almost had a heart attack the first few times she did this. She would go through the whole routine with the usual sound effects, throw up and then keel over. She literally could not stand up for a few seconds. But then she would sit up, lick herself a little and then get up and walk off. That made for a whole roller coaster of human feelings.
posted by y2karl at 10:43 AM on April 16, 2009

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