Cinders is a cat with cystitis

Cinders is a cat with cystitis

Cinders is an eleven month old female neutered black Domestic Shorthaired Cat. Her owner Orla was in the bathroom, when Cinders jumped up beside her and passed urine in the sink. Orla was shocked when she saw that urine was a dark red colour, and it contained small clots of blood. A Bloody urine is always a very significant sign that should never be ignored. Pets with this problem need to be taken to the vet immediately to establish the source of the blood. There are many possible causes. Often a series of tests needs to be carried out to make the most accurate diagnosis, and to determine the most appropriate treatment. When I examined Cinders, she seemed like a very healthy, contented young cat. She purred as I examined her, pressing her head against my hand in an affectionate way. Orla told me that apart from the urine incident, she was behaving completely normally at home. She was eating well, and had a normal thirst. Her temperature was normal, and she allowed me to feel her abdomen very thoroughly, so I could tell at once that there was nothing painful inside her, and there were no unusual swellings or growths. The most likely cause of Cinder’s problem was a condition known as “cystitis”, which means “inflammation of the bladder”. For different reasons, the inner lining of the bladder becomes bright red and sore looking, almost like a knee which has been grazed by a fall on tarmac. Blood oozes from the inflamed bladder wall into the urine. Many cats with cystitis also have increased urgency, and owners sometimes...
Pikachu the cat had 5 kittens at home

Pikachu the cat had 5 kittens at home

The family weren’t planning any new pets, but this summer they have a new cat and five kittens in their house. It started with a scraggy old feral tom cat in their back garden. He used to turn up in the evening, skulking around the place, and they felt sorry for him, giving him a bowl of food. He was a true feral cat, refusing to allow anyone to come close to him. One night, a few months ago, the old tom cat brought a young female cat with him: he let her share his dinner. She was more friendly than the tom cat, staying around in the daytime, and coming into the house. Over a few weeks, the girls noticed that the female cat, now named Pikachu, was getting fatter, and it was soon obvious that she was pregnant. At the same time, she became friendlier, allowing them to pet her. They knew that she’d soon produce kittens, so they set up a kittening box for her in the main living area of the house, following directions that they’d found online. She liked the box, sleeping in it every night, and a few weeks later, they came downstairs one morning to find her lying purring in the box beside five newborn kittens. At first she seemed contented, proudly showing off her babies to the family, but two days later, they all vanished overnight. When Holly and Lia came downstairs one morning, the kittening box was empty. They couldn’t understand how this had happened: the doors and windows were shut. Had Pikachu found a hidden exit? They searched everywhere...
Taqui is a feral cat

Taqui is a feral cat

Many people will be heading overseas over the next couple of months, escaping the cool dampness of the Irish “summer” for sunshine in destinations like Spain, Portugal and Greece. Marina runs an apartment complex that’s typical of many Mediterranean holiday resorts. She didn’t plan to have a cat in her workplace. Taqui just turned up a year ago, and has since become a daily visitor. She’s a friendly cat, approaching visitors with a friendly meow and a purr, but she doesn’t like to be picked up or held. She’s a classic example of a feral cat: her parents or grandparents would have been pets, but she must have been born in the wild, and has never learned to fully trust humans. Marina is aware that not all visiting holidaymakers are cat lovers. Some visitors leave out food for Taqui, even encouraging her to come into the apartments. But when their two week trip is over, the visitors who follow them often don’t like the idea of having a strange cat sharing their living accommodation. Marina has to deal with the consequences: she tries to persuade cat loving guests not to feed Taqui indoors and she explains to the anti-cat guests that Taqui is a friendly but shy animal who isn’t going to cause them any harm. Most guests understand the situation, and Taqui is a quick learner: once she realises that she’s no longer going to be fed in an apartment, she soon stops visiting. Marina has had plenty of experience of dealing with feral cats: she has friends who have had to deal with serious cat problems. One...
Tabitha is a three year old  Tonkinese cat

Tabitha is a three year old Tonkinese cat

Maia and Tasiana live close to one another, often visiting each other’s’ houses. Maia’s cat, Tabitha, enjoys the company of the two girls, often joining in with them for games. She allows herself to be picked up and cuddled, and she even comes back for more. She’s been put in a toy pram, carried in a sling like a baby and she’s always being hugged. A few weeks ago, when Tasiana called around to Maia’s house with her mum, there was no-one home: the front door was locked. They were about to leave when Tasiana spotted some movement through the main living room window. When she looked closer, she couldn’t believe what she was looking at: a crisp bag was moving from side to side, all on its own. She peered through the window, trying to see what was going on: was there some strange air current? Could it be a haunted crisp bag? Then she realised what was going on: Tabitha was dashing around the room with a crisp bag stuck on her head, unable to get it off. Tasiana’s mum had a key to the house, so they quickly let themselves in and rescued the poor animal. Tabitha must have had her head stuck for some considerable time: she was all sweaty and bedraggled. It was fortunate that they had come past: if Tabitha had been stuck like that for several more hours, she could have got herself into serious trouble. Animals have been known to die of suffocation after getting their heads stuck in plastic bags. It was easy to work out what had happened: Maia...
Tom a 20 year old cat went missing

Tom a 20 year old cat went missing

Maura took on Tom as an adult rescue cat when she was living in Cabinteely fifteen years ago. He became a much-loved pet, and had been with the family ever since, including a three-year stretch living in France. Tom had settled comfortably with Maura and her family in Enniskerry for his retirement. As an elderly cat, he didn’t do any more than strolling around the front of the house, then back inside to his favourite sleeping place. He ate well, but had begun to lose weight, and Maura suspected that he might be nearing the end of his days. Just after Christmas, on Wednesday 28th December, Tom went missing. Maura and her family searched in all his usual haunts, but there was no sign of him. He had vanished. Maura was told that cats sometimes wander away to die, and she presumed that this is what Tom had decided to do. Her family quietly grieved for their pet, and time moved on. Meanwhile, on Thursday 29th December, a kindly lady from Enniskerry had arrived at our vet clinic holding the motionless body of a cat in her arms. She had found the animal outside, lying on his side. He could barely lift his head. She had never seen the cat before, but she knew at once that he needed help. When I examined him, I could see that he had three immediate problems: starvation, hypothermia and some other, as yet undiagnosed, underlying disease. The only way that the cat could be properly helped would be by carrying out a complex work up including blood tests. But this seemed to...
Maggie had a large thorn sticking out of her paw

Maggie had a large thorn sticking out of her paw

Eva’s family rescued Maggie from the Wicklow SPCA Sharpes Hill animal sanctuary when she was just a kitten. Eva was only two at the time, so as far as she’s concerned, Maggie has been around for ever. Maggie is a gentle, tolerant animal, and she’s the perfect children’s pet. Eva loves playing with her, and even Eva’s younger sister, Robyn, who’s just 15 months old, enjoys petting the cat (obviously under close supervision). The little girl and her cat are the best of buddies, but like all friendships, there are a couple of challenging areas. For Eva, the most annoying thing about Maggie is that she keeps stealing Eva’s toys. In particular, Eva enjoys making pompom pets – small colourful fluffy toys, made from bits of wool. They resemble the pompom on top of a woollen hat. Eva keeps these in her bedroom, but Maggie sneaks in, picks them up in her mouth, and runs off with them. Perhaps she sees them as small mouse-like prey: a cat has strong chasing and hunting instincts. As a result of this behaviour, Eva keeps finding half-chewed pompom pets scattered around the house. For a five year old girl, this is very irritating, but she still loves Maggie, and the two of them spend a lot of time snuggled up together, enjoying each other’s company. Last Saturday afternoon, Maggie came indoors after an excursion into the back garden. She jumped up onto Eva’s lap, and as Eva petted her, she noticed that something odd was sticking out of Maggie’s foot. She called her Dad, and he took a closer look. At first...
Max the cat was shot with an airgun in the garden

Max the cat was shot with an airgun in the garden

Max is a free-ranging cat, coming and going as he likes through  a cat flap. He lives in typical suburbia, with rows of semi-detached houses each having their own enclosed back gardens. Max enjoys spending time in Barbara’s garden. He jumps up onto the back wall, visiting a few of the neighbours, but he doesn’t go far, and will always come back if Barbara goes out and calls his name. Like many cats, Max is a hunter, bringing back small rats as “gifts” for Barbara. She would rather that he didn’t bring these home with him, although she is relieved that he helps to control the rodent population in the area. He occasionally catches garden birds too, which Barbara finds difficult: she enjoys watching the birds in her garden and it’s upsetting when Max kills them. Barbara has always felt that Max lives a safe lifestyle: he stays in the local patchwork of back gardens, never venturing near the danger of busy roads. Many of her neighbours keep cats, so Max enjoys a busy social life, and up till now, he’s never got into trouble of any kind. A couple of weeks ago, Barbara was watching television in the evening. Max came in through the cat flap soon after 11pm, looking for attention as he often does. Barbara petted him absent mindedly; he seemed OK at first. Then she noticed that there was something strange sticking out of his cheek. She tried to examine him close up, but he was wriggling, and it was difficult to see. It looked like some sort of rivet or metal stud. She didn’t...
Cosmo staggered home after eating poison

Cosmo staggered home after eating poison

Cosmo lives an active life, enjoying the outdoor world: he’s a keen hunter of rats and mice. He doesn’t have a cat flap, so he comes and goes through windows and the same doors as the humans in the house. As part of the daily routine, the last person to bed in John’s home always ensures that Cosmo has come back from his evening wanderings. One evening last week, it was 1.30am when John was finishing some desk work. As he prepared for bed, he opened the back door, and called Cosmo. As the cat came in, John put out a small bowlful of food for him, and at first all seemed well: Cosmo tucked into it hungrily. But when he’d finished eating, and was walking away from the dish, John noticed that there was something amiss. Cosmo staggered unsteadily, instead of walking normally, and he seemed to be looking into the distance, as if he was hallucinating. If he’d been a human, he would have been accused of being drunk. There was something very wrong with him. John phoned the after-hours veterinary service, and he was advised to bring Cosmo in to the clinic at once. Even though it was the middle of the night, it sounded as if Cosmo could be suffering from some type of poisoning. Urgent treatment could be lifesaving. There was no time to waste: John put Cosmo into his pet carrier and set off in the car on the twenty minute drive to the emergency centre. Cosmo has never been a good traveller, and it probably didn’t help that he’d managed to scoff...
Patches nearly died after coming into contact with lillies

Patches nearly died after coming into contact with lillies

One week, Patches was a normal, healthy, young adult cat. Nobody could have guessed that within a few days, she’d be in intensive care, fighting for her life. And if somebody had pointed to the beautiful Oriental Lilies on the table in Bronagh’s living room, very few people would have realised that the flowers were harbouring a toxin that’s commonly fatal to cats. Bronagh first realised that there was something wrong when Patches suddenly started to drink much more water than usual. She finished the water bowl indoors, then drank all the water in a bowl outside, and then started lapping from a puddle. Bronagh put some more water out for her, and Patches sat with her head over the bowl, staring at the water. She was also dull and depressed and she refused to eat her normal dinner. Bronagh brought her in to my clinic and a blood profile was run in the clinic laboratory. The findings were dramatic: Patches had kidney failure: she had sky-high levels of the toxic by-products that are meant to be filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. If her kidneys could not be successfully treated, her life was at risk. Kidney failure can happen spontaneously, but there’s often an underlying cause. In a young, previously healthy cat, there are some common household substances that can cause kidney damage if ingested. Anti-freeze is perhaps the best known example: it has a taste that pets find attractive, and just a few laps of the substance can be enough to cause serious kidney damage. I questioned Bronagh about any possible exposure to poisons, and...
Ginger the cat was suffering from toothache

Ginger the cat was suffering from toothache

Ginger lives the life of a typical modern Irish cat. He lives in a suburban house, and is fed on tinned food, supplemented by his own hunting expeditions. He has free access to the outdoors and enjoys going out and about. He’s sometimes gone for most of the day, and when he comes home, he’s prone to bringing back mice and, less commonly, small birds. Robert first noticed Ginger behaving strangely at meal times a couple of weeks ago. The cat normally has an excellent appetite; whenever food is put out in his bowl, he rushes towards it, lapping it up hungrily.  Now he paused as he approached his dinner. He’d stop, looking at the food bowl suspiciously, then move forward towards it hesitantly. He’d then take a few mouthfuls slowly, chewing cautiously. After a few moments, he’d shake his head violently from side to side, turn around, and bolt out of the room as if he was being chased by a dog. He’d then leave his food for a few hours, before coming back again. This strange behaviour meant that it was taking him all day to eat food that he’d normally scoff in five minutes. There was obviously something bothering him, which is why Robert brought him to see me. Ginger’s behaviour was typical of a cat with dental pain, and I expected to find an obvious abnormality when I opened his mouth to have an initial look. I was surprised to find that, in fact, his mouth seemed healthy: there were no broken teeth, and no evidence of periodontal disease or gingivitis. The second stage of...