Help! My Cat Can't Pee -- Run, Don't Walk, to the Vet
Kizzy had a different problem -- urethral obstruction. He had crystals in his urine that got jammed in his urethra and prevented urine from coming out. So it was ballooning his bladder. And -- unbelievably -- the obstruction could have killed him within 24-48 hours if left untreated, according to Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine:
The vet sedated him and inserted a catheter to remove the obstructions and drain his bladder. She gave him an antibiotic shot for the secondary bladder infection that had developed and subcutaneous fluids for dehydration. She asked me if I wanted him to be X-rayed to see if he had stones or just crystals, and after doing some research, I asked for the X-ray. Stones can require surgery, and after the thousands of dollars and months of treatment we went through with Buttonsworth only to have him die anyway, I wanted to go into whatever came next with open eyes.
Male and neutered male cats are at greater risk for obstruction than females, because their urethra is longer and narrower. Urethral obstruction is a true medical emergency, and any cat suspected of suffering from this condition must receive immediate veterinary attention. When the urethra is completely blocked, the kidneys are no longer able to remove toxins from the blood and maintain a proper balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body. If the obstruction is not relieved, the cat will eventually lose consciousness and die. Death most frequently occurs as a result of electrolyte imbalances, which ultimately cause heart failure. The time from complete obstruction until death may be less than twenty-four to forty-eight hours, so immediate treatment is essential.
Thankfully, the X-ray revealed no stones. Kizzy spent two nights in the cat hospital until his urine had less blood in it (inserting a catheter into a cat's tiny parts is, well, not easy) and the catheter could be removed. They also had to make sure he could pee on his own before they sent him home.
I just brought him home a few hours ago. The vet tech commented on the 180-degree change in his personality between Wednesday and today. Today he was acting like his normal, charming self, prancing around and begging people to pet him. He is now on prescription C/D urinary tract control food, and he has to use shredded newspaper for litter for about a week so we can see that he is peeing and make sure it's not too bloody. I'm of course, completely paranoid this will just recur and recur like the constipation did with Buttonsworth, but the only thing we can do preventatively is to give him the special food and watch him closely.