More Cat Tales...



Poor Shiloh - he's got a urinary tract infection.

I noticed he had been using the litter box a lot, and was spending a considerable amount of time "sitting" in the litter box. It started on Sunday - he went to the box at least 6 times in an hour, and when I checked the box to see what was going on, it was obvious that he was having trouble urinating. Instead of big clumps of urine, there were six or seven pea-sized marbles of urine. :-(

Urinary tract infections (or "UTI" for short) are usually quite painful for cats and quite stressful, so I knew I had to get him in to the vet first thing on Monday. Blockage of the urinary tract as a result of a UTI can lead to a prompt and painful death; males are more prone to blockage than females. I was nervous all day on Sunday.

The rescue group warned me that Shiloh was difficult to get into a pet carrier, but boyhowdy did I underestimate just how tricky and difficult it really was! After trying to corral him for a solid 20 minutes and getting scratched and bit a few times, I finally trapped him in the bedroom. Big mistake...

He was on the bed - I could tell he was worn out from the chasing - so I went to grab him and must have spooked him something fierce because he immediately emptied his bladder on the bed... which included my new comforter. :-( Got him into the carrier, then promptly doused everything with Nature's Miracle, and threw what I could into the washing machine.

Because he emptied his bladder just minutes before getting to the vet's office, they weren't able to express any urine for testing purposes (to test for stones, crystals, infection, and so on), so we took a best guess that he had a UTI. A quick shot of antibiotics later, and a few hundred bucks lighter, we headed back home. I forgot how expensive vets are when you aren't getting "the shelter discount." ARGH.

Once home, Mack stepped in and took care of Shiloh:


I'm happy to report that he's doing better now. Made some adjustments - he's getting wet food now (Wellness Core) mixed with his dry food (Wellness Core), and then doused with a 1/4 cup of warm water. The extra water from the wet food and dousing should help flush his bladder and keep things tidy. I might also add that the cat food bill is now higher than my own grocery bill - that stuff is pricey!

And speaking of tidy, we made some changes to the litter box scene as well. His foster family used a DIY litter box system that included an unscented clay litter; I was using traditional boxes with scented litter (Fresh Step) - perhaps that was adding to stress, and stress can cause UTIs in cats. So, I figured I would try to make things as "familiar" as possible.

Thanks to the good folks over at, I learned how to build a "proper" litter box - it's quite simple, much less expensive than a store-bought box, and the cats seem to enjoy the extra space and privacy.

Step one: purchase a large Rubbermaid (or similar) tub, with lid. I found this 22-gallon unit at Menards for $10.

new.jpg can see my Trek trainer bike in the background - I found that on Craigslist a while ago for a decent price. I use it in the trainer so that I don't beat-up my Cervelo during the off season.

Step two: cut a decent-sized hole in the tub, near the top. Don't cut through the top lip, as it provides support for the overall structure. Don't cut down too far, otherwise litter may spill out or get kicked out by the cats. I used a utility knife to cut the opening as shown here:


Step three: fill it with litter! I used Dr. Elsey's Ultra Precious Cat litter. A 40-lb bag is $15 at Petsmart, which is a reasonable price for litter. The 40-lb bag perfectly fills the big tub. It's unscented, low dust, and clumps nicely. Note that Dr. Elsey's website has a ton of helpful information for litter box training, clean-ups, and cat assistance (in general).


... I think Mack was excited to see a familiar litter box coming together...

And that's it - put the lid on, and you're all set. Here's the finished product, in place and ready for some customers:


All-in-all, it took about 10 minutes to make this box and the cats seem to enjoy it. I also feel better that it's unscented litter (which is supposed to be better for the cats in general) and that it may help reduce a little stress from Shiloh and Mack's new world.

I'll keep you posted on his condition, but I suspect he'll be back up to 100% in no time.

And finally... look at how my "dumb" stock pick is doing:


If you'll recall, I purchased that stock at $0.11 per share about 14 months ago. It was at $0.81 per share a few weeks ago. Now it's at $1.05; it was up to $1.09 at one point today... sure am glad I bought that stock! Wish I would've bought 100x more than I did, but then again, I'm apparently not too sharp when it comes to this stock stuff...

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on February 17, 2010 11:22 PM.

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