Storm Shadow vs. The Dentist

I’ve been horribly lax about updating lately, and I can only apologize. The past few weeks have been busy, and I haven’t wanted to be on the computer much, if at all. Today, however, I have a breather, so I’m going to tell you about my cat, Storm Shadow and his recent visits (yes, plural) to the vet.

Last Friday was Storm Shadow’s least favorite day of the year: the annual trip to the vet’s office. It’s not just the fact that it’s a different, strange place where they give him shots and poke and pod him. It’s the fact that every trip is some combination of this:

P cubed + D + lots of yeowling = car ride

What are those variables, you might ask? P cubed stands for the three p’s: puking, peeing, and pooping. D stands for drooling. The yeowling, of course, sounds like someone is trying to kill him. Any combination thereof is what the car ride to and from the vet is like.

Last Friday, I didn’t feed the cat the night before or the morning of his vet visit. All he had to munch on was what I’d given him the previous morning, and he was so wrapped up in following us around and wondering where his food was that he didn’t know “Good Friday” was his vet trip until it was too late.

He did great on the car ride: I learned, last year, that he tends to quiet down if I crack a window open. I think he likes the noise and the fresh air. So no p’s on the way in. But once we brought him inside the vet office and set the carrier on the floor, he saw a dog, puked, then TURNED AROUND AND LAID IN IT!!!!

Not cool, Storm Shadow. Not cool.

Our vet’s name is Dr. Gobble. No, I’m not making that up. If I created a character who was a vet and named him Dr. Gobble, my readers would laugh me out of the room. But seriously: that’s his name (he and his wife raise Sphynx cats. Also not kidding: they have a catery named Gobble’s Gobblins).

Anyway, we talked about the cat’s weight and how we can help him loose it (Storm Shadow is a solid 17 + pounder), and then Dr. Gobble recommended we get SS’s teeth cleaned. Plaque was building up, and at SS’s age (he turns 11 this June), bad teeth can lead to infection, which can get in the blood stream, which can wreck havoc on vital organs, which in turn can kill the animal. So we agreed to make the appointment for SS to have his teeth cleaned today (a week later).

To do such a venture, the cat has to be put under. And to ensure nothing goes wrong with THAT process, before bed last night, I had to take away SS’s food. He seemed perplexed during the process, but it wasn’t until 3:00 am -ish that he let me know he was annoyed. Oh, he didn’t howl: he just kept jumping on my head, sitting on it, biting/pulling my hair, and if I covered my head, biting and pulling the blankets. I figured I deserved it, since he was hungry, and normally he has food to munch on during the night (he only gets about 5 ounces of food a day, I promise he’s not a binge eater, and honestly, if I feed him more he doesn’t really eat it. His food just has CARBS). So this morning, like last week, he was too busy following us around and wanting food to realize we were taking him to the vet until it was too late.

On the way in, just drool. No p’s. I met with the vet assistant who reviewed the process with me and asked various questions about treating him (whether they’re authorized to give him pain pills if they have to pull teeth, antibiotics if there’s an infection, etc), and then I had to say goodbye, which was weirdly hard: the assistant scooped him up (he hissed about it), I petted him and promised to be back after lunch. I felt like I was dropping off kids to school or something, and the comparison makes sense. I don’t have kids, I have Storm Shadow. He’s my kid.

Couple hours go by and I get the call to hear he got through the process fine, that he’s awake, and I can pick him up when I’m able. So after lunch, I do, and I meet with Dr. Gobble to talk about how it went.

Issue #1: his lower right jaw is loose. It’s not something anyone would be able to notice unless the cat was under, like he was, and as Dr. Gobble said, it shouldn’t move when it’s touched. Right now, there’s nothing to be fixed: we just have to watch to make sure food doesn’t start coming out the right side of his mouth while he’s eating. If so, something will be required (a pin in the jaw, most likely).

Issue #2: a cat’s blood sugar should be no higher than 150. Storm Shadow’s was 351. Now, given the weight of the cat, one might assume it’s no wonder, the poor guy has diabetes, right? Not so fast: Dr. Gobble then ran a sugar test on the urine and found no sugar there, and if the cat was diabetic, it would be there. So the likely scenario is this: cats tend to “release” sugar or something when stressed. And if it’s not obvious, my cat gets SUPER STRESSED about vet visits. Couple this visit with my leaving him there, him being picked up by strangers, being in a cage in a new and strange environment (probably surrounded by new and strange animals), and getting a gas mask, I don’t doubt for a MOMENT he was stressed to the max. Dr. Gobble said that’s the worst sugar reading for a cat he’s ever seen in his career. Go Storm Shadow?

It’s stress, or my cat has JUST HAPPENED to SUDDENLY develop diabetes in the past few days, which will become evident by a sudden and obvious increase in drinking water and peeing far more often. We’re pretty sure it’s stress.

But the urine test did reveal bacteria and white blood cells: hello, tiny urinary tract infection. Fortunately, he’s already been given antibiotics, so that should clear up quickly. We’ll know if it doesn’t if he keeps running to the litter box, but not much is there when I clean it.

Poor kitty. I picked up some treats that are supposed to improve dental health, paid the bill, and took him home. He was quite quiet (and likely a bit woozy still) and when I let him out, there was no p’s or hardly any drool. SUCCESS!!!!!! First round-trip to the vet in a VERY LONG TIME and by that I mean YEARS he hasn’t let something loose. So yay.

And he’s actually doing very well. He’s not hiding or sulking. He’s wanted attention. I’ve been petting him and brushing him, and he’s been purring, so short of him being quick to startle (I’ve gotten three poofy tails since I’ve been home), he’s good. He’s eaten a little, so I think it’s a matter of time before things are back to normal.

Now if I can only convince him that wet cat food won’t kill him, we’d be in awesome shape.

10 thoughts on “Storm Shadow vs. The Dentist

    1. Amen to that. He’s been doing great, and hasn’t been draining his water supply, so I think stress is the culprit. 🙂

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    1. I might kill if our vet was five minutes away. However, I’d settle for having a straight shot with few turns and curves. He does great when we’re on the highway!

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  1. I definitely feel your cat transportation problems – our cat has feline hyperesthesia syndrome and we dread taking her to the vet for all of the above reasons. On a related note, we were trying to rule out food allergies as one of the causes and decided to try her on wet food. She would not go near the stuff! HATED it. Wouldn’t even eat her kibble if it even just sprinkled on top of it. But I found this article that really helped: http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitioning_Dry_Food_Addicts_to_Canned_Food_

    The key for us? Patience (and lots of it), persistence, and go in with an understanding that you’re going to waste a lot of canned food for awhile. (We started with the cheap stuff.) Luckily we have a dog, too, so he would finish what Faye didn’t. Lucky for us, it only took us a month to finally make the transition. We started late October/early November and by December 1st she was strictly eating wet food. Another key: find what your cat likes. Our cat STILL won’t eat anything with fish. There have been flavors that she’s okay with, even though they contain a small amount of fish, and she will occasionally turn her nose to it if the mix has too much fish. She also only eats pate and doesn’t want anything to do with flakes, shreds, bits, etc so texture can be just as important to your cat. We constantly changed up the type of food and flavor until one appealed enough for her to bite and we just kind of built from there, alternating what we knew she liked with something new to test. Hope I’ve been helpful. lol Good luck!

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    1. Oh, wow, thanks for that link. That’s full of useful advice! I’ll have to take another read-through and see what we can start doing. 🙂

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  2. Yikes! And I thought my cat had hard time with car rides. It’s a good thing we’re in a small city, so the longest car ride she’s taken has only been 10 minutes (to the vet, and from the shelter and the like). I don’t know if she could take anything longer than that.

    Storm Shadow is adorable by the way 🙂

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    1. It’s kind of our own fault: there’s probably an vet closer to our home, but we were recommended a particular vet years ago by a good friend of mine who’d volunteered at all the vet offices in this part of the area, and so he knew who was good. We’re following that guy around, now. 🙂

      And thank you! 🙂

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  3. I know this post is over a month old, but I just had to comment.

    Once upon a time we owned a ginormous Blue Russian named Velvet. When I say he was huge I mean it–he weighed fifteen pounds (we owned a dog at the time that weighed seventeen pounds–they were best buds), but it wasn’t fat, he was just BIG–one of my uncles took one look at him and said, “What are you feeding that monster?”. He was also diabetic.

    We actually discovered the diabetes initially because he was showing some signs of renal failure. Tests uncovered the real problem.

    Velvet was a great cat–although he looked like a crotchety old man, which he kind of was–he actually let my mom give him insulin injections twice a day, and he lived for several years after the diagnosis, to the ripe old age of thirteen.

    Aside from the initial sickness, after being put on insulin (and being banned from going outside, so we could exclude birds and small furry critters from his diet) the only symptom he showed of the condition was the fact that he peed so much, it would leak out of the litterbox and leave a huge puddle on the garage floor.

    Anywho, speaking from personal experience, you would absolutely know something was wrong if your kitty was diabetic. So I don’t think you have anything to worry about in that respect, but even if it was, it’s totally treatable (although kind of expensive, according to my mother).

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    1. My cat is pretty good when it comes to shots in general, so while I pray it never comes to that, it’ll be manageable. If we had to put him on pills for anything? Oh hell, we’ll be in trouble!

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

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