Or should I say Martin the high-maintenance cat? Or maybe Martin the time-consuming cat?
Martin has had a very rough last two months. His ordeal started on May 5, and hasn’t ended yet. But, hopefully he is through the worst of the craziness.
This darn cat makes kidney stones like it’s his job! He had two that passed out of his kidney and into the ureter (the tube from the kidney to the bladder), but got stuck there. With some medical help, he was able to finally pass both stones into his bladder, and we thought we were out of the woods. But then he passed a third stone into the ureter, and it was good and stuck. So off to surgery we went…
This crazy cat had major abdominal surgery, and had a Subcutaneous Urethral Bypass System (SUB System) placed. There’s a large diameter tube that comes out of his left kidney (the one that makes the stones), snakes through his abdomen, and pops out of his abdomen (but stays under his skin) to connect to a small port. Another tube comes out the other side of the port, goes back into his abdomen, and attaches to his bladder. This way, his ureter actually isn’t functional any more.
The SUB System has a much larger diameter than his ureter, so if (when) he makes more kidney stones and they come out of the kidney, the stones should pass through the SUB System without a problem.
In the meantime, Martin had been sick for two months, and hadn’t been eating very well. He had been about a 13-pound cat, and now is down to about 7 pounds. So this kitty had a feeding tube placed in his esophagus while he was under anesthesia for the SUB System placement.
The orange tube in the picture below goes into his esophagus, and down into his stomach. The bandage is there to keep the tube protected from him scratching.
And it’s a good thing, because he’s been scratching!
Martin has been an amazing trooper through this entire thing. His feedings take a long time… He gets fluids (he’s not drinking well, and we need to keep him good and hydrated so his kidneys keep working well) and food through his feeding tube, three times a day.
Lucky for me, he sits on my lap for all the feedings, and we have some quality mom-cat bonding time. The fluids take about 30 minutes to give, then we take an hour break, then the food takes about 30 minutes to give. Then a minimum of a four hour break before we do it all over again. The whole thing, prep time to clean up, takes about 2-1/2 hours. Three times a day.
So far, things are going pretty well. He’s been holding steady on his hydration and weight. Most of the time, he’s actually pretty perky. He has started hanging out in his regular spots again, and sleeps with us at night. He’s even started to eat a little extra on his own before I feed him through his tube.
We did have a little setback this week, though. One of our other cats, Leo, was sick with a 24-hour stomach bug. (It’s just like you would think.) I think Martin picked it up, too. He’s been quieter than normal, hasn’t wanted to eat anything extra, and hasn’t tolerated his last two feedings well. His immune system is a little run down, so I’m really hoping this won’t last more than 48 hours or so.
Seriously. How much harder can taking care of a kid be? Feedings six times a day? Drop everything to take care of him? Cleaning up poop and puke? I think I’m getting plenty of practice.
I just hope that Martin is through most of this by the time Baby Doc is born!