And anyone who's friends with me on facebook will have seen that he had a trip to the vets. Yuck. So I thought I'd do an update.
I know a bit about cats behaviour but not masses. I know they hate change and get stressed by it. I know they get more health problems as they get older. My cat in particular, has previously had struvite crystals & cystitis. I know that Firby can become seriously ill very quickly. When F was very small we went all day on a Saturday. I had an inkling something wasn't right when we came home but as usual hubby wasn't interested. Firby then pooed on my clothes at about 11pm. I rang the vets, despite hubby saying wait until the morning. I am SO glad I did because it turned out he had developed more struvite crystals in his bladder & needed treatment immediately. If I'd left him he'd have died overnight. Unfortunately it meant a large vet's bill because, of course, it was a Saturday night and then he had to be kept in on the Sunday.
I know he's more likely to get it due to stress. He is supposed to drink more water and has a special diet (cat food as normal, just special cat food). I find it slightly amusing that I always need to drink more water and years ago was susceptible to such problems.
When we moved house I found a vet that does home visits. Firby HATES going in the car. I've noticed he's actually ok with the vets so I wonder if he gets travel sick. Unfortunately since having the home vet he's needed to go to a different vets twice which involves a 20 minute car journey where he howls the whole way, vomits, poos & wees. A healthy cat here would need to see the vet once a year for a feline flu vaccination & then every 4 years for a rabies vaccination. SO my hope is that in the future he'll settle to just having a home visit once a year.
I'd noticed he's been vomiting, started keeping a diary and the vet had to visit. He stopped as soon as the vet visited (of course!) but has also been pulling his hair out. So he's had treatment for the latter (the vet recommended we start with a simple de flea, worm etc and said she'd always suggest this first so if your cat is doing this, it could save you the vets fee! ;)) and then I had to take him to the vets yesterday. And yes, the home vets suspicion was correct. He has inflammatory bowel disease.
It was a good visit in terms of diagnosis. It's never nice taking Firby in the car and when we were there there was a huge dog barking that really irritated me. I ended up taking Firby out the waiting room, yet really this dog should have left (there was 3 dogs in the room & Firby crying. 1 of the dogs barked at both other dogs, 'went' for 1 of the dogs & then started sniffing & barking around Firby. I eventually got so concerned as Firby was crying constantly that I left but really as it was this dog that couldn't behave I feel it's owner should have removed it from the waiting room?)
So the start of the visit wasn't that pleasant. Then I took him into the room & he was apparently exceptionally well behaved. It is normal apparently to have to sedate a cat but he lay there fairly still to have his fur shaved off & the ultrasound done. I spoke to the vet (who was different to my normal home vet) and said I thought it was due to stress and that a cat flap would help but our home vet was concerned he'd go to the busy road in front of our house (& yesterday morning I found a dead cat at the roadside so I was more concerned). This vet agreed with me that sometimes older cats get set in their ways and just want to go outside for a little while, do their business and then come back (which is what Firby seems to want). Whilst we have a litter tray he always uses that but I know I'm not as diligent as I should be about clearing it. He agreed that a cat flap would probably help considerably. Years ago when we had a cat flap in the UK, I'd keep him in on firework night. He'd literally pull everything down that I'd put in front of the cat flap, force it open, go right outside to do his business then come straight back because he didn't like the fireworks. The vet agreed this is a sign that he wants to have the freedom to go out when he wants but he probably won't go too far. Certainly the health problems he's developing, possibly from being kept in, indicate yes he may have troubles outside but he'll also have them indoors.
Soooo he had 2 injections yesterday, one was a steriod and now I just have to keep an eye on him (he'd lost about 1kg, which is huge). On Monday we're having our door measured for a new door to have a cat flap fitted. It will cost just under €1000 so hubby is not overly happy. However Firby was there when I was in labour with F, right up until the last minute so he's very special to me. If I'd paid more attention I may have realised what was going on (a story for another day). Even the home vet said he's a gorgeous, characteristic cat.