Artist in Residence Quarantine Diaries Episode 13: Cat-astrophe

Friday, August 28. It begins.

This is what I wrote, on Saturday:

“One minute he was fine. The next minute he was “talking” rather more than usual. The minute after that, he was yowling in pain. And it was midnight. I stayed up all night with a cat in agony, desperately making plans to take him straight to the emergency vet then changing them when he seemed to quiet down but by morning it was clear – this cat was in trouble. I read up on the symptoms- urinary blockage. Everything I read told me cats DIE from this.

I took him to his vet first thing on Saturday morning (of course this happened on the weekend). They took one look at him and said yup, blockage, bad one, and it was just as well you brought him in when you did. They cleaned him out, the catheterised him, and because it was Saturday and they close at noon I was told to come get the cat – but he couldn’t come home, not with the catheter in, so off he went to the Emergency Animal Care clinic in town, for an overnight stay so that he can be monitored and decatheterised and all that. And they want him to “prove” to them, before they release him, that he can go on his own. So I can probably have him back on Monday morning.

I still haven’t had the bill from HIS vet but I was told that it would be AT LEAST $500-$600. The Emergency Clinic people want $1400.

He’s my baby, my boy, my friend, my sweet snugglecat who curls up in the crook of my arm when I am reading and goes to sleep there, purring. He had everything stacked against him – he was born on the mean streets, as a cropped ear (catch and release sign for feral cats – but they do it when they neuter them and they have to be at least 6 months old for that so my poor baby grew up tough…); he has been blind in one eye since kittenhood; he was abandoned by at least one person he tried to love, before he came to me. But I love him. Fiercely. And the thought of losing him is making me lose my mind.”

I write this on August 31, the Monday following, and the world is upside down. The cat is home, but he is still not himself – I am not certain if he is actually using the litterbox the way he should be – he’s on meds (tried pilling a cat lately?) and he’s probably going to be a n (expensive) special diet for the rest of his life (and he’s only 8 years old). He isn’t acting like his normal self – which MAY just be due tp the stress factor but I’m obsessing now – and his “sister”, my elderly 17-year-old queen, hates him because he smells of hospital (where he spent the weekend). It’s been three days since I’ve had a decent night’s sleep and Monday night is going to be a crossroads as well – his first night back home, I have no idea what to expect. I mean, you’re reading this two weeks post-events – so things will have settled by the time you set your eyes on this – but as of RIGHT NOW, as of writing it, I am a frazzled wrung out stressed out MESS. My husband says I am overreacting but this is my baby cat and I’m freaking OUT over it all.

Someone suggested I start a Gofundme to try and help with the vet bills and I did – it’s here and it has pictures and whatnot if you want to go see the miscreant in question or consider contributing to his fund – and this thing got picked up by a cat group and got shared and shared and shared and I’m blown away by people’s willingness to help out a stranger cat… but he so deserves it, he is a total snugglecat, even the people at the ER cliniic he was at over the weekend kept on telling me, “he’s a love”. He saved my sanity when I was recovering from a broken heart, when I lost my heart’s-darling, Boboko, seven years ago – we lucked into this cat, when we went looking for a companion for Boboko’s surviving sister (the aforementioned old lady cat), and Blackjack simply won us over by taking one look at us and then flumping down and rolling on his back and all but saying, “tummy rub please”. We did; he purred; home he came with us, and never for a moment was there an instant of anything but RIGHTNESS about it all – he belonged to us and we belonged to him. Now that he’s ailing… I’m broken with fear. I know that if this recurs he’s probably done for because his kidneys have apparently had a thundering shock this time around and one of his enzyme levels was fully five times the norm when they first did bloodwork after the initial intervention. That has calmed down a bit but oy. It must have taken the STUFFING from him. I love him so much and I am so scared for him and 2020 can hang up its gloves, now, please. This was a gutpunch I was NOT expecting.

he’s home now and I keep on asking him if he’s all right. He’s probably sick to death of his hovering momma and just wants to be left in peace. But I… just want to hold him…

Send good thoughts. THis is a damned special cat. I swear, if I lose him, I’m going to shoot 2020 IN THE HEART.



About Alma Alexander

Alma Alexander's life so far has prepared her very well for her chosen career. She was born in a country which no longer exists on the maps, has lived and worked in seven countries on four continents (and in cyberspace!), has climbed mountains, dived in coral reefs, flown small planes, swum with dolphins, touched two-thousand-year-old tiles in a gate out of Babylon. She is a novelist, anthologist and short story writer who currently shares her life between the Pacific Northwest of the USA (where she lives with her husband and two cats) and the wonderful fantasy worlds of her own imagination. You can find out more about Alma on her website (, her Facebook page (, on Twitter ( or at her Patreon page (


Artist in Residence Quarantine Diaries Episode 13: Cat-astrophe — 7 Comments

  1. I have done this, and it was brutally costly. Tiger cat was felled by a sudden blockage, and crawled out onto the sidewalk at the end of the day, when we came home from work. I thought he had been mauled by a dog, and we piled him into a box and took him to the vet. He had spent most of the day dying, and botflies had laid eggs in his flesh! The vet catheterized him, shaved his fur, dug out the larvae, and he was good for another decade, one of the nine lives gone. But wow, was that bill ugly.

  2. Okay, sticking my head in here. Thank God he lived through it! Don’t buy Hills. and don’t buy Royal Canin. They are overpriced and they use crappy ingredients. They were, at last word, made in Chine, and were part of the recalls when China shipped out food with melamine in it.

    Try these instead. They’re cheaper, and I KNOW Blue Buffalo. It’s great food.

    Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+U Weight Management + Urinary Care Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
    Purina Pro Plan Urinary Tract Health Variety Pack Canned Cat Food – I’m not as fond of Purina, for the same reasons as Hill’s and Royal Canin, but it is vastly vastly more inexpensive.

    Good luck to Blackjack!!

    • Thank you – I will be looking into all kinds of things now and this is heloful. I’ve been given a bag of special urinary care kibble (a brand called Hill’s – do you know it?) and BJ (picky little SOB that he is) has been sniffing at it for days but has finally come to terms with the fact that his usual kibble is GONE and that this new thing is there in its place. He’s been caught crunching at it several times now so we may be through the sulks…

      • …and reading again for comprehension I realise you specifically mention Hill’s in your comment and I just spaced over it… BJ is on Hill’s brand specialised kibble – what’s wrong with Hill’s???