Friday, July 7, 2006

Alika, RIP

Alika died today, very suddenly and very unexpectedly — he was just over two years old, and had no health problems that we knew of. He was our “gentle monster” cat; he will be missed by all his two-footed and four-footed companions…

I’ve blogged about him several times before: here, here, and here.

Yesterday afternoon, Debbie spotted the fact that he was walking oddly. After observing him for a bit, both Debbie and I thought he had some muscle or skelatal problem — perhaps he’d fallen and twisted his back, something like that. Other than his odd movement, and reluctance to move, we didn’t see any signs of trouble. Debbie called the vet and went over the situation with her, and the vet told us to give Alika an anti-inflamatory steroid (we had some lying around), and to bring him in for a visit in the morning. I watched him last night, and saw no change. This morning Debbie visited with him several times, and saw no alarming signs. But when she went to load him up into a crate for the trip to the vet, she discovered that he’d died.

We had him examined by the vet, because we were concerned that whatever happened to him might also pose a risk to our other five indoor cats. But it turns out that Alika had very bad urinary tract blockage (unfortunately a fairly common problem with male cats). We’re told that a blockage of just two days or less can lead to a cat’s death. The most obvious way to detect this problem is through absence of urine in the litter box — but with five cats in the house, that’s a little hard to discern. The only other symptoms are behavioral, and the vet explained to us that these can be very hard to pick up, particularly if the cat was habitually sedentary — which Alika most definitely was.

So we’re left with the very sad feeling that if only we’d understood the seriousness of the problem — if only we’d gotten him to the vet earlier — then maybe he’d still be with us. I put that question to the vet, and she said it was possible that had we brought him in last night, it might have been early enough to save him — but most likely not, as his condition was very advanced. We really needed to spot the symptoms earlier to have had a good chance of saving him. For the umpteen millionth time, we found ourselves wishing that our animal friends could just tell us when they were hurting.

RIP, Alika. We will fondly remember our gentle monster kitty…

1 comment:

  1. In the old blog, henriette said:
    sorry to hear of your loss, and thank you for the explanation. i’m sure he had a very happy couple of years with you fond regards