As you may recall, my car was stolen (and miraculously returned!) and at that point Niall and I decided that it was high time to skedaddle out of our current apartment and live somewhere else. I happened to find our new place the very day my car was stolen, in early November. We signed our new lease and gave notice at our old place in mid-November and started frantically packing.
We moved everything and were out of our old place by December 12 and do not get me started on how crappy our former landlords turned out to be. I can’t even revisit it because it made me RAGE CRY and I just cannot.
Anyhow, so we were fully moved into our new place on December 12 and then we left for Ireland on December 23 for two weeks. We returned in early January and then Niall had to go to Phoenix for work for a few days and things were hectic with both of us going back to work after vacation. On January 30 I got my first shadow line on a pregnancy test. So that week I was on pins and needles, peeing on a stick least twice a day (since my period wasn’t even due until February 5). We had decided to have a Super Bowl party on Feb 7 (we had sort of halfheartedly done one the previous year and it was really fun, so we decided to make it an annual event), which meant that on Feb 6 and 7 there was frantic cleaning and prepping our house for guests.
Also in the evening of Feb 6, the cat, Bowie, started acting weird. The first thing I noticed was that he peed NEXT TO his litter box. I was pretty annoyed by that, but then I realized he was walking kind of gingerly. And then as I was paying more attention to him that night I realized he was sitting kind of funny and he kept getting up. He wouldn’t just settle down for a snooze like he usually does. He was clearly uncomfortable, so I decided that I would take him to the vet in the morning (it didn’t occur to me to just take him to the emergency vet right THEN, which I now realize I should have done).
We usually put Bowie in the garage when we go to bed, but we let him stay in the house that night. The reason we put him in the garage is that he’ll usually start being a pest in the wee hours- walking around, jumping on things, meowing loudly, scritching at doors, generally being a cathole. That night? Nothing. He didn’t make a peep. But then in the morning I walked into the kitchen and he was fine! Normal energy level, acting normal, didn’t seem to be in pain, peeing in the litter box. So… okay then. I decided not to take him to the vet, and I couldn’t get an appointment that day anyhow.
(We had the Super Bowl party, it was fun!)
The next day later Bowie peed in the closet.
Two days after that I caught him right before he was about to pee in the closet AGAIN. I called the vet. They didn’t have any appointments. I ended up taking him to the emergency vet. For $400 they took a urine sample, determined that he might have a UTI, and gave me 2 weeks’ worth of antibiotics for him. He seemed to do better. Then they called a few days later to say guess what! The urine grew nothing, so he does NOT have a UTI. So, I’m a nurse, you guys. And I did EXACTLY the thing I tell my patients not to do. I kept giving Bowie the antibiotics for the rest of the week. So he ended up taking a weeks’ worth. And I dunno, he seemed better! He didn’t pee anywhere.
And then a couple weeks later I found a puddle of pee in the closet again. So I finally made an appointment with a regular vet. Since we had moved, I wanted to establish care at a local vet office. So we went to the new vet. And I think he either is or is related to Dr. Dolittle because wow. This guy. At first I was like oh who is this weird hippie doctor with a ponytail? He breezed into the room “Hi I’m Jerry. Don’t get up, I’m pretty casual. The first thing to know here is that at every appointment I’d like to start with a very open and honest conversation just to make sure we are all on the same page and that we’re having good communication.” WOAH. Okay then. I told him what had been going on with Bowie. He enthusiastically explained that the peeing in the closet could have been physical (UTI) or behavioral (cathole).
I had explained to the vet that the emergency vets said Bowie’s urine test had come back negative. And he explained that it Bowie still MIGHT have had a UTI.
See, as I mentioned, I’m a nurse. The way we get urine samples from people is we either have them pee (most convenient!) or if they cannot pee, we stick a tube up through the peehole and into their bladder and collect the urine (least convenient!). I was unaware that for a CAT, they do not stick the tub up through their business, they use a needle through their belly and collect urine directly from the bladder. SO, if Bowie did have a UTI that was somewhere OTHER than the bladder, the test would not detect it. So MAYBE that medicine did in fact help clear up a lower down infection. Huh.
The vet asked if we could think of anything else that could be affecting Bowie, emotionally or behaviorally speaking. And, well, yeah: We moved rather quickly and frantically, and then Niall and I went out of the country and left Bowie with my parents for 2 weeks soon after moving, and then we were suddenly in the new house, and then Niall went away for awhile and came back, and then I got pregnant (COULD THE CAT SENSE IT?). And then there was the frantic cleaning before our Super Bowl party. Oh, and Niall and I also remembered that our new landlord saying that she replaced all the floors in our house, because the previous tenants had 2 large dogs. So perhaps there are some lingering dog smells in the house?
The vet was like. Uh. Yeah that’s a lot of stuff.
So we came up with a plan: I would buy a blacklight and search the WHOLE house for cat pee. I would also buy special cat-pee removal cleaning product because other cleaning products don’t actually break up the enzymes and cats can still SMELL the pee, so they’ll still want to pee there. And then clean up all the cat pee I found, to make sure there aren’t any traces anywhere there shouldn’t be. And the vet would do a blood test to see if something was wrong, some physical reason Bowie wasn’t feeling good that was making him act out.
We didn’t find any more cat pee in the house (yay!), and the blood tests all came back fine (also yay!). The vet had also mentioned that indoor cats sometimes tend to go a bit stir crazy since normally cats roam about 5 miles per day and indoor cats have that taken away from them. He asked if we have a cat tree. Uh. No. I do not have a cat tree. I don’t have room in my life for a cat tree. But then I realized that our house DOES have kind of an odd nook. It’s like a miniature loft over the stairs that you can’t access without precariously balancing a ladder on the staircase. So I got the idea in my head that it could be Bowie’s area. We went to out and bought some shelves and got a new cat bed and scratcher thing and now Bowie has his own little loft!
It took a bit of convincing to get him to learn to jump up the shelves into the area. We used food.
Once he got the hang of it he can bound up there in no time.
He seems to like it!
The next day Niall went to the gym. He was walking to his car outside our house and exchanged a few pleasantries with our nextdoor neighbor lady. Then he noticed a LARGE SNAKE on the ground in the neighbor’s driveway. As Niall got into his car, the neighbor PICKED UP THE SNAKE and took it into her garage.So… apparently our neighbors have a large pet snake? I’m thinking THAT might be causing Bowie (and now me) some anxiety.