It was 12:30 am and I'd just switched off the TV after an interesting rerun of Mean Girls when..
"Piii! tengok Bear ni ha.. something's wrong with him!"
Bear, one of my four precious hand-raised kittens (pictured above) seem to have finally come home after disappearing the entire afternoon. I'd been checking the front and backyard all evening, hoping he'd turn up at some point.
I was very worried, because not two weeks ago his little brother Chume was found dead in the bushes at the back of my house, and I wasn't able to identify the cause of death. My cats were the kind that roamed, and the residents of my neighborhood exercised little restraint in the use of pesticides and rodent poisons around their homes. I've lost more than a few of my beloved feline friends to their ignorance. Bear's mum was one of them.
I followed my mum out into the backyard to see him standing on the cement, both front paws immersed in the large bowl of water we used to supply drinking water to the cats. He was wet all over; it looked like he'd been trying to empty the bowl of every last bit of liquid it contained by pawing them out.
The scene was weird enough, but I continue to look for other signs. I called out his name, to which he responded with a soft huff. His movement was slow and he seemed in a daze, almost sleepy-like. But when I saw his back legs start to wobble and give way, I knew he was in trouble.
As per usual my mum lost her mind and hyperventilated around the kitchen, blaming idiotic neighbors and their ignorant use of chemicals. I had to tune her out as I scooped Bear up in a dry towel and quickly arrange a cat carrier to house him for the night. After he'd settle down, I rushed up to my room, turned on my laptop and googled the nearest 24-hour vet clinic. Thank God, there was one near Jalan Pekeliling, downtown KL.
The trip was surprisingly calm. I made it to the vet in under 15 minutes, and I had Bear registered and on the examination table in less than 5. He was plenty scared, coming close to me and mewing every few seconds. After the initial check-up, I found out he wasn't poisoned. Nor was he having a viral infection, which was the next common thing.
"He's got crystals in his urethra, which makes it hard to pass urine. See the spasms in his back legs? toxins are being recirculated in his body and it's affecting his muscles and balance."
Well, that's a first.
Apparently cats can develop something like kidney stones from eating processed catfood such as Friskies and Smarthearts. Although high-end brands such as Science Diet may reduce the risk, some cats still develop them due to the high content of sodium and oils in these foods. If not treated, it will cause damage to the kidneys, and in most cases lead to death. According to the doctor, we were the third case that night. One of the cats that were brought in didn't make it.
A five-day treatment was prescribed. Have you ever 'warded' a pet before? It's not cheap, I can tell you that.. I ended up splitting the bill with my mum. The deposit alone was RM600, and because Bear was my baby, it's only fair that I share the cost.
It's a price I'd pay to make sure he's alright though. I've spent money on him since he lost his mum at two weeks old. The baby wipes, the feeding bottles, and 1 kg of Dutch Lady's Honey powdered milk every two weeks.. Not to mention the time and care I'd given. After all that, I definitely wasn't going to lose him to some effing crystals!
To the producers of Friskies, Whiskas, Smarthearts or what have you... please, please, pleeaase do some actual R&D work on your products. We spend loads buying them - they aren't exactly cheap! - only to spend loads more rehabilitating our pets because of them. How is this fair?
Anyway, starting next week I'm buying fresh fish for my kitties. Believe it or not, it's actually cheaper than buying catfood. What's surprising though, is that the doctor doesn't recommend fresh food, because it doesn't have "complete nutrition".. O_o
Can you spell r-u-b-b-i-s-h?
Seriously, if I can eat rice and fish and still live, I doubt my babies will have much of a problem! :)
Chumie-yah, omma ga chungmal pogo shippuh suh..
Chume, mummy miss you so very much..