One year ago a tabby and white cat came to Cogges. His owners had moved away and left him behind; their neighbours brought him here because they were worried about him. He was obviously elderly, in poor condition because he had survived by raiding bins, and very grumpy. Because of his dislike of being handled we weren’t able to do very much for him, but he boarded here for two weeks in case his owners came forward.
He was so fractious that we had to sedate him to do a blood test when we health checked him to see if he could be re-homed. Unfortunately his blood results showed that he has renal disease, and a full examination revealed detached retinas resulting in him being blind, which we think explains his nervous behaviour. Given his health issues we knew we wouldn’t be able to re-home him, but despite his feisty nature we had fallen in love, and he became Cogges’ resident cat.
His official home is a large kennel in the nurse’s office, but he has free range of the upstairs of the practice and particularly likes snoozing under Karen’s desk. He gets on well with all of the staff dogs, finds his way around despite being blind, and loves cuddles and fuss.
Renal disease is common in elderly cats. It often causes increased thirst and urination, decreased appetite and weight loss. There is no cure but the condition can be managed, and Toby is an excellent example of a well controlled renal case. He eats a prescription renal diet which is low in protein and salt. Cats with renal disease often also have high blood pressure. We weren’t able to check Toby’s blood pressure initially but we now know that it is high, so he has medication for this as well. He had a urinary tract infection which resolved after 6 weeks of antibiotics. He was having recurrent episodes of vomiting and overflow diarrhoea caused by constipation, which is another common occurrence in cats with renal disease because they are prone to dehydration. To counteract this he has injections of fluid under his skin three times a week, and the vomiting episodes have now stopped. He has gained 1kg in weight since being here and is now in good condition and even tolerates being brushed and having his ears cleaned!
We have been concerned that Toby’s teeth were in poor condition and there was pus around one of his canines. Anaesthesia carries an increased risk in older animals, especially those whose kidney function is compromised, but we felt Toby would benefit from a dental. A pre-anaesthetic blood test showed that his kidney function has actually improved since starting the subcutaneous fluid regime. He received intravenous fluids before and during his anaesthetic. His dental treatment involved a scale and polish and extraction of the infected canine. He has made a good recovery, is eating well and as I write this, is curled up in his bed looking very contented.