Our Hero of the month for May is Fruitcake, a beautiful cat who has recently been in to the surgery for a Perineal Urethrostomy.
Fruitcake (Fruity to his owner) lives with his son Pudding and Millie (the Labrador). He is described by his owner as “the friendliest cat” who “loves attention and affection”. When Fruitcake and Pudding came to live with their owners, Fruitcake settled in quickly with Pudding taking a bit longer.
“Pudding began to explore and hone his vole- (and occasionally bird) catching skills. Fruitcake liked to pretend he was a warrior, making bloodcurdling howls under the bird table, then being content to fetch a red leaf or bit of bark indoors as a substitute. He has never killed anything”.
Fruitcake’s problems started back in 2015 when he was unfortunately involved in a road traffic accident. Fruitcake suffered injuries to his pelvis and had a lot of damage to his bladder. It was a long journey to recovery as bladder problems can be very serious. The time was described by his owner: “after days, weeks, of anxiety, Fruity battled through and survived. He never goes near the road now”.
After his long recovery, life settled down for Fruitcake, however 3 years after his accident his owners noticed that “Fruity was quieter than normal, sleeping a lot and not playing. At the weekend he was clearly agitated and making a quiet wailing sound while crouching in the corner of the living room”. He was brought in to us again and admitted as he couldn’t urinate due to a blocked bladder.
Once admitted Fruitcake needed a catheter so he could urinate, unfortunately a urinary catheter could not be passed so he had to have general anaesthetic and a catheter was put directly into his bladder. This was kept in for a couple of days to allow tissue swelling to settle and see if Fruitcake could then urinate on his own.
The catheter was removed two days later but unfortunately his urethra still couldn’t be unblocked, because of this it was decided to perform a Perineal Urethrostomy. This is where the penis is removed and an opening higher up is made to urinate out of (making him similar to a girl cat).
He had a blood test showing that all was ok, however he was feeling very down (understandable with such a large operation) so needed lots of TLC, and was hand fed by the nurses.
Fruitcake went downhill towards the weekend with a low temperature, pale, sore and drooling. We decided to scan his abdomen to check on his bladder and also did another blood sample. His abdomen looked fine however his bloods showed that he had anaemia (low red blood cells) and a high white blood cell count, he also had a high heart rate. A diagnosis of Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia was made (his own body was attacking his red blood cells).
Because Fruitcake was deteriorating the different treatment options were discussed with his owner. This was a hard decision as Fruitcake was in a dire situation, it was decided that he would try a treatment of high dose steroids and Pudding was kept on alert in case Fruitcake needed a blood transfusion. The nurses did intensive care with checks on Fruitcake every 2 hours. His owner said of that time: “We had to resign ourselves at that moment to losing him. We needed a few hours to consider the implications of what we were hearing, so we said we would get back when we were ready. During this time we decided together with our youngest son, to do all that was possible to save Fruity even though we knew it may not work”. It was with much relief that he showed slow improvement throughout the day and although not out of the woods yet this did mean that a blood transfusion was not needed at this time. A blood smear was taken and his anaemia was stable and regenerative.
“Every afternoon we went to Park Issa to cuddle him, again with the wonderful support of the nursing staff, sometimes spending hours in the quiet room with Fruity curled up on my dressing gown (which he loves) and a hot water bottle. He seemed so frail and ill, but he would still snuggle up and purr contentedly, which was amazing considering his condition”.
After he started to improve, the steroids were reduced and his bloods were checked daily. These continued to improve and before long Fruitcake had picked up enough to be able to go home on strict rest and medication.
“We were so happy to have him at home again, it seemed like a miracle. Millie too was ecstatic to have him back again; we just had not realised how much she had missed him. Only Pudding rejected him, as he had the previous time, and hissed and spat when his bedraggled father came near”.
Fruitcake has done so well since his operation and has been in for post op checks. On the latest one he decided to show how well the operation worked by urinating on the examination table!!!
He is an amazing Hero of the month, but it is best to leave this with his owners:
“He is still recovering of course, but he and Pudding have resumed their mutual grooming and snuggling together, and Fruity has given Millie the occasional box around the ears, so things are returning to normal in our household, and we are all overjoyed that this is the case. We are full of gratitude for the amazing expertise, care and support that all staff at Park Issa have given Fruitcake and ourselves throughout the ordeals that he has endured. Thank you so much on behalf of us all.”