Conrad, our sweet and crazy-friendly beast, is having health issues. He had a terrible seizure about a year-and-a-half ago when we first moved to Atlanta. I was hoping he was just mad about moving away from his friends the deer, skunk, and red-tailed fox1 or had eaten some bug in the house to which he was allergic. (Remember, we had virtually no bugs in California.) But then last week he had another seizure.
I called a friend who is an expert on all things cat and is actually the reason we even have Conrad (Thanks, Betty!). She said most older cats’ health issues are kidney-related. Conrad is now an older cat—turning 17 on November 1st. Hard to believe he’s been with us for 10 years! Betty recommended I take him to the vet. I did a little research and settled on Dr. Huggins at Intown Animal Hospital. They are very busy, and based on my conversations with their clients, people love them.
I really like Dr. Huggins. You can tell when a vet is afraid of cats. Dr. Huggins has 2 of her own and seemed to really like Conrad. She gave him a thorough, head-to-tip-of-his-tail examination. She also took blood work and a urine sample. Their fees are reasonable. She called the next morning with the results.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Our sweet, big beast has moderate kidney disease but is otherwise completely healthy for his age. She gave him cosequin for his hip joints. (They bother him. We had to make him some steps up to his favorite sofa as jumping even that slight distance is now all but impossible for him.) She also prescribed a special kidney diet and suggested we buy him a water fountain, specifically recommending the Drinkwell Platinum.2 She herself has one for her cats and has had it for over 15 years.
She said the more water he drinks, the longer his kidneys should function. Cats apparently prefer to drink moving water as apposed to still water. I was a bit skeptical of that but bought Conrad 2 fountains, one for the main level and one for where his food and litter are kept downstairs. I thought having a fountain on the floor where he likes to spend his time might encourage him to drink more water instead of waiting to go downstairs when he becomes really thirsty. He’s not too fond of the stairs because of his hips.
Naturally, he was very curious about the drinking fountain and investigated it the moment I put it on the floor and turned it on. Astonishingly, he absolutely loves the fountains and drinks the falling water, not the water in the bottom pool. The truth is, I’ve never seen him drink more water all throughout the day. Indeed, the vet was right on target.
He will return to visit with Dr. Huggins at the beginning of the year. At that point we will have a point of comparison to see how well this strategy is working for him. Poor beast. He only hates 2 things: going to the vet and the sound of the smoke detector.
When I brought him home from the vet, he didn’t speak to me for the remainder of the day. In fact, he would have nothing to do with me, actively avoided me. Hopefully this therapeutic approach will give him a longer and healthier life.