Scott Boms

The (Mis)adventures of Newton J. Cat

Newton, the spunky brown tabby we brought home around 3 years ago has had better days. He’s had better months. And for the last couple of months he’s certainly had it rough.

Newton has been sick a few times over the last year and a half. He gets crystals which is not that unusual for male cats. Newton, of course being the special cat that he is, gets an uncommon type of crystal; one that is more difficult to treat. This problem has recurred a few times, requiring late night trips to the emergency vet clinic as it always happens on the weekend when our regular vet is closed.

After his last bout of crystals he seemed to be bouncing back, at least for a short time when the crystals reared their ugly head again at which point we had to begin looking at other options for treating the problem since it was becoming expensive (think $1,500 or more per incident). After the last incident we decided the best option was for him to have a perineal urethrostomy.

The result of the surgery was that he had to suffer the great indignity of wearing one of those radar cones for a few weeks during which he was clearly depressed and couldn’t really eat without us taking the cone off.

Newton wearing a cone
Newton wearing a cone

We were also charged with carefully monitoring him, and as we have two other cats, he had to be isolated and was no longer allowed outside. This didn’t help the depression or his appetite.

During that time he essentially stopped eating or ate very little and lost weight — a lot of it in fact.

When he was last weighed his weight was down to around 8 1/2 pounds. As you might expect, this is bad for a cat that previously weighed somewhere between 12 and 13 pounds.

After numerous vet trips for checkups and to be weighed; during which we were force-feeding him by hand, he continued to lose weight and sank deeper into a funk we couldn’t break.

Jump ahead to a couple weeks ago.

Newton was in for a precautionary x-ray, which later showed that his intestine was, well.. full… of poop. Possibly weeks worth of it.

Newton's x-ray
Newton’s x-ray

The doctors quickly flushed him out, something which I’m sure he didn’t enjoy even though he probably felt a bit better in the end. Unfortunately this still didn’t do much for his appetite and he continued to refuse to eat and was generally uninterested in food.

Down to our last resort we opted to have a feeding tube put in so we could better control his eating. Minor surgery for a cat, but still a scary prospect.

Newton being fed
Newton’s new high fat syringe-fed diet

Newton was put on a high fat diet (basically kitten food) to help kickstart his appetite and put some weight back on. This went fine for a couple days and became more and more challenging as he would become much less tolerant of us pumping food into him through a syringe (and a tube in his neck). He also still continued to be uninterested in eating on his own.

Today we brought the poor little guy back to the vet for a check-up. The vet, concerned about a number of things took more x-rays and did more blood work. As it stands at the moment, Newton is slightly jaundiced and may have “fatty liver disease”, which as our regular vet described to us as (and I’m paraphrasing here), “a very bad thing.”

And so the saga continues…

So say you…

Scott - I feel your (or rather Newton’s) pain. My 9 year old cat recently became my ex-cat after a bout of fatty liver brought on my heavy constipation. I was totally unprepared for how much of a blow it was. Good luck man.

Peter Flaschner Peter Flaschner December 15, 2006

Horrible news. Hopefully Newton will find a way out of his funk and the vets can help him through the fatty liver disease.

Mike Stickel Mike Stickel December 15, 2006