We’ve been a bit quiet recently, so here’s a quick update on Best For Cats, what’s been going on and our plans going forward
When we started Best For Cats in late 2015/early 2016, the plan was just to create a modest blog covering useful information and articles we’d found helpful as indoor cat owners. As the website grew, it quickly turned into a second job, as we researched, purchased and reviewed products we felt were worth our time and money and that genuinely benefitted owners of indoor cats such as ourselves. We enlisted friends to help write articles and contact companies we liked and admired, and we’ve had some wonderful feedback on Twitter and Facebook.
We’ve had great fun reviewing products from the likes of Catit, Thrive, PetFusion, Hepper and many others, as well as striking up relationships and helping promote products from the likes of the wonderful people at ProtectaPet, FUR Entertain, SureFlap and The Pet Collective. We’ve even been contacted by Sainsbury’s to run brilliant infographic on cat behaviour.
We’ve had a blast and the success of the site has caught us by surprise, but
sometimes often life gets in the way, and in this case it was one of our cats whose health became a major concern.
FLUTD, feline crystals and vets’ bills
We’ve covered a few products and foods related to treating the issue of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) a few times on the website; a term which relates to conditions that affect a cat’s urinary tract and bladder. We’d had experience of this first-hand as it became clear that our cat Big Alf was prone to ‘feline idiopathic cystitis‘ (FIC), and the most recent visit to the vet for this had also revealed Alf had crystals present in his urine. We’d heard how serious the complications of crystals could be, with the outcome sometimes leading to a blocked bladder — an emergency condition which left untreated causes kidney failure and is ultimately fatal.
We came home one night to find Alf anxious, distressed and unable to settle. A textbook behaviour when he’s ill is to jump between our three litter boxes, then find a corner and try to have a wee before wailing and licking himself. He was showing all of the symptoms of FLUTD, so we rushed him to the vets (at 1am in the morning) where he was given painkillers and an anti-inflammatory. Since it’d first become clear he was prone to FIC we’d tried to keep him on a diet of mainly wet food, with a sprinkling of biscuits. We’d also begun adding water to his food in an effort to up his fluids.
We found him curled up on his side, one leg in the air, trembling and breathing faster than we’d ever seen.
Unfortunately this wasn’t enough, and the next morning we found him curled up on his side, one leg in the air, trembling and breathing faster than we’d ever seen. Honestly one of the most distressing things we’ve witnessed is one of our cats in so much discomfort. It’s a horrible experience to see an animal suffering and we immediately rushed him to the vets.
The previous evening his bladder had been empty, but this time it was hard and full, and the vet diagnosed him on the spot as suffering from a urinary tract obstruction and instructed us to rush him to hospital.
Alf was rushed over to the veterinary hospital and operated on, where the blockage was removed and his bladder washed out to remove any remaining crystals. This was done under general anaesthetic, and he was kept in overnight so that his urine colour and volume could be monitored.
This was the first time we’d been at home with just the one cat (Alf’s partner in crime Ali), and it was truly a horrible feeling. There’s no doubt that our cats are very much part of the family, and not having Alf there felt like something was missing.
The good news is we caught it just in time. He was let home the next day once it was confirmed he could pass urine himself, and our little lad’s recovering well. He spent a couple of weeks on a cocktail of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, but has since made a full recovery (he’s back to waking us up at 5am and his hair’s almost grown back too!). This is a big procedure and we wanted this to be an informative post as well. The fees for the vets’ consultations, surgery and a night in the hospital including medicine came to just over £1100.00, a small price to pay to have him back healthy, but obviously a large amount of money. We insure both cats through Tesco Premier Cover Pet Insurance and so far they’ve been absolutely brilliant — we’d called them en-route to the hospital and were told over the phone we were covered for the operation, which was reassuring to hear. A massive thank you to Coastway Veterinary Group who looked after him so well, and whose staff showed genuine compassion and understanding when confronted with a couple of very worried cat owners.
Our plan for Alf moving forward — cat food/diet and supplements
We’ve always done our best to feed our cats good quality cat foods, but we felt like terrible parents having watched our boy end up so poorly. We’ve taken a good look at our setup at home and have made a few changes.
Alf will probably be on a veterinary/prescription diet for the rest of his life, and we’ve chosen three products both we and our vets feel will minimise the chance of a future urinary tract obstruction by minimising the buildup of crystals.
The first is Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline c/d Multicare Reduced Calorie cat food, which is clinically proven to reduce urinary stones and crystals. This is a dry food and came highly recommended by our vets.
The second in support of the above it Royal Canin’s Urinary S/O cat food, which is a wet food that comes highly rated by cat owners. We wanted to ensure both cats had a mix of wet and dry food.
Finally, we’ve stocked up on Feliway’s Cystease Advanced Urinary Tract Support capsules, which are a supplement to aid with urinary health — this is slightly different to Cystaid Plus which we’ve used and reviewed in the past — and we’ll be giving Alf a maintenance dose of this to keep his bladder healthy.
We also have our cat fountain, the Catit Flower Fountain (which we reviewed here), which the cats both love, and which encourages them to drink more water during the day — especially useful in the heat we’ve experienced this Summer.
An update on Best For Cats
Now we’re done with an update on our cat, what about an update on Best For Cats? What’s in store for the website? Our hope is to keep doing what we’ve been doing; reviewing more products and striking up relationships with UK-based and global companies with a passion for cats and products to help them and their owners.
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed running the website; as much as it’s been an incredible amount of hard work, the feedback and comments have absolutely made it worthwhile. If you own a company that produced products or services for cats and their owners, get in touch — we’d be more than happy to show you off to our readers.
Best For Cats.
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