For the devoted cat owner, nothing is scarier than that split second when you realize you’re likely dealing with a veterinary emergency. And if you’re anything like me, it often happens at an inopportune time — maybe late at night during a snow storm; or in the middle of a hectic holiday weekend.
Nevertheless, we manage somehow to pull up our boot straps and get our cat to the appropriate clinic (and if we’re lucky, we have someone calm and rational who can drive the car).
One area that warrants an immediate trip to the veterinarian is if your cat is experiencing serious litter box issues. Knowing what’s normal for your cat is helpful, but any sign of straining or absence of “deposits” is something that needs to be dealt with pronto. Our articles this month on FLUTD and megacolon help explain these potentially serious disorders that can affect your cat at any time — regardless of age, breed or health.
Then there are other health conditions that do not happen overnight — especially true in the case of an aging cat. Obviously, not a single one of us wants to watch our beloved pets become old and infirm. But the reality of pet ownership is that we are likely going to be with them throughout all the stages of their lives. As they age, it can become trickier to know how far to extend the veterinary treatment. There can exist a delicate balance between what’s best for your cat and what’s best for you — and sometimes, the two things aren’t the same.
The article on page 3 of this issue highlights some of the serious decision making you may need to make one day when it comes to continuing treatment, or choosing not to. And even if it’s not pertinent right now — as you watch your two newly-adopted kittens scamper across the kitchen floor — it could be valuable information to share with a friend, should she ask your advice. It raises some important distinctions about how to make an informed decision; and it also emphasizes that your trusted veterinarian is on your side. There is no “right or wrong” answer in these matters. Sometimes, you’ll need to go with your gut feeling and let your heart show you the way.