Mr. Bean’s Close Shave by Jessica McColl

Last Tuesday morning was like any other in my household. Crazy. Never underestimate the bedlam that accompanies leaving the house in some sense of order with a small child. In amongst arguing over which shoes would be worn and packing lunches I noticed that Mr. Bean was acting odd. Did he just try to pee in his water dish?! No, certainly not. No pee in there. Yes you are crazy and we can add that to Mr. Bean’s list of odd behaviours. 

I got to work and was still thinking about the pee in the water dish. And come to think of it he brushed up against the toys in a strange way. I had this creeping feeling that something was wrong. Despite having a ridiculously busy day ahead of me, I was distracted by this nagging thought that all was not well. So much so, that in between classes I was organising someone to babysit Young Miss in the afternoon so that I could take him to the vet.

A word to the wise; when in doubt… do not Google. It is not your friend and makes an excellent bedfellow for panic.

Once I arrived home, Beanie appeared fine. He looked a little dishevelled, which is not overly unusual and greeted me with his usual enthusiasm. I made coffee and decided to relax with Young Miss for a bit and reflect on being a Google fuelled panic merchant.

Beanie started walking around and looking as though he was peeing on things without anything actually coming out. Right in front of me. Everywhere I went. Loud and clear he was trying to tell me something was wrong. As soon as my husband came home I took Beanie to the vet. He was diagnosed with a urinary blockage almost instantly and was taken into emergency surgery.

Twenty-Four hours more and we would have lost him.

I accepted the news of the condition and the surgery to follow calmly, signing the waiver without a second’s thought. When I had to call my husband from the car to let him know what was happening, I cried so hard I got lost.

There are two things I have learnt from this experience. Or perhaps I should say, two things which this experience has further cemented in my mind.

The first is to know your cat.

Cats are complex creatures. But that is why we love them, isn’t it?  If I were to sit and list every strange idiosyncrasy, which I have heard of, manifested in the domesticated cat, I would be here all day and still not cover half. Mr. Bean is King and Lord Commander of all things odd. Yet there is a difference between his usual odd and what is odd for him. Your cat will not send you a memo if it is sick. Many times in fact, it will try to hide it’s illness. If you suspect all is not well, take them to the vet. If I had dismissed how he was acting and waited another day to see if things righted themselves. Well I could be writing a very different kind of post.

Which leads to the second, find a good vet.

Like every car owner needs a reliable mechanic, every cat owner needs to find themselves a good veterinarian. Our vet, Dr. David, is wonderful. He has two cats of his own and is empathetic and extraordinarily knowledgeable when it comes to feline medicine as well as keeping up to date with the work of cat rescues (big tick in my books). The practice is family run and the communication between staff is flawless. I called twice daily while Beanie was there, if Dr. David wasn’t available, another vet always made time to speak to me and every staff member knew what was happening with Beanie without a second thought. This kind of personal service made the absolute world of difference to me as worried cat parent. They were even happy to arrange visiting hours with Mr. Bean if I wished. If you are unhappy with your current vet, shop around. Don’t wait until disaster strikes and wish that the person caring for your furrbaby were different.

Now Beanie is at home and continuing his recovery. In my next post I will talk about his condition some more and our plans for future management.  I would like to take this moment to thank Sarah for her constant counsel through what was a horrible few days, Dr. David and the wonderful staff of Concord Animal Hospital as well as each and every one of you wonderful followers of the Feline Foundation for expressing your well wishes via the Facebook page. Every single one warmed my heart and confirmed what I already knew to be true; cat people are the best people xx

Jess and Mr Bean after their ordeal

Jess and Mr Bean after their ordeal

Huge thanks to Jess for this post! Having gone through the exact same thing with Bosco last December I know exactly what she was/is going through. 6 months later and I still check the litter box every time Bosco uses it to make sure he has peed. We've been very lucky in that his recovery went so well, so much so that he seems even better than before his blockage. I'm sure it will be the same for Mr Bean! If I can recommend anything from my experience it is these few things:

1. Give each and every one of your cats the love and attention they deserve. Talk to them. Tell them verbally how much you love them and how special they are. I am 100% sure they know exactly what we're saying, and they appreciate it

2. Trust your gut - if your cat seems a little off, its for a reason

3. I echo Jess' thoughts in finding a good vet. It isn't easy but it will happen eventually. I love Dr Anthony at Erina Heights Vet if you're on the Central Coast

4. Modern medicine comes first, but don't be afraid to try some alternative therapies as well. I've used a few of Jackson Galaxy's Spirit Essences and the UR Fine one is specially formulated for urinary issues. I use it on Bosco still, and he loves it.

5. Stay positive. Positive thoughts brings positive things