Chris’s Unresolved Medical Problems

Chris has always been our healthiest cat. Sure, he did have minor issues, but we never had to bring him to the vet for an illness until he was about seven and a half years old and he got an eye infection that really wasn’t his fault. Both he and Frankie caught it from Floki when we adopted Floki. Then, a couple of years later, the flood gates opened.

First it was an infection in his mouth about a year ago that resulted in the loss of eight teeth. Then in June his ear polyps, which he had since he was a kitten, worsened and became infected. You can read that story here. The vet gave us a price of almost $600 to remove the polyps but when we were ready to proceed he changed his mind and said it was too complicated to do in their office and recommeded a specialist.

We went to the specialist twice (here and here). The first visit I talked to a surgeon who wanted to remove his ear canals and make him deaf. I didn’t want to do that and asked for other options. She consulted the dermatologist who had them test the infection and then they compounded a medication for it with instructions to see the dermatologist when the medicine was gone.

A few weeks later we saw the dermatologist who said they needed to take a biopsy to make sure it wasn’t cancer. He said it would be about two weeks to get the results. They also gave me more medicine. That visit cost me $701. The first visit was about $250. This is all before a treatment plan.

While I was waiting for the results, Chris started puking so I had to bring him back to his regular vet (read about it here). By now he is very weary and does not want to cooperate. The vet gave him a shot for nausea but Chris struggled too much and they were not able to get a blood test to determine what was wrong.

He seemed to get better and we went to St. Augustine for a few days for my wife’s birthday at the end of December. When we returned he still seemed okay so I assumed he was better.

Last week the dermatologist called and said Chris’s results came back, finally, but they were inconclusive. He wanted to do the test again, at no charge, and try to dig out a deeper sample but I did not want to put Chris through any more trauma. I tried to talk to him about it but the connection was very bad and lost him. He didn’t call back so I called the office and was diverted to an answering machine. I left a message saying I was cut off but never got a return call. I put it out of my mind but then called them back last week and talked to someone in the office.

I asked the person on the phone, “What’s the worst that could happen if we assume it is not cancer?” I told her he had polyps his whole life and if they were cancerous we would have known by now.

She agreed that it was unlikely but possible so I asked what would happen if it was cancer? “They would probably remove his ear canals but that would not guarantee that it would not spread,” she said.

I said, “If we assume that it is not cancer what would you do?”

“Well, with the polyps as extensive as they are in Chris’s ears, they would need to be cut out with a laser,” she said, “and that is an expensive procedure and only a few places around here, like universities, have lasers.

“So why am I wasting my time and money with you if you can’t do anything?” I didn’t say that but I thought it.

At about the same time I talked to that vet, Chris started puking again. It also became very obvious that he has diarrhea too. I called his regular vet on Friday and asked if I could bring him in for the blood test that they couldn’t take last time but they couldn’t get me in until late this coming Monday.

In the meantime, I am watching him closely. He is puking two to three times a day and as I was writing about his diarrhea, I was also witnessing it first hand.

Frankie pukes almost every day but I don’t worry too much about him because that is what he does. Chris, on the other hand, is not a puker so I do worry about him.

I have noticed some interesting differences between Chris and Frankie. Frankie seems to seek out carpets or other hard to clean places before he pukes but Chris tries to puke in the litter box. I would say at least half of all his pukes are contained in the litter box. This morning he missed the boxed but puked just outside of it. He then reached in the box and pulled out enough litter to bury it.

Another thing Chris does lately is lie in the litter box. I don’t know if he feels like he has to puke and wants to be ready, or if he is just getting weird in his old age.

I let Chris out on Friday to eat some grass. Cats eat grass when they are sick so we thought that might help him.

Normally, Frankie goes out on a leash first and then Chris goes out, but this time Chris went out first and Frankie was not happy about it.

When I brought Chris inside, I planned on getting Frankie’s harness but Frankie had other ideas and bolted out the door. He then hid under a car where I couldn’t catch him.

So now all we can do is wait for Monday and hope the blood test is okay. As far as his ears go, I think we will just try to keep the infection under control for now and we will see what happens.


38 thoughts on “Chris’s Unresolved Medical Problems

  1. The Island Cats

    I’m sorry Chris is having so many issues lately. Vomiting with any cat is not normal. Could Chris have developed a food allergy? A food change might help. I hope you can get some answers from the vet. ~Island Cat Mom

  2. Brian

    Dang, poor guy, we sure hope Chris feels better soon. I’m with you, I wouldn’t want to put him through so much that may not even help him. We’re all sending purrs and prayers.

  3. 15andmeowing

    That is sweet of Chris to puke in the litter box. My cats always go for the rug or my slippers. I am praying he is better soon.

  4. onespoiledcat

    Gosh……things are just not good with Chris period. That means life is crazy for you and Rose in trying to keep up with all the things that are wrong. So sorry – that has to be frustrating to say the least. Nobody can help – everyone has ideas but nobody has some specific to do. Removing ear canals is incredibly drastic. It’s a bottomless and frustrating pit. Very sad for ALL of you!

    Hugs, Pam

  5. Catwoods

    I’m so sorry Chris keeps having problems, I sure hope he will feel better and the vets will be able to sort it out without any serious surgery. Purrs and head scritches.

  6. Summer

    Poor Chris. It’s awful when medical stuff gets complicated like this – so stressful for both the cat and humans (who have to come up with the money to pay the vet bills). My human went through this sort of thing with Sparkle. She spent lots of money trying to figure out why she wasn’t eating, and never really got an answer.

  7. kittiesblue

    You need a new regular vet. With everything that is going on with Chris, a good vet would have seen him. I can imagine how helpless you are feeling. Been there! Have you done any research on ear polyps? Maybe you can educate yourself on what may actually be going on. Goodluck and keep us all posted. All the Kitties Blue are sending lots of POTP and I am sending prayers.

  8. Doug Thomas

    It’s always stressful when our kitties are obviously not well and the help they need seems out of reach for whatever reason. Best wishes for a resolution to Chris’ issues, whatever they might be. Poor kitty!

  9. Crystal

    Sorry about Chris. I would get a 2nd opinion. As for laying in the litter box well… keep an eye on him carefully. My last cat did the same thing and before we were able to get her to the vet she passed away. So keep a good eye on him. Were sending lots of purrs and prayers your way for Chris, you and the other cats.

  10. Timmy Tomcat

    We are so sad about all of Chris’s problems as he is a good cat. I dont want to worry you but have they done an xray of Chris’s GI tract? Just thinking out loud here but when there is emesis (throwing up) and diarrhea in a human that came into an ED I was working at (if not a bug which resolve in a few days) we would think bowel obstruction. Dogs get these as they gobble stuff down but they are rarer in cats except for big hairballs that do not come up or pass.
    The polyps are something I would leave go in one of my cats unless of course they would be in distress. I found the following which I thought interesting. She describes using Traction to remove the polyps (Pulling with a hemostat/forceps)
    Again we wish you all the best and our thoughts are with you all
    Pete and Famlily

    1. Charles Huss Post author

      Thanks so much. Pulling out polyps is the normal method but they cat’t do that if they are too deep in the ear canal. He did not have x-rays but the vet did feel his abdomen and was not concerned about that.

  11. caren gittleman

    This has to be beyond frustrating. I don’t get it. If I am frustrated just reading about it, I can imagine how you both feel. It drives me crazy when Vets do tests, then say they can’t do anything and you have to go elsewhere (which is what we are going through with Dakota…again)…….I am praying that Chris is ok. He is such a polite boy to be so considerate as to where he is puking!!! Laying in the litter box is somewhat concerning. Wishing you the best of luck Monday and sending lots of purrs and prayers.

  12. The Swiss Cats

    We’re sorry to hear Chris is having so many health issues. We cross our paws and hope things go better soon. Purrs

  13. Genevieve Petrillo

    Well, Mom and I don’t know much about cats, but all of this is very troubling. The vets are not as cooperative and proactive as we wish they were. As cat parents, you are doing your very best and asking all the right questions. I hope something clicks with one of the vets and all of this gets resolved without too much trauma for Chris, you, or your wallet! Good luck.

    Love and licks and prayers and healing thoughts,

  14. CatLadyintheCanyon

    I’m so sorry that Chris has been so sick–sorry you are going through this. I have to say that your vet care is certainly lacking. Two weeks to get biopsy results? I’ve gotten them back in two days and my vet apologized for the wait. The vomiting and diarrhea could be so many things, food allergy could be very likely, even anxiety (all those visits to the vet) and lying in the litter box is an indicator of distress. I wish you could find a more reliable and worthy vet. Holding positive thoughts.

  15. cat9984

    For some reason, I am not getting your posts. I’ve checked spam and my settings. I found out because I am going through old message that I didn’t read and you were talking about things that the vet said about Chris and realized that there must have been a follow-up. I’m going to make a special effort to look for you on the reader until you reappear.


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