Friday Sugarbutt was dancing around on the table in the foyer, chirruping and grunting and just generally acting like he was Disturbed. I got up from the computer and stood in the doorway looking at him. Then I happened to glance down and saw that Joe Bob was sitting in front of the window. He’s a goofy guy – Fred said the other day “I think Joe Bob might be the epitome of a gaum”, and he SO is – and he was sitting oddly, and I looked at him with affection and then with dawning horror as I realized he was squatting there PEEING in the cat bed he was sitting in.

“JOE! NO!” I bellowed, and he hopped up and ran away from me as fast as he could, leaving little droplets of pee in various places along the way.

(How do I know where the droplets of pee were? Why, because nothing fascinates a cat more than smelling the pee of another cat. All I had to do was look and see where Sugarbutt, Tommy, Spot, and Miz Poo were sniffing, spray that area with some cleaning solution and wipe it up. They’re little cat detectives!)

Thursday I had removed the litter box from the guest bedroom so that there was only one litter box, so I thought for sure that Joe Bob was making a statement about the availability – or NONavailability, I guess – of litter boxes in the house. Since I had no desire to find Joe peeing anywhere else (like, say, the couch), I went upstairs as fast as my stubby legs could carry me, put litter in a litter box, and put it back in the guest bedroom, thereby making it a 2 1/2-bathroom house for the people and a 2-bathroom house for the cats.

Friday night I was cleaning out the big litter box in the laundry room when Joe came sniffing around, saw that I was cleaning the box, and ran off. I told Fred to grab him and put him in the litter box, because I didn’t want him deciding “Oh! No litter box available! Time to pee on someone’s bed!” Fred put him in the litter box and Joe squatted… and squatted… and squatted.

“Oh NO,” I said. “I hope he doesn’t have a urinary tract infection.”

I do NOT know why I’m such an idiot. Except for Tubby, the only time we’ve ever had an issue with cats peeing outside the litter box, it’s been because they’ve developed a urinary tract infection. Spanky’s had that problem a few times and Spot has once. And they NEVER pee outside the litter box otherwise. Yet anytime I find a cat who has previously never peed outside the litter box doing so, it never EVER dawns on me that it could be a UTI.

Joe Bob left behind a small wet spot in the litter box so I thought maybe he was just nervous because we were hovering over him, only Fred went downstairs and I wandered off to fold some laundry, and I realized that Joe was back in the litter box in about two minutes. And this time, he left nothin’ behind.

I said to Fred, “He’s got a UTI!”

I called the shelter manager, and she said that if I could possibly take him to the vet on Saturday so they could check him for crystals, that would be the best way to go. Also, I should keep an eye on him, and if he started acting like he was in distress, I should take him to the emergency vet.

Not so much with the “in distress.”

I kept an eye on him, but he very much did not appear to be in any kind of distress, unless looking like a big dork, scampering around the living room, and keeping an eye on Fred in case Fred might suddenly feel the need to hand out food is his way of acting distressed.

Saturday morning Fred went and got groceries, then headed out to Smallville to meet up with a guy delivering lumber. I stayed in Madison until about 10 minutes before 9, then popped Joe Bob into the cat carrier and carried him to the vet. They were only taking drop-offs, so I dropped him off and left my cell phone number to call when he was ready to go.

I went home until about 10, then decided to go on out to Smallville, figuring that even if they called in the next hour or so, I’d just tell them I’d pick him up before they closed at 5.

Well. They didn’t call and didn’t call, so finally after Fred and I made a trip to Lowe’s to return a thousand different things we needed to return, and bought a thousand items we needed to buy, I called them on the way back to the house. At this point it was 3:30, and the receptionist said that he wouldn’t be ready ’til 4:30 and I could just show up at 4:30 and he’d be ready to go.

We went back to the house and did a few things, and I decided to go ahead and head out to the vet. I got in the car, and just as I was about to put the car in gear, my cell phone rang. The vet’s assistant had some more questions about Joe Bob, and kept asking if he’d been outside in the last few days. Finally I told her we’d had him a month and he had never been outside, and then she asked me to hold on, because the vet wanted to talk to me.

The vet told me that they’d put Joe Bob in a cage with a litter box and water, and wanted to see if he’d pee so she wouldn’t have to get a urine sample direct from the source. He didn’t pee and didn’t pee, so she used a needle to the abdomen –

(go ahead and scream and run around in sympathy. I sure did.)

and his bladder was very very small and the urine was dark brown with blood in it. What concerned her was that pretty much every time a cat gets a needle to the bladder they immediately have to pee afterward. When they put Joe Bob back in the cage, he didn’t even think about peeing. Which, to the vet, indicated that there was a blockage.

“And I’ve never ever seen a cat with a blockage whose bladder is this tiny,” she said.

I was opening my mouth to say “And this means.. what?” when there was an excited voice in the background, and the vet said “Oh! He just peed! Yay!”

She said she hadn’t had a chance to spin down the urine sample, but she’d do it and call me back, but since I was on my way out there anyway, I told her I’d be there in a little while and would talk to her then.

When I got to the vet’s, forty minutes later, she was just then looking at Joe’s urine via a microscope, so I waited and watched dogs being groomed. It turns out that ol’ Joe is loaded up with crystals in his urine and needed medicine and a new special diet. Also, I needed to keep an eye on him to make sure he’s not acting distressed, and still using the litter box.

When we got home, I took all the old cat food away from the cats and put them all on the special prescription cat food I’d gotten for Joe (I got a nifty “prescription” card so that I can buy more when I need it; the pet store won’t sell the prescription food to you without the doofy special card, either. I feel so special.). I figure it’s a matter of locking Joe away in a room by himself where he only has access to the one kind of food, or switch the diet for all of them, and I opted for switching all of them, because he has a pretty good time playing with Sugarbutt and Tom Cullen.

(Y’all just SHUT UP. No, we’re not adopting him!)

So it seems that he’ll be with us for at least two more weeks ’til he finishes his medication.

Sunday morning Fred woke me up to let me know that he’d gone downstairs to find that someone (we suspect either Joe Bob or Spot) had pulled a chicken bone out of the garbage can and chewed part of it up. Which means, no doubt, that splinters of chicken bone are working their way through SOMEONE’s intestinal tract and in two days one or the other of them will die from chicken bone splinters poking through their intestines. Or whatever it is that happens when cats eat chicken bones.

According to something Fred found online, it takes two days for symptoms to start, so we get another day of eyeballing Spot and Joe and making sure there’s no vomiting and/ or bloody diarrhea. Also, we need to make sure Joe’s getting enough water in (I made Fred squirt a couple of syringes of water down Joe’s throat last night just to be sure) and is using the litter box.

You know, KIDS aren’t this much work. Maybe we should jettison the cats and have a couple of kids.

God knows that even if he lived that long, Mister Boogers wouldn’t even consider taking care of me in my old age.

* * *

Sunday morning after Fred told me that someone had dragged a chicken bone out of the trash, he said “We need to remember to keep the closet (where we keep the trash) door shut.”

“Yeah, we do,” I agreed.

When I got downstairs 45 minutes later, the closet door was open. I shut it.

“We need to remember to keep the closet door shut,” I said when I walked into the computer room.

“Yeah,” Fred agreed absentmindedly. He got up a few minutes later and got coffee or something. When I was done eating my breakfast, I went into the kitchen to put my plate in the dishwasher. The closet door was open, and I shut it.

“We need to keep the closet door shut,” I said when I went back into the computer room.

“Yeah, I know,” Fred said.

I stood and stared at him.

“What?” he said. “Oh. Did I leave the closet door open?”

“Yes,” I said.


Five minutes later, Fred said “Are you about ready to go?” I allowed that I would be, in a few minutes, and he went into the kitchen to grab a lunch to take to Smallville with him.

I finished the email I was typing, sent it, and went out into the kitchen.

The closet door was standing open. I stood and stared at him until he looked over and said “What?” and then I ostentatiously walked over to the closet door and firmly pushed it close.

“Oh,” he said with a grin. “Sorry!”

I put on my jacket, grabbed my purse, and headed for the garage door. Fred picked up his lunch, threw away a piece of paper towel, and headed for the door as well.

The closet door stood open.

“OH MY GOD!” I yelled, and he jumped.

“What?!” he said, panicked, looking around.

I stomped over to the closet door, slammed it shut, gave him a dirty look, and flounced out the door.

If Joe Bob dies from chicken splinters I THINK WE ALL KNOW WHO TO BLAME.

* * *

Apparently something was going on out there.


2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.

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