2-20-10 – Hoyt

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Do you remember Hoyt? Hoyt was from the True Blood Six. He looked like this.

Then he looked like this.

And ultimately, he turned out to look like this.

Then he went to the adoption center.

And then some people came along and fell in love with him and adopted him.

He’s been doing well in his new home, and his people love him. They even trained him to use the toilet!

Recently, he had to go to the emergency vet, and was ultimately diagnosed with Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). It ended up costing his people $1500 to make him well again. They’ve changed his food and are keeping an eye on him. According to the Cornell page on FLUTD, most cats rarely experience the problem again or will have only occasional recurrences. But for some cats, this can turn into a chronic condition.

The bottom line is that Hoyt’s people can’t afford to spend that kind of money on him on a regular basis, and if this happens again, they would have to put him to sleep. They travel on the weekends a lot, so keeping an eye on his food intake is near impossible (they have another cat). They contacted the shelter saying that they might need to return him, and of course Challenger’s House will always take back any cat at any time, for any reason.

Here’s the thing – Hoyt could go to the shelter itself, but he’d have to spend most of his time in a cage so that he could be monitored, and that’s just no life for a cat. Fred and I talked about having him here as a long-term foster, if need be, but my concern is that he might get lost in the crowd, and we might not notice that there’s a problem until it turns into an emergency situation.

I have no experience with FLUTD (and if you do, feel free to add your opinion/ advice in the comments), but I suspect that if Hoyt were in a home where his people were able to keep a close eye on him and could monitor his food intake and see symptoms of an issue arising in the early stages, even if it were to turn into a chronic problem, catching it before it turned into an emergency situation might make it not a big deal.

(WOW, that was a long, convoluted run-on sentence, wasn’t it?)

What I can tell you about Hoyt is this: he’s a great big sweetheart. When he was with us, he always announced his entry into a room with his funny “Here I am!” meow. He gets along well with other cats, and he LOVES people. And he is GORGEOUS.

Is there anyone out there who might be willing to adopt this great big sweetheart? Do you guys have any advice or suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment or email me!

I mean, seriously – LOOK at that face! And did I mention he’s trained to use the toilet instead of the litter box??

Edited to add: Someone has seriously expressed interest in adopting Hoyt, so let’s all keep our fingers and toes crossed that it works out! I’ll let y’all know more when there’s more to know. 🙂


2009: No entry.
2008: More glaring.
2007: Maxi through the front door.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



2-20-10 – Hoyt — 23 Comments

  1. I don’t have any experience dealing with FLUTD, but I would imagine that he’d do pretty well at your home, as you and Fred seem to really be up on what’s happening with all your kitties. And if he uses the toilet (and continues to do so) then you may be able to more easily monitor his output (rather than having to wonder which bits in the litter box are his.)


    Hoyt is such a handsome sweetie, I hope it all works out!

  2. Hi Robyn! I have a FLUTD kitty and would be more than happy to chat through email if you feel like you need more info than what I’m going to post below.

    Logan is 5 now and was diagnosed with FLUTD about a year and a half ago. I first started noticing that he would sit in or near the litter box for extended periods of time. He eventually started sleeping in the box (icky) and that was that for me. We had a male kitty with crystal issues growing up, so I was really worried that he might be a crystal producer.

    Luckily, given my previous experience with a crystal kitty, I got him to the vet early and he had no serious complications. Logan is prone to inflammation in his bladder, etc. but doesn’t produce crystals. There were a lot of options that we talked about, but Logan is a little complicated.

    Logan came from a hoarder. Having lived with 100 cats and 100 kittens for 3 years, he has the stereotypical allergy problems that come along with that. He was actually on a specialized diet when he was diagnosed (having to eat only foods he was unlikely to have come in contact with during his time with the hoarder). So, he was eating a diet based on venison and green peas.

    There are currently no low-allergy foods that fit the FLUTD lifestyle, so our easy switch was to move him from crunchy food to a pure wet food diet. The additional moisture is a real plus for FLUTD kitties. Logan, luckily, responds well to Fancy Feast, so that’s what he eats — I just have to avoid fish and beef flavors (they both cause him to throw up because of his allergies).

    Each day, Logan takes a dose of Cosequin (which is a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement for pets). He gets the contents of two caplets per day. I’ve been told that this either works as kind of a miracle drug or it doesn’t (which seems par for the course with cats anyway). As meds go, it isn’t terrible. I would just suggest finding a supplier that is not a vet. The vet prices are really high and away from the vet, I’ve been able to get a year supply for a little less than $200.

    My vet really emphasized that FLUTD kitties often experience trouble when they are stressed. We had a number of lifestyle changes when Logan started showing his symptoms (I was recovering from a major accident and we had a LOT of weird people in the house taking care of me and then we moved). I wonder if Hoyt might not be suffering from the stress of the changes in his life. It is, of course, impossible to guess, but he might respond well to returning to a group of kitties and people that he is already familiar with (particularly if he has any stress issues from being left alone). I mention the latter because I know Logan, even though I have another cat, has a lot of stress if he is left alone for extended periods.

    All of that said, FLUTD is manageable if you take the time to monitor your pet. Diet and low-stress have been the key with Logan (which is exactly the message I got from my vet).

    Given the price tag, I’m wondering if there isn’t a bigger problem going on with Hoyt (is he I crystal-producer, perhaps). That can make things more complicated and is more costly, but still workable (only much more expensive, I think). A co-worker has a crystal-producer who did have a very scary emergency surgery after he became completely blocked by crystals. Long story short, they essentially did a little snipping and modified his urethra so his anatomy is female appearing now. He now pees like a girl kitty, but he has zero problems with his crystals.

    If someone is willing to put the love into little Hoyt, there is absolutely no reason for him to be put down. Management or surgery could be simple or complicated, but I think he definitely has the ability to have a good quality life

    Sorry this went on so long, but I have two kitties with complicated health histories and it just breaks my heart when people think about jumping to put an animal down just because they aren’t simple.

  3. One of our three cats, Orangie, has had two episodes of urinary problems that the vet said was Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), which is related to FLUTD. When Orangie has had problems, it becomes obvious because we see him going to the litterbox unusually frequently, and sometimes trying to pee outside the litterbox (like on the carpet or a cat bed usually). When he tries to pee, just a few come out, and sometimes there is blood in the urine. His first episode, several years ago, was serious enough that we ended up taking him to the vet emergency clinic (we have the good fortune to live near NC State University, which is one of the best vet emergency rooms), but the second time was much milder, and he recovered quickly.

    The thing that is so frustrating about it to me is that they aren’t really sure what causes it. Some cats will have the symptom of certain types of crystals in their urine (struvite, I think is the name), but that isn’t necessarily the cause. The really dangerous part is that sometimes urinary problems can be associated with a blockage, which can be deadly. In Orangie’s case, he didn’t have a blockage, which was good. They treated him just by giving him fluids and a pain medication to give him twice a day for about a week, to ease his pain in urination.

    During our most recent episode (which was just last month, so it’s been on my mind), I read this article from Ohio State’s vet program that talks about research on environmental changes you can do in your home to help prevent recurrence of FIC: http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/assets/pdf/hospital/indoorcat/vcna041.pdf

    We’ve been trying some of the suggestions there. In particular, we got a cat fountain to try to ensure that they’re all well-hydrated, and they love it, but we’re also just trying to make it as stress-free an environment for cats as possible.

    Anyhow, this comment has been kind of long, but I hope that some of my experiences with urinary problems are helpful for you. Good luck to Hoyt! I hope that his FLUTD is an isolated incidence, and that he remains healthy and happy!

  4. In the past I’ve had several cats with that condition, and none ever cost me that kind of vet money. There is a really good paste (very tasty) you can give a cat to change the Urine Ph (cheap) — and that will pretty much prevent stones/crystals. Of course, hydration is also important, along with diet (but you can buy special OTC Iams — which I feed my two (one of them has the condition), and that also helps.

    I agree that STRESS seems to be a major cause of urinary flare-ups. Just a guess, but I kinda agree with other poster who said it might be stressful for Hoyt being alone for stretches, since he grew up surrounded by a rowdy, happy bunch of siblings/your cats.

    Wish I could take him, but the two I have are postive for FeLV (result of taking in a stray with it years ago) and wouldn’t want to hand that to Hoyt.

    Good luck to Hoyt, he’s a gorgeous guy with loads of personality.

  5. My kitty Leo (neutered male) had urinary blockage last Feb. $500. They kept him for a couple days, had a catheter in him to get the stones flushed out. Poor guy was so stressed by that visit, his fur took a couple weeks to lose that dullness. My kitties have been on distilled water instead of well water, and have been eating the food that the vet recommended since then. Prescription Diet c/d. So far, so good, no more blockages.

  6. (((Hoyt))) We’ll keep purrayin’ for you, sweetie.

    I’ve had three cats over the years with this (it was called FUS back then) and wouldn’t hesitate to adopt one now. The kittehs lived to 19, 17 and 12 and none of them died of the FLUTD. All were crystal producers and it was pretty darn clear they were seriously uncomfortable before the urinary tract was occluded. Changing diet worked each time (higher PH, low ash, wet), with only one of the cats suffering a recurrance on one occasion. Like Cara, my vet bills never approached what Hoyt’s beans have spent, but then it never got as bad as occlusion, or had complications like renal distress, etc.

    I traveled on weekends a lot in those days and left high quality dry (they didn’t have specialty dry foods back then)for the weekend and fed only the wet during the week. My vet had said since they were on good food it was relatively low risk. Luckily, nobody had an attack while I was away.

    Previous comments about leaving lots of water sources are right on target, too. In addition to leaving lots of bowls of water around, I stopped worrying about the cats drinking out of the toilet and just made sure it was cleaned reguarly with a gentle, non-toxic cleanser.

    Bobyn, are Hoyt’s beans sure they are going to return him?

  7. Poor little Hoyt. I’m afraid we have absolutley nothing to offer, but a big lump of prayers and good wishes for the little mancat. We really pray things work out for him…

  8. I’m so sorry to hear that Hoyt is having health problems… I don’t have any experience with FLUTD, so unfortunately can’t help at all, but I’m sending lots of good thoughts to the little guy!

  9. Sometimes I just have to be blunt, so excuse me…the humans who adopted him DO NOT love him or they couldn’t give him up. The are very irresponsible. Bless you for trying to help.

  10. Our male cat Sylvester had a blockage in 1982 or 1983. There was an emergency vet visit and I think he had crystals. I know the bill was a lot for us at the time-$400.00? (Young and poor). He never had a recurrance and lived to be 3 months shy of 15. I think we kept him on a mix of wet and dry food-no special foods then. It is more common in males-we’ve had mostly females. I will pray for sweet Hoyt too!

  11. Sorry…I have to agree with Brian on this one. Companion animals are not disposable items that one can get rid of if a problem arises. Didn’t these people consider that Hoyt (or any cat, for that matter) could end up with some type of health issue that would require time, money and (alot of) love/compassion to deal with? They sound quite selfish and short-sighted to me. I hope they are never allowed to adopt a companion animal again.

    Our cat Hobbes had a plethora of health issues (including chronic UTI) and it never once occurred to us to put him to sleep. It wasn’t his fault! As companion animal parents, our only concern was to get him healthy, happy and comfortable and keep him that way.

    There is no reason in the world to put this darling angel to sleep! I hope and pray some kind soul comes to his rescue.

  12. I’m soooo sorry! I’d LOVE to adopt him but we already have 2 cats. We’d be the perfect home too! Our cats are only fed 2x a day (no food is left out for them – We’ve been told by our vet several times that having set times for meals is best and they eat the best food we can get [Natural Balance]) & we would definitely watch him eat.
    We can’t really afford that sort of issue either, but I have to agree with Brian – if they loved him they’d find a way. Also, who adopts a cat if they’re gone most weekends! Our little girl has some issues (She was weened early so she has a lot of upper respiratory issues) and both of our cats were about to be put down because they all had colds. What I’m getting at is – We love them, so we deal with any issues that come up. I’d rather spend $1500 and have my buddy alive, then EVER give them back/put them down! Why would they put him down?!??!?!
    Anywhoodle – end rant….
    Poor Hoyt.

  13. I do NOT agree with Brian and some of the rest of you. If the family really can not pay the high vet bills, and is not able to be home often enough to monitor his medical condition (who knows their travel may even be work related) then trying to re-home him with another loving family with the money to care for him is taking care of him. Now, if it were me, I might ask for a funding drive first, and perhaps help in finding a vet/food company that might be willing to help sponsor an otherwise healthy and young active kitty. I’d be happy to volunteer free advertising and even blog updates in exchange for help with expensive food and treatments.

    Sometimes people ARE forced to choose between feeding their own children and treating a pet for a long term condition that has bills they simply can’t afford. This is different then “Normal” pet expenses and this family obviously does not want to put this lovely and vibrant animal to sleep, simply because they don’t have the cash in the bank.

    I think the very best thing for Hoyt would be to stay where he is, but with his people knowing that he could be cared for. If that is not possible, his old home where he is also loved would be the next best thing. If stress is part of the issue, a good home where people are able to pay some attention, is better than yet another adoption by strangers. Unless it the new Mummy or Daddy is someone very skilled (like a vet tech or vet) in which case it might be a perfect match and worth the stress of what (for the cat) is a forth home (yours, the adoption center, current family, new home/your home).

    Much as we love our all fur babies, and will always do our best by them, sometimes people have to make very serious choices. This families choice is NOT to put the cat to sleep and try to figure out another solution. I’ve also seen people face these choices when a cat or dog is seriously injured and could be saved, but only by expensive surgery. If the money is not there, it is not there; and if the vet will not make arrangements for time payments or is unwilling or unable to donate the time; then often a “savable” pet is lost. I’ve seen it many times, it is very sad and we do all in our power to prevent it.

    Also, this is something to think about next time any of us see’s the good people with the donations buckets at the super market or pet shop. I know here in Ireland, some of the money raised goes to care for cases just like this.


  14. Well, this is a tough situation – the only thing I can say is PLEASE get Hoyt out of that house before he gets sick again because it sounds like if he gets sick then even if it is treatable it is basically a death sentence for him. I understand they cannot afford to pay for his treatments, but then they really need to give him back so they can find someone who can – it is not fair to Hoyt to keep him there any longer – to me it isn’t worth the risk. Again, I understand that they can’t afford it (although I will be honest and tell you that I have heard that before and it wasn’t true, the owners just didn’t want to take the responsibility – but either way it isn’t fair to Hoyt). I personally agree with Brian that if they truly did love him they would find a way (we did and always have with our cats) but I also understand Melodi’s point that they might have to choose between cat medical bills and their kids – but honestly if they have those kinds of financial issues, they really shouldn’t get a pet – people need to think ahead on these things – it is the same as with any other expense, like a house – can you afford it if you loose a job, rates go up, etc. No one takes responsibility for the future anymore.

    Ok, sorry to get off the subject there. My point is, that they have already stated that if it happens again he will be put to sleep, even though it is treatable. That is just sickening to me – they cannot keep him.

    I would drive out there and take him myself if it wasn’t for the fact that stress makes the problem worse – in my house the constant chasing by Barney would definitly be a stressor. Especially entering a new sitution. But they cannot be allowed to put him to sleep – even if the chances are not that high of a recurrance, it is still to high of a chance.

    Again, sorry for going on – this is just very frustrating and upsetting to me. I can’t imagine how it has to be for you since you took care of him for so long. We are sending lots of purrs and good thoughts for him to find a good place!

  15. This is a heartbreaking situation, especially for poor sweet Hoyt, who deserves all the love and all the care in the world…unfortunately in our rescue, we see this situation often, where people adopt a cat, then as soon as it gets sick or needs long-term medical care, they return it back to us…our policy is to always take back our cats, no matter what the situation, but it does put a huge burden on resources…we have become much more careful in screening potential adopters and gauging their TRUE willingness and ability to provide financial care for the lifetime of the cat…ironically we have been criticized for turning down applicants who are not financially stable enough or willing enough to provide vet care…it might sound harsh, but I personally believe that when you adopt a pet, you take full responsibility to provide it with as much care as needed for the lifetime of that pet…it’s a huge responsibility, and it does need financial planning for emergencies as well as willingness to adjust your lifestyle if your pet needs monitoring and care…health insurance for pets may be a way to go for people who can’t afford huge vet bills, but then again, this all falls under the “being responsible” part of pet ownership…I truly believe that if someone is not willing or able to commit to providing care for the lifetime of their pet, they shouldn’t have one!

    Okay, I’ll come off my soapbox now, but this is one of those situations which really breaks my heart! I hope sweet Hoyt finds a wonderful new home where he will get the care and love that he deserves! We’ll keep all of our fingers and paws crossed for him!

  16. This a very tough situation. I agree that in these times it is sometimes a choice between feeding you children and taking care of your animals. I also agree that taking on the resposibility of a companion animal involves much more that a whim and a hope that everything goes alright. Sometimes, it doesn’t.
    I would personally hope that his people return him to Challenge House when he can be taken care of properly. The ultimate would be that he could come back to Robyn and the cats he was with for so long.
    The Trueblood kittens were the ones that got me reading you blog daily in the first place. I sent money for their surgeries and fell in love with those little angels. I think nothing else bad should happen to Hoyt. He has had enough. I think it’s time for him to be happy.

  17. Like Gerri, I also started reading your blog because of the True Blood kitties. I wasn’t able to donate for their surgeries, but I feel like everyone who did would be sort of spat on if Hoyt was put down. His eyes work properly because of the generosity of others, and I’m sure that everyone who donated then would rather donate again to keep him alive than just let him go. If his people truly want Hoyt around, I suggest they try a donation drive. If they don’t want to deal with his issues, then I hope they give him to someone who can do it.

    All of us here are emotionally invested in this cat, oddly enough, and whoever was lucky enough to take Hoyt would receive a ton of support, should they ask. Even if that person is you, Robyn 🙂

    Hopefully, this was a one-time thing, and we’ll all be worried over nothing!

  18. My first cat blocked up when he was about 3.I knew nothing about cats at the time and fed him Fancy Feast only, cause he loved that cod, sole and shrimp flavor in the green can, and I loved him, so that’s what he was fed. At the time, it cost $400 to treat him, a veritable fortune. I watched him like a hawk the rest of his life, because I couldn’t afford to have it happen again. So I did a lot of reading. I changed his diet–oh, the story of his ensuing “hunger strike” after that could be a chapter in a book about smart ass cats… I let him outside, supervised, for exercise. I never thought it was stress, but he was neutered early and was a bit of a chubster. All possible contributors, but I’d have to say the major culprit is cheap cat food. Yep, that green can wasn’t doing him any favors.
    There’s hardly any dry food I can recommend, except for Pet Promise, which has just recently gone out of business. I would not feed a cat with urinary problems dry food, ever.

    He had episodes of struggling to urinate every few years, always in early Spring for some reason, but never completely blocked up again. 2 weeks of antibiotics and an acidic paste–forgotten the name of it–brought him out of it. I never had a problem with my 2nd boy who just turned 15. From day one, he has been on a high quality food and he never got fat.
    I have not even thought much about UTI’s in a few years, til this most recent post. I’m not up on the latest research at all.
    I am stunned that a baby such as Hoyt is already having these problems. I wonder what his new owners have been feeding him. I, too, started reading the blog when the True Bloods arrived, so I feel a personal investment in those kittens.
    I know full well what vets are now charging to treat these problems. I am seriously considering health insurance for my youngest boy and girl. Times have really changed; I go into my vets office and he’s got a huge staff, offers the latest treatments and that stuff really adds up.
    It may never come back, but most likely it will; it tends to be chronic, but most of the time, controllable with proper diet and exercise. It’s not ideal to have pet parents who are gone all weekend, in my opinion, if the cat is prone to LUTI.

  19. Long time reader, but I don’t often comment.

    I just have to say that I disagree with Amy and Brian. I have horses and they are exponentially more expensive than cats in most situations (I also have 3 dogs, 3 cats and 3 goats). I love them to bits and pieces. I have had one of my horses since it was a baby, and another just over 3 years. I would do anything for them. I have no problem paying for monthly upkeep of everyone (ie. Money is not an issue) but if one of the horses got injured and it was going to be a bunch of money (to fix and then to continue with), I am not going to dip into my savings for my school and my house and my future to pay for something that may not last in the long run.

    I love my horses like people love their kids. It sounds harsh, but maybe I’m just jaded from the horse industry. Maybe I was personally offended by Brians comments as I know I love my animals but would not dish out thousands of dollars to save them. Everyone has a right to their own opinion though…

  20. Like Gerri, I too started (and got hooked) reading this blog because of the TrueBloods. Also, a part of Hoyt’s eyes are MINE!!! 🙂 (I am part owner of 6 little pairs of eyelips). Hoyt was my favorite and if I didn’t live in Fl with a house of kitties already, he would have been MINE too! Hoyt has a part of my heart! Please keep us posted!

    Now as for $$$$. Let’s see, one of my kitties came into my life when I was still in college. He ended up being diabetic (diagnosed at about 9 mths old). 2 shots a day for 17 years. He was SOOOO diabetic and had become resistant to human insulin that he was on “special” insulin. It was $82 a bottle, every 20 days (6.5 cc’s twice a day). That doesn’t count the cost of needles or the doctor visits when he became resistance ($1100) nor his initial diagnosis and daily visits to the vet to get him regulated. All this on a part time income. You do it because of love and responsibility. Also, as he aged…renal failure. We all know that is the #1 thing that brings down an aging cat. Well, at that point you feed them a low protein, high-carb diet. But wait…Carbs = sugar!!! Diabetics need to eat a low carb, high protein diet!!! What a delima! So, you feed the carbs to save the kidneys and you chase it with insulin…praying that each day he eats properly and doesn’t throw up his food and refuse to eat more (and you aren’t home). Renal failure = puking. I am sure you all know the end result here….but he had a FABULOUS 17 years with me. So, to me, Hoyt’s issue is nothing! I wonder if his owners would figure out a way if it was one of them that was ill. Seriously, I saw a show where a dog was bitten by a snake and it was $200 for the anti-venom. The owners didn’t want to pay it. I KNOW that if he was bit…out would come the credit card. Pets are not lamps or things!!! They are God’s living, loving creations…and they are NOT disposable!!!

    [getting down off of my soap box]….sorry!

    Love and kisses to Hoyt!!!

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