Thank you all so very much for the wonderful, warm welcomes!
I'm not on the computer as much as I'd like to be as one of my kitties (Tom-Tom) is recovering from recent bladder surgery because of a UTI. He'll be post op two weeks this Thursday & just had his staples removed yesterday. The cause of the red blood cells in his urine was one of total shock & fascination by my vet - seems when he was born the part of the umbilical cord internally that connected to his stomach from his belly button NEVER shrivelled up. It was an actual living thing complete with blood vessels! She removed it & sutured his tummy where it had led to.
He's doing very well recovering in his very own special 'boudair' (one of my spare bedrooms) lol. And after almost five LONG months of his NOT using the litterbox (but going close by where it's located in my basement) & twice a day pillings of antibiotics, I'm happy to say he's back to using the litterbox like a champ! All through the course of his treatment, my vets were trying to convince me that perhaps it was behavioral & that I would have to re-train him. I told the silly people that when something's wrong with a cat that's one of the ways of trying to let their human know. Afterall, I'd added another box, changed brands of litter, kept them clean every day - so it wasn't that. I knew it was definitely medical even though he never strained or cried out in pain.
The reason for having to have the surgery was because the red blood cells were increasing in his urine microscopically. The white blood cells & bacteria which were originally why he was on antibiotic therapy had cleared up. I opted to skip the expensive tests (IVP & Ultrasound) and went right for the surgery. Tom-Tom is an FIV cat (this I found out three months after my first cat, Mischief, died of cancer). While I was nursing Mischief during his last months with me, Tom-Tom started literally licking the fur off of his legs & stomach. I thought it was allergies & finally took him to my vet. She thought he was doing this because of the stress of Mischief dying & gave him a shot that was supposed to last for three weeks. Two weeks later, he was back to removing his fur. After two more shots & no results or relief for the poor cat, she finally did a scraping of his rear leg.
The result was Demodicosis - a RARE form of an Aids symptom in cats - it's commonly called 'Dog Mange'! I almost died right there & then when she told me her findings. I don't have a dog, nor has one been in this house since I'm living here almost 3 and 1/2 yrs now. Seems mites are mites & if there's an immuno suppressed host, they'll find it! Tom-Tom was just 6 months shy of his 10th birthday & just like humans this thing was incubating in him all this time! I had to have my other three cats tested & they all came up negative. Luckily, Tom-Tom is not an agressive player so there's no chance of his biting the others. Fortunately, Lime/Sulphur dips (once a week for six weeks) did the trick & his fur grew back and he's maintained a healthy weight of 22 lbs. He's not an obese cat like my others, but rather very muscular.
Tom-Tom's never been sick, yet my other guys did have an upper respiratory bout around the same time Tom-Tom was diagnosed with the FIV & he never so much as sneezed! He was the ONLY one out of four that DID NOT get sick!
If it weren't for the fact that my cat Bandit (Tom-Tom's litter mate) had his first ever bout with a UTI back in August of this year, I would believe that Tom-Tom's UTI bout was FIV related. But not so (at least in my opinion - the vets won't commit either way). My mistake was when right after my Mischief died, I foolishly put them all on commercial cat food (Purina ONE Hairball & Weight Maintenance dry food). All the time before I'd had them on Science diet.
Because of their all being males, their daily diet now consists of Science Diet C/D both wet & dry, pumpkin, hairball gel, & plain yogurt (better from a health food store - it has more good bacteria than commercial yogurt). I feel like a mad scientist mixing this stuff up every day (twice a day), but I know it's the most nutritional food I can give them.
Sorry for being so long-winded with this post, I just wanted to share something GOOD that has happened here in my home for a change. I don't have children (at least not two legged ones lol), and since I lost Mischief things have been devastating with my cats. I lost Squeaker recently, but at least Tom-Tom has been saved.
I thank you all again for your kindness.