Ginger’s ultra-drama (rushed to vet at dawn – FIC)

It happened early this morning.

I let Ginger in for breakfast but instead of eating, he made a beeline to Tab’s litter box to “urinate”. Then, he squatted again at the bathroom drainhole, and again at the litter box.

Something was definitely wrong, so I quickly checked and to my horror, there was NO urine at all.

Oh no….UTI (urinary tract infection).

Or, as they call it now, FIC (feline idiopathic cystitis).

Ginger ate his breakfast as usual, but he kept squatting all over (no urine). This was at 5.30am. I counted a total of 7 times, so a vet’s visit is definitely needed. Should I send him for emergency or wait until his vet opens at 9.30am, but that would be 4 hours away. I know the pain of UTI for a female human – it can be excruciating.

Ginger even squatted on hubby’s favourite cushion to try to urinate (I let him do it already), but no urine came out. Oh dear…this is serious.

I quickly gave Ginger Prazosin and UTI-Oxi. That was all I had in the house at the time. Tried to palpate his bladder too, but simply couldn’t feel a thing. He’s pretty fat.

Squatting everywhere.

I know Ginger has been under quite a bit of stress all week. It started with the mosquito netting which resulted in training him to stay in the patio and removing his free access into the house (where he used to mark/urine-spray wherever he liked). Then, we lent out his cage for two days to a little kitten, depriving him of his elevated platform (top of the cage) for his naps. And we took the Blue House into Bunny’s Place so that he couldn’t use it a step to get to the kitchen netting. But the worst, I think, was two days ago, when I had to lock him in the cage as he was making that loud twanging sound with the polycarb and Jayden could not sleep. Ginger was clearly unhappy and angry at being locked in the cage. I think all in, it’s the removal of his free access into the house that upset him the most.

Judging from Ginger’s demeanour, we could wait for 4 hours, but the trouble is, I hadn’t been watching him yesterday, so I wasn’t sure exactly when it started. That was my main worry – when did this start? And he has been confined in the patio as we were out all afternoon yesterday (a day off from babysitting).

So I started calling the vet call-back emergency clinic that I know. Unfortunately, there was no answer despite numerous calls. I know this clinic used to have this call-back service (within 30 mins) but I don’t know if it was discontinued during the pandemic and if it is still available now.

I called another 24 hour clinic and this one had a vet, but the charges are all doubled (double for consultation (fair enough), double for medicine, double for all procedures). However, a friend did not have a good experience in this particular clinic for an emergency procedure and it had resulted in his dog’s death, so I was afraid. What if Ginger is blocked and he needed a procedure done to drain the urine from his bladder?

I looked up yet another 24 hour hospital, and this one said that if they don’t think it warrants emergency treatment, they will not attend to you. You will just have to wait until the hospital’s normal opening hours.


By now, Ginger had squatted a total of 12 times. We decided to take a drive with Ginger to the first clinic and HOPE their vet call-back service would be still available.

So we drove there and rang the doorbell. A very sleepy staff answered and said the call-back service was still available but what is wrong with the cat, he asked. So I said that Ginger could not urinate, so he agreed to call back the vet. Phew. 40 minutes, he said.

Okay, we will wait.

I have used this clinic’s emergency services a few times before in the past and the vet is always on time. It used to be 30 minutes, though.

So we waited with Ginger in the car.

After 35 minutes, the vet arrived. Phew…

So the vet checked Ginger and the first thing she noticed was that Ginger’s penis is “turned in”. She pressed around the scrotum, but the penis would not come out. However, the vet said this could not have happened overnight, he must have been born with it. I googled later and it’s called “phimosis”, the inability of cats to protrude its penis from its outer orifice. It is often a birth defect, as the vet had said. The vet also checked and there is a “hole” (orifice) for the urine to come out, so it should be fine.

Then, she tried to palpate Ginger but he is too “fat”, so she couldn’t feel his bladder properly. An X-Ray was warranted, so that was taken. Ginger’s temperature was 38.3 degrees, which is normal for a cat, so no fever although he did feel a little warm to the touch.

The X-Ray showed that Ginger isn’t blocked (thank goodness). His bladder is small, his spine is normal and he is not constipated either.

So his condition is most likely due to inflammation of the bladder membrane due to stress. This inflammation cannot be seen in X-Rays or even ultra sound.

Stress. Sigh…

Yes, Ginger was so angry, so he had been stressed.

The treatment is just medication to relax the bladder and reduce the inflammation. No antibiotics as it isn’t due to an infection. Previous protocol would be to prescribe antibiotics as prophylaxis but nowadays, certain vets do not do this to prevent antibiotic resistance. I know, many years ago when Cow had FIC, the senior vet also refused to prescribe antibiotics. Instead, he merely prescribed a urinary diet (that’s all) and that solved the problem like a miracle. Lately, for Bunny’s and Cow’s FIC, their regular vet still prescribed antibiotics as prophylaxis. Different vets, different protocols.

So, Ginger was given (1) Prazosin (2) Diazepam (Valium) and (3) Metacam syrup (anti-inflammatory). I asked if an anti-inflammatory injection might be given, but the vet said the syrup would do. The vet said I could syringe feed Ginger water too, so that it will dilute his urine. I’ll have to monitor him for the day. Best to keep him in an area where he can be monitored for urination. The Diazepam might also cause drowsiness. And Ginger is not blocked now, but he might be blocked later, so the monitoring is absolutely necessary.

Since we were there, I asked the vet to also check Ginger’s “lump” on the side of his neck. It’s been there for years but it didn’t get bigger. It turned out to be just a harmless wart.

Ginger weighed about 6.3kg on the clinic weighing scale.

We came home.

First thing, I made him drink diluted Cindy’s baby food, to increase his water intake.

Then, Ginger made a beeline upstairs. I had to follow him in case he urinates on our curtains, my pillow or the pathetic dining chairs which he had destroyed.

Then, the medication.

More water by syringe.

He was still squatting everywhere. Poor thing.

An extra water bowl, but he did not drink.

An extra litter box too. He squatted in it, but there was no urine. It is the inflammation that is giving him the urge to urinate even though his bladder isn’t full.

Total free access to the house for today. No restrictions…for today.

But no, you cannot go out to the longkang, Ginger.

Cow came to say hello.

This sandpit is Ginger’s personal toilet at the patio, but there was still no urine.

Finally, slept.

I hope he will feel better after a good nap. But it was just a short nap.

I did ask about diet change, but the vet said it isn’t necessary for now since this is Ginger’s first FIC. Normally for elderly cats, if they get FIC, it is almost always due to STRESS.


Ginger is a very demanding cat and wants thing his way. Let him recover from this first and we shall figure things out. We cannot have him spraying urine all over the house, of course. He would just be damaging our furniture and equipment. He already got his afternoon access into the house, but that’s just not enough for him. He wants total free access all day, whenever he pleases. And even when he had free access, he actually spent almost all day… the patio!

Lunch time, I gave Ginger Cubgrub (has more water than Coco’s) with Brit Renal for toppings. He refuses to eat if there are no toppings. Ginger sapu habis.

But he was still squatting. The medication might take awhile to work, of course. But with Cow and Bunny’s previous FIC’s, they would recover very fast, as in, just 1-2 hours. Ginger’s taking longer.

So Ginger, can we negotiate on your terms and conditions so that you won’t get stressed and get yourself sick from now on?

Our terms:
1. Cannot urinate on our furniture, cushions, equipment (we just got a new air purifier and if he targets this, it will be totally spoilt), etc.

That’s all we ask of you, Ginger. If you don’t mark/spray, you can have total free access into the house and the patio. Never mind about the war cries with Indy, that’s immaterial. Just don’t spray and destroy everything, can?

Ginger’s terms:
1. I want to spray whenever and wherever I wish. You just have to clean it up if you don’t like it, but I like it. So there.

2. I want to go out to the longkang whenever I like.

3. I want tasty food for every meal, with a variety for toppings. Read my mind and you had better get it right every time.


Round Two….

You see, even with the patio grille wide open now, Ginger prefers to sleep outside at the patio, he is not inside the house (has total free access already).

So, apasal ni? Mengada-ngada? Stress sampai tak boleh kencing? 


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