My furry child Jacquemot

One Saturday morning in October of 2019 we awoke to find one of our beloved cats, Jacquemot (pronounced “Jacamo”), having a problem we couldn’t diagnose. He had seemed fine the night before, but now was dragging his butt on the floor and visiting the litter box with no apparent relief. He was six years old and had never had a health issue. He ate only organic food. Only drank filtered water.

We took him to the local vet who kept him for a couple hours and said she couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Shortly thereafter we took him to the hospital where he spent two nights, heavily sedated, with a catheter helping to drain his swollen bladder.

Apparently this problem is not unusual.

$2500 later, we took him home. He was far from right. He would leave a drop or two in the litter box, then dribble on the floor outside the box.

We were given a 48-hour window to bring him back to the hospital for a checkup at no charge, which we did. They told us their only other option was to amputate his penis. My wife’s head bounced off her knees when she heard that. She said she’d put him down before she’d let him go through that. To which they replied, “we can put him down tonight if you want”.

We brought him home and prayed like never before. Fortunately, my youngest sister is a retired Veterinarian (I get it, I’m old). I was on the phone with her every day. She helped us through it and assured us that Jacquemot would likely recover on his own. Which he did. But I will never forget what she told me when he was on the mend. She said “if it ever happens again, get him to the hospital immediately, or he could die a pretty horrible death”.

I’m haunted by those words every day. Since then we have not, and will not, both spend a night away from him as long as he lives. So you can imagine that I was intrigued when I first heard about Pretty Litter. It’s a lightweight, health-monitoring litter that reacts to a cat’s urine by changing colors to warn of high acidity, high alkalinity, or blood in the urine. It’s a godsend. I’ve used it since March of 2020 and will as long as I’m fortunate enough to be able to share my home with cats.