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Q: What Do Cat Pee and Governor LePage Have in Common?

A: They’ve both been stinking up my life this month!

First things first: I don’t know where the month of October has gone. Thanks to a handful of writing-intensive projects I’ve been busy working on for one of my jobs, I just haven’t had any brain juice left over to write much of anything here. Plus there has been cat pee. Cat. F’n. Pee.

There we were at the start of October in a clean house: smelling pretty darn fresh considering three cats, two dogs, and two humans are crammed inside. And then, the cat pee came to visit.

Do you want to talk about how awful cat pee smells? I don’t. But I’ll tell you this: it makes that hot blast of subway station air – the kind that smells like Mole People and foot fungus and ancient space heaters – smell like a summer rain.

cat pee

There are shirts.

I could never catch any of the cats in the act, but someone was whizzing on the dog beds. I didn’t know who to bring to the vet. Here’s the thing about my cats: for ten years, they’ve never had an argument with the litter box. They’re a well adjusted gang of jerks. They roll hard on litter. So when one of them started stinking up the house, I knew it was because they were sick.

Except all three of the stooges were acting fine. I couldn’t tell who the Rogue Tinkler was, until one day when our cat Penelope (pronounced Pee-na-lopue like cantaloupe) looked me right in the eye and unleashed a river of cat pee at me. There was blood involved. We went to the vet that day and saw the first doctor that was available (a dude we’d never met).

Because Penelope refused to give any of her precious pee to the vet, we got sent home with some special litter and syringes, so I could bring them back a sample for testing. Which is how I found myself the next morning, huddled over a puddle of pee with a needle in my hand. The pee was on a shelf. Not in the litter box with the special litter. Collecting cat pee with a syringe is one of those moments that makes me question the choices I’ve made in my life.

Later that day, the urinalysis revealed that she did not have what we expected: a Urinary Tract Infection. So the vet told us we needed to get an ultrasound to determine if Penelope had one of two types of bladder stones or worse, tumors. I asked him a lot of questions. But he felt sure those were the only two possible options: stones or tumors aka cancer aka my cat is going to die.

Here’s what I learned: the next time the vet sends you to a specialist for a very expensive test, ask them these questions:

  • Is this an emergency?
  • How long can we reasonably wait before performing the test? A day or three?
  • Are there medications we can try during that time?
  • What may be causing this issue that is improbable, but not impossible?

Because it turns out, hundreds of dollars I didn’t have later, that Penelope had cystitis, which is basically an inflamed bladder. No stones. No tumors. The treatment was a $5 prescription for Amoxicillin.

The specialist told me that the initial vet we saw probably didn’t think it could be cystitis because Penelope is 10 years old and cystitis usually presents in cats under 10 years old. The specialist suspected it was cystitis (even before she did the ultrasound!) because her 10 year old cat had recently had it too. So she knew that although it wasn’t probable for a 10 year old cat, cystitis was certainly possible.

She was right: One day (of a ten day run) of antibiotics and Penelope went back to normal, peeing in the box, ever since. Woo.

That’s a $400 lesson folks. Yours at the low low cost of reading this blog and imagining me in my pajamas sucking up cat pee in a syringe. You’re welcome. Now excuse me while I go back to doing three hundred loads of laundry and scrubbing every surface of my house. Cat pee. Blech.

Also in October: Governor LePage can go clean a litter box, if you know what I mean. This month I logged into my Amazon affiliate store to add some cool products to share with you (to help me pay off my cat’s ultrasound bill) and found out it had been shut down.

Turns out my super pro-business Governor (and the genius behind the “tiny beard” fashion trend for women) passed some Interwebz tax legislation this summer and now he and Amazon are in some sort of pissing contest, with me and my fellow Mainers in the cross-stream.


That’s my Governor!

Here’s the deal straight from Amazon’s mouth:

We’re writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective October 6, 2013. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Maine state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor LePage on June 5, 2013, with an effective date of October 9, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after October 6, nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Maine residents.

While we oppose this unconstitutional state legislation, we strongly support the federal Marketplace Fairness Act now pending before Congress. Congressional legislation is the only way to create a simplified, constitutional framework to resolve interstate sales tax issues and it would allow us to re-open our Associates program to Maine residents.

We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and look forward to re-opening our program when Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act.

So the point of this is to tell you that while my Amazon store still exists (for now), I no longer make any commission on the products you buy through the store. I wasn’t exactly making Crystal, Maybach, Diamonds on your timepiece, Jet planes, Islands, Tigers on a gold leash money from my affiliate store, but I made enough to buy a book here and there. Now it’s nada.

Just figured I should tell you guys in case any of you (MOM) were nice enough to purposely shop in my store to help support my reading-habit. 

Last up this month: I went to the No More Homeless Pets conference the other week in Jacksonville, Florida. I attended a couple of excellent presentations on stress reduction and compassion fatigue. More on that later.  All I’ll say about the conference right now was that the theme for the weekend was “Save Them All.” Someone awesome, who shall remain nameless, pointed out that this rallying cry sounds an awful lot like “Save the Mall” when you say it out loud.

So I spent the conference imagining that me, Jay, and Silent Bob were leading a campaign to save one of our many New Jersey state treasures. Save the Mall!

proud to be a native of Dirty Jerz.

proud to be a native of Dirty Jerz.

And that’s all there is to say about October. 

  1. I feel your pain! My cat has chronic Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) and we have been having litter box battles and insane vet bills for the last 3 years. After buying a steam cleaner (which he peed on) and having to steam clean once a week, I have resorted to putting a litter box in each of the spots he was frequenting and our pee problems are almost nonexistent. I’ve found that the Bissell cat pee cleaner they sell at PetSmart works wonders on the pee smell (and I’ve tried everything on their shelves and some things I’ve ordered online)–between the spray for spot cleaning and the steam cleaner solution one a month or so, my air is breathable once again! Good luck with Penelope!

    October 26, 2013
    • Oh my, that sounds really hard (and smelly). I’m sorry you’ve been going through this with your guy.

      Thanks for the Bissell tip – if any of our cats turn into Rogue Tinklers again, we’ll be buying that right away!

      October 28, 2013
  2. Catherine #

    Thanks for the questions to ask! They’re good ones. I just went through this with one of my cats! I guessed which cat had peed on my bed and brought her in. The vet took the urine sample by cystocentesis (needle inserted into the bladder to remove urine). My cat tolerated it very well and she didn’t seem to have any aftereffects. The vet told me that cats tend to tolerate it better than the old squeeze-the-bladder-til-something-comes-out method and I’d believe it.

    The upshot is she was put on antibiotics for two weeks and goes back to the vet soon for a follow-up to determine whether she has cystitis or if it was just a uti.

    I’m glad Penelope feels better and hope she feels back to normal soon!

    October 26, 2013
    • Thanks Catherine! Penelope had cystocentesis done twice (!) and wouldn’t give up any urine at the vet’s office. I’m glad things went more smoothly with your gal and that you were given the option of trying antibiotics for a while first!

      October 28, 2013
  3. So sorry you had to go through the cat issue. Thanks for the vet advice, I hope I don’t need to use it, realistically though, I probably will at some point, so I appreciate you passing that along.

    October 28, 2013
  4. $400 cystitis, that is impressive! I dealt with ear infection smell last night, which at the time seemed gag-o-rific, but I’d choose the ear smell over cat pee smell any day! Melvin man had some neurological problems last year, many of the vets involved with his treatment felt it was cancer, they were just not sure where. I of course heard ‘cancer’ and thought – do whatever needs done. That ended up including an MRI and a spinal tap. Yes, a spinal tap. The results all came back cancer-free which of course I celebrate every day since. But there is a part of me that still mutters “a spinal tap” when thinking about just how expensive animal tests can be!

    October 28, 2013
    • Ew, ear infection stink is pretty gross. Sorry you guys are dealing with that at your house right now.

      I know what you mean about the relief combined with disbelief at the costs. When I got the results of the ultrasound it was like a split simultaneous thought: NOT Cancer!!/ You have got to be kidding me that I just spent $400!

      October 28, 2013

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