Blocked Cat Reunited With Owner After Emergency Intervention

Cost of Care provided by the San Jose Animal Care Center: $1,500-2,000

A few weeks ago, a blocked cat came to me in the morning as a transfer from the emergency clinic that handles our after-hours medical care. The cat was a male, black cat that was unable to urinate (blocked), in very poor condition in the emergency clinic, and remained in very poor condition upon coming into our care at the San Jose Animal Care Center.

Most cats that come to the emergency clinic in this kind of poor condition without any identification are at risk of being euthanized. This cat, however, had a microchip, so the emergency clinic received authorization to spend more than our normal limit per animal on this cat, because we had reason to believe this cat had a home!

The cat was mentally obtunded to quiet at best, not the bright, alert and interactive cat you normally expect to see. He had bloody discharge coming from his nose and mouth and came to us with a urinary catheter and collection bag as well as an IV catheter. While the emergency clinic had unblocked him and had the ability to provide care for an indwelling urinary catheter and collection system, that is very hard for us to do at the shelter.

After reading the medical record and examining the cat upon his arrival, I decided that as with any male cat that was blocked and subsequently unblocked, the true test would be whether the cat be able to urinate upon removing the urinary catheter.

We removed the urinary catheter and watched over subsequent hours and days as the cat sat in its large cage, urinating on the bedding that was beneath him, unable or unwilling to walk to the litter box he had been provided with for the purposes of urination, as most cats do.

The microchip company and our staff diligently worked to find an owner of the cat, but the microchip was not updated with a current address and phone number, so it seemed to be a dead end.

On a Friday, the cat appeared to be slightly better. He no longer had bloody discharge from his nose and mouth and appeared to have urinated in the litter box. Things were seeming to make a turn for the better, but still no owner to reclaim the cat.

Following that weekend, I returned on Monday to find a cat that I almost didn’t recognize. This cat was standing, walking back and forth in the front of the cage, purring and rubbing on the bars as if to say love me! His food bowls showed signs that he had a healthy appetite, and his litter box showed he had been urinating and defecating normally.

Wow, I thought! What a transformation! Now the question became what to do with him since he seemed to be doing so well.

While we were still working to find an owner, we had to consider what would happen if an owner never came forward. It’s hard to consider putting a cat up for adoption that we know had been blocked as such cats are likely to block again in the future and that is not necessarily something that a potential adopter wants to be undertaking.

Fortunately, however, our staff did some investigative work and found someone by the same name as the microchip that was last registered to (at an address almost 100 miles away), yet this person was living nearby. Follow-up was done and this person was, in fact, the owner of the cat. The person came in to reclaim the cat and we set up a payment plan that would accommodate that person’s limited income so that the care previously provided by the emergency clinic would be covered over time.

I was so incredibly happy when I came in one day and found that the reason the cat was no longer in his kennel was because he had gone home! Microchips are great and can be incredible life-saving tools, but they do need to be kept up-to-date whenever an owner moves. Fortunately, in this instance, a microchip with a seeming dead-end didn’t deter our determined staff from finding this cat’s family and reuniting them.