Update: Our sweet boy, Buster, is sick. Buster is about ten years old and has been in my family since he was a young cat; he has lived with my grandparents and even my great-grandparents and has been over-weight most of his life. Joe and I have had Buster a little over three years and since living with us he has lost a little weight and now has a nice clean, shiny coat. Recently, he hasn't been able to urinate (although, at first we thought the problem was constipation); he growls and hisses at himself; the poor boy hasn't been feeling well. With Joe and I always turning to "natural health" remedies for ourselves, we do the same for our cats.
We have this wonderful book, called "The New Natural Cat: A Complete Guide for Finicky Owners" by Anitra Frazier that we turn to for advice. First thinking that the problem was constipation, Joe and I went to Akins Natural Foods Market right down the street (which is where I work part-time) and we picked up some all-natural canned cat food with chicken, wheatgerm, and other healthy ingredients and we picked up some Yerba Prima Psyllium Husk Powder and Oat Bran (which our natural cat book advised to use). When we got home, we combined the three ingredients (about half of a cup of canned cat food with 1/8 tsp. psyllium husk and 1/8 tsp. oat bran) and then added some finely chopped organic carrots, golden flax seeds, and a tad bit of fresh garlic; along with a teaspoon of probiotic kefir (friendly bacteria should help get things moving)! Since Buster loves to eat dried catnip from our catnip plant, we have been feeding it to him as a treat with dried nettle leaf mixed in which is "good for digestion and rich in minerals". (Frazier, 257) I have also made a cold infusion tea with catnip and nettle and Buster lapped it up a little.
However, last night Buster was in agonizing pain and was constantly licking his bottom and bladder; so we took him to the emergency veterinarian and discovered that he had formed crystals in his urethra which was blocking the flow of his urine, causing his bladder to swell and therefore pain. The vet said that he needed surgery and needed to be hospitalized for three days; they gave us a long list of treatments that we felt were over-priced and invasive that would cost us around $1100...instead we wanted to take a more natural approach in our own home (a very comfortable environment for Buster)...and we ended up spending just a few dollars to cure Buster! So we decided since now we know that Buster may have a constipation problem and that the main issue is that he is having difficulty urinating, that we want to do our own research into natural remedies that can help ease his pain and get him urinating again.
We discovered this entire website that talks about this urinary problem common in older male cats that have been neutered (which is Buster's category) and a "Miracle Cure": APPLE CIDER VINEGAR!
With 44 kitty success stories with this natural treatment we think Buster is number 45! After returning from the vet, in tears and afraid but still determined to help our sweet friend we discovered this remedy and fortunately we had a really good quality Apple Cider Vinegar with the "mother culture" in our kitchen cabinet:
Joe and I gave Buster the Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with a little water in a dropper by mouth and added it to his natural spring drinking water; we also added some crushed vitamin C to his all-natural chicken and wheatgerm dinner along with Slippery Elm (that is soothing for inflammation), Echinacea (which is antiseptic), and Burdock Root (soothing to stomach and intestines and high in vitamin C). We stayed up late last night with him and locked him in the bathroom so he could get some rest and privacy from the other cats...we also laid down plenty of towels and paper bags in case he urinated anywhere (which we didn't care where he urinated, we just want our sweet boy to pee)! Joe and I caught some sleep and by morning Buster looked much better! He had a big wet spot on his right side and it smelled like pee! :-D He then ate plenty of healthy food and drank lots of water (we haven't seen him drink this much in days)! He looks interested in playing with the other kitties and hasn't complained one bit! Joe and I have been giving him lots of love and he is currently taking a nice nap; we are going to continue his treatment...we are so relieved to see him looking back to his old self!