Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 68)

Murray threw up a couple of weeks ago. That’s not normal for him. It was alarming because it really shot out. I made a few phone calls and decided to keep a close eye on him before bringing him to the vet. I regret that decision now.

One of the things I tried was giving him fiber pills. I figured that maybe he had a blockage and maybe I could help move things along. I gave him a couple of pills with each meal and he stopped throwing up. Then we went away and Lisa took over. He made it through the weekend without incident. I thought we were in the clear.

While Em was napping last Thursday, Murray walked below my chair, stopped, and projectile vomited all over the floor. It was horrible. It scared the hell out of me. He began making a deep crying sound—he was in pain, the poor baby. I was positive he was dying. I’ve never seen a cat vomit like that! I felt horrible for him. He walked further into the apartment and continued to throw up. I knew there was a big problem.

I called the vet. She told me to bring him in immediately. I gathered up Emory, the diaper bag, his stroller, the cat carrier and Murray and headed down to the car. It was raining. The cat was howling. Em was confused. And if it weren’t for the adrenaline rush I got because of Murray, there’s no way I would have been able to pull off the next five hours.

We sat at the vet for an hour, watching dogs come and go. I tried to amuse Emory who continued to get more and more antsy. His quest was to destroy things. I can’t say that a blame him. We were sitting in a waiting room after all. I fed him lunch and read him a book. Murray sat there quivering the entire time. He was terrified.

When it was our turn, I told the vet what had happened. They immediately took and x-ray of his midriff and discovered two foreign bodies in his tummy. I felt so badly for him. I knew for a fact they had been there for a while. He was also running a fever. (Cats have an excellent way of hiding pain or sickness. I always act naive to this fact because I hate putting them through a vet visit. But there’s a good chance Murray was in pain for a while, or at least not feeling like his normal goofy self.)

We were told we had to go to the ER, which is in Cobble Hill, a section of Brooklyn where parking becomes a distant memory. (I’m going omit all complaining from this point forward about how difficult it was keeping a restless toddler from freaking out while dragging my sick cat all over Brooklyn. Sufficed to say, it was a really long day. But I won’t carry on about it. It happened, I had no other choice but to deal with it.)

The doctor was pretty sure, based on the projectile vomiting (as well the number of cases he’s seen like it), that they could extract the objects with an endoscopy. If they found the object had actually left the stomach and made their way into his intestines (was out of reach of the scope), he’d have to have surgery. (For those who wonder how much this costs, the scope ran into the thousands, surgery would have cost at least double what we ended up paying.)

Tobyjoe arrived in order to help out. I needed it. He took Em off my hands for a while so I could talk to the doctor and get our finances in order. We said our goodbyes to Murray and left for the night.

An hour later the doctor called to say that they had successfully removed the items—that one of the items was lodged in between the stomach and the small intestines and was almost just out of reach. Thankfully, they managed to get it out. Thankfully. Murray would have to stay overnight to be monitored, but we could get him the following morning.

I was happy to hear he was OK but I was a little sad as well.

You see, Murray is a shy boy. I’m not sure if I’ve ever really shared that side of him. He doesn’t act shy around us. But he’s shy. Whenever strangers stop by, he hides for hours. He buries his head in whatever pillow he can find. The most difficult part about his ordeal now that the item had been removed was knowing that the happiest and most naive cat I’d ever met (and also the happiest) would have to spend a night by himself and surrounded by strangers. I kept wondering if he’d be returned to us scathed and slightly more cynical than he was before—less happy.

When I picked him up late Friday evening, the woman who released him said that he refused to eat because he was one very scared little boy.

She said, “I went back there to talk to him and he was shivering.”

But he’s not cynical or forever scarred. He’s fine. He’s shaved, but he’s the same Myrtle Man. About 15 minutes after we arrived home, he was playing with Emory who managed to crawl inside the cat carrier.

Within an hour or two he was jumping up onto my lap begging for scritches. And he didn’t miss a beat when it came to stealing our food.

Yeah, everything is back to normal. Everyone is happy.

I think the hardest part for me (now that it’s all said and done) is that I can longer ignore the fact that our cat is overweight. They shaved him for the ultrasound and people, he’s fat. That’s all there is to it. Murray is fat. The fat rolls are so obvious, I’m almost embarrassed to put up a picture of him. (There are two photos that are just downright embarrassing. If he were human, he’d kick my ass for putting these online, so I’m going to upload the lesser of all the evils.)

Murray simply must go on a diet, and no more plastic either. Here are the actual contents that were removed from his belly.

To be honest, it’s not nearly as bad as I though. I would have guessed an entire baby rattle or squirter, a roll of paper towels, something much, much larger.

I imagine we’ll never be in the clear when it comes to Murray. He will continue to eat everything. We just have to be extra cautious. To some degree I think he prepared me for having a baby. Em tends to put things in his mouth as well. Needless to say, I’m constantly chasing creatures around our apartment wondering if they’ve eaten something other than last night’s floor pretzel, or a week old loaf of bread.


  1. So very thankful Murray is ok! I was watching twitters and it scared me so badly. He’s not even my cat but I love him. He reminds me of Raymond, and his love of his family and his love of life is contagious!

    That’s why I love him.
    Smooches for Murray. And for you, too.


  2. I’m so glad to hear that Murray is back to normal!


  3. Oh this is good news that he’s OK. That’s a whole lot of shaving they did, though. That’s going to be itchy and annoying for him for a while poor thing.

    I want to know how you get a no-vomit cat. I’ve never had one. They’ve all been unapologetic random pukers so there’s never a clear sign that all is not well.


  4. We thought they were a bit aggressive with the shaving. The hell is that all about? It’s like the person who did it was blind or something. Very strange indeed. I feel bad for him, he keeps licking the area, scratching too. :[


  5. I’m happy Murray is back home and back to ‘normal’. :-)

    Did they shave him in case they had to do surgery? The shaving is a bit frantic looking – but he’ll be fine with it in a bit of time. I know it was odd to see my Bella with her shaved belly – she was so cold without the hair, we scattered even more blankets and pillows around for her to keep warm.

    Murray has many out here in internet land who care about him – please give him a hug (or a nuggie or two) from me.



  6. I’m glad Murray is back to his old self!

    I have pictures of Evan in my mom’s dogs’ crate! I swear I don’t put him in there! :)


  7. I’m so glad to hear Murray is back home, safe and sound. It appears Nov is a bad month for cats. My coworker’s kitty, Toby, also very fat, stopped eating and when my friend took him in, it turned out he had 4 masses in his stomach and intestines. They had to do surgery and removed foam (he eats earplugs and flipflops)/hair/poop masses. Poor Toby! He also took about a week to start eating normally again (my friend had to force-feed him wet food slurry) so his liver wouldn’t shut down.

    It was very stressful (and expensive for her) but I’m happy to hear that Murray and Toby are doing well. Those silly kitties!


  8. I’m so relieved that Murray made it, and that the surgery was relatively non-invasive. The shaving is probably because they were prepping him for major abdominal surgery in case the endoscopy didn’t work. They also might have been using an ultrasound to try and see where the blockage was. I hope both he and Emory don’t put any other bad things in their respective mouths!


  9. Yay! Murray is looking good. So glad he is okay. I really feel for you on leaving them at the vet – seriously that is what gets me. When we had to take the cats to get fixed, I was so worried about them and how scared they must have been. Glad Murray has come back as his same ol’ cheerful self.


  10. Fantastic blog post! I’m really glad to hear Murray is better now, after reading from him on Twitter he wasn’t well.

    Vodka wouldn’t have helped, after seeing those plastic objects that were in his stomach – and I’m glad you caught them before they could do too much damage.

    I reckon Murray must have been really happy to see how glad Em was to see him home :)

    So, what are you going to feed him for his new diet?


  11. Wow. After Dub’s first hospitalization, he came home with belly, shoulder and both forearms shaved, so I think Murray looks pretty good in comparison!

    I’m glad things all worked out. I’m not going to lie – I was really, really holding my breath for you guys. I think my memories of what our guy went through are still too close.

    As for the diet issue, in a weird way all of Dub’s health issues were a blessing. He had to be on special food pretty much his whole life, so from an early age he and Kali learned not to expect people food. Kali never developed a taste for much of it anyway as she’s finicky even about her own kitty food. As a result they both remained pretty fit. Dub was a big guy but never fat, and Kali to this day is pretty sleek.

    Junie, having spent her early years on the street, would eat anything if we let her, but she’s been very good about adapting to eating what we feed her. She’s pretty round, but she doesn’t actually weigh very much – I think it’s just that she’s so fuzzy, and a bit stretched around the midsection from all of her prior pregnancies. :)

    Now that Kirby’s in the mix, we’ve had some challenges with respect to food and mealtimes. The little guy loves to eat, will put anything in his mouth, so we’ve had to immediately take steps to make sure that he’s eating the right things, not chewing on stuff he shouldn’t be, and also training him that when we’re eating, he can’t be on the table. The first week of that was rough – we’d put him down and he’d climb right back up, and after four or five times we’d finally take him upstairs and put him in his carrier until we finished. He cried and cried and it broke my heart, but every day he improved. By the end of this past week he only tried twice, and we used one of those little clickers to deter him. So he didn’t get locked up. Last night he didn’t even attempt to get on the table while we ate. He played with his toys and we got to eat in peace without catbutt in our faces, and everyone was happy.

    Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is I know what you went through with this, I’m so glad Murray is healthy and at home, and I know you’ll figure out how to deal with his diet going forward. You’re a great mom of kitties and kids alike. :)


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