I have three male cats, ages 2, 3, & 4. My 3 year old has battled what we thought were recurrent UTI's since last October. Last Thursday the vet decided to x-ray his bladder and saw bladder stones. He thought they were oxalate stones (rather than struvite stones which are diet related) b/c his urine PH is appropriately acidic.
I asked the vet to run a blood panel which gave readings on many things, most specifically liver and kidney function, which would influence my decision on whether or not to approve surgery to remove the stones. Results showed liver and kidney function were not damaged. The stones had not shifted to cause a urethral plug. Yeah! Good liver and kidney function improve the cat's chances of making a full recovery, provided the stones don't reoccur. This cat has the sweetest, most gentle personality. And at only 3 years old, I just didn't feel that he was "done" with his life. I approved the surgery under the condition that he be "put to sleep" immediately if the vet saw anything during the surgery that would dramatically decrease his quality of life (i.e. ~ a tumor, a destroyed bladder, etc).
Surgery was done Thursday evening. Everything went well, although the bladder wall was quite inflamed. That's to be expected, but also poses a challenge to the vet in flushing out all of the stones. Please cross your fingers for him that the stones don't return. My cat was able to urinate Friday morning and was sent home Friday afternoon. He's on some heavy duty antibiotics and pain killers for the next 14 days, at which point we'll go in to have stitches removed.
I know most people would not spend this kind of time and money on a cat. However, I am quite the introvert when it comes to socialization. I don't do well at superficial conversation and can count my "friends" on one hand (most of whom live out of state). Therefore, I've always considered pets to be "friends", as opposed to some kind of disposable livestock.
My cats are not "raw", but they mean the world to me. I'd appreciate it if you'd keep "Chester" in your thoughts.