Meet Biff: An Important Cat with a Dangerous Bladder Infection

Biff brings members of his family together, but bladder infections threatened his place in the household.

When Earl Crawford III, Amanda Smith and their son Lil’ Earl visited the Stevens-Swan Humane Society looking for a cat, they had no idea how much that cat would change the way they related to one another.

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A Special Child

In August of 2008, Earl III and Amanda welcomed Earl Crawford IV, or Lil’ Earl, into the world. Through the first several months of Lil’ Earl’s young life, everything was going great. Amanda said, “He was progressing normally. He’d said some words, he had been dancing and being very interactive.”

However, around his first birthday, Lil’ Earl’s parents noticed some drastic changes in behavior. According to Amanda, “He just started shutting down. He was starting to get erratic and all of his words completely went away. We were out of luck.”

A doctor’s test showed that Lil’ Earl was autistic. Autism causes impaired verbal and non-verbal communication and children with the disorder often have a hard time interacting with others. Amanda said, “We were trying to do anything we could to connect with him.” Lil’ Earl had shown a deep love for animals, cats in particular, so a few days before Christmas of 2011, the family headed to the Humane Society in search of a kitten.

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The Cat That Chose The Family

When they arrived at the shelter, there were many cats to choose from. The kittens were all playful, but one took a particular liking to Earl III, climbing onto his shoulders and refusing to get down. The family had found their cat and were able to take him home on Christmas Eve.

Lil’ Earl and Biff bonded immediately. Biff allowed Lil’ Earl to carry him around the house in a number of uncomfortable positions. The two slept together and cuddled. They even went into the bathtub together.

When Lil’ Earl started talking again at 4 1/2 years old, one of his first words was “Kitty.” Amanda said, while holding back tears, “Honestly, I think Biff is a life-changer.”

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Bladder Infections Arise

Everything was going great with Biff and Lil’ Earl until the family relocated to a new home and Biff started “marking his territory” in the house. Amanda said, “We were worried at first that it was a new place in a new location, but rather than trying to punish him, we decided to check with the [veterinarian.]” It turns out that the family had caught the problem just in time. It was an infection. A few days later and Biff would have needed surgery.

After treating Biff’s infection with shots and medication, the veterinarian advised the family that due to Biff’s indoor existence and unique physiological traits, he was particularly prone to bladder infections and should be placed on a special diet to avoid future problems.

The family began feeding Biff a diet of specialty cat food that was only available at the vet’s office and later switched to a full canned food diet. The new diet provided Biff with the liquid he needed to avoid bladder infections, but was costly and made him fat, sluggish, and unhealthy in other ways.

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The Honest Kitchen to the Rescue

Amanda started looking online for a cat food that would keep Biff from developing future bladder infections, while still being affordable and healthy. Enter The Honest Kitchen.

Amanda started with some test packets and Biff loved the food right away. His lean figure returned, his coat got shinier, and his bladder infections stayed at bay. Now, Amanda said, “He looks really good and I’m very thankful for The Honest Kitchen.”

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A Bright Future

These days, with a little help from The Honest Kitchen, Biff is looking and feeling good. His bladder infections have been eliminated and he has a lot of fun playing with Lil’ Earl.

Lil’ Earl’s love for Biff has only gotten stronger through their trials together. He is communicating well with his parents and enjoying life. Amanda said, “I don’t think any of it would have jump-started if it wasn’t for Biff.”

When they rescued Biff in 2011, Earl III and Amanda never would have guessed how important he would become to their family. Now it’s hard for them to imagine life without him and, thanks to The Honest Kitchen, they don’t have to.

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Meet the Author: Micah Sargent

Micah Sargent is a freelance writer and photographer living in northern Pennsylvania. He enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing. When he's not tapping away at a keyboard or behind a camera, you can find him hanging outdoors with his wife and two sons.

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