Did anyone hear me scream last night? I hope it didn’t wake you. What a night!
We’ve had cats before, but never one like our beloved Spanky girl. Smart, independent, anything but needy. In her long lifetime of twelve years, she had been to the vets twice, before Friday. Once for getting spayed, and once because she got mad when some friends temporarily moved in with us and she started peeing on our bed. I thought maybe something was wrong with her, but the vet assured me there wasn’t, she was just mad. That stopped after we threw the soiled bedding away. Lesson learned: cat urine smell cannot be washed out of a down (or any other type of fabric) comforter.
Anyway, over the past couple months, We noticed a mass growing on her tummy. And it grew quickly. We took her in Friday, yup, ninety percent of cat lumps are cancerous, it’s gotta come out. The good news was that she looked great for her age, outside and in. The x-rays showed no signs of metastasizing, no other spots, all good, she would be a great candidate for surgery. Blood work on kidney and liver function came back good too.
Yesterday morning was the surgery, all went well, come get her around closing. I arrived and was met by a tech who reviewed the meds I would need to get into her. Fortunately I learned from Friday’s tech to hold her neck fur like a momma cat to accomplish that. Then they said she would have to wear a cone to keep from pulling the sutures out. I could take it off for her to eat. Oh, and no jumping for several days. Jumping might open the sutures since it was such a long wound on her belly.
NO JUMPING?!? You have got to be kidding! This is a cat with a domesticated feral personality.
After some discussion while I drove around with her in my van, my husband and I decided to buy an extra large dog crate to accommodate her during the 12 days of recovery until sutures come out and she can conelessly jump til her heart is content. Once out of her carrier, she promptly started writhing to try to get the cone off. We were given permission to remove it for meals, so we did. She ate, peed and paced the bathroom until the crate was ready for her. Then, she paced and paced and shoved her face and paws through the openings of the crate to try to get out. She calmed down a bit when I crawled in with her (yep, that’s what I did). But, during that whole time, I was battling to keep her from chewing her stitches out, since she could reach them without three cone on. It was becoming obvious that if we were to get any sleep, she would need the cone on.
On went the cone, and she got irritated, growling and wiggling. She calmed down a bit and let my honey pet her head through the cage, but after a few minutes, the pacing and wriggling continued. We decided she might like having one of us sleep close to the cage, so we put together a makeshift bed so my head could be close to hers. It wasn’t ten minutes later that she began writhing again, only this time, manically. I could see a couple dribbles of blood on her blanket. I thought “oh no, I had better check to see what she has done, as I crawled into her cage to check, it happened. I am not sure what she did, but in the blink of an eye, the cone was off, she was in the corner growling and my leg was covered in blood. Hers, not mine.
I freaked, picturing a gaping hole had opened up in her belly. I ran and got my honey, called the emergency vets to tell them we were coming in and the circumstances, and then as gently, but firmly as possible scooped her into her carrier and we were off. My adrenaline was rushing, legs shaking and I was sobbing all the way there. The vets were amazing. They spoke calmly, whispered to Spanky, and examined her. She had not opened her belly. They think there was a blood pocket she opened with writhing, but they would keep her overnight for us and clean her up a bit.
My honey was so good to me. As we left, he cradled me in his arms while I sobbed and he prayed for me and her until I was calmer, right on the sidewalk outside the clinic. Then it was home to clean up, take some aconite for the trauma, and try to sleep.
Six am came too soon, and I was out the door by 7:10 to pick her up and take her back to the normal vet for medical boarding. They had had to sedate her that night to re-cone her, and they took the opportunity to clean her up, and add two stitches to two gaps. She was fine for them when she woke with the cone. No writhing, no whirling, calm. I attribute this to the familiarity factor. It is similar to children who visit friends or grandparents and are angels, when they give their parents heck. Probably because they know what to expect at home, but elsewhere they don’t, so they adjust their behavior accordingly.
This is what I texted to close friends to update them on her condition. Headlines: Last night a local cat won the big prize! Spanky won a twelve day, all expense paid trip to Le Chateau de Veteranarian! Her stay will include all meals and medication, along with pacing a cage in with a cone on her neck.
She is fine, and should recover fine. I hate knowing she is in a cage, but I can’t have her bleeding all over the house, and I can’t stay awake all night to make sure she doesn’t chew the stitches out without a cone on. She is our baby. And she owes us at least another five years for this ordeal.