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Lost kittens find their way home

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Every thought is with the kid

—  Vol. 1  —

Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011

Started writing this last night but hit a wall, woke up on the couch and the game was over. The one game I wanted to see all week — picked it up bottom of the 7th, fell asleep in the 8th with runners on base. Game 5, playoffs. It was a good game too, what I saw, I was totally into it … Zonk.

Now I’ve got an hour before Jules gets home. Headed back to the hospital to see Carlisle. At one point yesterday, I started to mentally whine about the day it had been but stopped myself before the thought could finish. My ass isn’t bandaged and I’m not being pumped with fluids.

Long story short, Carlisle may lose his tail. He’ll be at the hospital for almost a week. He had an infection, assume from a bite — another cat, possibly Jackson (they play, at some point the Dude has had enough. Carlisle’s a kitten, he can do that all day). It wasn’t Bibby, no teeth. Neighborhood cat, maybe, who knows? He didn’t eat one night and that was a huge alarm, the kid can chow. They said he probably fell on his tailbone, at first they thought his tail was pulled — this is Banfield Pet Hospital. Doctor said it was a bone bruise.

Swelling above where the tail starts, he’d bark if you touched him there. X-rays were negative and $158, thank you. Gave him an anti-inflammatory shot and painkillers, this was Tuesday. Better Wednesday and Thursday morning but by evening, more pain than ever. He was licking the underside of his tail — right near all the business — so much, I had to put the cone on him so he’d leave it alone.


Gave him the last painkiller. You couldn’t touch him, he was obviously hurting and it didn’t make sense that a bone bruise was getting worse. First thing in the morning, I was taking him in. Had no idea we didn’t have time.

At 4 am, Carlisle wakes up Jules, walks over and nudges her. She tries to make him comfortable, put him back to sleep. The abscess bursts.

I’m in the spare room, I wanted give the kid as much room on the bed as he needed. I happen to wake up about a minute before all this happens, suddenly wide awake. Jules screams and I fly down the stairs.

Talk about stink. Blood, nastiness. Poor guy isn’t even six months old. It took a lot to hold it together. We’re freaked out, we don’t know what’s going on. The other cats could sense something was horribly wrong.

Rushed him to emergency, he’s sedated because otherwise they couldn’t get a look. They shave part of the area and call me in. The bottom portion of the base of his tail essentially exploded — the exact spot he was licking earlier. Had it been raised or swollen, I would have taken him in then. Turned out it was the spot of least resistance, the pressure couldn’t expand up due to the spine.

Pain one can only imagine. Hole an inch wide, inch & 1/2 long, tiny strip of skin left down the middle. Problem, it’s maybe a 1/4-inch above his rectum — the wound naturally falls where you don’t want it, extremely easy to infect.

They shot him up with antibiotics. Anywhere else on the body, like his shoulder, they patch him up and he comes home with me. The plan is to kill the infection and keep him clean; see how the remaining skin is growing back; determine if they have enough to stitch it up; and by Monday, a decision. The wound needs to be cleansed and re-bandaged constantly and — $1000 later — it all depends how fast he heals. But they may need to remove the tail. Doctor wasn’t too optimistic.

Then when I left, my battery was dead. No clue what drained it. I may have left a door open in my rush to get him checked. Called AAA, an extra from “Sling Blade” arrived, jumped it and I made it home before he had a chance to put mustard on my biscuits. Tried the car later, battery was dead again.

Maybe four hours sleep, spent five hours getting the battery replaced. Come back home, finally able to take a breath and the house feels empty without him here.

It sounds horrific. I am so sorry. I could’ve taken care of Big Car were I there. I’m not a vet, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn. Why do I think $1000 is only the start? Blood-sucking vets.

Timba got clipped by a bear a month ago. Huge gash that obviously needed stitches. I got three different antibiotics, iodine and hockey tape. Five days I worked to keep it clean, it heeled finally.

Sadly, he went rabid and ate the children. Well, you win some and lose some, right? Actually, he’s good. Betadine and hockey tape is my recommendation.

Hang in there, let me know how Big Car rebounds.

There’d be no home patch, you could see bone. They cleaned and bandaged but must do it at least once a day and sedate him every time because it’s so damn painful. It’s raw flesh. We saw him last night — they shaved his front legs to insert the fluids, it looks like he’s wearing Uggs — a little woozy but snapped out of it when he saw us and just poured on the motor.

The doctor was confident he’d be able to keep the tail, he’s already showing improvement. It’s too soon to know for sure but that would be great, not only because losing it will effect his balance but Carlisle digs his tail. He plays with it all the time, it’s his thing. Such a sweet kid. When all four kittens were here, he’d be calm and able to keep his composure while the others played, until a tail came his way. He couldn’t stand it, had to get involved. That mellow/playful thing is one of the reasons we chose him.

Jules was asking why Banfield didn’t give him an antibiotic shot, simply as a precaution. I don’t know. They said he didn’t have a fever.

We were giving him an opiate of some kind (“bupre” something,” ends with “orphine,” so you know it’s good). It only needs to touch the inside of his mouth, he could spit it out and it still doses him. One of the strongest painkillers available, yet he’s yelping if you touch the area and growling right before his tail burst. Can’t imagine the pain he was fighting through, even with the drugs.

He didn’t deserve this and it didn’t need to happen. Most likely, another vet — hell, even another doctor at Banfield. This wasn’t our usual doctor — gives him an antibiotic and we’re not talking about this right now.

I told Jules your line about Timba eating the children and she laughed. She said to thank you because she needed that.

What a terrible ordeal. How awful your regular doc wasn’t there. Maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference but to wonder if it would must be excruciating.

This doctor looked for a bite or scratch but she couldn’t find anything. Turns out, you’d have to shave him and even then wouldn’t necessarily find a puncture wound. On the X-rays, you could see the spine raise in that spot and I asked the doctor what was pushing it up. She said it was the bruise. Beneath the spine? She said yes. I didn’t understand how it was possible but I went with the diagnosis. After all, she’s the doctor.

Later that night …

I called the shelter where we took the other kittens. The woman who runs it (not a vet but 30+ years with cats and has seen everything) correctly diagnosed him before I could finish my sentence. She asked, “was it an infection? Did it abscess?” You’ve got to be kidding me.

She explained, cats get bitten on the paws while protecting themselves and the butt when they flee. Likely a neighborhood cat. Cats in the same household may bite but usually as a warning, they won’t break skin, she said. They couldn’t find a bite mark because it likely healed, creating the abscess and trapping the infection. The doctor doesn’t know any of this?

I assume he needs more pain meds, I don’t know it’s a fucking infection. Had we known it was a possibility, we would have reacted — I would have taken him in Thursday. Instead, we thought he was in a lot of pain from the “bruise.”

All she needs to do is give him the antibiotic, just to be safe. Treat him for both or tell me if it doesn’t get better by X amount of time, bring him back and we’ll treat for Plan B — let me know what we’re working with. This doctor was stuck on Plan A, it had to be bone-related, even though X-rays were negative.

She essentially treated for the least dangerous of the two possibilities, which is mindless. Then she doesn’t stress the threat that the other option is capable of, especially in an area so vital to bodily function. It’s beyond careless, it defies logic.

To be continued (link below)

ARCHIVES: Follow Lost kittens find their way home. Updates to follow.

Next chapter: Vol. 2 — Casualty of warring felines

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© 2011 – 2014, Soapy Johnson. All rights reserved.

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