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Casualty of warring felines

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Previously ………

The starting point: Vol. 1 — Every thought is with the kid

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

—  Vol. 2  —

Early Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011


I hate to say it, never trust any doctor, vet or otherwise. I research everything and I’m dumbfounded how little some of them know.

I suspect, as you do, that it was another cat. Casualty of warring felines. Time to send out reconnaissance … payback.

He’s a big fucker, psychotic. Bibby runs away when she sees him and I don’t blame her, she needs a solid head start. She knows her limitations and has no shame in it. Jackson stands up to him and will protect the others but he’s all growl. Bert Lahr on all fours; usually our first line of defense, which worries me.

I’ve had run-ins with this thing. Turn the corner, suddenly I’m in the O.K. Corral. Tabby: husky, huge paws, looks like Jackson but add five pounds. Bi-polar, howls at you constantly. Always showing teeth, fearless. He motions towards you and you’re not sure if he’s about to charge or he wants a belly rub. Makes like he’s coy while he’s plotting your demise. “Come closer so we can play,” and like that, he’s Chucky.

Carlisle’s problem (if you’d call it that), he’s too trusting. Young, pure and naive but starting to figure things out. He’d probably approach that nasty thing, lured into thinking they could be buds.

He’s doing better. We saw him Saturday and the tail’s moving great, wagging for the first time in a while. Hung with him in a small room so he could roam around. He couldn’t get close enough, so we sat on the floor. Literally climbing all over us, purring as loud as ever. He’s like a subwoofer.

Still rocking the cone, he walks over to Jules and sits on her lap. At one point, he re-adjusts slightly and the friction scuffs the wound against her jeans. He screamed in a way that told you everything you needed to know about the pain associated with this — and may continue for weeks, months. Doctors can’t touch the bandage without putting him under and, yeah, no kidding. I can see that.

They plan to get a surgeon’s opinion tomorrow but again said he looked good and he’d probably keep the tail. Hopefully that cuts the size of the bill and buys Carlisle more credit. My limit is $3000 per cat, which is the amount a vet will try to soak you for when your pet is in the process of dying. They run all sorts of inconclusive tests when they know there’s nothing they can do to cure cancer or whatever it is that’s naturally ending your cat’s long life. They see animals with these same symptoms every day but somehow blank when it comes to yours. So they test. After $3000, they know you’re on to them and won’t pay anymore.

Bibby is at $2998 and well aware of it. She knows to be careful. Teeth extraction (stomatitis), sneezing blood (pancreatitis, paid $350 for a test that would determine exactly what caused it. Surprise — inconclusive), torn ACL — it adds up fast. She’s the feline Greg Oden, except more valuable to the team.

Jackson? Up until he started pissing in the bathroom sink, only the cost of food. I love that guy, except when I want to wash up or brush my teeth. Now he’s up to $65 and I’ll be damned if Bibby thinks that leaves her $2935 of wiggle room.

When I took Carlisle to Banfield on Tuesday and they suggested X-rays, the nurse left the room. I gently stroked him on the head and whispered, “you’re gonna be an expensive date, aren’t ya?” Had no idea about the exploding tail.

It’s always one of them. Hattrick barely $500 over 15 years and that included shots. Tough guy McSorley $6,000 easy. Titanium leg, catheters, hospital stays … I would’ve been better off buying a thoroughbred.

Jackson, well, at least it’s the sink. You can keep them inside but they’re animals, it’s what they do.

I go East German on them: give them each one treat every 20 minutes so they don’t stray far. Treat them like Americans — many treats in one sitting — I’ll never see them again. Not a chance I let them out at night. Bibby and Jackson have snuck out a few times and in the darkness both promptly lose their minds. They don’t recognize me anymore, it turns into an episode of “Cops.” I hover above with a flashlight, chasing a perp who’s shirtless and, in this case, has matching pants.

The Dude, turns out, has cystitis, inflammation of the bladder. Closed the door to eliminate the sink as an option, added a second litter box and broke his mind of believing he’s in college and we’re renting. It’s compounded by stress. Carlisle has upended everything about Jackson’s routine.

Glad it’s the sink, could be worse. Got him to use the new box, opened the bathroom door after a few weeks and he stopped doing it. Sweet! Kittens arrive, he’s all worked up about it and here we go again. Not every time, but still …

Blockage from a UTI can cause kidney failure in 36 hours — one moment all is fine, next the cat is on the floor. It’s not like they can discuss the pain. I took Jackson in, Dr. Lansing (our regular doctor) — she loves Carlisle. The kid’s a chick magnet, you have to see him in action. It’s amazing. I’ve never seen a doctor pick up the patient, hug him and plant a kiss on his forehead. Bibby never gets that, she hides in the cat cage. Jackson growls, it’s night and day.

Even at the vet, he radiates charm. Dr. Lansing connected with him, she’s usually bummed to see Carlisle go. Tuesday was one of the rare days she wasn’t there.

With Jackson, he tested very low for bacteria and crystals. Dr. Lansing gives him both the anti-inflammatory and antibiotic, JUST TO MAKE SURE. She said it wasn’t a worry at his age but something to be concerned about — it was BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. She later suggests an over-the-counter remedy and puts together pages of info for me to pick up the next day.

Not a single doubt, I bring Carlisle in on a different day, he’s healthy, playing somewhere in the house right now and not at the hospital — because Dr. Lansing was there and knew what to do.

Monday, Oct. 10, 2011 — just after midnight …

My head is filled with images of the four kittens. I just finished a 30-page photo book online, I got a deal in June but kept putting off actually doing the damn thing. It expired Sunday — I thought just the Groupon part did. Nope. Need to complete the book and then use the code. I took over a thousand pictures of the kittens. Went through them all, found the best and organized them in a way that surprisingly doesn’t look like I slammed it together at the last minute. Finished at 11:45 pm and checked out with seven minutes to spare.

Stella is the only one still at the shelter. She’s one of the two originals who showed up and if not for them, we never would have found Carlisle. I always worried about her. She’s small and needed her bro. I had hoped they went as a pair but what are you gonna do?

We saw Carlisle a few hours ago, they said he could be bandaged for weeks. We were in the grief room, I didn’t realize it yesterday. Tissue boxes, pamphlets, a selection of urns. I told Jules we shouldn’t be in there but it’s the only private area that gives him room to move. He looks good, a lot healthier, tail wagging freely for the first time in a while. Getting rid of the infection that’s been in his system for over a week, it must be rejuvenating to feel good again.

The pain’s still there. He yelped at one point and glared at me like I pulled his tail or something. Wasn’t me, I don’t know what happened but this will not be easy.

One doctor didn’t think there’d be enough skin to grab onto in terms of stitching it back together, she leaned towards having it scab over (which would take months) or maybe he loses the tail. They’ll make the determination later this morning. I don’t know …

To be continued (link below)

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

Next episode: Vol. 3 — And Bibby didn’t come home

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

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