Sunday, 30 December 2007

30th December – Accidents happen: Part 2

Apparently damaging part of the tail or limb in this fashion is a rather common accident for many cats and dogs, but unfortunately for Ripley because of the nature of the accident and the severe way the tail was injured an inch and a half of the tail had to be amputated. To perform that simple operation the vet said that he would had to use anaesthetic for the operation, and due to the fact that Ripley is one of those cats that it is almost impossible to give medication in the form of pills he had to give her instead a two's week injection to avoid infection, and of course she will had to have stitches (which they would have to come off in 2 weeks time which of course this will also mean another visit to the vet for the removal but at least this could be done in our local vet, which is only a couple doors away but opens at strange hours and for a very limited period only on week days) and finally and worst of all she would also have to wear an Elizabethan collar for a week.
Unfortunately when such accidents happen (because your partner was careless and didn't check whether there was a cat near by when he tried to close the bath door despite regular warnings about and particular Ripley's habit of following any human when going to the bathroom) the result is discomfort and pain for the cat or human who has the accident but also stress for everybody who lives in the same house (cats and humans), but at least after the wound has being treated, you then know that there is no immediate danger for the health of the cat anymore and you can relax a bit. At least now you know for certain what kind of injury your pet has suffered and what you need to do and how long it will take for your pet to fully recover. Losing a bit of a tail it is quite bad but at least it was only a small part which hopefully will not make a lot of difference to her behaviour. And of course it is also that kind of relief then that also helps us recover pretty quickly from the shock of the bill that the nurse presents you with. A bill of £150 for cutting a bit and shaving a lot of the tail and for a stupid and uncomfortable collar which could have probably made it yourself pretty easily and even made it to look a bit more comfortable and better looking than it is but then again at least your cat is insured and hopefully you'll get some of that money back. The important thing is that your cat has being treated and the injury wasn't that bad as you thought it was or was it?
So after a couple of hours of worrying while the operation is being taking place after all they are cutting off part of your cat's body and she is under anaesthetic, which can be dangerous in some cases, your vet tells you that everything is fine and your cat is ready to be taken back home. She looks a bit dopey but of course this is an expected effect of the medication.
So the journey back is not that bad either as the cat is still asleep and she hasn't realised yet that she is wearing a stupid and uncomfortable collar or that she is missing part of her tail while the rest is being shaved and stitches are hanging where the end of the tail used to be.
Finally you arrive home, you get her out of the basket and you then sign with relief. 'The worst is 'over', you think.
But of course you seem to have forgotten in the mist of worrying and stressing about the other cats who are waiting rather perplexed and a bit freaked out at home that the new appearance of till now familiar and friendly cat, the new smells that she brings with her of medication and strange place and people and of course the missing part of the tail with the stitches, the shaved rest and of course that funny looking and probably smelling collar will definitely freak them out and make them worry of Ripley and at first of you too. So to add to your already built up stress you have also to deal with Ripley's reactions when she finally realises that something is missing, something is different and something has being added to her neck and head.... So the first reaction as it was expected was that of panic when she got of the basket and struggled to stand to her own feet and then she attempted to free herself of what it looked and probably felt like a very uncomfortable neck wear...
Of course it is expected to take some time to get used wearing that horrible collar, to avoid pumping into things and miscalculating distances and spaces where her head now can fit in and of course to eat, drink, move, sleep, use the tray, etc while at the same time I will try to help her adjust with providing wider bowls for feeding and drinking and give her more attention and help her scratch in places where she can't reach any more while at the same time I need to try to help the other two cats realise that she is still the same cat they knew before the vet visit. It is going to be a very stressful week for humans and pets, but at least for now the stress of the day and the effect of the anaesthetic which hasn't worn off yet have helped her to finally go to sleep in her familiar, favourite spot which gives everybody else a feel for normality for a while at least.
(to be continued...)

Saturday, 29 December 2007

29th December - Accidents do happen!!

No matter how much doted and careful cat carers might be by keeping for example our cats your cats indoors to keep them safe and healthy and to avoid serious accidents and illnesses that they can be caused when venturing outside from other pets, humans, cars and wild animals, still not always, seem to be able from preventing some accidents from happening. You might keep your wires hidden, having in the house only cat friendly plants, keep away or locked poisoned substances but even so you can't always avoid some accidents from happening, stupid accidents, like having for example the tip of the cat's tail being caught by the door because you didn't see the cat before you've tried to close the door.
The worst case scenario is when such an accident does occur then you don't seem to really know how bad your cat might have being injured until the moment when you've seen the amount of fur that has come off from the tail or the state of the tip of the tail when you have finally managed to coax your cat to come out from hiding since she has freaked out and she is now terrified of you. Unfortunately cats are very good in hiding till at same cases is really late, any form of pain and physical discomfort that they might be feeling so in some cases you can't tell how much they have being injured or how serious that injury might be and of course vet's emergency calling numbers are not that useful in many cases with their conflicted diagnosis and advice. 'Yes you should put some form of natural antiseptic cream on it and the cat would be fine', or 'Do not put anything, just let her be as the stress will make the bleeding worse, the bleeding will stop eventually'. So you are usually left confused, feeling really guilty because your cat got injured mainly because you were careless and decided to close the bathroom door, while you've already known that cats don't like closed doors and you will always find one where there was a shut door...and worried that your cat is seriously injured and you are not doing anything to actually help her.
So first thing in the morning you ask a closed relative who has a car (and who, poor soul, was working night shift) to take you to the near town before 9 o' clock in the morning as it is Saturday and the vet's only opens between 9 and 10 for emergencies on Saturdays. So you get up early in the morning after you've have spent the entire previous night checking on the cat every half an hour because the tail looked bad and the bleeding didn't really stop and you dig out the cat basket and then you will spend the next hour or so trying to put her in the basket without further stressing her and make the bleeding worse. Of course it doesn't help with the situation the fact that the injured cat is the most timid of the three who doesn't like going outside or even sniffing the air outside when the window is open for that matter, or she likes people and other pets in general. So after an hour of trying to catch her and get her into the basket without causing her too much stress and provoking defensive attacks from the cat and obtaining yourself unnecessary scratches and bites she is finally inside and ready to go to the vet. Of course by now you are worrying sick because she looks that she is in distress as well as in pain, while at the same time you are in pain yourself as well as your hands are now covered in scratches and bites and have turned a red colour, but at least she is in her basket.
At least the journey to the vet's is not that stressful and the cat seems quite relaxed and not as stressed as you thought she will be (of course natural remedies and Feliway have helped too) and even the waiting in the vet's is not as bad despite the consider number of dogs and cats in the waiting room.
Finally you see the vet and the diagnosis is not that good... (to be continued).

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

December 12th – Cat Carers mistakes

It is true that the behaviour of a cat would be at least 50 per cent down to the influences of the environment she grew up and the one she now lives in. A timid born cat if she is living among other pets and people she will eventually become a lot more confident than she would have been if she was living on her own with only one human carer. The same applies to cats that they might have shown traits of exploratory behaviour and were also shown to be in general rather extrovert and although in their home environment they might appear to be brave, curious and in some cases a bit of a bully when strangers are visiting their house or when for an example an opportunity appears for them to explore unfamiliar territory they will quite possibly show an unexpected timid behaviour and they will more likely go into hiding or they will simply refuse to explore. These are behaviours which the cats have learned under their current living environment. But of course these types of cats that they have already the traits of being rather fearless are much easier to train to overcome their fears than cats who are timid by nature as they are going to be rather conscious when it comes to any kind of changes.
Of course fear and weariness of anything new and unfamiliar it is a natural trait for predators small as the cats and vulnerable to other larger and more dangerous ones, a trait which they need if they are to survive. This is why quite often cats that they are rather scared of people and other pets and who spend considerable time outside tend to survive longer than the ones that they are very friendly and trustworthy. In which cases it might be better if the cat is going to spend time outdoors then not to be trained to lose all her fears if possible. A bit of aggression and defensiveness might be required for survival.
As cats are generally weary of changes and other pets invading their territory it isn't also unusual to have regular confrontations with the new member cat and often to take a long time for one cat to get used to another. Cases of cats that they finally learn to tolerate the presences of other cats vary from one month to two years plus. Cats that they grew up in an environment in which only humans were around find it really hard to accept another pet in their territory as quite often have a difficulty to understand the other pet's body language. So while the other cat might be inviting the older cat to play, the older cat then wouldn't find really difficult to understand the younger's cat body language and as a result she will more likely interpret it as an imminent threat and she will then try to defence herself. Those cats that they have not grown up among other cats are more likely to understand better humans' body postures and even human voice tones than other cats. So this is why introductions and acceptances in such cases take a long time, the cat needs not only to protect her territory from a new unknown cat but also to make sense and communicate with that cat, she has to learn more or less a new body language.
Unfortunately in many cases humans seem to run out of patience and to expect things to settle down in a few days and the two cats to become the best of friends in a very short period of time. But of course this doesn't happen with many cats as some cats are more trustworthy, friendlier and have perhaps lived with other cats and have learned the important body language while others are the totally opposite and therefore they will as a result require a longer period to trust and understand.