Cat carers usually trust their vet as they believe that they know better and they will do what is the best and suitable for their cat. But unfortunately this is not always the case. In many cases vets simply don't care, as for them your cat is one of the many animals they treat and if they get it wrong is not the end of the world! You can always replace him/her with another pet, it is only after all a pet..... These kinds of vets, and I'm not say here that all vets are the same, and hopefully these mentioned here are only the minority, do not really care for the animals they treat or they do not seem to have the passion that a vet needs to be able to do his/her job as he/she should. Vets that they are working in a place for only a few months and then they move to another place or even country are the worse people to treat your pet because they now that then next time you will visit they won't be there and of course they do not get the opportunity to somehow get to know and become familiar with the pets they are treating, particularly for these pets that they need to be treated regularly because of perhaps a chronic illness, etc.
Unfortunately my personal experience and the experiences of quite a few of cat carers I met due to behavioural issues have not being the best to restore my faith in the capabilities and knowledge of pet physiology and psychology in vets. We've lost three cats, the latest one being the one I was really attached to and whose loss was and still is a big shock and caused me a lot of distress, and all the three deaths were the result of either misdiagnosis or mistreatment of the cat.
So as you understand having to deal with vets again for the latest accident with Ripley's tail brought back stressful memories and for me reasonable doubt to everything that the vet said and done. I wanted to do the best I could for my cat but at the same time I wasn't sure that the vet did, especially when I've originally received conflicting opinions on how to first treat the damaged part of the tail (do, don't do...). But when we took her to the vets and we saw that there were quite a few there and we were asked to see one and then another performed the operation and somebody else informed us on the treatment and what was left for us to do I started to feel worried and very uncomfortable with the whole situation...
But as I said I simply wanted to treat the injured tail and do whatever was required to prevent further problems with the injury and of course to take her home as soon as possible as the whole experience was a very traumatic for her and had caused her a lot of stress and of course pain. So I accepted the idea that she will need to lose part of the tail as it was really damaged (this is the point that I gave a really really nasty look to my partner again as this was all of his fault as he was careless and closed the door without checking whether there was a cat near by and as result damaged Ripley's tail and made it necessary to have to see a vet), that she would also have to wear that very uncomfortable Elizabethan collar for a week so she couldn't get to her tail's stitches and therefore allowed the wound to close up quickly. But of course I didn't like the idea of her wearing something that looked so uncomfortable and make it very difficult for her to eat (a very messy busy business and also made it impossible for her to eat her favourite food, pate flavoured meat or fish as the pate would got stuck in the collar and she will have to carry food that she couldn't even reach with her 'hood' along) and even getting biscuits from a very wide bowl was extremely difficult for her to do as well as drinking too and let's not discuss how difficult she found it to move around as she was constantly bumping into furniture and miscalculating distances and of course she couldn't sleep properly as she couldn't curl up as she will normally do. The whole situation was very unpleasant and stressful for her and the other cats too who saw her as a strange outside creature and kept their distances from her and as a result she spent most of her time under the bed hiding and only coming out occasionally to try to eat and for us to scratch her neck and other areas which she couldn't get to on her own, while she was wearing that silly collar. But I thought, what the hell, it is only for a week and it is for her own good!.
But what is the f****** point of putting an uncomfortable collar to a cat for an injury that she can get to it with or without the collar? The tail is after all an easy place that cats can get to it and lick it particularly when that area has being shaved and there are stitches hanging from the end area, they only have to turn around and to start licking without being stopped by that stupid collar. Do the vets really think before they recommend solutions to such problems? It would have made some sort of sense if the wound was next to the head or neck area so she can't get to them to lick or an area in the face so she can't scratch it, although cats are pretty clever, intelligent and they can always figure out ways of doing things. But putting a silly collar on a cat and stressing her more than she has to it it is a rather careless and unprofessional method of treatment from the vet's part.
So when we phoned the vet again, now worrying that she will manage to get the stitches off before the wound has the time to heal properly, what do you think that our 'professional' vet did suggest? He told us that we should take her to our local branch (the one that opens strange hours) on Monday and having a new and bigger collar fitted so it could stop Ripley from getting to her stitches. Of course the thing that our clever vet didn't think of is that a bigger 'hood' will also mean more discomfort for the cat who she won't then be able to get to her food or drink at all or she would be able to move through furniture, as she has already problems with eating, drinking and moving and let's not forget the inconvenience of being unable to lick and scratch herself, and every time she is trying to lick herself with her tongue she ends up licking the surface of the hood instead.
A bigger collar will not solve the problem, it will simply make it worse as the cat will be more stressed, unable to eat, drink , move and sleep and the healing process will take longer as the cat will be more stressed and of course it is also possible that during this period that she might get dehydrated and malnourished which won't help the healing process at all. And of course we should not forget the other two cats and particularly Sheng Chi who has freaked out with Ripley's appearance and she hasn't come upstairs since the day Ripley came back from the vet's with her new 'garment'.
So taking Ripley to vet's so soon to put another bigger collar was definitely out of the question and the only thing we could do was to keep on the one she was already wearing (although I was very much tempted to take it off but my partner said that we should keep it on even if it wasn't doing its job as well as it was supposed to do) and to try to distract her and stop her when we saw her licking the end of the tail with stitches, creating a bad association with licking the tail will stop her from wanting to lick as she will then consider the action as not rewarding. But of course as many cat owners would know things not always going according to plan when you are dealing with cats because cats have their opinion and mind when it comes to what they should and shouldn't do....(to be continued).