while in grinnell (part 2): paw problems

( … continuation of previous post)

I came back to visit the cats after being gone for one day and the previous nights and stayed the night there. Yoshi slept in the bed with me as usual, but kept me in a fitful sleep due to the constant noise from him licking his paws. It was unceasing. This was quite concerning and caused me to expect the worst, so as soon as I got up I checked Yoshi’s paws, then dragged Kati out from under the bed and investigated hers as well. Both of them had at least one toe on each foot (only their front claws were removed) that had open wounds. they weren’t bleeding, but I could see the underlying tissue between the separated skin flaps. Most disconcerting was some tooth-enamel-white tissue that looked an awful lot like bone (don’t worry, it wasn’t).

So I called the vet and gave the receptionist/nurse (Are vet-helpers called nurses or do they have a different title?) the story, and they made a time for me to bring them in that afternoon. I had actually thought that Kati’s paws weren’t that bad at the time, but I brought her in anyway just in case.

Turns out that was a good call. They checked Kati first, since she wasn’t behaving as well as the Yosh. As she was scrambling around on my lap, I suddenly noticed small spots of blood on my pants. One of her toes had started bleeding, probably because she was so actively squirming around. The vet took her back, tissue-glued her skin flaps back together, and then wrapped up her legs in bandages so that she would stop messing with them. They did the same with Yoshi. Seeing them with their little legs wrapped in brighly-colored gauze stuff was both pitiful and cute, though neither cat was anything but pissed off about it.

The vet gave me an entire bottle of that honey-drug as well as a bottle of antibiotics. The antibiotics was pink and bubble gum flavored. Now the honey was one thing, but bubble gum? Seriously? This seemed idiotic, a feeling I expressed to the vet (in polite terms). He insisted that most cats liked it. Yeah. Right.

Within five minutes of getting home, Kati had managed to get both of her bandages off. One came off tape and all, while the other left the tape behind, so she ended up with a little arm band. This required cutting the tape into a linear piece, and then slowly peeling it off of her arm while holding the fur with the other hand to keep from pulling all of it out. A lot of it ended up pulled out anyway, though she didn’t seem to care at all. Yoshi took a little longer to get his bandages off (15 minutes!), and for a while had one off and the other half off, hanging from his leg like a sock that had been partially pulled off. He ran around trying to get the thing off, shaking the arm violently in the air. This ended in a hilarious scene, which I wish I had gotten on camera, where Yoshi shook his paw so hard that the bandage went flying across the room, slamming into the wall and falling to the floor. Hilarious.

I called the vet and told them that their bandaging job sucked (but again, in more polite terms). They said something along the lines of, “well, these older cats are just harder to bandage . . .” and told me not to worry about it and to bring them in a few days later as planned.

So I was supposed to dope up the cats with antibiotics twice a day by squirting a mL of the stuff into the back of their mouths. The pain drugs were supposed to be given in 12 cryptic units (the syringe just gave weight, not volume, so one would fill the thing up one unit per pound of animal) once a day. I gave them the pain drugs twice a day instead, with a half dose the second time (I know that’s what I would have wanted). Yoshi was great about the honey stuff, and put up with the bubble gum alright. Kati did not put up with either. Fortunately, the honey was a small enough dose that they couldn’t really keep from swallowing the stuff. The gum, on the other hand, was both disgusting (to the cats) and in a relatively large volume, so dosing them was rather difficult. I felt bad squirting it right down their throas, so I would get it in the back of their mouths and make sure they swallowed all of it. If some dripped out I’d just give them a little more.

This worked well enough for the first four days, but by then Kati was completely done with this game. She stopped swallowing the pink stuff at all, and would just shake her head back and forth to make it all fly out. The stuff made a great stain (the dye is probably used for industrial purposes) so this was a bad thing both medically and asthetically. I ended up having to stop entirely a dose or two short of the suggested treatment length, which seemed okay since her wounds had scabbed over and looked fine.

My Mother reports today (about a week after the second vet visit) that both cats are doing well and are healing up fine. The vet agreed.

So again, if you think you are ever going to need to declaw your cats, get them while they are young! Unless you want to go through the same process I had to go through…

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