He is sitting at my feet now, enjoying the forced convalescence courtesy of surgery. But it was a different cat entirely that just over a week ago prodded us into action. A cat that gingerly made his way through my front door, meowing sorrowfully, as he held a paw aloft.
I had recently pulled ticks out of him. Thinking that it was another one of these small, but deadly, pests that come alive in the Australian bush at this time of year, I checked the little fella over. No blood-sucking, paralysis-inducing ticks were found anywhere. That’s a mystery? One that disturbed me with increasing intensity over the following few days.
At this point my four year olds maternal instincts kicked in. She wanted to comfort the cat who was in obvious pain. He would hobble away as quickly as he could to find a spot to hide. Four-year-old girl cuddles are more like WWE wrestler bear hugs. Not good if you are a cat with a sore leg.
Two days without improvement was enough. I can’t stand to see animals in pain, and a teary four year old daughter can be even more unbearable. My wife and I resolved to have a vet look at him. It was the cat’s lucky day. Well sort of!
Happily, the veterinary nurse had a diagnosis in minutes. That could be good news or bad news. My legs almost buckled, and I sweated bullets whilst the veterinary nurse told us the good news, bad news and just plain ugly news.
I had visions of having to sell everything we own to pay the vet bill for a cat with a steel implant. Or worse, having to explain to an already emotional four year old girl why her beloved furry friend needed a ‘long’ sleep’. That.was not on!! Back to nightmares about slavery to bankers after the vets were finished with me.
My worst fears were unwarranted. The cat would be need surgery to lance and drain an abscess that was most likely from fighting with another cat. In what might serve as a worrying portent of my own future, my wife asked what neutering would cost. So the cat got more than he bargained.
I really felt for the little fella as he has dealt with recovery. The panicky, mournful meows have started to become less frequent. He can now walk properly. Four-year-old-girl cuddles have become more bearable for him, and the whole experience has reinforced how important pets are in young kids lives.