The Sisterhood is a place to bring your cup of coffee to. Heck, bring the whole pot :). Sit down, relax, and fall in for a while. No divas or meanies allowed. It's about boy brain, kiddos, food, one crazy labrador, autism and a cat in recovery from a back tire incident. Oh the places you'll go :)

The Horrible Scrat Day-Part Two…

on September 25, 2012

Scrat had been a member of our family for about a year before the tire incident.  He was from a litter of mountain cats a friend had been given and I didn’t know it at the time, but that would later explain a lot of his quirks.  He was the only cat I’d ever known who could open doors.  He would use his paws and claws to grip and pull the door open if he wanted out of a room.  He would come to my bathroom to use his litter box and if he finished before I did, he’d let himself out.  He would wait at the shower door while I showered and once, when I heard some bizarre sounds coming from my bathroom, I opened the door just in time to see him jump up over the top of the shower door and down onto the tile floor.  The amazing part is the opening at the top of the shower door is only about eight inches.  Looking back, I think the odd sounds I heard were his missed attempts at exiting the shower.  He will crawl under covers, into cabinets and he clearly thought my dining room table was his bed.  He even, after it was established that the lab was not cat-adverse, would crawl on top of the lab’s head and begin to cat attack the red girl with neck biting.  Our lab never cared, she has so much hair the cat would be hard pressed to find skin.

So, we headed to the ER with our quirky and damaged kitty after the tire incident,  with my friend, his daughter, and my daughter in tow.  It was not a fun trip.  I could still feel my adrenaline bubbling.  Once we got into the vet ER and I confessed my sin to the counter person, I got a little nervous about what the outcome of the trip might be.  What if I had to put Scrat down?  I have a very calm and comforting guy with me who would be a great asset…and two  fifteen year old girls who, with emotions high and kittens cute, would be anything but helpful in a moment of hard choice.  Little girls should not be privy to such  things.  Despite my want to keep the friend with me to help with tough choices, I sent them all away to find some lunch and told them I’d call when I knew more.

The craziest thing I can remember happening was getting into the room with the doctor and the doctor being bumfuzzled that the cat would not stop purring.  PURRING.  The cat is smushed and hurt and broken and yet, being the crazy-wonderful-quirky mountain cat that he is…he is PURRING.  The vet actually had to soak some gauze in alcohol and put it on the table beneath his nose to get him to quiet himself.  And, being the vet that he is, it worked.  I was kind of wowed by that trick.

At this point, all the nice vet can say is we won’t know much until we take some x-rays.  This is the point in the appointment, at least at the ER, when they get the money issues out in the open and bring you the “estimate” before they actually do anything.  Oh yeah, it was harsh.  The estimate they put together, before they rendered services, was 1500 dollars!  This is before any surgeries he might need in case his pelvis is crushed…as happens with tire incidents.  Oy Vey.  So, this is when the single mom’s world crashes hard.  There are not that many dollars set aside for cat care in my budget.  There just aren’t.  It’s not going to happen.  If you are that person who has that sort of money to spend on the animals…bless you.  I, unfortunately, do not.  As my world is crashing, I ask the nice vet if putting my Scat down is my only option.

I had not cried before this point.  I was still running on adrenaline.  But I have had to put an animal down once before and it is not something I ever want to have to do again.  It was truly, before the Scrat tire incident, right up there as the worst day of my life.  So, in my tears, I ask the vet, what are my options?  He, being the seasoned vet who has been in these shoes many times, says we can break it down and go step by step.  It will be 250 for drugs and x-rays.  When I ask what the other 1250.00 is for, he tells me that is for fluids and observation over night.  I can clearly cut that bill down, I think to myself, because for 1250.00 I can set up a hospital room in my bathroom and give him fluids myself.  We agree to start with x-rays and see just how extensive the damage is inside of him because, truly, that is what will force some of the choices that need to be made.

I won’t make you wait as long as I had to for the results to come back.  The tail was clearly pulled away from the spine and paralyzed but a cat can function just fine without a tail.  I was good with that…best case scenario for that.  The x-ray did NOT show a crushed pelvis but it did show a dark spot between the hip and the pelvis and where Scrat’s hip should have attached to the pelvic bone …his did not appear to be intact.   But, that as well, was heal-able.  The question would then remain, how he personally would recover.  It would also, as his tail did or did not regain feeling, affect the pooping and peeing department since the nerves from the tail also traveled farther down and pulled double duty.

So, the vet and I agreed… he would give Scrat pain meds and I would take Scrat home and I would be in charge of observation and fluids.  I called my friend and the girls and we took Scrat home.  Within a few weeks, with care, fluids and pain meds, we would be able to better determine whether he would recover and heal or if he would not.  I did not want to jump the gun.  The vet said it would come down to a quality of life issue for Scrat.

For the next two weeks my bathroom was his recovery room.  We washed him and the floors multiple times a day.  Scrat got pretty good at enduring soft showers and he tolerated his medicine.  We kept the litter box in the bathroom and the darn cat insisted on dragging himself in and out of it (along with half the litter, LOL…clean up was always an adventure) even when his body didn’t quite work right.

At two weeks his recovery seemed stalled.  My daughter was going away to camp and I really believed at the end of that week, before she came home, I would have to do the unthinkable and put Scrat down.  It didn’t look promising at all.

Around the three week mark,  the Scrat-Cat started to open the bathroom door and escape his recovery room.  That is when we started bringing him outside to the patio during the day so he could walk around more and get some fresh air.  His friend, the red girl, was even gentle and kind with him and they co-existed and I think the red girl knew something wasn’t right.  The next day when I went out to see Scrat, I couldn’t find him.  I panicked.  I called him and I could hear a faint meow so I went looking.  In a few minutes, I could hear the meow above me and ,when I looked up, I was shocked to find Scrat on the ROOF!  A cat who could get on the roof seemed to be doing pretty darn well in my book.

He is not perfect these days.  His tail is still attached but it just hangs and his legs are a little less perfect as well.  He runs, jumps and is back to attacking the dog but I can tell his hips are a little off and his back is bonier than before but, for us, it works.  He does not smell up his kennel quite as much as before at night when he sleeps inside so I think some sort of nerve regeneration must be taking place.   Not perfect…but it works for us.

This morning I heard a cat fight and ran to our front door.  There was my Scratty-Catty watching as a neighborhood cat ran away from our yard.  He is not perfect but he is happy and we are so fortunate that he is still part of our family.  Our crazy mountain born cat that has the kind of genes that defy explanation.   He is our little miracle, he is still quirky and nutty and even a bit wobbly but we are so thankful.  It’s like I tell my kids: He may not be perfect and he is a little banged up…but he’s alive and that’s a blessing to us all.


2 responses to “The Horrible Scrat Day-Part Two…

  1. theblumenartgallery says:

    I’m so relieved. I was pulling for Scrat.

    • Thank you!!! It has been sooo touch and go with Scrat. And, really, until we let him outside so he could really run and jump and play, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. My daughter brought him over to say goodnight to me before she put him in his kennel for the night and I have to say he is more affectionate and loving than he has ever been. He is just such a love and I am so thankful we still have him!! I am glad we didn’t “jump the gun” and make a rash decision early on. Waiting has been very good for Scrat!

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