Yesterday afternoon, we heard a crash in the basement, followed shortly thereafter by two darting cats. We figured they’d been startled – nothing unusual – and that was that…although Rose noted Oranj was carrying his tail unusually, but figured that was simply part of his being temporarily freaked out by the big loud banging sound.
A little later, though, we noticed little red droplets scattered about the house. At first we didn’t know what they were – they didn’t really look like blood, being lighter-colored – but once we determined they were, we examined our cats, and found that Oranj had bits of blood matting part of his tail. He’s very furry, and his tail therefore is very hard to examine, but after gingerly looking at it, at one point he started yowling painfully and fearfully. We’d thought it was just a small cut – but that clued us in to the likelihood that it was something worse.
So we went off to the vet (of course, this was the weekend, so we had to go to the emergency vet…and of course, it decided to start snowing again, so traffic was slow and the roads were slippery…). After some examination, a sedative, and some tail-shaving and bandage-applying, the vet told us that the damage was deep enough that the end of the tail would have to go.
The worst part about it was knowing he was in great pain and that we couldn’t do anything about it. Anyway, the surgery was scheduled for the middle of the night, and the vet said she’d call us when things got underway and when they were finished. We slept fitfully, of course – with the phone right next to the bed – but the calls when they came were all good news so far: no negative reactions to anaesthetic, good results from the surgery, etc.
The vet called this morning to tell us we could pick him up early this afternoon. He was, of course, groggy and weak from the surgery and anaesthetic, but seemed otherwise fine and very glad to see us and to get home. He’s in a period of quiet recovery right now: we’ve isolated him in the library with a mattress, a litterbox full of shredded paper, and some food and water (and, most of the time, Rose), so he can recover w/o being bothered by his lively brother, Lumen. (The vet said it was best to keep them apart for a while so Lumen wouldn’t “groom” the bandages off or sutures out.)
He’s got a time-release anti-pain patch, and a floppy collar to prevent him from getting at his wounds or the bandages. The bandages come off in a while, and the sutures come out in about 10 days. He’s still got about 4″ of tail, but he’ll still need to adjust his balance for running and leaping a bit…but fortunately, he was never much of a leaper, and we think he’ll be pretty resilient.
Lumen’s slightly confused – he knows his brother’s home, but he’s not sure why he can’t see Oranj or why Oranj smells funny (antiseptic, etc.). But I’m sure they’ll deal with it.
So all things considered, this isn’t as bad as it could have been. It’s still kind of a freaky accident – and I’m still sorta processing the progression from “small cut” to “oh, a couple of stitches” to losing half of his tail. But we think he’ll be fine, and we feel much better now that he’s home and doing well so far.
Probably not the best birthday present ever…but seeing Oranj home the next day and doing well, that pretty much qualifies.