So the cat came home in a soft e-collar. The vet said he looked like a little flower in it because it was a blue collar. He looked like an amateur groomer had gotten a hold of him. His whole belly was shaved and he had 24 staples! My sister and I started calling him Frankenkitten because of the staples. They had also shaved parts of both of his front legs for the IVs. But what really had us wondering was why the shaved the back and part of the side of his tail? My best guess is that maybe they tape the tail down during surgery?? Here is a picture of him when he came home.
He was put on the following meds:
1. Clavamox – antibiotic
2. Tramadol – pain med
3. Pepcid AC – antacid – Yes, we were sent to the pharmacy to pick up Pepcid for our cat – then had to divide the pills into 8ths so we wouldn't OD him.
I had never heard of Tramadol before, but a few days later I was reading some messages from an Endo listserv and realized that the women who have really bad endo pain are prescribed Tramadol! Wow – that is some powerful stuff. Herbie only got ¼ of a pill, but he got it 2-3 times per day!
The cat was definitely stoned all week. His eyes were constantly dilated all week! The first night we brought him home, he was walking like a drunk. Anytime we pet him, he would just fall over on his side. But you never saw anyone so happy to be alive. He purred the entire first night he was home and after that, he still purred anytime we would pet him. And of course he slept a lot, even for a cat. I kept checking him to make sure he was still breathing – it freaked me out to have to tie that collar around his neck – I was always scared I might get it too tight and he wouldn't be able to breath.
Another thing we learned last week is that if your cat is constipated, feed him pumpkin. The vet said cats love it. We decided to go ahead and feed him some preemptively and he really did gobble it up! One of the cutest things I think I saw all week was one night looking in the kitchen and seeing my husband standing in front of the toaster oven. He had put Herbie's food and pumpkin on top of the oven and was heating it up for him!
So in the week following the surgery, we had to take him to the vet three times.
1st Visit: The second night we had him home he got the collar off and pulled out 4 staples and got his incision open a bit. The next morning I brought him into the vet. Instead of re-stapling him, they just glued his incision back together. Apparently they were a little haphazard with the glue and dropped some on his lower belly. When I got him home and out of his cage, I realized that his tail was glued to his stomach! He could have cared less – he was just laying on his back purring. I got out the scissors to cut his tail from his belly and after that he had a tuft of fur glued to his stomach! The vet recommended we keep him in our room at night so we could hear if he was pulling his collar off. So for the rest of the week, we got a taste of what it is like to have a newborn in the house. We were up about every two hours because he was either trying to pull his collar off, or rolling around, or trying to groom himself but instead all he could do was lick his e-collar with that sandpaper tongue.
2nd Visit: I came home at lunch every day to check on the cat. I felt like Angela from The Office going home to check on my sick cat and give him medicine! The day after our first vet visit, I noticed that he had a protrusion around the area where he had pulled out his staples. So I called the vet and got another appointment for that evening. It wasn't anything serious – apparently sometimes when air gets into the body from a wound like that, the pocket of air will get filled up with some fluid and that makes the protrusion – a "seroma." In addition to all his meds, we were told to give him warm compresses 2-3 times a day on the seroma. Have you ever tried to put warm compresses on a cat? Not too easy. It wasn't too bad if he was knocked out from his meds, but if he was more alert, it was definitely difficult to get him to sit still for very long! We had also noticed that his sides had gotten red, we thought from him scratching, but our vet thought it was probably razor burn!
3rd Visit – Two days later we were back again. The cat had gotten his collar off once again and this time had really gotten into his incision. They had to re-staple him. He also got upgraded to a hard plastic "cone of shame." He wasn't used to the extra clearance he needed when wearing the new collar versus the soft one they originally sent him home in. The rest of the day we would hear him bumping into the sides of doorways, chairs, and walls with the cone.
So instead of having our neighbors take care of the cat during our vacation, which would have been practically free, we decided it would be best to board him. And that is a whole other story…
Here is a video of the cat trying to groom himself. This is what we would wake up to at night. I don't think he even noticed that he wasn't actually licking himself!