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April 11th, 2023

Another Edition Of Bruce Gets His Stomach Tied In Knots…

A few days ago I noticed the calico was having trouble urinating. She would make repeated trips to the litter box I’ve provided and make an attempt but I could tell nothing was coming out. Afterward she would lick her genital area as if there was some irritation going on there. Then I noticed bleeding. So it was time for a trip to the vet, and since she’s a street cat who only comes into my house when it’s cold or she just wants a safe place to hang out for a while, that meant trapping her.

I had to do that once before when she had a wound of some sort on the side of her face that became badly infected, but that was done with the help of animal rescue folks who knew what they were doing, and kept me out of it. Even so, when she finally came back from the vet and they released her into my front yard she instantly darted off and I didn’t see her again for several nerve wracking days. This time it would have to be me, or so I thought. But my new next door neighbor does animal rescue and fostering and she got madam calico into a carrier for me. But then it was where do I take her? She’s feral. No shots since way back when the city caught her and tipped her ear as a notice to animal control that she’d been fixed and leave her alone.

One animal hospital in Cockeysville that was recommended refused to take her, which surprised the rescue people. But one in Towson did. Getting her there meant listening to her cry the entire time and I felt horrible. But it needed doing. Something like that could eventually kill her if it isn’t treated.

They all loved her at the animal hospital. And let it be said she’s a beautiful cat. Everyone remarks on it. One nurse in particular came into the holding room with us with oohs and ahhs…and how much she loved taking care of elderly cats. I had told them he was at least 17, if not 18 years old by now. I have digital photos of her when she first started hunting around my bird feeders from back in 2005. Back then she wouldn’t let me come near. It took me about 16 years to gain enough trust with her that she lets me pet her now, and comes inside when it gets cold, rather than use the shelter I made for her. So when the nurse referred to her as being a geriatric patient, I was a bit stunned to hear that word, but it made sense. I’d noticed her becoming more frail this year. But she was still very active up to then.

I got her back home and all was reasonably well. If the cat was having trouble urinating here at home base she had absolutely none on the doctor’s table, which was good because they were able to get a sample to send to the lab. They examined her as best they could and saw nothing that needed urgent attention. I’m assuming the bleeding I saw that morning was due to her constantly cleaning her genital area. There was none present at the examination and there has been none since. Her vitals were normal for a cat her age. They gave her an injection of antibiotics which is good for a couple weeks and told me to keep an eye on her. They discharged her (us) without need of any further medication. Though they would like a follow up visit in a couple weeks. I don’t know if either one of us is up for that, but one thing at a time.

She went down into my basement and stayed there overnight. I went out for a drink. Self medicating. It didn’t help. She was so listless and wobbly after I got her back that all night long my stomach was in knots worrying about her. I stressed about it so much I began to worry about my heart. I felt my right arm going numb and wondered if it was time to call 911. But it was just the awkward position I’d tossed and turned myself into.

Next morning she came back upstairs. She was drinking plenty of water and now she was urinating without any apparent problem. The outgo was matching the intake. But her aim wasn’t hitting the litter box. She’d put her front paws into the box but left her butt hanging out and my carpet was getting hit. I figured her genital area was still sore and she didn’t want to sit right down on the litter. My neighbor told me that wasn’t uncommon. So I got out the pet stain remover and the carpet shampooer and the Kirby and cleaned up after her. Then I cut a mat out of one of the contractor grade trash bags I have in stock (I use them for yard work) that extends a foot and a half around the litter box. That’s doing the trick.

She stayed inside all that day. Next morning she was still a bit wobbly but she wanted out. She’s a feral. I have a set of bargains I made with her and it’s all about maintaining trust. She has complete freedom to come and go, whether I think it’s wise or not. She’s not my pet, she’s a wild animal I made friends with. So I let her out. I hoped some fresh air, sunshine and at least a little activity would start perking her up. Thankfully she didn’t go far. I kept fresh water and food out there for her. She didn’t touch her food but drank lots of water. She came back in for the night as it started getting dark and I was glad she did because Maryland had a cold snap and the temperature was in the low 30s when I got up the next day.

When it got warmer, she went out again, then came back in again for the night. She’s downstairs now in the cat bed I’ve provided and I expect she’ll want to be let out again when it warms up later today. I’ve been trying to get her appetite functional again with various wet cat foods, some with gravy, but it seems the off the shelf tuna has the best chance. At least she’s been expressing interest. Still isn’t eating though. I’m thinking that’s the antibiotics they gave her. I’ve had a round or two of those myself and I know how they knock you down and kill your appetite. As long as she’s still consuming lots of water I’ll leave her be.

But it’s still stressing me out. I’m going to try to get some more work around the house done, and work on finishing off episode #36 of A Coming Out Story, and just try to chill as best I can. I don’t mind being childless. I never have. But in retrospect I don’t think I could have handled having kids very well. On the other hand you can talk to human children, educate them, teach them to look both ways when crossing the street, ask them where it hurts, call them back home for supper. You have to intuit Everything with a pet and there is just no teaching them to look both ways. And that reputation cats have of not coming when they’re called. It’s True. They’ll just listen to it and not move and you don’t know where they are and you wonder if they’ve suddenly taken a turn for the worse.

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