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I suppose you may remember my not-cat. You know, the cat who I took to have neutered, who I've been feeding for two years, who hangs out on my deck and who is emphatically not mine. That cat. (His name is Tom, by the way.)

Today, when I put out food for the cats, Tom was limping and had blood on his paw. Since he's not my cat, I of course took him straight to the vet. (Being the lawless feral stray that he is, it took me about a minute to get him in the carrier one-handed, and that was only because it took thirty seconds to chase him down. At a walk.)

The conclusion from the vet was that a) he had initiated the fight and b) had won the fight. The injury I took him in for wasn't, though, the one that would probably have laid him up. Apart from some minor scratches on his nose, neck and belly, he'd also been bitten on his other leg. There wasn't even any obvious blood, but the vet said that it was a good deep puncture that would almost certainly become infected.

So, it's antibiotics for ten days. This is, as you may imagine, a bit of the problem for several reasons. Reason number one is that, being an outdoor cat, Tom doesn't tend to be available on a strict schedule. The other is that it's going to be challenging, to say the least, for me to pill a cat with one hand in a cast. I can't get my husband to do all the dosing because he simply doesn't have time to do it in the morning, and Tom needs the pills twice a day. Also, I can't just toss it in the food because there are, at last count, three cats, a possum and various birds who share it. A final challenge is that he'll need the antibiotics for ten days, and I'm scheduled to have surgery on my wrist on day six.

Fortunately, there are solutions. Tom will be living in the garage to ensure his availability (and so I can keep an eye on him and make sure there's no bad swelling in his paws and that he doesn't have a fever.) This will also ensure that he'll be the only one eating the same food. The vet claims that the powder in the capsules is odorless, and can be mixed with a bit of wet food. (Right. I'll believe it when Tom eats it.) I can also double up the doses the last few days, so on my surgery and recovery days we won't have to worry overmuch if we won't be there for both doses.

Tom is now settled into the garage, more or less (last I checked, he'd found a nice corner behind a bunch of boxes and underneath a shelf). I've vetted it for cat-harmful substances and provided him with food, water and a litter box (unused as yet). We'll see how it works out, and how Greebo deals with having him on the other side of the kitchen door. He's fine with Tom being on the other side of the glass deck door, and they'll sniff each other sometimes when the door's open, but when Mimi lived in the garage Greebo expressed his displeasure by peeing repeatedly on the door. Then again, he also used to pee at Mimi's face when she was on the other side of the glass, so I'm hoping that particular distinction remains intact.

The bad news is that, in addition to his battle wounds, Tom also has a broken front canine tooth that's going to need attention down the road. It's not a "now" issue, but it's a "soon" issue. The vet wants to wait until he's fought off whatever infection he might get from the bite, then do surgery on the tooth (presumably to remove it). We didn't discuss it in a lot of detail, but once the course of antibiotics is finished (and once I'm recovered from my surgery), I'll have to take him back.

Tom, of course, acted like the aforementioned lawless stray at the vet's office. He protested really, really loudly the whole time he was in the carrier, and on the (two-mile) drive to the vet, and for about the first three minutes in the exam room. By the end of it, he was lying sprawled on the exam table, purring up a storm while the vet poked at the cut on his paw, and not even flinching when he got his shot. He's a big sweetheart. :)

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jinjifore

February 2012

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