Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Leg Teeth

Yesterday evening, around 6 p.m., I came back to the office to get in a little podcast editing and noticed D.J. Kitty sitting up beneath my desk. Something about his manner seemed off, though. Maybe he was leaning against the desk for support, but I didn't consciously see that. I just got the general impression that something was not right.

"Hey, cat. What are you doing under there?"

He didn't answer, but I wondered if maybe he was constipated and was waiting for a second go-round in the litterbox.

After a minute, though, he began to move, and did so awkwardly. He backed out from under the desk, and then backed over some boxes and papers nearby. He seemed to be trying to stay off of his back right leg and held it up whenever he could. Yep. Something was wrong.

I enlisted the wife's help and together we managed to hold him down on the dining room table long enough to inspect his leg. It was swollen at the knee joint, probably twice the size of his uninjured leg, but there didn't seem to be any huge wounds. Whatever was wrong clearly caused him pain, because he started squalling and hissing at us to the point that we were afraid he might bite or claw. We wrapped him up in a towel and proceeded with the inspection, with nearly the same results.

Emmett, hearing the squalling, hopped up on the table beside him and looked very concerned. As D.J. cried, Emmett also began to cry in very sympathetic tones. I would never have guessed he was that empathetic, but it was kind of cool to see.

The cat had been sleeping on the bed for most of the day, so we didn't think it was a snake bite--at least not from anything terribly venomous Maybe a cat fight wound.

It was too late after hours to take him to the vet, but our vet has an answering service and soon enough we were talking with our vet. After telling him the symptoms, he suggested it sounded like a cat fight, as cats are notorious for swollen, puss-filled wounds. He suggested giving him a kitty antibiotic, which we happened to still have some left from one of the other pets. As nothing seemed to be an emergency, though, we decided to just keep an eye on D.J. and haul him to the vet in the morning rather than engage the kitty E.R.

It's been a long while since I had to deal with any vet-worthy kitty wounds from fighting, probably because I've mostly had female cats for the past 20 years. As a kid, though, I had a male cat named Bay who used to get laughed at by our vet because most of the fighting wounds he received were on his butt and tail. "Yeah, you could tell which way he was running," the vet would say. As he aged and gained some nun-chuck skills, though, the wounds began to appear on his head and shoulders, so we knew Bay was giving as good as he got.

D.J. seemed to be okay with just holing up in his foam kitty house, so we left him in the spare bedroom overnight. The antibiotic must have worked some, too, because in the morning he leaped off of the bed to try and get out of the bedroom for breakfast. Alas, he didn't get any, cause the vet wanted him on empty in case sedation was needed.

The vet was able to find a puncture wound on D.J.'s leg. He said they'd do some blood work and have a closer look at the wound, then clean it out and make sure nothing vital was torn.

An hour later, we got a return call. The blood work was fine and they found the source of the infection right away: it was the tip end of a feline canine tooth. Evidently D.J. had been in a scrap and ran away so fast that it broke off the tooth of the attacking kitty. Yeah, that's my brave little fighter.

He's now back in our care, extra kitty tooth extracted, still high as a drunken kite.

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