Just when I think I understand cats, something happens that reminds me how wrong I am. Things here are about as terrible as can be. There's a complex territorial situation going on between the cats that results in urinating and defecating out of the litter box. It feels as though I'm Sisyphus. Instead of my task being that I must push a boulder up a mountain every day, only to have it roll back down the hill just as I reach the crest for all eternity; my task is that I believe I've finally worked out what's irking my cats and what will solve their issues, only to have them fight at 3am, urinate in more areas, ruin more things and turn my house into, literally a waste-land (hopefully NOT for all eternity). One day I would like to get up in the morning, walk down stairs and not have to look for, find, and clean up cat urine for an hour before I can do anything else.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracie a la Instagram
As you also may recall, my finances are in horrendous shape. It took me a few weeks to get up the nerve to even write about it-then anther few weeks to work up the nerve to upload the post. I spoke of my humiliation in not being able to provide Vet care for one of my cats. Over the past few weeks I worked up the nerve to talk to Dr. Larry about it, figuring I had to try to do something to help Gracie.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracie always feels a bit less stressed if I cover her with something while we wait for Dr. Larry.
There's a Demotivator poster that sums up how I feel. Perhaps the mistakes I've made will help others to do better? Right away I learned that I only have to ask and my Vet will tell me I can pay off Gracie's Vet charges over time-and take as long as I need. I have NEVER paid a bill late, always up front, always in full. Dr Larry knows he can trust me and because of that trust, I was able to bring Gracie in to see him yesterday and not worry about the bill.
The goals were: 1. Re-check the growth on Gracie's abdomen. Is it cancer? Is it worse? Does it require surgery as we thought three months ago? 2. Assess Gracie's teeth for dental cleaning-they NEED IT.
Gracie is a fragile cat. She's VERY timid, but also VERY sweet. She would never hurt anyone. She cowers in fear and trips to the Vet cause her to tremble. Gracie also suffers from Milliary Dermatitis which I have written about over the years. It's basically a rash of unknown origin…and trust me, we have tried to figure out what is going on with her. Her skin, which was once so covered in scaly, raised scabs that she felt like a reptile. She barbered (chewed off) her fur, vomited daily and bit herself raw and bloody. I ended up using homeopathy which helped her emotional state. We only feed her raw. If she has any canned food she gets worse. Her skin is not perfect, but it's much better. She doesn't vomit daily. She has a bald patch on her tummy, but it's not bloody. I would consider her to be mildly stressed, but overall in very good shape compared to how she was last year.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Of course Dr. Larry won't see Gracie under the towel-or so she thinks.
But Gracie is fearful and skittish..and very hard to give a pill to. She was abused before I ever got her to foster and the scars of that stay with her no matter how quiet and sweet we are with her. She's come a long way, but still tends to run off unless she comes to us. Lately she's been climbing on us at night and sleeping on the bed. Some times I hear her walk into the room. I hear a "click" as one of her claws tap onto the wood floor. I made a mental note to get her claws trimmed when we were at the Vet. I never heard a cat's claws make any sound on the floor before.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Dr. Larry listening in…
Little did I know that one observation and decision would later come to shock me.
I don't trim my cat's claws. My eyesight isn't that good and the last time I did it I almost cut off a foster kitten's toe. I DO hold the cat and Sam clips the cat's claws-at least the cats we can handle. Gracie has extremely fluffy paws and fur between her toes. She's so skittish, we just don't bother her. I had NO idea there was anything at all wrong with her paws. She did not limp. She did not cry out. Perhaps that she has been climbing on us every night-maybe she was asking for help? I can't say.
All I know is I was holding Gracie while Vet Tech Amber was trimming Gracie's claws. Gracie trembled as usual, but didn't make a fuss. I didn't even have to scruff her.
Amber clipped the back claws, then began the front. She had to spread Gracie's toes apart to see past the fur. She stopped and quietly said; “Oh, she's got an ingrown claw. Let me get Dr. Larry we have to use special clippers for this.”
Before she left she showed me what was wrong. I gasped when I saw it. It looked unreal. There was her claw, turned into itself-a deadly pointy hook, jabbed deeply into her paw. How she was walking around the house, I had NO IDEA. I felt a nauseating flush of adreneline hit my gut. What the HELL?! All I could think of was how fast could we get that out of her paw and how much PAIN Gracie must be in right now-and that she isn't even making a fuss!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The horror of an ingrown claw.
Dr. Larry came in and took a look. As I've heard so many times, his voice took a serious tone. There was no time for sedation. The claw would come out. Dr. Larry just had to make a few cuts to remove it from her paw. Because Gracie is so submissive, he was able to work quickly to remove the claw. Gracie barely struggled. Perhaps she knew he was trying to help. What relief it must have been when that claw came out after a few, quick snips of the nail cutter!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Snip, snip, snip-DONE!
When I saw the claw laying on the exam table, I truly felt sick. I could see a line of blood. It indicated just how deep that claw was into her paw. This had been going on for a long while now-at least three months because that was the last time Gracie was at the Vet. Months of blinding pain. How did she not give me a clue? Or did she show me, but I didn't take notice?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The line of blood indicates where the claw was outside the paw (to the left of the line) and into her paw (from the right side to the tip).
Gracie is not a polydactyl. It was her fourth toe on her front paw…I called it her ring-toe. She has a hole in her paw and is on antibiotics. She could benefit from a soak in DILUTED betadine solution, but with the meds on board it's not a must.
I looked for information on ingrown feline claws but didn't find much about it. I did discover a kooky looking poster with 3D illustrations of what to do if you discover your cat has an ingrown claw. If it's bad you MUST get your cat to a vet, but some times you can deal with it at home if your cat won't bite your face off when you handle him or her. Here's the info: Step by Step instructions from GoToAid-CATS Download a Poster to keep on hand-pardon the almost pun.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sleeping under my desk. Relaxed and pain-free at last.
After thinking about it for awhile, I recall seeing Gracie chewing at her paw. I've seen cats do that before to remove the claw sheath. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but that's what I should have been looking for.
The biggest surprise was how Gracie acted not even a day later. For the first time in YEARS, I found her, not sleeping away from everyone on the bed, but sleeping right under my desk as I write this. She's not lightly sleeping, ready to RUN off at the slightest sound. She's asleep. Her posture is relaxed. She must be feeling so much better, though there is more to be done to help her feel really good.
The reasons I brought Gracie to the Vet in the first place, were eventually addressed. I discovered that Gracie's growth has reduced in size from 10 mm x 14 mm to 10 mm x 7 (still a nice size for a diamond, but even better size to show a shrinking cyst). Dr. Larry is going to drain it when Gracie gets her dental on Monday. He may send the fluid out for testing, but right now it doesn't look like cancer! Gracie's front teeth are okay but the back teeth are NOT. They're causing her pain, so between the antibiotics and dental cleaning she should be really feeling great in another week.
As for myself, I've never cared for the taste of humble pie, but I have a feeling I better acquire one soon.