Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tom Cat visits Dr. Kirby

I do try to avoid vet bills. I'm sure you know that awful feeling... do I take him or do I wait a few more days? If I don't take him and he really should go then.... And around and around it goes.

(All photos taken after Tom returned).
With fostering and taking in strays I've learned a lot about caring for animals so when Tom came home Thursday last week after being missing for 17 days my plan was to observe him, love on him and fatten him back up.

But he wouldn't eat. The only thing that he wanted was milk. (I do know that cats shouldn't have milk but Tom obviously was raised on milk put out by some kind neighbour and he craves it, asks for it and won't stop meowing until he gets some). So I give in and give him a little dish in the morning.

I tried tempting him with salmon, with chicken--his favourites. He would put his mouth to the food but would not take it. Very strange. I worried that he might have a blockage in his mouth or throat or a tooth problem.

That's why on Saturday I packed Tom up in a cat carrier and took him to see the vet, Dr. Kirby. He gave Tom a needle and pills to help boost his appetite. He had no fever and we couldn't find any other body type issues. So Tom came home (no problem getting him in the cat carrier when LEAVING the vet's office). The vet said to wait until Wednesday and if his appetite didn't improve by then, we might look at doing some blood work to see if something else was going on. I agreed.

We figured that Tom was pretty shaken up from his experience. We don't know what happened to him during the time he was missing but I was very suspicious that he had been accidentally locked in a shed or garage with the owner then away on spring break vacation--I noticed he disappeared on a garbage day and reappeared after another garbage day.

His orange collar is very loose, indicating a really great weight loss. Still when weighed at the vet's office he was 13 lbs. Tom was a little bit obese after staying indoors all winter. Maybe that helped save him.

The vet said that Tom was an emotional cat. I swear this guy is a cat whisperer. Cats love him. And he gets them. He really does. This was the first time he'd met Tom and he nailed the personality pretty easily. Tom is emotional.
Years ago if I would rearrange his cat bed outside by winterizing it, he would get really upset and disappear for 3 days. Back then he was still pretty wild and didn't understand that I was changing the bed over to give him winter protection. I knew he was sensitive and got his feelings hurt really easily. But after a couple years with me doing this change-over he understood what I was doing. So he was a smart cat too, and he could learn new things.
Then there was that terrible day about 4 years ago when I brought Sweet Pea's broken dead body home. She'd been hit by a car and I was hysterical. I laid her body down on the ground in the back yard so that I could go in the house to get the phone.

I remember vaguely that Tom was there, and that tiny, tiny, warning voice that said, "Don't put the body down so that Tom can see it". But I was out of my mind with grief and my ears were deaf. I laid the body down. And Tom saw it. Then he disappeared.

He did not come home. After a few days we put up posters in the subdivision and I visited the local Animal Care to see if he was there. He was not to be found. The roads didn't show any more bodies which was a huge relief. But where was he.

We determined that Tom was freaked out or confused after seeing Sweet Pea's body. I think his confusion was because he saw me lay the body down--he could only have concluded that I did that to her.

Three months went by, then my neighbour Mary called very excited (God bless that woman!) and said she had seen Tom and that he was under her porch. I raced right over. I used a flashlight to shine in the dark and there he was in the back corner of her porch. I could see him clearly. But he would not come to me.

Nevertheless, I went home elated. He was alive. We knew he was eating because both Mary and I put food out for him. He was alive! And time would heal all wounds, wouldn't it?

A couple weeks after that night, I was coming into the back yard on my bike when guess who I nearly ran over? Yes, Tom. He started to run away but I called to him gently and then talked to him. He stood his ground. I got off my bike slowly so as not to scare him away and I put my hand out to him. He stuck his head up to be scratched. The sad past was set aside and we were together again at long last.

Since that night Tom had never been gone from home for more than one night. He was older and neutered, and content. He didn't need to go out and prove himself in the subdivision any more.

Since he came home, I notice his sleep is uneasy for the first while and that he shakes and jerks a bit. I think it's stress, like post traumatic stress syndrome. I'm releaved to see that he does settle into a good deep sleep after a while.

The cats are used to sleeping on pillows. This came about because my neice and nephew, myself too, would find the cat's claws would hurt the skin when they would sleep on our lap because they would nead our flesh. Tom has six toes and claws on his front paws and he's a deep neader (ouch!). So we put the cats on pillows to protect our flesh and the cats love the soft warm comfort.

Tom has taken to sleeping on my Taos Chunky Vest. I know it's warm and comforting so I won't take it away.
His purr is really deep and loud--loud, large and very, very soothing. It keeps us both calm and I'm forever grateful to have the chance to hear it again. :)

No comments: