It feels about the right time to introduce a mid-week blog with my reflections from halfway up a mountain in Italy. My entire week, well fortnight actually, has been focused on sterilizing cats.
Reflections On Sterilizing Cats
Many of you will remember the story of Scrappy and the kittens. Scrappy had five kittens under our outside stairs and then got sick. It turned out she had three huge crystals in her bladder and she had to have major surgery to remove them and we had her spayed at the same time. This meant I had to get hands on in looking after her babies whiles she was sick.
Well that was seven months ago and the little treasures are all big and healthy – and ready to be spayed and neutered.
Bring On The Girls
I had one girl from last year called Moonboots who had never obviously come into season or had kittens. She was on my list for spaying. But I held off as I wanted her to be done at the same time as Sandy and Ella as, being older, she is a steadying influence for them.
I find it hard not to get emotional taking girls in to be spayed. It comes from having had a hysterectomy myself when I was 26 (pre-cancer). I find it hard to dissociate my experience and the pain involved with the girl cats being operated on. And yes I fully realise they don’t know what is happening to them and that it means they can’t have kittens. I just feel a lot of empathy with them and what they go through it.
My vet operated on the three girls and they stayed at the clinic over night. I picked them up in the morning after they had painkillers and more precautionary antibiotics. They went into our guest apartment living room and I was delighted how well behaved and clean they were, using their litter boxes immediately.
Time For The Boys
One week later and it was the turn of the boys. I took Rabby, Rolly and Treacle along and left them to be neutered. Altogether a much more straightforward operation with one night in the clinic then they can go back outside. Or so I thought.
In another blog about undescended testicle/cryptorchidism I detailed how things didn’t go according to plan with young Treacle. A missing testicle meant a big operation to find it up in his abdomen and then a long recovery time, akin to a girl being spayed.
Treacle joined the girls in the back room and settled in quickly.
It Was All Going So Well
Fast forward to this Monday and I managed to get the three girls in carry baskets and to the vets to have their clips removed. Moonboots was due vaccinations and worming and Ella had to have the last of her initial vaccinations and worming.
When we got home I was able to release Sandy immediately and she settled in very quickly with the rest of the outside cats. Moonboots and Ella had to stay in another night to give them a rest after the vaccinations.
Yesterday, Tuesday, I let Ella go outside. I decided to keep Moonboots in with Treacle to keep him company as he still had another five days of healing to do.
But you know, it didn’t quite work out as planned?
Treacle Pulled Out Two Clips
Listening To Your Inner Voice
Do you ever get a feeling you should do something when you normally wouldn’t? I don’t mean eat a second bowl of salted caramel ice cream though hey that sounds good to me. I always listen to that feeling. In this case, I visited the cats in the back room about an hour earlier than I had planned. And found blood and Treacle looking worried and a hole in his abdomen where he had removed two clips.
My Dogs Are Nutters
Now my dogs are nutters. They are rescue dogs and we have got them over a great deal of trauma but they suffer with separation anxiety. If we leave them on their own they destroy things. To avoid that we have a room we put them in with very little in it. Unfortunately they tried to get through the bedroom door so now we have a complicated arrangement to block that off. I will tell you about that another time, I will probably call it reflections on anxiety (mine that is – what will they trash while I am out this time?).
Here I was with a clear emergency trip to the vets but having to stay calm and get the two dogs down in their room. I had to ensure I had taken all the necessary precautions with them before I could leave.
The Trip To The Vets
Having got the dogs in their room (screaming as this was out of pattern for them and they could pick up my anxiety) I was finally able to head off to the vets with Treacle.
Luckily the damage was minimal, a clean up and two new clips and the addition of a surgical collar (also known as a cone or as Barnet Boy and I call it ‘the collar of shame’). We were lucky it was eight days after his operation, there was only so much damage he could do.
Coping At Home
I decided to let Moonboots go outside as there was no point in hanging on to her any longer. Treacle’s recovery time had just increased considerably! I brought a dog crate up into the kitchen and set Treacle up in there, much to his disgust. And the disgust of Stevie Mouse who is worried that her role as supreme being might be under threat (not a chance).
We are now in a pattern of me taking time to close off the kitchen and let Treacle out for a run around and play, without his collar and under strict supervision. He has been very good so far at sitting and having his collar put back on and then him being put back in the crate. But it is early days.
Next week my reflections should include Treacle being released back outside – hopefully!
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!