My cat is naked.
I may have opined once or twice in my life that hairless cats were so ugly that they were cute kind of like the small, wrinkly, snorting pugs that several of my friends adore. My theory was that such a cat would have that warm, soft, freshly shaved feel constantly, I would buy it a tiny sweater, and name it Gargoyle. My hairless cat plan has come to fruition, but I’m not changing Bella’s name and she said, “Hell no” to the sweater idea.
Bella’s surgery went well on Wednesday. They removed all of the mass, but we have to wait 5-7 business days to learn about its cell structure. If it is aggressively cancerous, we’re pretty much fucked. I’m out of money and cats generally do not do well with chemo. There were no surprises when they opened her up and her recovery continued to go well. I was able to pick her up Friday morning.
On Friday morning, the vet sent us home with pain meds, an appetite stimulant, and the instructions to keep her calm and non-jumping for 3 WEEKS! If I ever invent anything, it will be a vest or cat sweater that weighs them down enough to discourage jumping, but to allow regular walking and standing. She’s not exactly high energy at this point in her life, but she does like to jump up on a window seat or chair. They recommended keeping her in a small room or in a large dog crate. So my vision of isolating her in the spare bedroom became paranoid visions of isolating her in a large dog crate in the spare bedroom. Three phone calls from the parking lot later, I was able to track a friend down who had a spare dog crate. A growly, angry meowing hour later, we were back home with the crate and I was ready to release Bella from the carrier and assess her physical state.
Someone replaced my cat with a poodle.
Her chest was still bare from the jugular incident and her tummy was still cleanly shaved from the ultrasound last week. Bella was now sporting “poodle leg” on both front legs from IV’s and they had extended the shaved tummy space to wrap around her torso to spine, leaving no body hair from her right shoulder to her right hip. Given the symmetry of the haircut and the use of her spine as a stopping point, she looked like an escapee from a punk rock pet shop. All she needed was safety pins holding her surgery incision closed instead of body glue. The incision –I really didn’t know what to expect- started from behind her right shoulder and wrapped along her ribs stopping under their curve. They had to go through her ribs to get to her lung. All in all, it was not as gory as my mental images had conjured and I had minimal “nursing” to do. I basically needed to check the incision daily, keep her calm/non-jumpy, fed, and stoned until the pain meds run out.
A stoned cat is an irrational cat. My idea of setting the dog crate on the bed so Bella was in a familiar spot and able to see out the window, yet limiting jumping was trashed in a matter of Holy-Shit-She’s-Killing-Herself minutes. Bella immediately fought the idea of going back into a cage. Growling advanced to jungle cat yowls and she paced, stomping through the extra small litter box and effectively covering everything inside and outside of the crate with litter. At each wall of the crate, she stopped to bang her head against the bars, scream “Attica! Attica!” and try to squeeze her face and paws through the space. I couldn’t stand the idea of her being this miserable, trapped in a mess of stray litter crumbs, and potentially hurting herself so I opted for Plan C: the bathroom.
Transferring cat, cat bed, water bowl, food, and litterbox to the larger bathroom was like a repeat of Birdie’s return from her operation. I camped out on the cramped floor space while Bella paced, mooed, (yes, mooed like a distressed cow), stared at the bare wall-remember she’s high-, clawed at me and the door and generally refused to calm the fuck down. Meanwhile, the cat idiots on the other side of the door were banging at it and shredding the carpet because the door was closed. Horrors.
I thought we had accomplished peace when she laid down for about five minutes with her head in my hand, but it turned out that it was just a rest break from creating chaos.
I’m a bad cat parent. I’m an incredibly insightful cat parent. Pick one. I gave up on the bathroom. Back to Plan A: the spare bedroom. Cat bed, fleece blankie, freedom of movement and we finally had peace. She has now spent hours wrapped in a blanket in the cat bed, getting up long enough to eat Fancy Feast (Thank you, vet, for ruining my dry food only regimen) and pee. I’ve been napping with her and slept in there the past two nights. My spare bed makes my back hurt, Bella
snores and repositions herself frequently causing her e-collar to rattle. She’s also wet-nosed me awake at 4 a.m. because she was hungry. I’m not going to deny her.
She’s tired and high, but also a little bored. We’ve taken a couple of supervised walks around the house. I follow to prevent her from jumping on anything or doing something like shimmying under the bed where I can’t retrieve her, and to protect her from the other cats. So far Miles has followed underfoot sniffing at her, but that could change. He pounced her the last time she came back from the vet. Birdie took a big sniff then hissed excessively. Sookie was simply horrified. She did the arched back Halloween cat pose, puffed up her body fur and tail, backed up on tippy toes then ran like hell. All agree that Bella does not smell or look quite right. They may be on to something.