Let me warn you in advance that if you are easily grossed out, you shouldn’t read this post. Having said that, let me jump right in to the story of how Oliver lost his tail.
It all started Friday morning when we woke up and realized that Oliver had gone #2 in the middle of the kitchen floor. This was annoying, obviously, especially since we hadn’t really had any litter box issues with him for a long time. But, initially I ignored this event, as I had no reason to see it as symptomatic of a larger problem. By dinner time that day we had recognized that he also had only eaten about half of his food for the day. Now to any of you familiar with Oliver, you will realize that this is more alarming then him crapping in the middle of the floor, because Oliver LOVES TO EAT. At that point I just assumed his stomach was upset, as we had recently changed his diet to high protein wet food, from the dry he had been eating for the last six years.
Then Saturday morning came around, and he again had gone #2 in the middle of the floor, and continued not to eat much. Adding to the list of alarm bells was that he was now extremely lethargic. He didn’t get up off the couch all day. Then I went to pet him, and boy was that a bad idea. When my hand got around his back end he nearly bit my hand off. Growling and hissing like I’ve never heard out of him. At that point we started really worrying that he had a digestion issue or was really constipated or something. But at that point it was too late to call the vet, plus he wouldn’t really let us get close enough to him to really examine him.
Then yesterday. I woke up early to call the vet as soon as they opened. I went over to the couch to try petting him again, and then I realized the root of the problem. It certainly was not a digestion issue. The poor cat very clearly had a really bad tail infection. My hand came away from him covered in foul smelling pink slime. Yuck!!!
On to the vet for an emergency visit we go. And because we needed more grossness with all of this, his infection started erupting even more in his carrier on the way to the vet. The vet took one look at him and exclaimed “Yeah, that is a GIGANTIC abscess.” So we left him there for the day for sedation and minor surgery to drain, clean, and fix the injury.
Now, we are getting married in a week, and leaving for Portland in three days. Believe me, this was not stress (or added expense) that we needed, but I was resigned to it (though I will definitely be looking into pet insurance moving forward). What I was not prepared for was going back to the vet and being told that the “crater” that developed in his tail, due to the removal of infected tissue and cleaning, was too big to properly suture closed. We were given two options. 1) Go back two days from now, basically do the surgery again attempting to re-close an open surgical wound, and run the risk that it still wouldn’t work, at which point we would have to amputate. Or 2) To simply amputate his tail right off to begin with. We opted for option two. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no advocate for chopping off appendages unnecessarily. It’s just that the vet didn’t seem reasonably sure that the attempt to re-close the wound would work. And we really couldn’t justify the cost of a procedure that may not work and then have to turn around and amputate anyway. At the end of the day, Oliver can live without his tail.
So now Oliver is sitting in a cage at the vet, probably still heavily sedated from the first failed procedure, completely unaware that later today they are going to cut off his tail.
And one of the worst parts of all of it, is that we think that our new kitty Annie is responsible. We think that she was just trying to play and simply scratched him earlier in the week. And, because Oliver is so gigantic, he wasn’t able to reach back to the injury to take care of it, and it just went unnoticed by us and got really really infected. On probably any other cat it was an injury that never would have turned in to a nightmare this big. But clearly, Oliver has always been special.
Poor guy. He’s already gimpy, and just a month ago they officially categorized him as obese, and now he’s gonna be tail-less too. He just can’t catch a break!