I went to visit Piccolo (see previous post) yesterday morning. In the beginning, he was unresponsive. I cooed to him but he remained motionless in a corner of his stainless steel cage, staring into space, without seeming to recognize my voice. A scary moment for me, but luckily I remembered that his painkillers (administered via an IV line) must be making him a bit dopey. In fact, after I had been calling his name for about 30 seconds (it seemed like forever…), he looked straight at me and meowed the following, which I will translate for you: “hey, where the heck have YOU been??? Take me home, I don’t like this place!” Then he got up and made his way slowly to the front of the cage so I could reach him. I opened the cage door and gave him a good scratch. The nurse had asked me to try to get him to eat or drink…I tried and failed. Since Piccolo is always the first cat to appear at mealtimes, this was the most upsetting part of the morning visit.
Okay, let me shorten the story. I realize that not all my blog readers will understand how Stefano and I feel about Piccolo…only those who really love cats/pets will. What can I say? Our cats mean the world to us…and Piccolo’s illness has been very scary and upsetting, in part because everything happened so swiftly, but mostly because we came very close to losing the cat who still fills our bed with toy balls during the night, hoping that we will wake up to play with him…the cat who talks to me when I get home from work…the cat who scolds me whenever I return home late after playing cards with my girlfriends, then throws himself on the carpet so that I can scratch his tummy…the cat that bumps his forehead to mine to let me know that he loves me, too…our exceptional cat.
Oh sorry, I got carried away. Okay…well, basically, let’s say that I wasn’t very happy after my morning visit with Piccolo…apart from refusing to eat, he didn’t purr at all for me, whereas normally he is the biggest purr-box in the universe.
In mid afternoon, I managed to speak with the vet that had first visited him, day before yesterday. She told me that Piccolo’s condition was “stable,” but that they had waited long enough for him to begin eating on his own. They would have to begin force-feeding him (=giving him food inside a needle-less syringe) that afternoon. My presence was not required…she assured me that they would be very gentle.
When Stefano and I arrived at the clinic a few hours later, the vet informed us that Piccolo had swallowed the food from the syringe and had NOT thrown up. That was a very good sign, she added. She told us that we should learn how to feed him with the syringe because his fever was gone and his vital signs were so good that he could probably come home with us on Thursday. Another vet showed us what to do, but Piccolo stubbornly refused to open his mouth.
After the vet had left us alone with Piccolo, I had an idea. I put some of the mushy food on the tip of my finger and offered it to him. He licked my finger clean. Triumph! After a few minutes of finger-licking, Stefano tried putting the bowl in front of Piccolo. Our boy stuck his head inside and ate hungrily….on his own. I skipped off happily to tell the vets. Yaaay!!!
Well, as a result, it looks as though Piccolo will be coming home with us this evening, not tomorrow. The vets wanted to keep him one more night (cats in his condition must be kept under observation at least 48 hours), but they also know that he will recuperate MUCH more quickly at home with us. We will have to keep him on a special diet AND give him antibiotics for ten days plus another liver-protective pill for about one month. Easy peasy.
So this is very good news. Oh, I forgot. After eating yesterday evening, he lay down and, in response to our caresses and reassuring voices, began purring and kneading the newspaper that covers the floor of his cage. That’s my boy!!! 🙂
Update of the update: Piccolo was doing so well that the vet sent him home with us this morning. He is now fast asleep in a comfy chair downstairs, where I will join him after lunch. All is well in the feline household again…