This morning as we were getting ready to leave for work and Owen did his morning routine of feeding the cats (we can’t put their food out at night or the critters will eat it) he noticed Roxie kind of lurking under one of the golf bags. I went in to get her (since he had his hands full of car food – apparently we can’t afford a scoop) and carry her out, since she wasn’t doing her normal leaping to get outside. Actually, we weren’t sure why or how she got inside, since they stay mostly outside now that the weather is warm. In any case, right on cue, as I was carrying Roxie out, Velma ran in. And that’s Velma, in a nutshell, always going the wrong darn way.
When I got them both outside, I put them down and noticed that Roxie was not putting any weight on her left hind leg. I watched her take a few steps and then Owen picked her up so we could look at it. Though it did not seem to cause her any discomfort as we poked and prodded to check for damage, it also appeared that she could not control it – it kind of flopped around.
Strangely enough, Ms. Aloof was completely calm and collected. No howling, hissing or scratching. This is odd especially since, on her best of days she will tease you as though she is a people-loving cat until you bend over to pick her up. Then she will gracefully and carelessly leap about 3 feet out of your reach and look back at you with a slightly smug, slightly bemused smile on her face. You take a step and bend over again and again she leaps away. She loves this game and could play it for days. Sometimes the only way to outsmart her is to drag her favorite toy towards you. She still falls for that one regularly and, thus, Owen and I maintain our tenuous grasp of being masters of our domain instead of cat servants.
We knew she had to go in to the vet so as he cradled her, I dug through the shed for the cat carrier. Once I’d found it and laid some towels in the bottom I moved away to let Owen begin the fight to get her inside. Every cat owner who has ever tried this knows what a pain it can be. Arms legs and tails all work independently and yet as a team to keep you from accomplishing your goal of loading the cat in the carrier. Though they are generally really fond of closed in spaces, it is a genetic imperative to hate cat carriers. But I don’t think Velma got the memo. Either that or she’s a genetic freak, which seems the more likely scenario. The minute I stepped away from the carrier so Owen could put Roxie in it, Velma crawled on in. So, after I’d pulled her out, Owen got Rox situated with just one little growl of discontent.
She was a little alarmed the first few minutes in the carrier, and she tossed and turned trying to find a way out of it. Velma, who is never far away, immediately got in on the game and began attacking the carrier from the outside as it shook and rattled. Sometimes I think she might have been attacking Roxie, since she liked to go after whatever part of her happened to be sticking out through the bars at any given time. I also detected a marked difference in the lack of urgency demonstrated by Velma as opposed to Roxie. Roxie wanted OUT. Velma…wanted IN. I told Owen that sometimes when I was a kid it helped to cover the carrier with a towel. It seemed to make the cats relax a little. He went in to get one and came back to find Velma sitting triumphantly on top of the carrier, as though it was she who had calmed Roxie and as a reward she expected to be let in.
In the end, Owen ended up taking her to the animal hospital where they have determined that he must have gotten hit by a car. Her femur is broken in two places but, luckily, it just happened yesterday (we locked them in the shop over the long weekend) and the skin wasn’t ever broken so there’s no infection whatsoever. They’ve told us that a leg-ectomy will be her best option.
Actually, she had 3 options. 1.) Pay $700 - $800 and have her leg reconstructed with pins and likely suffer severe arthritis in a year or two; 2.) Pay about $400-$500 and amputate it but retain almost 100% mobility and live pain free or 3.) Put her to sleep. For us, #3 wasn’t an option. She’s our baby. And we eventually decided to go with option #2, their recommendation, because it will give her the best recovery. Plus, we’ve both known several happy and successful tri-legged animals. It’s kind of sad, really, because she is a beautiful cat. The hospital said they can’t get over how docile she’s been with them. No howling or hissing or scratching whatsoever.
So, she will spend the next month recovering in the guest room because Owen can’t stand the idea of putting her out in the shop. I think she is about to become queen of the house. But that’s okay – I feel terrible for her. Poor baby kitty.