Dancing attendance

Administering gentle and loving care to an ailing kitty is a work of patience and endurance. Patience because you have to coax said kitty into your care, and endurance because once in your arms you have to keep kitty there at all costs. And kitty might be inclined to use each and every item of the formidable arsenal Mother Nature has so generously endowed him with in order to make his displeasure known to you – his torturer. And some of the feline denizens in the House of Chaos are well-hung in that regard.

The Elder Brothers, Loup-Garou and Zorro, are certainly accustomed to the gentle ministrations of The Mistress. They seem to know that it is for their own good when they are scooped up, put upon the kitchen counter, and cathandled. Since they are wont to be involved in many a sibling quarrel they have developed a sturdy immune system, but nevertheless would now and then grow an abcess that would put Mount Etna to shame. So, when a couple of weeks ago, Loup-Garou suddenly sported a few gooey lumps The Mistress knew that it was time again to break out the kitchen paper and open up the garbage bin. Not to mention trying to order her nose to shut down.

Fortunately Loup-Garou (and Zorro too by the way) knows very well that the ungainly lumps which hurt might become less hurting when The Mistress has seen to it. And thus he actually comes over and asks for help. Yup, he does., I’m not kidding. And I scoop him up, and I put him upon the kitchen counter, reach for the kitchen paper… The first time I did this when he came to live with me I heard Grumpy Man commenting: “Is something wrong with the black guy darling ?”
“Oh yeah, minor though, just an itty-bitty little abcessy… Want to come and see ?”
At which point I direct him downwind and then proceed. Note the “downwind”.

The first thing to do is to check how many lumps there are and whether there are scabs. If there is a scab we can open the abcess and drain it. If there is not it’s vet-time. I will not cut my kitties, Mister Vet can do that – he’s trained for it. But I can scratch a scab away. Then you must duck or otherwise take cover. Depending on the tautness of the lump I know when to stay standing or when to jump away. Sometimes puss goes ballistic. And I wasn’t talking about kitty.

Then the goo starts squirting out. At which point Grumpy Man, the first time when he witnessed a draining, recoiled in disgust and then gagged. Well, yes, “putrefying” is the term that I would choose when describing the flow. And Grumpy Man has now learned to stay upwind of my gentle ministrations every time. He’s still fascinated by the process though, and when needed will even wrap the cat in a towel in order to prevent major shredding taking place. The sweetheart.

Eventually the flow stops and I must push around in order to drain everything. At which point the poor ailing kitty will feel that the pressure has lifted and think that he has healed. He will want to get away now, because the pushing and prodding becomes a bit painful but I insist upon complete drainage. Only when I see a clear liquid or blood coming out do I desist. I usually will let go of my patient at that point because bloody murder is being threatened with and claws are being waved in front of my eyes. My work is done, I can simply lean back and watch how my feline baby will clean himself all by himself.

This is more or less the scenario with abcesses. I must repeat the procedure two or three times a day but usually it’s gone in a day or two and kitty heals up nicely. You might think I should have gone to the vet in the first place ? When I can perfectly do it myself and thus spare my furry baby the stress of a car ride and being handled by a complete stranger in a frighteningly strange environment ? Get real.

Zorro more or less allows me to handle the worst of his abcesses but with him one day of care is usually enough. He won’t allow me the second day, but by then he’s usually healed up nicely anyway. The 4 younger cats have yet to succumb to abcesses and don’t know about the procedure yet, although they do know about earmite-control and have learned to undergo the cleaning and the application of the squirty thing with angry resignation. They hate being poked in the ears, but they hate it even more when some gooey stuff is squirted into their ears and then rubbed in. I am, however, a firm believer in tough love.

Pills are not a problem either. They all know the drill by now: open up the jaws with some fingers, drop pill into throat, clamp jaws shut whilst rubbing the troat and encouraging kitty to “swallow there’s a good boy”. Then dangle tasty treat in front of their angry daggers-flashing eyes. They know about the treat. They just don’t like being forced to do something. That’s cats for you.

Cats don’t require much care really. That’s the good thing about them I guess. They are usually quite self-reliant and capable of taking care of themselves. But now and then they do need the human touch. And that is when I dance attendance upon them. That is when I truly feel like a mother.

Picture below: This is what Zorro usually looks like… scratched and battered and very very grumpy.

Zorro scabbed

Not so grumpy kitties can be met and admired at The Friday Ark, the Carnival of the Cats hosted by Kashim & Othello, Weekend Cat Blogging over at Bad Kitty Cats and the Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos which takes place at Mind of Mog‘s.

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