“Are you the vet who comes to people’s houses?” she asked. It was early, and I was half asleep. I gathered myself together and replied…
“Yes, that’s me – how can I help you?”
“Well, my cat has a very sore, fat foot, he won’t let me touch it, and he’s just sitting there growling and hissing,” she explained.
“I can help you with that,” I said. “Are you home today?”
And she was, so I made a time. Marianne (now my wife) had just moved to Townsville to live with me, and I invited her along to come out for the drive, and to see what I did out at work. She was excited!
Before long we arrived, knocked on the door, introduced ourselves, and were sitting on the couch. The cat was in a corner, ears laid back, growling to himself, holding a swollen front foot up off the ground. Marianne was perched on the couch beside me, watching.
“I’m really worried about him,” she explained. “He’s even a bit off his tucker, and normally he’s a pig. Do you think it’s anything serious?”
“Has he been in a y cat fights recently?” I asked.
“Now you mention it, he did manage to get out a couple of nights ago, and the was a bit of a scuffle and some yowling.”
“He’s got a cat fight abscess,” I explained. “I’ll have a bit of a look at him to make sure, but it’s a classic picture.”
I went over to him, and the growling got louder. I carefully got a very, very firm grip on his scruff, and managed to have a feel of his foot without being maimed by the waving paws, claws out, or his very sharp teeth. His growling and wailing and hissing reached biblical proportions, but I did manage to examine him in the end.
“Yes, It’s definitely a cat fight abscess,” I explained. “All hot, swollen, painful. I will need to sedate him, then I can lance it, relieve the pressure, and give him some antibiotics. He’ll be right as rain in a few days.”
“That’s a relief!” his mum said. “I thought he was going to take your hand off when you were looking at him, though. I’ve never seen him so angry.”
“It’s very painful, that will be why he’s carrying on like a pork chop,” I explained.
I went out to the the van, and collected all I needed- sedative injection, the antidote to wake him up afterwards, gloves, a fresh scalpel blade, a big handful of swabs, and a 20 ml syringe with sterile saline in it to flush the abscess out with. I came back in, carefully scruffed Mr Grumpy, and injected the sedative in. He wailed in anger and rage, and waved his sharp bits around with evil intent, but I had him in such a grip that he couldn’t reach me. I let him go, and five minutes later his head was nodding. Soon after, he was a relaxed puddle on the floor. Marianne and the lady were chatting away happily.
“Ok- I’m going to pop this abscess,” I explained.
I took the scalpel, and jabbed it into the middle of the swelling, then cut a cross shaped hole, so it could drain well. Pus welled out, and the smell galloped through the room, assaulting our nostrils. It was one of the smelliest cat abscesses I had ever had the misfortune to encounter. Marianne was standing nearby, watching. As the smell hit her, her face went pale, and her legs grew wobbly.
“I feel a bit strange,” she said, “like the world is wobbly.”
“I’d sit down right now, If I was you,” I said.
She collapsed on the couch, looking rather pale, and I pressed on, squeezing what seemed like gallons of pus out the poor cats foot, absorbing it into the swabs, then flushing out the wound. I cleaned it all up, bagged up the smelly mess, and gave him the injection to wake him up. About five minutes later he was wriggling, and soon after was sitting up and carefully cleaning his wound. the growling was all gone.
“Are you ok?” I asked Marianne.
“I think so, I went all over funny there for a bit, but I’m fine now.”
“He looks so much happier already,” The cat’s mum said.
“Yes,” I said. “As soon as you let the pressure off, they feel so much better. Make sure he gets his antibiotics every day, and he’ll be just fine.”