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Jinx and the Fractured Pelvis

Jinx the cat went out to catch mice, or squirrels or do whatever it is that cats do in a backyard, last Wednesday night. When I called for her, she didn’t come in. Not incredibly unusual. It was a nice night and once in a while she will opt to sleep outside. I wasn’t worried. At six years old, she was pretty experienced with the dangers of being outside the house. Thursday – no Jinx. I walked through the neighborhood with my dog Atlas calling for her. I asked the neighbors around me but no one had seen her since Wednesday night. Friday I found myself posting ‘lost cat’ on social media and went to the humane society to see if she may be there. Nothing. That evening as Mike (my boyfriend) and I were leaving my house to get something to eat, my neighbors brought her to me wrapped in a blanket. They found her under their house crying. It looked as though she was hit by a car or something equally tragic.

 

We took her to the animal emergency room nearby. They immediately took her from us to be examined and get x-rays. After a bit, they took us back into a little exam room and a very, very young looking on-call Vet came in with a face that was not very optimistic. I couldn’t help but wonder if that scowl was her resting face. She showed us the x-rays of a fractured pelvis, explaining that the biggest issue would be if the fracture was crushing or damaged the colon. Then she left us and went to examine the colon, came back and told us, yes, it is in fact being cut off and a $5000 surgery would put her right, and if we didn’t opt for the surgery she would be going to kitty heaven. I was slightly freaking out. Okay, maybe not slightly. She didn’t even have proper words or doctory terminology to explain the issue. She said, “go to the bathroom” and “fart” and “pee”.  And I’m thinking, “Wow. Really professional vocabulary. You graduated, right?” I wanted to tell her, “You know cats don’t actually use a bathroom?” After that conversation, I had a hard time conjuring up enough respect for her to actually believe what she was saying. You know how your logical brain is overwhelmed by your heart sometimes and your reasoning skills have just disappeared? It felt like that. Part of me wanted to yell at this Vet who was really just a kid and tell her that she couldn’t possibly make that prognosis so quickly and that she should learn some better terminology, like evacuate your bowels or defecate, or flatulence, or urinate – anything to keep from sounding like you are still a child.

We went back out to the waiting room to pay an exorbitant fee and wait for Jinx and her pain medication that we needed to give her, because we wouldn’t be able to schedule her surgery until Monday. Part of me kept thinking, I don’t want her to be in pain. I can’t afford a $5000 surgery and if I have to send her to kitty heaven, I don’t want to prolong it. Should we do it now? Should we wait? It was horrible to be thinking these thoughts. When I said out loud what I was thinking, Mike said, “We wait and see what your vet says. Call them tomorrow morning.” I agreed. Thank God he was there to be the voice of reason.

 

The tech came out with her medication and was instructing me that I needed to give her a shot for the next few evenings for pain and a pill every evening for swelling. I asked, “What is this for? This for swelling?” and the tech said. “Yes.” and I said, “So she has swelling.” And in the logical part of my brain it was niggling at me that if there is swelling, how can the Vet possibly know what is really going on in there? I’m not a doctor by any means, but it’s logical that when there is swelling, you will not have a clear picture. At least wait until the swelling goes down. Is this Vet sadistic, giving horrible news to people and getting off on their reaction? Shouldn’t she have been a little more optimistic, not to give outlandish hope, but to at least leave a little gap open to possibilities?

 

We left with a very groggy, drugged up kitty, basically on cat heroin, and went home. I couldn’t stop crying and my mind kept replaying all the goofy habits that made Jinx such a wonderful companion. Things she would never get to do again if I she didn’t have surgery. We had been through a lot together and I didn’t want to lose her. When we got home, I put her in Atlas’ kennel (I’m so glad I kept it) and made her as comfortable as possible. I didn’t want to think the worse. I was going to call my vet in the morning.

 

Morning comes. I’m exhausted from lack of sleep. My imagination just kept going over all the possibilities of how this happened to her. She had no other injuries but a fractured pelvis. I’m laying on the floor petting her in her kennel. She is purring and rubbing her head in my hand. My tears won’t stop flowing. I was just waiting to get up the courage to call my Vet. I didn’t want to hear the same thing from her that I heard from last night’s Vet.

 

When I finally sat down to call Jinx’s Vet, I felt calm and even. I explained what happened and where we took her and that they should have sent over the information to her. They gave me a disk with the x-rays that I could e-mail her or drop off. My calm gave out when I told her what the diagnosis was from the ER Vet. I started crying and asked her what I should do? She calmly said, “If it were my cat, and there was even a 20% chance that she could make it through this without surgery, I would give her that chance. Cats have amazing healing abilities and this is not an uncommon injury. Many cats heal on their own. Let me look at the report from last night and I will call you back.” I thanked her and after hanging up, I felt a litle more optimistic.

 

When Jinx’s Vet called back, it was to tell me that she never got the report and asked if I could call the ER and ask them to send it over to her. She also asked me to e-mail her the x-rays.  I did as she asked, and she called me back saying that she would like me to bring Jinx in to see her and that the report looked incomplete. Within the hour, we were at the Vet’s office and Jinx was being examined. The Vet said she would take her in the back and examine her to see if her colon is obstructed and would then be able to give us an idea of her chances without surgery. I was nervous and sick to my stomach and Mike was wonderful about keeping me distracted with his goofy banter and sense of humor. She came back within a few minutes and told us, “I would give Jinx a 75% chance of recovery without surgery. I was able to get clear through her pelvic area and her colon looks good. She will need a lot of care, a special diet, and she needs to stay in a kennel for about 6 weeks, but as long as she can make a bowel movement, she has a really good chance at recovery.” I was incredibly relieved! The Vet then said, “There isn’t anything about her colon being crushed or damaged in the report they sent me. It looks like the notes weren’t even completed.” I wasn’t surprised.

 

We left the Vet’s office with more medication, cat laxative, food and instructions and a way smaller bill than the ER visit. We took Jinx home and I was happily crying tears of relief. We weren’t out of the woods. Not even close, but there was hope.

 

Mike had an extra collapsible cat kennel that was perfect for Jinx. We set her up with a memory foam cushion covered in a wee pad (for puppies) and hoped she would, well, poop. And she didn’t. Not for 5 days. She urinated in her kennel on the way to the Vet on Saturday so I know she was drinking water, but by Sunday evening she hadn’t urinated or defecated. She wouldn’t drink anything or eat anything. I had to force feed her because she had absolutely no appetite. I used a wet paste-like cat food and a syringe that her Vet provided. I put a big towel on my kitchen table and gently lay Jinx in front of me. I got some food into her, but not much and she did drink a bit, but it wasn’t optimal. I also used the syringe to give her the laxative (laxatone) which is really sticky and kinda gooey. She hated me but was still purring. She has never been a biter or scratcher and I was grateful she didn’t take this opportunity to start.

 

By Monday morning I was getting worried again. The shots I had given her over the weekend (cat heroin) were wearing off. She would be taking a pain/anti-inflammatory pill every night, but I knew she was going to start feeling pain. I was also hoping maybe she would have an appetite again. She needed to eat. With Kegan’s help (my kid) I force fed her again Monday evening but she still hadn’t urinated. Mike said I should try just setting her in her litter box. Maybe she just won’t go on the pad in the kennel. It made sense. I gently supported her in her box and she relieved herself. Boy did she have a lot stored up! But still, no poop. Tuesday morning, I could hear her eating. She never liked wet food, so I gave her the dry food I know she likes. Hearing that crunching noise was pure joy. But by Tuesday night, she still hadn’t pooped. I put her in her litter box and she urinated, but that was it. On Wednesday afternoon, I called the Vet and told them I would give Jinx until Thursday morning to poop, otherwise I would bring her in for an enema. Eew.  I researched a bit for other cat owners that have gone through this, and saw that some set up a litter box and sleep area in a dog kennel. I knew she was restricted from walking, but I wanted to give her the freedom of going in a litter box. I knew she wouldn’t dirty the little kennel she slept in, so I set it up. Two minutes after I put her in the bigger kennel set up, she pooped. Twice! I was thrilled! She is still awkward of course and has to use her front end for support and can’t cover it herself, but so what. I cleaned her up with baby wipes, and cleaned the litter box for her immediately. The Laxatone made her poop soft, but I am sure it was still painful for her. She mewed a bit, but I know she felt better. I certainly felt better.

 

We are using two kennels for her. The bigger one for long term use and the smaller one for short term. She has always liked to sit in my bedroom bay window, so I have set her up there in the mornings using the small kennel. Atlas hangs out with her and Kegan is home during the day, so she is not alone all the time when I am at work. She also comes outside with me when I work on the yard. She is content I think, and I feel good about this setup. I don’t like to transfer her around too much, so I am incredibly gentle and careful.

  I don’t know what I would have done if Mike hadn’t been there for me all weekend. He was the voice of reason. He was strong for me so I could let myself cry without feeling like I was being an over emotional twit. He made me laugh and distracted me at all the right moments. He stayed with me and is there to support me during all of this without my needing to ask. He is wonderful and I am incredibly grateful he is in my life. It is still another 5 weeks of recovery time for her, but I know she can do it. We have more x-rays late next week to see her progress. I’m exhausted but very optimistic. I’ll try to keep updating her progress.

Prayers and good thoughts are always welcome.