Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Drama

It seems we couldn't end the year quietly, holed up in our living room, away from the one-million visitors who swarm our fair city on First Night. No, we had neglected the requisite hasty trip to the Angell Animal Medical Center ER in 2012.

My husband was making a cup of tea around 3:30 this afternoon. The kittens were in the kitchen. My husband thought Harris might be contemplating a leap onto the hot cooktop. As he was shooing Harris away, Toffee leapt from behind him onto the cooktop instead.

I heard hysterical, incoherent yelling. By the time I got to the kitchen, Toffee was running frantically though the apartment. So was my husband. Harris and Possum looked alarmed. There was a strong smell of burnt fur in the air; my husband eventually found words to tell me what happened. We caught Toffee, who was shaking his paws and limping as he ran. I examined him. His back feet looked fine but there were white areas on the pink pads of his front paws and the fluff between his toes was singed and yellow. My first thought was an ice pack, but Toffee had no patience for that. I dialed our vet as I tried to figure out what might help him. They were already closed for the holiday.

I ran cold water, soaked washcloths and wrapped them around his paws. He stayed still as my husband held him. I dialed the Animal Rescue League's vets since I have had that number memorized for decades, although I no longer remember why. They were there, but they were closing. They told me to head to Angell; the white spots were blisters and he'd need antibiotics and pain medication. I reached Angell and told them we were on our way.

Toffee was quiet in the car, and during the hour or so that we waited for the vet. I wished I'd brought the washcloths, but he was using his paws in his carrier and didn't seem in much pain. But cats hide pain. The vet was reassuring; she found only three small blisters on his toes, and washed his paws with antibacterial solution. She gave him his first painkiller dose and sent us home with more, plus antibiotics for a week. We also have to wash his paws after he uses his box.

The patient, on a happier day.

When we came home, Possum came over to the carrier and licked Toffee's head as he emerged. Possum is a prince. Toffee seems like himself, eating, playful, and chirpy. Pain medication is a great thing.

The two of us humans... not so much. My husband said he saw his worst nightmare come true, and I have rarely seen him that freaked out. (My worst nightmare involves our little, front-loading washing machine; I do a head count before I turn it on every time.) We asked the vet how we could have prevented this, and she said some people keep cans full of coins around their countertops and rattle them to scare their cats from jumping up. We can try that, but I think Toffee is smarter and more daring than that. Let's hope he's smart enough never to do it again. The vet thought it was likely. And let's hope he shares his new wisdom with Harris.

I can't say when we'll be in the mood for tea. I had the job of cleaning little charred footprints off the glass cooktop. I don't drink; alcohol makes me ill and I never liked the taste much anyway, so I seldom miss it. But this is one of those rare nights when a whiskey sour has tremendous appeal.

Toffee and Harris are playing at my feet together. Happy New Year.


  1. Poor Toffee, I hope he's feeling better. I found the best way to protect paws is to keep a pan with water on the cooktop as long as it's hot. It won't look good but at least, everyone will be safe. Happy new year from Paris, France.

  2. Thank goodness it wasn't worse. Until you know you can trust the kitten not to do this again, you could put a tall stock pot on any hot burner when you finish using it. Just put a inch of water in it to protect the bottom of the pot. That should discourage leaping.

    Hope the baby heals quickly.

  3. Oh dear, I feel your pain. Just when you think you've got everything kitty-proofed or are at least one step ahead of them. Bless his heart for being such a little trooper through the whole ordeal!

  4. Oh My Gosh! I felt your fear as I read your post. I feel for little Toffee and for your husband. What a way to end your year! I pray you all recover from this scare. What can you say about little curious boys? Have a great New Year. Out like a lion, in like a lamb. :)


Spam goes right into the trash but I appreciate relevant comments from non-spammers (and I can always tell the difference). I do my best to follow up if you have a question. ALL spam, attempts to market other websites, and anything nasty or unintelligible gets deleted instantly. The cats and I thank you for reading — and please feel free to comment on what you read.