Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Possum Post-Op

Possum is happy to be home.


Yesterday, the hospital staff reported that he was "quite the gentleman" before and after his two tooth extractions and we were not surprised. We brought him home last night with pain medication and antibiotics for the next several days, and instructions that we shouldn't be alarmed if he didn't have much appetite or seemed lethargic or disoriented for a day or so.

As soon as he was out of his carrier he began strutting around and agitating for his supper. The other cats were long overdue for their meal, so I filled bowls and expected a stampede. No one appeared for several minutes, which was most unusual. Possum speedily helped himself their food in between wolfing down his own. I realized that the nearby cat carrier was probably scaring the others and away it went.

Toffee appeared, sniffed Possum, and went to his supper. Harris arrived and went bananas, hissing fiercely at Possum as if he'd never seen a cat before. Possum clearly had that vet-office scent, which makes them treat lifelong buddies like threatening strangers. Lion had headed for the hills as soon as Possum arrived; he missed his supper and didn't reappear for hours. Wendy briefly joined in on Harris's hissy fit until she decided she was too upset to eat and ran off.

Harris demonstrated that cats can hiss and chew at the same time, cleaning up Wendy's bowl and his.

While I had at least a few cats within reach in the kitchen, I pulled out the magic antidote from the vet: a paper towel covered in Feliway spray. Feliway is a synthetic version of a cat's natural scent (a pheromone). It works by making everyone smell reassuringly alike — and sufficiently like a cat rather than a vet's office — so they believe everything is mellow. Cats they previously wanted dead should rapidly become kindred spirits again. I alternated rubbing the towel on Possum and any cat I could get near, including Harris, who hissed furiously at me and at the paper towel. Toffee and Possum didn't mind me a bit. Wendy fled, escaping Certain Death at the hands of Evil Mommy and her Terrible Towel. 

Lion got a quick rubdown when he finally appeared — until the towel sent him scurrying under the sofa again. 

This morning, Wendy was still hissing at all four boys, so she got more towel treatment during her petting session with her beloved daddy.

And all was peaceful after that. What a relief: it took a few days for everyone to stop hating Lion when he came home from his last vet emergency. That time, I'd done something wrong with the Feliway towel and everyone ended up smelling like the vet's office. It was a disaster. 

Possum is his old sweet self: purring, sitting on our laps, napping excessively, and relishing his meals (and everyone else's; I can't chastise him right now). We are fortunate; I believe. Giving even a healthy cat anesthesia and any sort of surgery is never entirely risk-free.

I will always wonder if Possum had been suffering silently with tooth pain for months while we didn't realize it. If only he would tell me the truth! But he's cat-like and silent on the subject of pain, observing the Feline Honor Code for a change. He does seem more bright-eyed than previously, so I hope he's feeling better and not just high on painkiller.  In two weeks, we're supposed to start brushing his teeth, and he may have a few choice words to say to me about that, perhaps.

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