Losha, the momma cat and queen of our household,
looks calmly asleep on the household altar.
But what a story to get here.
As you can see, she is wearing something odd. Part of a sock. With a classy turquoise neck piece. But she is not newly employed as a kitty fashionista. She is recovering from a serious bout of surgery for the removal of an area of roughened skin and lumps that were with her when she came to us 9 years ago as a stray. Our veterinarian said then that the damage was probably an old fight wound, and over the years, the area became more concerning. We all, the cat included, decide something needs to happen.
But now what? Losha’s two children and she are mostly outdoor cats. Her daughter doesn’t even know how to go out a human door if it’s held open for her. And none of them have experience with a litter box. So how do we follow the Vet’s advice about Losha wearing a cone collar and therefore needing to stay inside for 10 days? A serious dilemma.
We think (the humans that is) that we can keep her in at least for 24 hours while she recovers from the anesthetic and we figure out a covering that is not a cone. We barricade the cat door, which is of a generous size because her son is in the “tubby cat” category, with a wooden box of U-Brew empties and a full bag of Little Potatoes. (It is Cortes Island after all. Both are commonly found in the pantry.) We think a pause for tea would be just right after such a stressful day, when we hear the most astonishing sounds. Bottles catapulted back into the room, while a cat, accompanied by lots of little potatoes, explodes out the tubby cat door.
Great. Now we have a wounded cat outside, loose amongst the leaf litter and under-the-deck grit. Surprisingly, we find her sitting on a board, gazing into the forest. I think she is just happy to be home.
The serious solution involves socks,
seam binding tape, velcro,
and hours of noodling
how to get a sock to stay on a cat.
I am quite pleased with my construction. The elasticized foot part of the sock becomes a legging; the heel portion is cut off to allow movement; the portion above the ankle is cut open and becomes the collar that is reinforced with seam tape and closed with velcro.
Only catch is when we see her the next morning walk calmly by with the sock as a sort of necklace dangling down her front, and the afflicted leg fully out and available to the not-to-be-allowed licking. Perhaps a one-off moment? Not a chance. She gets out of her sock handily and regularly.
So back to more, and different, socks. I try a wee footie sock like one wears with runners in the summer, but the upper shoulder portion is too narrow. However, in the process I discover some stretch athletic tape for “use as a bandage in areas difficult to wrap.” Certainly cat anatomy qualifies.
We are now making genuine progress. The neck span can be lengthened for comfort, and yet the stretch fabric keeps it firm enough to stay in place. The length of leg is extended so no slipping the elbow out the opening.
Are we happy yet?
Are either of us giving up yet?
Will my partner John run out of socks?
Stitches in for 6 more days.