Sunday, June 22, 2008

Butcher Mommy

A little out of context from my usual posts, but an extreme note of caution is in order for anyone with a cat and scissors: never trim a cat's tail with scissors. Never. I mean ever. Just put 'em down, and back away.

Otherwise, you may find that the tip of the tail is easily snipped -- no matter how careful you think you're being. In the case of a cat who, oh say, has tail feces you're trying to cut out, snipping the tail tip is unbelievably easy to do. You and the cat may not even register it...until the blood comes. Crazy...amounts...of blood. You now have feces and blood to deal with, to say nothing of a possible medical emergency. Tail-bleeding may stop after 10-15 minutes, only to restart later with a vengeance whereupon the tail whips about, as tails tend to, splattering blood everywhere and across everything/everyone. It may appear there is no stopping the bleeding, whereupon you immediately transport your cat to the emergency vet hospital, oh say late on a Friday night. Once there, you discover that surgery is needed. Surprise! Yep, surgery. The tail is a continuation of the spine, and as such has vertebrae; when the skin on the tip of the tail is, uh, accidentally removed, it becomes necessary to free up loose skin to close the wound by surgically removing the terminal vertebra. Makes sense. At least according to the emergency vet, who, as far you're concerned at this moment, is God.

Listening to God -- er, the emergency vet -- you can either pay $1100 (in addition to the big fat bill for walking through the front door) for her to perform the surgery, or wait a few hours until morning for your local vet to do it at 1/3 the cost. You may choose to wait, and return home in the wee hours of the morning with a dopey, angry, crying cat. Your home is covered in dried blood from floor, to walls, to furniture. Your cat is wailing. You are beyond guilty. All things considered, you may become physically sick. But this is no time to rest, or clean, or throw up because you need to stay up and carefully watch/console your thrashing, drugged cat. He/she could remove the tail bandage, thus causing another horror-movie round of bleeding.

So don't pick up scissors for shave jobs. That's all I'm sayin'. And if you wait to see your local vet, they may disagree with the need for surgery and advise two weeks of bandaging, antibiotics, and pain meds. Hence, a less severe tail-snipping incident leads to "merely" the above followed by an uncomfortable, bandaged, and club-tailed kitty. And for you: a lot of blood-cleaning and time off from work to make sure your cat-who-ejects-cones does not remove his wrappings.

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