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Tetanus? I’m good for another ten years

Ah, Mommy Cat. We have two cats. They’ve lived with us for more than 13 years. Originally there were five but the three boys wandered too far and unfortunately were lost to cars on a nearby road.

Mommy Cat, the matriarch of all she sees, brought her kittens to us way back in 2009. The only girl of the litters she bore is Hoppy, so called because she’s missing a part of her back foot. It doesn’t slow her down though. When she wants to she can run like the wind, or hunt silently and bring us “gifts” to the back door.

Mommy Cat is still half wild. After all these years she will barely tolerate us touching her, and only while she’s eating cat treats. For many a year she would sit on the window sill, rain or shine, hail or snow, looking into the kitchen. She would never come in unless the back door was left wide open.

Until a few weeks ago that is. Much to our delight she came in and didn’t flinch (too much) when I slowly and quietly closed the door behind her. She ate some food. Looked around. Wandered through the legs of the kitchen table. Sniffed the legs of the chairs. She even went over to the dog’s bed, and lay down, watching us through lidded eyes.

We were amazed. At 15 or 16 years old she realised she didn’t have to run out the door when we approached. She realised it was nice and warm inside and she was safe inside. After a while she went out again into the night, and her bed outside in a kennel.

Things only got better and better. First thing in the morning she came in with her daughter, meowing in a croaky voice. Slightly unsteady on her elderly feet, but she still has an appetite.

Soon enough she was staying in the bed all day until I coaxed her out, but then she started staying in all night. She obviously has good bladder control as she had to be pushed out in the morning!

This continued for the last two weeks but she’s the worse for wear. Her fur is matted, her paws are yellowing. We could see she was doing better being inside in the warmth but one morning we smelled something nasty. Her matted fur was the source. Out she went again and my wife washed the dog’s bed, adding bleach to help get the smell out. We decided something had to be done.

Later that afternoon we acted. Mommy Cat needed to be brushed down and cleaned. I now wonder what the hell we were thinking we could do since she was half wild. Our attempts lasted all of about two minutes. Wearing kitchen gloves, I slowly crawled up to her, put my hand out to catch her. Quick as a flash, she twirled her head around and bit down hard on my finger!

Mommy Cat ran out the door and blood pumped out of my finger as I ran cold water over it into the sink. It slowly stopped but was very sore to the touch.

Of course I had to then get a tetanus shot. The last time I got one of those was in the mid-nineties. Thankfully this time it was in the arm. I have a dose of antibiotics to take for the next week, and my finger is all bandaged up. It’s still very sore but hopefully the infection won’t go anywhere.

On the way back from the doctor we stopped at the local vet to get a trap. It’s a small cage, about a metre long with a panel that slides open at one end to put the food in, and a door at the other end that swings up and is held up by a spring loaded catch. When the animal steps on a plate the door swings down behind them. Our vet knows how to handle cats. They’ll be able to clean her up and check her health.

Mommy Cat? Thankfully she didn’t take off. She came back later in the day looking for food. This morning we put out the trap. Hoppy had to be kept out of the garden because we knew she’d go into the trap without a thought for any food. Mommy Cat is smarter. She must have been starving but she never went into the trap, even though we put tuna and cat food in there. I think it’ll take a few days for her to become used to seeing it. We’ll leave the trap out for the next few days and hopefully we’ll be able to get her to the vet.

She’s in again tonight. It’s cold out. Best place for our elderly cat.

By Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Twitter.

4 replies on “Tetanus? I’m good for another ten years”

It was very sore earlier in the day but by the evening the pain had dulled a bit. The worst part is I need to use my second finger to scroll the mouse wheel.

Mommy Cat is still suspicious but we put their food in the trap, left the sliding door open so they could eat it while still outside it. Get them used to it and maybe by Monday we’ll get her to the vet!

We gave up trying to catch her, but whatever the smell was, it’s gone now. Despite the trauma of the almost-capture she continued to come into the kitchen and sleep in our dog, Diego’s bed at night. Two days ago however that changed and she slept outside in her kennel again. Right when Storm Eunice hit. Maybe she likes storms?

Thankfully she came in again this evening and is in the bed again. 🙂

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