I thought getting spayed was bad enough, but I had no idea what was in store for me next!
It wasn’t Siouxsie or Thomas’s fault. They were actually very nice to me — once they got over the fact that I smelled like the vet. Thomas groomed my ears and snuggled next to me, and even Siouxsie consoled me.
“I know what it’s like, sweetie,” she told me. “Don’t worry, the pain will get better in a few days. And then I’ll start swatting you again!”
Well, Siouxsie was right. My tummy hurt a lot less after that first night at home. But holy Sekhmet, was I cold! That giant hole in my fur left me no protection against the nasty, wintry drafts in our little barn apartment, and the only reason I didn’t freeze right to death was that Thomas slept right next to me and covered up my naked spot as much as he possibly could. He even helped me make a nest out of my favorite purple fleece blanket, and that helped too.
A couple of days after I came back home, the line where the vet sliced me open to remove my girly bits started to itch. I licked at it, and I noticed that as soon as I licked it enough to sting because of my bristly tongue, I could relax. And that worked for a while.
But then the next day, it itched even more. And even though I licked it until I could barely stand the sting, the itchiness came back before I could even drift off into a nap. I thought I was going to go crazy! Finally, exhausted, I wailed to Thomas, “I hate this! How come I can’t stop the itching?” I slumped my head into the fur on his shoulder and let my eyes leak.
“There, there,” he said as he gave me a gentle lick on the forehead. “I’m sure Mama will fix it. She can fix everything! It won’t be long until she gets home.”
“But … but … it’s …” Furiously, I started licking at the line on my tummy. I even nibbled at it, I was so upset.
“Rest easy, sweet Dahlia,” Thomas cooed in my ear. “Come on over here and snuggle next to me, and I’ll purr you to sleep.”
I must have managed to drift off, because the next thing I knew I heard the hum of Mama’s car and the bouncing beams of her headlights as she drove toward the house. I jumped off the sofa and, with a shiver, waited to greet her as she came in the door. Greeting Mama was my favorite thing in the whole world!
I got ever more excited as I heard her CLUMP-CLUMP-CLUMP up the stairs, and as she entered I braved the arctic wind that blew in with her and stood with my tail wagging, singing my “Welcome Home, Mama” song as she slammed the door shut behind her, dropped her bags and leaned over to pet us.
Then it was supper time, and I forgot all about my itchy belly — so, of course, I didn’t think to ask Mama to fix it.
But there’s a law among feline-kind that clearly states, “if something is to go terribly wrong with a cat, it must happen after the dusk hunt and before the dawn hunt.” And so it was that long after Mama went all the way from catnap to deep, deep sleep, my tummy started itching again!
I licked and nibbled and bit and licked and nibbled … and I couldn’t make it stop!
I didn’t manage to wake up Mama with all my shuffling and slurping and shaking, but Siouxsie certainly came to attention. “For Bast’s sake, cut that out, you stinky little kitten!” she growled as she glared at me.
“But Siouxsie, it itches!”
“You keep all that snurfing and nibbling up, and you’re going to regret it,” she said.
Thomas opened one eye and mumbled, “Go to sleep, Siouxsie.”
I snuggled close to Thomas and asked him if he’d help me lick my tummy. I was exhausted from all that curling up, and my tongue hurt from all my hard work. He said he’d lick my head again because that would help me get some sleep.
Finally the dawn broke and Mama’s clock started going Bip-bip-bip … bip-bip-bip. That was my cue! I jumped up and walked across Mama’s bladder a few times to help her get out of bed. Then I stuck my nose in her face and tickled her with my whiskers until she started to pet me. As she worked her way down my body, her fingers caressed my stomach … and stopped. She sat up straight and grabbed me before I could jump off the bed to join Siouxsie and Thomas at the food dishes. Then she stood me up on my back legs and peered at my poor, cold, naked tummy.
“Oh, Jesus,” she said. She pulled me close to her and stroked my head. “It’ll be okay, Dahlia. I’ll fix it, I promise.”
“I told you she’d fix it,” Thomas said.
Mama was just about ready to go when she looked at me and picked up her little phone thing. I heard her say things like, “quarter-inch hole in her spay scar; pulled apart; liquid coming out … okay. Thanks, I’ll be right down.”
She shuffled me into my portable prison before I could run off — I blame my still-incomplete recovery for my inability to escape her clutches — and off we went to the vet’s office.
“What have you done, Dahlia?” Doctor Sarah said as she opened the exam room door. “I hear you’ve opened up your incision. Let’s take a look … ”
She rolled me over on my side and looked at my embarrassingly furless abdomen. “You have, haven’t you?” she said.
“I was especially worried when I felt the liquid,” Mama said. I could hear the tension in her voice. “I was afraid she’d opened herself up right into her peritoneal cavity or something.”
She poked and prodded around the edges of the hole a little bit. “I don’t see any signs of infection, and although the skin is separated, the muscle and deeper tissues seem to be fine.
“It looks to me like the edges of the skin have healed, so I’m not confident that the wound will close on its own. But let’s give it a try, because the other choice is to re-operate and make those incision edges fresh again.
“Let’s give her an E-collar so she won’t lick at the wound, and some antibiotics to prevent infection in that open spot. Bring her back in a week or so and let’s see if it’s closed up at all.
And so began my horrific sentence: at least one week in the Cone Of Shame!