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Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio

An Easter cat-astrophe

April 11, 2012 - An Easter lesson for me this year – cat claws are sharp!

I didn't have the pleasure of learning this lesson myself. That went to my cat Henry at the claws of fellow cat, Crawford.

I was babysitting Crawford while my ex was on vacation. The two of them don't get along as well as they used to, putting on some sort of dominance display for the benefit of my two girl cats, I suppose.

I thought they wouldn't seriously injure each other. Cat's coats are pretty thick, and they did grew up together, after all.

But I was wrong.

I came home from Easter Vigil services to find Henry lethargic in bed. Checking on him, I found a three-inch gash in his side.

It wasn't bleeding, but it had more the look of raw meat. I should have rushed him to the vet immediately, but I didn't.

Maybe it wasn't too serious, I thought. Maybe I can take care of this myself. I found myself inventorying whatever medical supplies I had on hand.

I've had a little bit of medic training in the Army. I had some bandages and antiseptic cream, and some clippers to trim away his fur. I got him in the tub and ran some water on it, then realized it was far beyond whatever I could do about it.

So 3 a.m., Easter morning, I was at the animal emergency room getting my cat stitched up.

It took a bit of haggling with the vet for me to get things going. The doctor ran up a bill of procedures almost reaching $1,000, a bit too much to spend on an old kitty, I thought.

But the vet knocked off a few x-rays and blood work, shaving more than $300 off the bill, and, with my ex offering to pay half, I gave the go ahead to save my cat's life.

I have an old dog cage for his convalescence, with his stitches, two drain tubes and a cone of shame – oh, he loves that.

He doesn't like his medicine, so I put it in his food – at least he's getting wet catfood, a bit of a treat in my household.

He's in his twilight years, but I didn't want his end to be at the hands of his brother cat on Easter.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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