You might remember that Lil brought her new puppy to our house for Christmas, and Buddy was less than thrilled with the puppy. After they left, Buddy was itching for a fight and he found it. I don't know what the other cat looked like, but Buddy limped home, relieved of both his collar and the chip on his shoulder. We wondered if there was an infection deep in his leg and decided I would take him to the vet.
I called first and the vet thought he might need to open the wound area, and I was to have Buddy there at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Apparently normal cats walk willingly into a carrier, or don't mind being placed into one. Not Buddy. When trying to put him in, all four feet become a blur of rotating claws and he usually manages to get both front feet on the outside of the carrier so we can't push him in. Apparently normal cats weren't feral cats that the entire neighborhood tried to catch in a cage for two years before one neighbor, with a female cat, finally broke through his defenses. No wonder he has a fear of enclosed spaces.
My normal procedure is to get a sedative from the vet, dissolve it in milk, rub it on Buddy's paws and wait for him to lick it off and get sloppy drunk. But there wasn't time to get a sedative so they told me to use a Benadryl instead. The vet also said to put Buddy in a pillow case and put the pillow case in the crate. If I couldn't put him in a carrier, I sure wasn't going to be able to put him in a pillowcase.
If you are familiar with Benadryl, you know there is a hot pink outer layer. A hard, hot pink, outer layer. It doesn't dissolve fast, doesn't crush, and the inside must be really bitter. At 8 a.m., I smeared it on both feet, Buddy took one lick and that was it. I even smeared it on his mouth and he wouldn't lick it. Hubby suggested it needed sugar so I added that. No dice. When the vet's office opened at 9 a.m., I called and reported my failure and they told me to come get a sedative.
I wiped the Benadryl off Buddy's paws, and dissolved the sedative (also pink) in the juice from a can of tuna. Buddy wouldn't touch it. In those two years of trying to trap this cat, we baited the trap with tuna and for the first year, Buddy wouldn't touch tuna with a ten foot pole. But in the last few months, he has been eating it. But not this time. So I opened a can of Fancy Feast, a salmon pate' and mixed a little of that with the dissolved sedative. It turned into pink pate' and it smelled. Correction, it stank. It was too early in the morning to think about the repercussions of using salmon pate' on the feet of a cat. Think about it, stinky stuff on the feet of an unhappy cat. What could go wrong? He sniffed, and of course after one lick, the bloomin' cat wouldn't take another. He just glared at me when I put more on.
So there was the cat with pink, stinky salmon pate' walking around the kitchen, climbing into the sink cabinet, pawing at the back door, jumping onto the upholstered bench, and walking across my quilt blocks on the table, leaving little smears of pink salmon everywhere he went. Every time he stopped, I smeared more pink paste on his feet and he continued to ignore it.
Finally, at 11 a.m. he started licking his feet. Hallelujah! It started working by 11:15 and then it was a matter of getting him in the carrier which I had hidden in the hall. I opened the door of the carrier and placed it in front of the door that I opened just enough for the cat to squeeze through. I hoped the cat would be in such a hurry to get out of the kitchen that he wouldn't see the carrier. No such luck. He saw it and tried to jump over it but I blocked him.
Then I remembered his fascination with the tunnels we made out of boxes when the puppy was here, and I found a couple of boxes, unfolded the tops and bottoms and made a short tunnel from the door to the carrier. I thought it was going to work too. He went in the first box and I was waiting for him to get in completely before tilting it and sliding him into the carrier. But he must have smelled the carrier and backed out while his back feet were still a position to defend himself.
So I waited. I didn't live through the most stubborn child on earth to be beaten by a cat. By 11:30 his eyes looked loopy and he had a little sway to his walk, so I picked him up and carried him over the carrier and as I acted like I was going to set him on the floor, I turned and stuck him in the carrier, or at least I got his front paws in the carrier. He was madly trying to back out and I was pushing his rear with the gate of the carrier. Finally I got him pinned with just one hind foot and tail out of the carrier. He was trying to turn around so his lethal weapon front claws were nearest the opening, but he wouldn't pick up that back foot so he couldn't turn. Finally he picked up that foot and made a quick turn but I was faster and got the door shut. Yay! It was 11:35 and I could just get him to the vet's before they closed for lunch.
I grabbed my purse and keys, picked up the carrier, and opened the back door. Just as it was opening, the gate on the carrier popped open and Buddy seized the opportunity to jump out of the carrier and out the door. I yelled NO! to no avail and ran after him. But my toe hung in a tarp that was on the deck by the door, and I sprawled across the deck, skinning my knee and wounding my pride.
I figured the cat was probably under the neighbor's shed, so I just lay there waiting for my head to clear and I spotted Buddy laying on the driveway. So I got up, picked up the contents of my purse, and then picked up the cat. I put him down in the kitchen and he walked around switching his tail, and staying as far from the carrier as he could get. By then it was 11:55, too late to get him to the vet before they closed for lunch.
Now the dilemma is what to do with the cat for two hours. I knew I'd never get him in the carrier unless he was completely loopy and in two hours the sedative would start wearing off. I picked him up in his cat bed, carried him to the family room, and we rocked and watched Gunsmoke for an hour. Then he started getting antsy. He wanted out of my lap. In fact, he wanted to go outside.
Back in the kitchen, he searched for a way out. He growled when I picked him up and meowed at the door. The sedative was definitely wearing off. I wet the remaining bits of pink salmon paste so I could scrape it off the plate and smeared it on his feet. He growled at me and pulled his feet away. He ran a few feet and then stopped, swaying. I guess that made him dizzy so I seized the moment, whisked him up, spun around a couple of times, and put him in the carrier.
Once again, I only got his front end in, but this time he fell over before he could fight back and I got the gate shut. This time I made sure the gate was latched well, and I taped it. I thought I could leave him in the kitchen for a half hour until it was time to go, but after he regained his balance, he started hissing, growling, yowling, and clawing at the metal gate and the plastic sides of the carrier. I saw little fragments flying out of the carrier. I didn't know if it was shredded plastic or claws. Turns out it was both.
I decided to put him in the car and drive around. I figured if it worked on babies, it might work on a cat. He didn't go to sleep, but he quit fighting the carrier. And when we got to the vet, he was as meek as a kitten. He let the vet roll him over, examine his leg, check his heart, and squirt a syringe of antibiotic in his mouth, all things he would never allow at home. Made a total liar out of me.
Turns out we were right, and there is an infection deep in his leg, so Buddy is on antibiotics for a week. The vet gave him the dose yesterday by just opening his mouth and then holding it closed. I can't see that working when the cat isn't drugged and paralyzed with fear, so the vet suggested making sure he was starving by breakfast and mixing it with some food. So I put away the self feeder and did that this morning. It worked except he didn't eat every bit of it. So I'm not feeding him any extra until this is gone.
And today we are starting carrier training. If you have any ideas let me know.