So Charlie went to the vet on Monday. She was really pleased with his progress at healing and said she wanted to try him without the bandages, to let the wound get some air so it would heal faster. He had some fluid accumulation, but not an abnormal amount; I should just watch for if it started seeping. She would see him back in a week to hopefully take the staples out. Also, it was fine to stop the narcotic that Charlie had taken so strongly against and continue with just the NSAID as long as he didn’t seem to be hurting.
I went home and let him out of the carrier. He was ECSTATIC to be free, free at last! …free to rub his face and body enthusiastically all over me, and the carpet, and the wall. Free to make his new naked incision start oozing bloody fluid everywhere, dripping off him and puddling on the floor. So… less than an hour after coming HOME from the vet, Charlie was back, getting sedated again and re-bandaged again. (He has to be sedated because the placement of his incision means that the vet cannot restrain him safely, and now that he’s feeling feisty again if he fights them he could hurt himself.)
Tuesday was my first day back at work. I work long hours, so I was a little concerned about leaving him… turns out I was RIGHT, because when I got home he had managed to wiggle his bandages around such that his incision was almost entirely exposed and there was a giant wet spot of cat ooze on his bed. I nearly burst into tears. HE was fine – I swear he was smug, like he was saying “look, mama, I WON!” If I weren’t so worried that he would infect himself I would be happy to see his familiar attitude and personality back, not to mention seeing him so spry, hopping around on his remaining legs. I didn’t know what to do; he gets out of cones, he gets out of bandages… he only needs five or so more days before he’ll be healed up enough to be stitch-free and able to resume a much more normal life, but you can’t reason with a cat!
Finally, upon consultation with the vet, we decided to try boarding Charlie at the vet so he can be carefully supervised and they can catch any signs that he’s managed to damage himself. I know he won’t love it there, but he also doesn’t love bathroom jail, and at least this way I will know that he’s somewhere safe and being looked after. It is a tremendous weight off my shoulders to not have to worry anymore that I will come home from work or get up one morning and find him in a puddle of his own blood. For the first time in days, I’m not walking around constantly on the verge of stress tears. Hopefully, this time when he comes home, I can let him wander a bit and sleep in his favorite spots and be out with the family instead of in isolation in a tiny bathroom!
I am so jealous of those of you who have mellow cats who never bothered their stitches! Alas, I should have known; Charlie has always hated having anything on him. I can’t even get him to wear a collar; even if I got one on him it was off again in minutes.