Fritter’s awful fortnight

Sasaki-sensei at Mare Animal Clinic let me take Fritter home for the night after bandaging him up last Sunday. Fritter had struggled hard to get home to us on that damaged foot; I wanted him to have a comfortable night with us before admitting him to the clinic for treatment. So we made sure he had lots of his favorite food and he cuddled under the covers with me all night. It was his first warm sleep in 10 days.

Back at Mare Monday morning, I admitted him to their care, though it was hard to say goodbye. We were already discussing that the consequences of this injury might be amputation. Debrading the wound would give a better picture of how he might recover.

When I returned on Tuesday for a visit, I learned that his bloodwork was all good, but there was no healthy flesh to save; his paw and lower leg were damaged down to the bone. Amputation was the best course for a pain-free future. I can’t even tell you how difficult it was to accept. In fact, I got Tod to make the call to the hospital to tell them to go ahead with the surgery. Logically, it was the only option, but it hurt like hell to agree to it.

And so Fritter’s front leg was removed on Wednesday.

I had my own health-related appointments on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, so I wasn’t able to visit him until yesterday. But Michiko-sensei sent me photos and videos through the week. She’s an angel.

Seeing him was a relief. He is moving around clumsily but with great vigor and not too much pain (thanks to the painkillers, I am sure). He will come home with us on Wednesday.

I’ve been reading as much as I can about “tripawds” and how to accommodate them. He may need stairs and platforms to help him up into the bed and so on. I’m preparing some recovery suits by sewing up one sleeve so that he can ditch the e-collar and be more comfortable while his stitches continue to heal. I’ll need to control on his food intake and try to ensure he gets enough exercise so that he doesn’t gain weight.

Because of his limited mobility, I worry about him and the mean feral cats. Chester attacks him unprovoked at any opportunity. Fritter used to run away; now he can’t so easily. We’re going to have to stick to supervised outings at least until he’s nimble again. He’s our adventurer and so used to free access to the great outdoors. Nobody is going to enjoy this.

And what to do about the cat door? If it’s there, Fritter will get out. If it’s not there, Maura and Beryl can’t come and go. RFID doors are a possibility and they’d prevent the ferals from getting in and stealing food. I think this will be an investment we make sooner rather than later.

Fritter’s not exactly litter trained, so this transition to being a more indoor cat is going to be a challenge for all of us. We bought a large, open litter box (easier access and no worries about turning around) and two kinds of cat sand. Somehow, I think I will end up bringing in dirt and leaves to scatter in the box so he knows where to go.

If I am very honest, I am lightly dreading this extra emotional and physical support work. He’s not going to be easy to manage but I will do my best to help him get used to his new normal. I hope that Maura and Beryl adjust and accept him quickly.

Despite the uncertainties and the burden, I am glad he is coming home soon. He’s a good boy.

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts and small adventures.