An $85 Bite

Rocky came in this morning, tail hanging straight down. Not a normal position for his lovely, ringed-like-a-raccoon tail. Still, he seemed OK. He ate his breakfast then headed to his cozy blanket in my office window seat. He curled up, then I noticed he was having a difficult time sitting down. Oh, no. His tail. Something was wrong with his tail. He jumped up on the bed—a normal thing for him to do, but again, something with the tail. When we tried to see what was amiss, he snarled and it was clear that something had happened during the night.

Off the bed he went and disappeared; I looked and looked—our house is small and the number of hiding places few. I finally spotted him, tucked beneath my cedar chest. Not much room under there, but he can do it in a pinch. He stayed all day long until we put him in his Kozy Kitty carrier and off he went to the vet. Yep, sure enough, someone had bitten poor Rocky’s tail and he had a scab. Dr. Katsura gave him a shot of antibiotics—to prevent an abscess—and home we went. Two months prior, he had come in with two bites in his ear and one on his foot. Another shot, another $85. Time for a different routine, buddy.

I did a few Google searches—how to keep your cat in at night, how to keep your cat from waking you up at 3am, etc. Suggestions ranged from keeping a can of compressed air to a water bottle in your bedroom to keeping the vacuum cleaner close by—just in case you need to hit the button. Also a rolled newspaper, not to smack him with, but just to slap it against my hand, or the wall—just a little reminder that he is to stay IN when it’s dark and the other (mean and nasty) cats are about, and venture out during daylight hours.

He sauntered into the bedroom, his usual routine, to jump on the night stand or scratch the side of the bed. Kevin grabbed the can of air–one shot–and Rocky was out the door pronto and didn’t come back! He did continue to howl though, sitting by the back door. Eventually he was quiet and didn’t make another peep until 7am. He used his litter box (the first time in two years, since my sweet Kibbie passed away). He has refused it since then, always preferring the great outdoors. So, this was our first night. He went out at 7 and he stayed out until 9PM!  From 9 to 11, our bedtime, he cried a little to go out again (seriously?) but then, stretched out on the soft orange rug in front of the couch, finally relaxed.

Day 2. Rocky kept up his repeated whimpering (this one does not meow like a normal cat, but makes tiny cries, his mouth mostly closed). He didn’t come into the bedroom; that shot of air made quite an impression! I did my best to ignore him, my mind racing about how I’m taking a1way his natural hunting instincts and how I love having him snuggled in my office, or on the bed, all day long. It’s comforting having him there. Several times, I almost caved, then I remembered the first $85 bite, then the second. What might happen next? So far, the injuries have been very mild, but I grew up with much worse. My kitties would come home with torn ears or develop big abscesses from bites; nobody took my kitties to the vet. They were just left to “heal” and be outside toms where anything could happen. And did. I don’t want that for Rocky. I want him around a long time—like Kibbie, my sweet pure white kitty who lived until 18 and left me two Christmases ago. She wasn’t an outside-at-night kitty; she would lie on the porch or in the rose garden, but she stayed close.  They say it takes 66 days for a habit to form. Only 64 left to go!

countdown clock


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