Saturday, 25 September 2010
I didn't see him arrive - I was in the living room, sitting at my computer and editing some photos for use on the blog - but I heard him struggling with the cat flap in the kitchen. This is unusual - he doesn't normally have any problems with the cat flap, apart from the odd occasion when he likes to lurk, half-in and half-out, while he checks for foxes, other cats, and rain.
I then heard Sylvester jump down from the kitchen counter - the cat flap is up in the window, as I don't have a back door. And then he yowled.
At first, I thought this was the prelude to a massive furball production. He yowls, retches and regurgitates a hairball, which I then need to clear up before I step in it. So, I immediately turned towards him, to see where the furball was to be deposited. No furball was forthcoming, but Sylvester looked as if he was in serious pain, and he flopped over onto his side, still yowling.
I picked him up ever so gently, and held him against my shoulder while I felt for any obvious bites, and he purred a bit (which nearly broke my heart) but, although his back and hind quarters seemed to be giving him a great deal of discomfort, I couldn't see any obvious damage.
The only one I could find was in Victoria, which is central London. Quite a trek, but Sylvester was in pain, and I couldn't leave him like that all night. Victoria is about 16 miles away, and I thought it would take me about 45 minutes to drive there. I phoned, explained the situation and then went to find the cat basket.
It was a measure of how ill Sylvester was that he didn't struggle when I put him inside. Normally he'll fight tooth and claw to stay out of the basket... I've even found him holding the sides with all four feet as I try to push him in through the front. Not this time. He yowled, and tried to back out, but it was a half-hearted attempt.
To make matters worse, I needed to go and get petrol... I had planned to fill up the car in the morning, on my way to Mass. It was 11:30pm by this time, and there aren't many petrol stations around which are open that late - a few years ago there were loads, but they all seem to have gone out of business.
I forgot about the speed camera just outside Bexleyheath... I wasn't very much over the speed limit, about 38 mph, I thought, but the road is downhill, and the camera is a very sensitive one. It flashed. I will be getting something nasty through the post in the next day or so...
I found the Animal Hospital very easily, which was just as well, because Sylvester had been emitting pitiful cries and yowls for the whole journey. I was quite a wreck, imagining the worst.
An examination failed to reveal any major injury, but it did reassure the vet that Sylvester hadn't had a stroke. The vet was unwilling to X-ray him, because that would have involved a general anaesthetic, and as the cat is about 17 years old, this is not something to be rushed. He agreed that Sylvester was in some pain, but thought that the most likely explanation was a fight with another cat or an encounter with a car which had left him bruised and a little battered. A painkilling injection was given, along with an antibiotic in case there had been a bite from another cat. I was told to keep an eye on him over the weekend, and to seek further advice if there wasn't any improvement, or if Sylvester's condition deteriorated.
I was also given the address of a 24-hour Animal Hospital in Thamesmead, which is a good deal nearer to where I live...
The journey back was considerably quieter, which, I guess, means that the painkiller must have helped. Sylvester wasn't quite himself, however, and he didn't try to escape from the cat basket the minute I opened it. In fact, he's still in there, and so I'm hoping that he will get a good night's sleep... On that note, I think I might try to get some sleep myself...