Gender Confusion

The only place our cat would sit still for me to take a photograph was in the scratching tray.

As I’ve written before, we rescued a stray cat at the end of 2021. And I don’t mean we got the cat from a non-profit rescue organization. We really rescued the poor thing.

The cat had been hanging out in our front yard for a few months. I’d been putting out kibble and water. Then one day toward the end of fall with the daytime temps dropping precipitously, the cat turned up badly injured, missing most of the lower part of the right side of the face.

So I decided to tame the thing, get it in the house, and work on healing. Orange Kitty spent the first night in our house on December 2, 2021.

The poor thing was skin and bones, but otherwise (excepting the injury) seemed healthy. We’ve all gotten along really well. Maddie (our dog) still isn’t 100% sure about the cat. The cat did smack her on the head and shoulders a couple of times. But they don’t fight so it’s been okay.

We started calling him Mr. Fuzzy Pants because Orange Kitty seemed more like a descriptive and less like an appellation. We really had no idea about his sex. He has just too much fur back there and a real dislike of being held. But we figure because he is orange that he is male. Something like 80% of orange cats are male. Add that the fact that he was not pregnant despite being a stray and we were fairly secure in calling him Mister.

Skip a lot of time and come to now … he is still skinny. But he has a good appetite, poops and pees regularly, and loves to play and gets the zoomies every now and then. Everything was fine until this past weekend.

Early Saturday morning started out okay, but then it went downhill. He’d get into and out of the litter box every few minutes. He was straining and pushing out a little bit of pink tinged liquid that got redder and redder the more he did this. Eventually, he started looking for other places to do this because the box just wasn’t helping him to feel better. He also vomited a couple of times.

He was severely stressed and we had no idea what to do. Our regular veterinarian was not open. They didn’t respond to our call to their “emergency” number. After a couple of hours of waiting for a reply, he was getting really tired and weak and we were getting stressed ourselves.

Bernd Googled other vets and found one way outside of town that is available pretty much 24/7. We called, we went, and we worried.

They had a surgery scheduled so even though we dropped the cat off at about 1:30 p.m., they didn’t call us back until about 5:30 p.m. In between, we found out some things.

We were worried that he had severely blocked anal sacs. We had that happen with a cat once and they were able to unblock them without surgery. Otherwise, we were just plain worried. I mean blood is not supposed to come out of the back end of your cat.

The vet did a cursory exam before the scheduled surgery and we learned a couple of things. One was that he is a she. Two was that she was not blocked. Three was that the cat is something like 11 years old. Big surprise. And four, that she seemed to be in decent health despite the current problem. All of that was some relief to us but not much really.

We arranged to have blood and urine tested. Despite giving her subcutaneous fluids, she did not pee for them so we had to collect a sample after we got her home again. We took that back on Sunday afternoon and they pronounced her urine to be fine.

The blood test showed that she is hyperthyroid. But everything else looked good including her heart and lungs and teeth. But she has a urinary tract infection.

Bernd asked where she might have gotten that since she doesn’t go wandering the neighborhood. We take her outside in the backyard and never leave her unsupervised. The vet said that it could be due to the stress of being hyperthyroid. It raises the blood pressure and puts stress on just about everything including the immune system.

They did find a spay scar which explained the lack of a pregnancy. I’d always sort of suspected he was a she but the odds were against it.

We have to give her a liquid antibiotic twice a day until it runs out. About ten days. And for the rest of her life, we have to give her a thyroid medicine twice a day. Luckily, the thyroid medicine is a cream that is in a metered pen with a spongy tip for rubbing it into the inside of her ear … not the canal … the part of the ear that sticks out. It’s called the pinna. We have to alternate ears so we are doing the right ear in the morning (“ear” and “morning” both have an R in them) and the left ear in the evening (both “left” and “evening” have an E in them).

She takes the thyroid medicine pretty much okay, so we do that first. The antibiotic is another matter. Generally, she doesn’t bite or scratch even when she is a little upset with us. But the procedure to get the syringe into her mouth and squirt in the antibiotic is just a bit beyond her tolerance. Some of it ends up smeared on her face which is okay because then she cleans it off. Some of it ends up on us. Most of it does get into her.

Luckily the antibiotic is only for about ten days. We’ll survive. My hands might not though.

In situations like these, my mind always goes to the worst outcome first. I was sure we were going to lose her. It was such a relief to learn that what she has is treatable. We were so happy to be able to bring her home. And I am so happy that I get to go on loving her.

We are calling her Miss Fuzzy Pants now. And I am getting used to switching pronouns for her. Maddie doesn’t seem to feel any differently about the cat now that Mister Fuzzy Pants has become Miss Fuzzy Pants. Maddie probably knew all along she was a girl. Might have been nice had she told us.

Courtesy of Parade Pets

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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