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 Mocha had surgery on Friday. The plan was to repair the bone so that she could keep the leg, but once the operation was underway, the doctor decided that the bone was too badly damaged to be held together with pins and that the very attempt would probably result in severe nerve damage, so he ended up amputating the leg. I was prepared for that, or so I thought.

I went in on Friday after the operation to see her. She was unconscious and wrapped in what looked like a body stocking. I took a picture, but my camera (a function of my phone) doesn't have a flash, and Mocha being a black cat with her eyes closed... Well, let's just say it's not an image worthy of this blog, nor is it a sight I want to be reminded of. I actually don't want to think about what I felt when I saw here lying in that kennel with just her tube-like upper body and head sticking out from a blanket.

One of the vet techs asked me if I wanted to take Mocha into an exam room for some alone time. There were drops of blood on the towel on the bottom of Mocha's kennel, and she looked so damaged, I was afraid to pick her up or even touch her.

That was Friday. The vet kept Mocha there over the weekend, but I'll be going to pick her up this morning. I find myself stalling.

I'll be hitting the road again tomorrow morning. I don't know if I'll be driving one day to Tennessee, or two long days all the way back to Maryland. Eventually she will end up back at the Elk River House as a 100% indoor cat. She grew up as an outdoor indoor cat. Last summer, someone who lived at the Elk River House but has since been evicted, put both Boots and Mocha outside and would not let them back in. By the time I got back there, both cats were accustomed to being outside and did not want to come in the house. Now Mocha will be indoors all the time. She'll have to get used to it.

I saw cat leashes at the vet's office, and I imagined taking her outdoors on a leash to give her a taste of the outdoors, but then I realized that the leash hooked up to a body harness that probably would not stay on a three-legged cat.

Thank you, again, to everyone who contributed to the fund to pay for Mocha's surgery. You also paid for the gas to drive the roughly 2,000 additional miles and two nights in motels. I'm still getting a few new contributions, so I'll be taking those PayPal donate buttons back down again today. Thank you, one and all.


Facebook note: I'm staying at my mother's house. My brother rules the digital roost here, and he hates Facebook and blocks it at the router. I can read Facebook comments and messages on my Peek, but I can't respond or follow links. If you want me to respond or if you want to show me something, better to post your communication to LiveJournal or send email to <kmo@c-realm.com>.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
Please let us know how you're both doing. Poor Mocha and poor you. It's always so hard when they're hurt, because we're supposed to make it better.
Jan. 31st, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
Poor Mocha. It's too bad they couldn't save her leg. However, a couple of points to ponder: 1) She's pain-free now--or will be once she recovers, and 2) She won't see herself as "damaged" in any way. Cats adapt and they never feel sorry for themselves.

A long, but relevant story: Many years ago, (around 1970) at the farm I rented, we had a cat named Wart. He was a barn cat, very tame and friendly. One day, he didn't come for dinner. We looked everywhere, frantically, but Wart didn't return for three days. When he did come back, it was evident that he had been caught in a leg-hold trap. His right front leg was broken in several places and totally mangled. The smell was...amazing. Gag-inducing, like nothing I had ever smelled before. I called the vet hospital (naturally on Saturday night) and drove him over. In those days, most vets would have just put him down, but this guy thought he maybe could be saved and wanted to try amputaton. I agreed.
When I picked Wart up, he looked terrible--woozy, shaved, with a huge scar across his shoulder. I took him home and we were all like "Oh, poor Wart." But Wart? Hah. The first thing he did was jump off the kitchen counter and go splat on the floor. (Because, of course, he only had 1 leg to land on.) He picked himself up and went exploring. He never looked back--ever. He even resumed climbing the hayloft ladder--which was pretty tricky with only 1 front leg. He was fine. There was no "poor Wart" in his mind--he was just happy to have a second chance.
I know it's an awful shock for you to see Mocha in this condition, but give it a little time and follow her lead. I think you will know pretty quickly that you did the right thing.
P.S. Wart stayed an indoor-outdoor cat, but I probably wouldn't do that today. I think you're right to keep Mocha in. I hope this little tale helps.
Feb. 1st, 2011 03:52 am (UTC)
I hope this little tale helps.
It does, thank you.

I'm at the Farm now, and I had Mocha in my lap for ten hours today on the drive here. I'm getting used to the site and feel of her three-legged self.

When I saw her at the vet on Friday afternoon, she was on a drip post-operative sedative and was completely out. While unconscious, she seemed helpless and broken. Today, she had a Phentanyl patch on her and was visibly doped up, but I took heart at once when I walked into the vet's office and heard Mocha's voice ringing out from the back. She was articulating, at high volume, her dissatisfaction with her circumstances. The strength of her complaints gave me instant visceral reassurance that she was full of life and already on the mend.
Jan. 31st, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
Let us know when you are safely home and how Mocha is doing.
Feb. 1st, 2011 03:55 am (UTC)
We're at the ETC
Upon hearing of impending crappy weather in Arkansas, Mocha and I made a dash for the Farm (which is in Tennessee) today. We spent 11 hours in the truck together, with her mainly crashed out on my lap. Now we're at the Ecovillage Training Center, and she has hidden herself in the attached greenhouse and is recuperating in private.
Jan. 31st, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
to help ease the transition
Maybe a nice pot of cat grass.
Jan. 31st, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC)


We are going to have to make a nifty cat tree for mocha....:)

Much love to you and mocha. You are both very brave and special people.
Feb. 1st, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
Thank you for posing those links. The first article mentioned that tripod cats can still be outdoor cats, but I don't want her to get shot again. Presumably the perpetrator is still in the area.
Jan. 31st, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
Good luck with the transition, Kmo, and mocha too. I hear the grief and know its hard. I wish I could say something else to make it better.
Feb. 1st, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
Mocha is still full of life, and it already seems to me likes she's bouncing back.
Feb. 1st, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
While it's always awful to see our poor pets during the recovery process, just keep in mind that Mocha made it through the surgery like a champ and will be fine soon! I'm so happy for your family, and grateful that there are still so many people in this world willing to lend a hand when it is needed.
Feb. 1st, 2011 04:10 am (UTC)
She is amazingly resilient. And yes, the response to her need inspires me.
Feb. 1st, 2011 03:43 am (UTC)
Is the Elk River House home? How long before you get her home?
Feb. 1st, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
The Elk River House is a former resort hotel built in 1888 where I now rent a room. I lived there for about a year, but now I only stay there when I drive to Maryland from Tennessee to visit my two sons. They come to stay with me there when I visit. That's where Mocha and her brother Boots have lived since March of 2009. (Boots was killed by a car in Setember of 2010.)

The Elk River House is Mocha's home, and the property manager feeds and cares for her when I'm not there. Right now, Mocha is on the Farm with me here in Tennessee. We arrived a couple of hours ago. She'll be here for a couple of weeks, but when I'm satisfied that she's on the mend, I will drive her to Maryland where she will again take up residence at the Elk River House.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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