First and foremost, I hope everyone is getting on ok during these crazy times. For us it feels like lockdown has been more eventful for our cats than us. It’s hardly surprising seeing as they have been the only ones allowed out for a while! Over the Easter holiday we visited the vets on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, not just with one of our cats!
We had just finished giving Charlie all his medication for Stomatitis. He had required pain relief fluid and antibiotics twice a day and to be honest, it was really taking its toll on us. Charlie was a nightmare cat to pill and he was starting to get wise to our two-person technique of restrain-and-shoot-pill-in-mouth. We had a cautious celebration the final night medicating him because we knew the vet had to see him the next day to decide whether he required any more.
The appointment turned out to be a great success. Charlie was recovering well and didn’t require any more medication. They told me his mouth would always be slightly red as they couldn’t get rid of it completely and it would just be a case of managing it now with the possibility of more medication at a later date. Phew!! I was so happy we were going to get a break! We had started letting Charlie go out unsupervised now he was off the medication and he soon resumed his sunbathing in the garden with Socks, not venturing too far while he was still recovering. We were so happy he was on the mend and thought all our cat troubles were over. Alas, the cat gods had a bit of a surprise in store for us.
I had been tidying the house upstairs (I’m not kidding, mum!) when we heard an almighty cat scream and the sound of fighting. “Where’s Charlie?!” I said to my boyfriend. We both looked down the stairs and Charlie was sat there looking at us as if to say, ‘It’s not always me you know!’ It dawned on me that it must be Socks outside. I instantly switched into cat-mum-rescuer mode. No one was allowed to hurt Socks.
We couldn’t work out where the noise was coming from so I took the back garden and my boyfriend went out the front of the house. I burst out the back door, running as fast as I could to help Socks. I saw the neighbour’s cat cornering her around the side of the house. At this moment, all logical thought had left me and I screamed at the top of my lungs ‘YOU BASTARD!’. My neighbours must have thought my boyfriend and I were having an almighty fight. This obviously terrified the other cat; which raced away from Socks and started climbing the fence.
I relaxed a little, knowing that Socks was now at least safe. That is until I heard a rustle behind me. I spun round to see Charlie in full sprint, thundering across the garden to the fence. I had never seen him use the full range of his stride length before, let alone that quickly. It was magnificent to behold. As our neighbour cat disappeared over the fence, Charlie took one leap and sailed over it as elegantly as a show jumping horse. If this was an Olympic event, he would have scored a personal best. The calmness immediately left me. I went from being angry at our enemy to feeling concerned for him. I told Socks ‘Stay there!’ (as if she was going anywhere) and raced round to the front of the house wondering where the hell my boyfriend was to help with all this.
It turned out he had locked himself out in all the commotion and was peering through the front window, oblivious to the unfolding drama. I screamed through the front door that Charlie had gone to fight the other cat over the fence. I’d get Socks and he could retrieve Charlie. He didn’t look thrilled with the way the tasks had been allocated there but jogged off speedily in search of Charlie. I couldn’t believe this was happening 11 days after Charlie’s Stomatitis surgery. He truly is as tough as nails.
I returned to find Socks. She was frozen in fear in exactly the same spot as I had left her. I noticed she had blood all over one of her normally gleaming white back legs. It was truly awful, especially as Socks is not aggressive at all! I carried her in and kept her in the kitchen while we waited for Charlie. My boyfriend brought him in under one arm, remarking that it had been very hard to catch him and he’d be surprised if the other cat went outside for a while. He was unscathed but his mouth was full of fur and he was covered in cat poo!
Socks became much more unsettled when Charlie appeared, hissing and growling. In contrast, Charlie stood frozen in the kitchen doorway looking worried. We cleaned all the blood off Socks and put some antiseptic spray on her bite wound. Handily we always have some Leucillin in the cupboard for Charlie’s antics. I knew we had to keep the cats separated to let them cool off. I had read about something called redirected aggression where a cat sees something that scares them (through a window, for instance) and the adrenaline it causes gets taken out on another pack member. The other pack member is likely to then fight or be scared of the other cat for a long time. It is the reason why sometimes cats can be the best of friends but then turn against each other inexplicably one day.
The worst case scenario for us would be for Socks to hiss at Charlie, spooking him and causing him to hiss or fight back (we all know the strength of his fight instinct!). This would likely cause a breakdown in their relationship and constant fighting, a scenario that causes misery in many cat households and one that I was determined to avoid. Luckily, Charlie just sat looking perplexed for the handful of times she hissed at him but it wasn’t a risk I was willing to take.
My boyfriend went off to give Charlie a shower to rinse all the poo off (another unfair job share apparently!). Meanwhile, I decided to put the cats in separate areas of the house. Charlie would have the kitchen and bedrooms while Socks would have the lounge and conservatory (to be up high in her favourite places – the cat tree and the shelves). They would only be allowed to meet for meal times through a glass door at first so they associate each other with something good (very good for Charlie!). We let Socks settle alone for a while. Unfortunately, only the emergency vet was available that day and they advised that, since there was no longer any bleeding, we should wait a day before we brought her in to save a three figure vet bill. It was hard not to take her in as she was obviously in pain but, having just paid Charlie’s £750 Stomatitis treatment bill, I was thankful for the vet’s advice. Socks slept downstairs that evening and Charlie stayed upstairs.
At the vet the next day, we were told that Socks’s bite wound was so big she was lucky not to require surgery. The wound had turned purple and the vet said this meant it was infected. It would slowly turn back to the normal colour as it healed. Socks was prescribed some medication. Can you guess what? That’s right, antibiotics and pain killer fluid! We could not believe it. Luckily, she was much easier to medicate, giving very cute whimpering complaints rather than Charlie’s mighty struggles, tablet javelin competitions and swipes.
The vet also told us not to allow her to scratch the wound. We had lost the last cone we bought after Charlie decided to take it on an extended walk round the area, ditching it enroute. So I decided to buy her a really cute fabric cone so it was comfy for her. I chose the SLSON cat recovery collar. There were different size options available so I could get a small size for her and it was easy to put on with velcro. Here’s a picture:
My sister pointed out that she looked like a poppy. It would frequently flip from being a cone to a cape due to Socks’s preference for capes.
We kept Socks and Charlie apart for three days in total until Socks stopped hissing at him. It was a massive relief when they started living together normally again. Socks has now made a full recovery and incredibly, the incident hasn’t changed her at all. Luckily we haven’t had any more dramas since Easter and I am hoping we won’t be visiting the vet again until their next vaccination trip in August.
Have you ever had another cat coming into your back garden to attack your cat? Anyone have any good tips for keeping them away? Please comment if you do (unless it’s similar to my boyfriend’s suggestion to add a land mine!)! 🙂
P.S. Charlie and Socks are members of the Amazon Associates programme and will earn a small commission from any items purchased on this web page. We wouldn’t talk about them if we didn’t think they were excellent though!
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