This year, Pringles turned 11, and he’s still as playful and full of mischief as always. He loves to climb into the shower once someone’s done in there, to drink the clean warm water that is left on the shower floor. Why? Nobody knows, as he has a perfectly good water bowl filled daily with fresh, clean water. Sadly, he hasn’t learned how to wipe his little paws when he’s done, and loves to leave kitty paw prints all over the bathroom floor. If we’re lucky, there’ll even be a wet tummy print and tail print too, if he’s decided to lie down in the shower while he’s drinking.
One afternoon, after mowing the lawn or doing some DIY work, hubby climbed into the shower to wash all the grime off, and Catty decided to climb in with him! Catty was perfectly happy standing there in the corner of the shower with the water going, and didn’t seem phased by it at all, yet if he gets wet outside when it’s raining, he will come inside and meow at me to please dry him. What’s up with that?
Well, it was just as well that he got used to going in the shower, as he got caught out in the garden in a huge thunderstorm one afternoon. Catty is scared of thunder and we think he may have hidden in the drainage ditch at the bottom of our garden. After the storm had passed, a very dirty cat came crawling in through the cat flap. He was filthy! The poor boy was sopping wet and was coated with mud from under his front legs to the tip of his tail, and there were leaves and twigs stick in his fur that we battled to take out. I didn’t think to quickly snap a photo of him, I was more concerned about getting him dry in case he got sick, and my guess is that he was hiding in the drainage ditch facing the same way that the water runs, with meant that the water was going over him in the opposite direction to the way his fur grows, which is why all the debris got caught. Anyway, towel drying him did nothing to get all the mud off, and I was left with no other option than to put Catty in the shower and wash him! We don’t have a bath, only a shower, and I wasn’t sure how difficult this was going to be, but thankfully Catty just stood there and allowed us to rinse him clean with warm water. The poor little guy must have been so cold and scared, that he didn’t care what was happening. Once I had towel dried him, he sat an licked himself ‘clean’ with this really dazed look on his face, almost as if to say, “What the hell just happened?”
The over-the-fence game of stealing the neighbour’s rags has turned into a game of hunting garden gloves. After visiting the neighbour’s one afternoon, Catty came home with a pair of garden gloves, freshly stolen from the neighbour’s garden, while she was busy and had taken them off briefly to attend to something else. He also loves taking my garden gloves from the shelf that they’re stored on and dropping them somewhere in the garden, usually separately, or he hides them on top of the water tank. I don’t know what this fascination with garden gloves is, but it’s clearly a game for him. Maybe he likes the fact that they get returned to the same place each time, and it’s a cat version of Hide-and-Seek?
Over the years, Pringles has battled with cystitis and the odd bladder infection. Luckily, we’ve reached a point now where I’m able to spot the early symptoms of a cystitis flare-up and we can get him started on medication pretty quickly. The only thing wrong with this is that the anti-inflammatory medication causes him to hallucinate and see things that aren’t there, although it is rather funny to sit and watch him when he’s “seeing pink elephants flying around the room”.
His most recent bout of cystitis happened in June, and our trip to the Vet ended up having a rather unfortunate and unexpected outcome. The Vet came in and looked at Pringles before exclaiming, “Oh, my! Look at your eye, you poor cat.” This reaction from her was totally unexpected, as we were there about a case of cystitis and not about his eye.
Before I carry on with this story, I need to explain that Pringles had been in a cat fight about a year and a half before we emigrated, and he’d been scratched across the eye during that fight. At the time, our Vet had checked it out and he’d been medicated, etc, but damage to the eye had been done and there was a little on-going inflammation, which caused his left eye to look more brown than the right eye, but he still had his sight. I took him to a feline eye specialist for a second opinion and she confirmed that the sight in that eye was fine, although they did warn us that he may gradually start going blind as he got older.
Anyway, back to the story. We’re at the Vet about his cystitis and she’s just remarked on his eye, so I tell her about the prior cat fight, Vet and specialist diagnosis (I even had a copy of the specialists report in his file), and told her that I know the darkened colour is from inflammation and if it gets bad there are drops that I have to put in his eye. She explained that it wasn’t just inflammation, but that he had developed sudden onset glaucoma and that the eye was swollen, hard and putting pressure on his brain and probably causing him migraine-like headaches on a daily basis. Sadly, cats don’t show when they’re in pain, and we would never have known. I was given the option of operating to remove the eye, or medicating him twice a day with eye drops for the rest of his life. diagnosis, eye op decision. I couldn’t help it, I burst into tears in the Vet’s consultation room. I was there to have my cat treated for cystitis, only to be told that he needs to have an eye removed!
I got the medication he needed for the cystitis, plus eye drops that needed to be put in his eye twice a day for a week, and took my kitty home. I think I cried for 24 hours after that diagnosis. Not because Pringles had to lose and eye, but because I felt like I was an awful “Mom” for not noticing that my cat had slowly gone blind in one eye. The Vet did say that the blindness happened very gradually, which is why we never noticed anything, and why Pringles never walked into furniture, etc, or changed his behaviour, but I still felt bad. We made the decision to have his blind eye removed, as it would mean he’d be pain-free for the rest of his life, instead of dealing with pain on a daily basis and having to have drops put in his eye every day for the rest of his life. A week and a half later, he had surgery.
His left eye was removed, and Catty came home the same day. He wasn’t happy about wearing the “cone of shame” and kept pulling it off. The nurses at the Vet had recommended securing it on with a cat collar, but even that didn’t work, he just wriggled and pulled until he got it off, earning him the nickname of Houdini. Then I had an idea. I’d bought a cat harness with leash so that I could take him out into the garden when he had cystitis, without having to worry about him disappearing to hide, as we needed to monitor if and when he was peeing, and how much, and I secured the cone on with his body harness. He was not a happy Catty. Now he couldn’t get it off! I did leave the cone off whenever I was around with him, but if I had a client and had to work, he had to have the harness and cone, and at night we used the collar with the cone as it was more comfortable for him to sleep in. Poor cat.
After two weeks we went back to the Vet and his 16 stitches were removed where they’d sewn his eyelids shut. There was still a lot of swelling, but this gradually subsided as the wound healed, and the eyebrow and fur slowly started to grow back where they’d had to shave his little face.
I now own a one-eyed ginger FurKid, and have gotten used to seeing a one-eyed cat. There was no adjustment period after the operation (as he was used to not seeing out of that eye), and I don’t even think he knows his eye is gone, only that he doesn’t have headaches any more. He was definitely less grumpy after the surgery, and even gives me the odd snuggle when I pick him up to cuddle him, which he’s never done before.
He’s back to his old tricks and still tries to hide away from me when it’s inside time. We lock the cat flap at sunset, and most days he comes inside and puts himself to bed before the sun goes down, but there are odd days when he just doesn’t want to. He’ll either hide under our house, somewhere in the garden, or be visiting the neighbours, in which case he’s passed over the fence and locked inside anyway. A few months ago, my little rascal snuck into the neighbours house mid-afternoon for a visit (if the door isn’t open, he’ll let himself in through an open window). He said “hello” to everyone, and then disappeared. Sunset came and I thought he was outside somewhere, and the neighbours thought he was home with me, as they’d checked all the rooms in their house before closing the windows for the night, and didn’t see Catty anywhere. Later that evening, he still hadn’t come in. I searched the garden by torchlight, called for him, and couldn’t find him anywhere … It turns out that the little rascal had known it was inside time, and had snuck it the neighbours computer room, curling himself up and hiding away so that no one would find him. Needless to say, he was found and passed over the fence to sleep at home that night. No sleepovers for naughty kitties!
As I’ve mentioned before, Pringles loves to drink out of the shower after someone has just finished showering. He also loves drinking out of the bases of pot plant pots, dirty puddles, rainwater collection bins. He seems to prefer these dirtier water options to the nice clean water we give him in his bowl every day. Why? I’ll never know. His latest fad is drinking out of the bird bath! Yes, my cat now thinks that he’s a bird, seeing as he’s not allowed to chase birds or go near them in the garden without being told “Uh uh” or “Leave the birds alone.”