Thoughts from Shadow (& Cone)

estimated 5 min read

Hi, I had surgery a week ago and was discharged from the hospital the very next day! My people were surprised and pleased. The doctor sent me home even though I wasn’t eating yet — hospital food is hospital food. Best avoided!

Black cat wearing cone sitting on a grey couch

As soon as we got home, my people took me to a recovery space in the second bedroom which has a nice bed and sofa that turns into cushions on the floor. However, they didn’t ask me what I wanted. What I really wanted was to check and make sure my house was ok. Dot hadn’t been left alone overnight without me before. So, I did the logical thing. I took off my e-collar (aka Cone) and broke out of the room. Everything was ok, I should learn to trust my people and Dot.

After spending some time in the sunroom without Cone and with my people hovering, I let them know where I wanted to spend my convalescence, in the closet of our bedroom.

There was discussion about keeping me calm and next thing I knew a blanket appeared in Closet, along with my beloved Tube. A litter box went into an alcove and food and water were placed on a platform of scrap wood next to their bed.

Then my main person begged me to please put on Cone, it was to help make sure I healed. So, because I know they want what’s best for me, I agreed to wearing it again. This time, they used the harness that I hated as a young active cat, but it really keeps Cone from slipping. While it’s not pleasant to wear, I’ve gotten used to it over the past week.

And because I was in Closet with Tube things weren’t so bad. Why?

They are giving me lots and lots of treats. I learned how best to scoop them into my mouth with the assistance of Cone. If Churu drips in, there’s a snack for later.

Twice a day I have to take the medicine that makes me drool (they tell me it’s for my heart) and tonight’s the last dose of medicine that made me sleepy and extra affectionate. I found myself in bed smushing my person’s face at 2am with kisses.

I have to wear Cone until next Wednesday. I don’t really like it, but the harness makes it easier. It doesn’t slide around much. I can’t see well, and walls sometimes sneak up on me. It’s easier to go downstairs than up. The first time I ran down my people were nervous. I miss grooming myself, but my person is trying their best.

My side (and it’s 6 inch /15 cm [they finally measured]) incision doesn’t bother me much if at all. My fur is starting to grow back. With the summer humidity I’ve not been overly upset about being mostly shaved.

This morning my people learned the results of the tumor’s biopsy and they’ve been snuggling me extras, there were tears that I kissed away. I have something called hemangiosarcoma. It’s uncommon in cats, so I’m unique. Because it’s not something that’s often seen, there’s not much research into the efficacy of chemotherapy on this type of tumor. In general it’s very aggressive so I’m planning how to best enjoy each moment my people and Dot.

We’ve spent the afternoon snuggling (the huge thunderstorm helped us all get cozy).

It’s helping us begin to process the news.

Black cat wearing e-collar licking his lips

E-Collar (aka Cone) Tips from Penny:

The hospital will likely send your pet home with gauze holding the e-collar on. They acknowledge that few cats will tolerate this, but it’s the best solution in the hospital setting.

Next, they say to thread your pet’s collar through and use that to keep it on. In our case Shadow kept testing the break-away aspects of his so that didn’t help us out at all.

The third suggestion is to use a harness. I was nervous because Shadow detested the harness as a kitten. Back then, when I tried to get him used to wearing it, he slinked around on his belly and was very distressed. So, it’s sat in a drawer for the past 11 years! I expanded it so I could slip 2 fingers between him and the harness everywhere. I made sure what went on his torso was even a little looser. It didn’t come too close to his incision, but I figured it would make him more comfortable. For me it was easiest to put the cone on the harness and slip his head into it, this worked better than my trying to latch it around him. It’s important to make sure that the seam is to the back of your pet’s head, so they don’t lick it!

We were told he can have some Cone free time if we’re watching, but he’s always been a sporadic groomer. I’ve opted instead to keep it on him all the time. He’s adjusted to it and is walking around spaces more confidently. I keep an eye on Cone and make sure to wipe it after he uses the litter box. I also groom him daily as well as keep an eye on his incision.

Today has been a difficult day. He’s otherwise in pretty good health for a 12-year-old feline! We’ll take each day and allow him to continue to tell us what is best for him.

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