On Wednesday morning last week, Ginger went out into the garden at about 6 o'clock. He came indoors an hour later and spent the day asleep on the guest room bed. Later that afternoon, he walked down the passage and as he arrived in the kitchen I noticed he was favouring his right front paw. He ate his cookies and hopped onto the couch. When Grant came home, I held Ginger while Grant inspected the paw. It was very swollen, and Ginger whimpered in pain as Grant touched it. When he turned it over we saw two punture wound inside Ginger's "arm" and two outside. My heart sank. And Grant confirmed what we'd been worried about since I saw Ginger limping. Snake bite! Then Grant had another look and because the bite marks were quite far apart, we thought that another cat had bitten Ginger. We immediately phoned Dr Shah, our vet in Eldoret, and mentioned our findings. He was very calm, and because Ginger was eating, said he didn't think it was a snake bite. He suggesgted I bathe the wound/s with Savlon and then to apply an ice pack as often as possible, if Ginger was co-operative. We did this and the swelling seemed to diminish a little. I made Ginger comfortable on the settee (he was lapping up the attention!) and we left him there for the night.
The next morning very early, I came into the lounge and Ginger was standing up on all fours! The leg was still sensitive to the touch and still quite swollen. Grant decided that as we would have done my monthly shopping on Saturday, I might as well go on Thursday. Ambrose also needed his first innoculations and check-over. Fortunately we have two cages and with Ginger in the one and little Ambrose in the other, with Zephania driving, we trundled up the mountain to Eldoret.
This is a common sight on Kenyan roads: three people on a motorcycle often with their luggage. The man at the back has a rooster tied to his back while the passenger in between him and the driver has two hens tied to his belt and hanging off the side!
In the bustling town of Eldoret, the transport options are no less bizarre. The cyclist above has such a huge load of used clothes on his carrier, that he has to push his bike
My favourite: a beautiful young women off to a modelling assigment?
Our first stop was at Dr Shah's surgery where he and his assistants welcomed Ginger like a long lost friend. They marvelled at how well he looks since his last visit (in February when he had a small operation). Once the vet examined him, he concluded that Ginger had been in a cat fight. This is not unusual for Ginger but it 's abnormal as he's a neutered cat. He said that the bite in the leg had caused pain and that's why Ginger had been unable to put any weight on it. He prescribed medication, an antibiotic in syrup form and then one of the other gentlemen took Ginger to the holding cages in the back of the surgery.
Next we opened Ambrose' cage and I took him out. Dr Shah examimed him, determined his age to be about three and a half months and administered his injections without too much fuss. He was replaced in the travel cage and taken to the back. I'd asked Dr Shah if we could leave the cats with him until I'd finished shopping and collect them on the way home again.
Which is what we did. At 1.15 I 'd done my shopping and Zephania and I drove back through the leafy suburb where Dr Shah has his rooms. As we passed the large beautiful homes, set back from the road, and surrounded by high walls, I asked Zephania who lived there. He said they were professional people's homes. We collected the cats, loaded them onto the backseat of our vehicle and left town. Within half an hour we'd turned off onto the dirt road (24 kms with 24 hairpin bends, I posted about this before) and made our way down the mountain.
A White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher in the grass beside the road
It wouldn't be a normal trip if I didn't see birds along the way. Zephania is not as aware of the birds (or my and Sue's interest in them) as Michael. Nevertheless, he slowed whenever I spotted anything interesting. At one stage he stopped beside a little grey bird in the long grass beside the road. A White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher. I was trying to photograph the bird through Zephania's window and only just managed to get a photo. As we started off again, I looked to my left and there on a fence post just beyond the car, was another White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher. (Perhaps the mate of the one on the right?) I took photos to my heart's content while the flycatcher just sat and posed!
A White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher on my side of the vehicle which sat dead still while I photographed it
We arrived home at 3.15 and it took me until 4pm to unpack my groceries. Soon it was time to give Ginger his next dose of antibiotics. I used the restraining bag which I'd borrowed from the vet.
This nifty canvas bag is not Ginger's favourite place to be, but he accepted his fate like a gentleman and and I was able to administer his medication (with a syringe) into his mouth
The bag from Dr Shah is an incredible item. It's made from canvas, and opens up almost completely like a sports/tog bag. It has velcro fastenings. I lifted Ginger into the open bag, tied the fastening around his neck and then secured the tabs over his back. There's an opening for his tail and for all four feet (see zippers near Ginger's mouth in the photo) , but for the short time I had Ginger in the bag, I didn't use these. It has two handles and you can lift the cat with ease and carry him safely to wherever you need to take him. Ginger has completed his course of antibiotics today and is fit and healthy again. I'm sending the bag back to the vet with Zephania who's collecting a South African engineer who is flying in to do busines with Grant.
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