Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cat Surgery

At 9 am yesterday Phillip and Debbie, owners of the cats who had surgery, arrived with Dr Igungu. His assistant, Christine was still "on the way" but the vet said Michael will do just as well as assistant in the meantime.  

Before the vet started on the cat procedures, I asked him to administer our own three cats' annual inoculations. I'd brought these in from SA and while waiting for the vet, I made up all six the injections: three anti-rabies and three Tricat inoculations which prevents several cat diseases: leukemia, feline HIV and peritonitis, among others. Although my cats live indoors and never come into contact with other cats or animals, I keep their veterinary books (aka passports) up to date for when we need to fly them out one day. 

I had closed Shadow and Ambrose in the only remaining travel cage I had (Debbie had my other three) and Ginger sat quietly next to it. This was on the enclosed veranda; I didn't want the cats to run into the house, as they would be locked in while we had Debbie's cats in the bathroom. They would be find on their day bed with all their food, water and litter trays nearby.  I warned the vet that although my cats were tame and domesticated, they hated these yearly jabs and he should be prepared for a fight - no, three fights - on his hands. 

I grabbed Ginger by the neck and the vet quickly wrapped a towel around him, which bound his legs  to his body. Nevertheless, he was furious and yowled, but with me holding his head, Michael holding his body, the vet managed to get the two injections in. Ginger shot off out of our hands, and ran to a corner of the veranda. 

I managed to open the top of the travel cage and pull Shadow out, closing it again before Ambrose could escape. Cats (and dogs) are very sensitive to sound and by now these two remaining cats knew that what was waiting for them wouldn't be pleasant. 

Although I had Shadow by the neck and pinned him down on the floor (the vet preferred this to working on the day bed), Michael had to hold his body firmly while the vet wrapped the towel around him. Shadow set up a screaming match which had our hair standing on end! The vet inserted the first needle and just managed to dispense the medicine before Shadow writhed so violently that he would have broken free, had Michael and I not doubled our efforts to hold him down. The vet then injected the Tricat and Shadow burst out of our grip and joined Ginger in the corner. 

Now for the smallest but most difficult (when coming to meds application) of all three cats, Ambrose. I got a firm grip on his neck, the doctor wrapped the towel around him and Michael and I had him on the floor in seconds. The doctor inserted the first needle and Ambrose squirmed violently while screaming blue murder. In fact, I thought he was being throttled (by my hold!) and as the doctor managed to inject Ambroses' second, and the last of the inoculations, I let the cat go. He jumped up onto the window sill and glared at us from there! 

The vet, Michael and I, slightly bitten and scratched, walked through the house ready for the next onslaught!

Debbie and Phillip had gone back to their camp to fetch two of their three cats. The third one had "got away"; meanwhile they'd brought Snowball and Zoro  We met them at the back door and showed them to the "operating theater" in Grant's large bathroom. They said they were going back to find the third cat and would bring him back here. 

Although the cats were sitting quietly in the travel cages, I knew they would put up a wild fight once we tried to extricate them. 
Zoro sits quietly in her cage
Snowball peers nervously at the strange surroundings

As soon as the doctor was satisfied with his preparations, he carefully opened the wooden cage holding Snowball. Michael who was wearing welding gloves put his hand inside intending to grip the cat and bring him out. Snowball burst out of the cage, past me, Michael and the vet and shot up the curtain. 
You can see by the blurry photo how fast the cat was traveling up the curtain with Michael trying to grab hold of him! 

After several tries of three humans trying to catch a small cat, we eventually got him down onto the floor, the vet wrapped a towel around him, and admonishing Michael to keep a firm grip on Snowball, he managed to inject the tranquilizer into the neck. 
Snowball had already been sedated here and when Michael let go of him he shot up onto the windowsill. The tranquilizer was already evident when he slid down the grating, where he sat ...

...glaring at us! 
However, the sedative had kicked in and soon we could touch him
When Snowball  was on the operating table, the vet administered the anesthetic and he was soon asleep (note his eyes remain open even though he's technically "out") 
Fifteen minutes later, Snowball recovering in his cage

With Zoro, the vet tried a different tactic. He slowly opened the cage, speaking softly to the cat, and tucked a towel around its body. 
Zoro seems to be quite happy wrapped in a towel. The vet opened the top grating and quickly injected the sedative into the  cat's neck
Once on the operating table, the vet injected the anesthetic and soon the cat was asleep. It was time to ascertain Zoro's gender. It's a GIRL! 
Some 45 minutes later (females have operations, males have a procedure), Zoro was recovering in her cage next to Snowball

While the vet and Michael worked on Zoro, Debbie and Phillip arrived with Ginger-ale in the third travel cage. He was very calm and once again, the vet used his new-found technique of wrapping the towel around the cat and injecting him while still in the cage. Five minutes later, Ginger-ale was docile enough to be lifted from the cage and placed on the operating table. The vet gave him his anesthetic jab and within minutes he was asleep and the procedure under way. 
Ginger-ale wrapped in a towel and peering out at me

When Michael saw this cat on the table, he said: Eeh, he's just like Shadow! 

Ginger-ale recovering in his cage after his successful procedure

By now two hours had elapsed. I had Debbie and Phillip in our bedroom with me. We were all taking photos of the cats in their recovery stages. She said it felt good to be able to stroke her cats; this is impossible when they're awake. 
Snowball was coming around and wobbled to the back of his cage

The vet's phone rang ; it was his assistant, Christine had arrived at the main security gate. I asked Phillip to go and collect her. Although she'd missed the operations, she had the rabies inoculations with her. 
Christine arrived in time to help Michael clean up the theater. She also had the rabies vaccinations which the doctor administered to the three "wild" cats while they were still under

The doctor then sat at my desk to complete the admin side of his job.  I'd removed the tabs with the batch numbers, from the vaccine bottles and stuck them in my cats' books. The doctor signed and dated each one.  

Debbie had created her own three books with each cats photo on the front cover. Inside she had several photos (this gal loves her cats) and the cat's information. The vet wrote the rabies vaccine batch number in each book, signed and dated them. Then he stated that he'd neutered Ginger-ale and Snowball in these boys' books and had spayed Zoro, noted in her book. 

All that remained was the payment. Dr Igungu charged me Tsh 25,000/US$14 for injecting my three. Although the Hedges cats' bill came to Tsh15,000 he also charged me Tsh 10,000 to remove one last stitch from Princess' wound. I'd removed all the others while Michael held Princess, but one stubbornly refused to budge for me! 

Next the vet gave Phillip his invoice which came to Tsh 345,000/US$199. This included the operations, and rabies injections; the doctor's overnight stay in nearby Maganzo on Monday(this is why he was able to arrive at 9 am on Tuesday and not sometime after midday as normal), their transport from Mwanza and and back.  A very reasonable bill. 

Meanwhile the Hedges cats were still languishing (according to them!) on the veranda. 
Ambrose seems to have forgotten his pain 
Ginger and Shadow, who generally can't tolerate each other, decided to unite against humans who do nasty things to them! 

These two remained under the bed until after everyone had left and the house was back to normal again.When I let them out, Shadow and Ambrose crept around sniffing at everything, especially in our bedroom and the bathroom where the other cats had been. 
Shadow creeps around the house picking up strange odors! 
Ambrose sniffs at a place where the cats' cages where previously
Ambrose and Shadow case the bathroom which, although cleaned thoroughly by Michael and Christine, still has smells which they can pick up! 

Meanwhile Debbie sent me WA messages and photos saying that the cats were doing fine. Thank goodness. It's always a great worry (and responsibility) when animals undergo surgery. But in this case, I'm sure they're going to be fine. 

Snowball having a natural sleep yesterday afternoon

Ginger-ale still quite dopey, but enjoying his mum's bed!

Little Zoro also recovering in the lap of luxury

I'm doing this post early Wednesday morning. Debbie has sent me WA photos of Zoro who has already eaten, is walking around quite easily and used the litter tray. The two boys don't seem to be interested in anything but lying quietly under the bed for now. I'm sure they'll soon be up and about too. We're hoping with Debbie and Phillip, that these three cats will become tame now. Before they would just come to the garden for food and then dash off back into the bush. Who knows ... perhaps this is it!

And, as for Ginger?
Ginger says: just let that man with the syringes show his face here again ! He'll know all about it! 

I hope you're all having a really wonderful Wednesday. 

I'm quite tired - not sure why! LOL!


  1. HI Jo What a palava!! I am not surprised you were tired, probably exhausted. Good report.

  2. this is truly traumatic for humans and cats.. glad i this over for this time. the cost is really reasonable compared to what we pay here.. hope they all heal quickly.

  3. Hello Jo, what an ordeal.. I would have been scared to touch the terrified kitties.. I am glad all went well, I hope they are all recovered from the surgery and shots.. Have a happy day!

  4. it is always SO stressful to take pets to the vet - i can imagine it is so much more so to have the vet come to you and do procedures and surgeries in-house! glad you could help your neighbors out and really glad they caught the 3rd in time to have all 3 done! yay!

  5. Oh poor kitties! And poor Doctor!Hahaaa....
    Glad it's all over!

  6. Poor little guys indeed!! I, too, am glad it's all over!!

  7. Oh, the joys of being a cat; a cat owner; and the vet who has to do the dirty jobs. Get some rest.

  8. You should open a vet clinic. Oh you already have. ;) Thank you for taking such good care of them all.

  9. Wow! That was quite the day and ordeal for all of you not the least of which is the cats. So much involved but the vet bill was extremely reasonable. I'm glad everyone is recovering well. xx

  10. Good to read all the details. I find Ambrose the most adorable


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo