What to do when you dont have a leg to stand on
by Andre Mangan
first published in THE ABYSSINIAN, Journal of the Abyssinian Cat Club of
It was late. An ideal timeslot to do some uninterrupted work with the
computer. A thud came from upstairs - investigation showed
, one of the cats, lying on her side just looking at me. Nothing to worry
about. Back to work.
Some time later, a series of soft thuds behind me. It was Suki again. She was
trying to stand but her hind legs were unable to carry the load. I quickly
picked her up to assist her to stand - to no avail.
Without too much ceremony I wakened Fiona: Something is wrong with Suki.
Her hind legs dont work.
Suki purred while we both examined her. We were unable to find a cause for her
sudden disability. Fiona used the telephone to locate after-hours veterinary
services - the closest was at Forestville.
So, just after midnight, we three set off for the long journey to Forestville
Emergency Veterinary Clinic. By the time we arrived, Suki was no longer
purring and held herself rigid, a sure sign of pain. After a thorough
examination the young Vet gave Suki an injection of Pethidine to help her
manage the pain and promised to transfer her to one of Sukis Vets at the
Ku-ring-gai Veterinary Hospital the next morning. With a sense of loss we
Dr. Bill Bradley from Ku-ring-gai Veterinary Hospital had taken on the case and
phoned us mid-morning. I was unable to give him a history other than the one
described above. The whole thing was a mystery.
He phoned again in the early afternoon. He had repaired the damage to
Sukis right hind foot, a very fiddly operation, he said.
Suki could come home tomorrow but had to be kept quiet. Those words were a joy
When we collected our Suki, her hind foot was bandaged in red. We had prepared
for her, in our bedroom, a small enclosure with a litter tray, food and water
bowls and a heated box lined with blankets for her to sleep in. For the first
few days she slept a lot. Then it was time to change her bandage - now it was
green. She healed slowly, over several weeks. After Suki started showing
signs of discomfort and a further examination by Bill, he decided to remove the
pin in her leg as well as the wire loop. This time her recovery was much more
rapid. Nevertheless, it was still many weeks later that she was able to
reclaim one of her favourite nesting spots on top of the clothes dryer in the
laundry. To get there meant going down the stairs, jumping to a window sill
and from there jumping on top of the clothes dryer.
The biggest thrill for us was when she was able to jump onto our bed to sleep
at the foot of the bed where she had slept every night for the past 9 years.
Suki was truly back.