August 25, 2009

Honey’s Coming Home! Our cat must recuperate

Filed under: JOURNAL — carolyncholland @ 2:42 am



Our cat must recuperate

      Honey’s coming home. It was good news to hear after spending the weekend preparing for the alternative.

     On Thursday, Honey didn’t show up for breakfast. During the summer, I begin my day sitting on my patio with a book and the newspaper, a cup of coffee, my meds, and a dish of cat food. Honey always joins me, wanting her dish on the outside table next to my tray. This year her habit became more intense. She stopped eating if I left to answer a phone call or find the pencil I’d forgotten (used to mark the newspaper or jot a note on a passage in the book). She would wait for my return to continue her meal. Then she expected to climb on my lap for some morning petting, returning this attention with purring and some nose-nudging.

     I wondered why she wasn’t at the patio breakfast table, but figured it was the midst of nice weather when she sometimes disappears in our woods to enjoy nature. She never strays far. I can always find her curled up in her latest natural setting: under a tree, covered by fern fronds, on the outside steps to our upstairs family room. Her chosen spots always last a couple of weeks, then change. 

To view Honey’s pictures, click on:

     Still, I wondered. I called her. No response. Occasionally I heard a soft “yowl,” but that was not uncommon with the stray cats that sometimes inhabit her space. Then, while watching a 1:00 p. m. television program, I decided to hunt her during the ads. It was my third calling that I discovered her laying on the backdoor stoop, and picked her up to chastise her. As I lifted her over my shoulder (like carrying an infant), the position she preferred, I was rewarded with her purring and a yowl. Her back legs seemed limp.

     I brought her into the family room and laid her on the bed. She curled up and slept for a few minutes before rising. It was then I noticed that her back legs seemed abnormal, that she was having difficulty standing. I went over to check her out, but could find no damage. She just laid down and purred. I set her on her feet, and her legs wouldn’t hold her. Then she began to crawl to an open filing cabinet drawer. Her legs just wouldn’t cooperate.

     I called the vet, and made an emergency appointment. My friend picked me up (I had no car available—but that’s another story).

     The vet stood Honey on the floor. Her legs flailed out dramatically as she fell. X-rays showed a double fracture on her hind leg near the pelvis. Her weekend vacation at the vet’s began that night, and our family began fearing the worst. After all, Honey, we figured, is between fifteen and seventeen years old.

     The vet spoke of confining her to a cage with litter and water for an extended period of time, perhaps eight weeks. Our family discussed this. Honey, who stood at the door and yowled to be let outside if she was inside at this time of year, would be miserable caged up. The intense care she would need, mostly from me, was discouraging. I know myself well. I would not do well as a health caregiver. Given her age, we further discussed whether it would be most kind to let her go. And yes, the discussion led to the issue of whether we are kinder to our pets than we are to humans (again, that’s another story).

     I attended the funeral for Officer Ando, a German shepherd who was the first canine member of the Ligonier (PA) Township Police Department, the first in Eastern Westmoreland County. He was euthanized when his highly malignant canine cancer demanded humane treatment. And I wondered if the next day would put our family in the position of celebrating Honey’s life as we said goodbye to her.

     “Ando would be remembered most for his personality,” was stated in his funeral service on the Ligonier Diamond.

     Precisely. Like Ando, Honey’s greatest feature is her personality. She is a “people cat.” Even during her medical exam, she was purring and relating to the vet, who she had never seen before. She also has abandonment issues. If we leave her alone even for one night, she both rewards us with welcome home, attaching herself to us with loving behavior for several days, and scolding—turning ignoring us with her back turned.

     I answered the vet’s call Monday morning, expecting the worst.

     “She’s doing wonderfully,” he said. “She’s purring, and very cooperative. She’s eating, taking her medicine, and using the litter.” I didn’t expect she could do that, considering how her legs had flailed out.

     He said we could bring her home. We will have to confine her for four to six weeks, not necessarily in a cage, but in a spot where she can’t jump onto a couch, furniture or counters. Perhaps a bathroom?  We will figure it out. An idea: the bathtub, with its sliding glass doors. I rarely use it, since I shower at the Ligonier YMCA regularly, after using the fitness room and the swimming pool.

     Unlike canine Officer Ando, Honey has a reprieve on life. Our fear of having to make a difficult choice is delayed. Her personality will continue warming the hearts of the many people in her circle of life.

     I breathed a heartfelt sigh of relief upon hearing these words: Honey is coming home!



The “Meow” Chorus: A cat symphony on a Greyhound Bus









  1. I hope Honey has a speedy recovery..I think you’ll be amazed what a little rest and TLC will do. We had a similar situation with our 15 year old cat. Unlike you however, we knew what happened to her. My husband accidently backed over her with the car. He was crushed!!
    We rushed her to the vet and she was paralyzed in her hind quarters. Through all this she was yowling in pain. We discussed putting her to sleep but the vet (we’ve been going to her forever) suggested we leave her overnight and see how she was in the morning. They x-rayed her and she had a broken pelvis. By morning she was able to move and the vet prescribed the same treatment for her. We kept her in a large dog crate for 6 weeks and only took her out to hold her and give her some love. She had an amazing recovery and was left with only a tiny limp. She went on to live many more happy years.


    Comment by Jean — August 25, 2009 @ 11:18 am | Reply

  2. Jean, Thank you for your immediate and encouraging remarks. I found a childs circular gate in my storage and set it out on the porch this morning, keeping the openings rather small. Honey loves the summer outdoors, so this is a compromise for her. She rested great last night in her bathtub (with sliding shower doors closed). Carolyn

    Comment by carolyncholland — August 25, 2009 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  3. August 28, 2009. Honey’s having problems. She hasn’t eaten in a day and a half. It began when her prednozone (for relief of pain and inflammation) was reduced to half, she began freaking out when I tried to give her her medicine (not just fighting it, but freaking out). She has also quit purring for me, but not for my husband. She won’t eat her regular food nor will she touch the treats that she normally grabs up. I’ve put her on the floor a couple of times, and she immediately drags herself to her bathtub shelter. I can’t decide if these behaviors are a response to her medication, or if she is depressed by being confined. Either way, she is having a tough time. My daughter suggested that I call the vet tomorrow, which I think might be a good idea, especially if she continues not eating.


    Comment by Carolyn C. Holland — August 29, 2009 @ 3:57 am | Reply

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