For three days a stray cat I take care of hasn’t been able to eat. It’s been drooling, and has pain in it’s mouth. I thought that maybe it had a bad tooth.
I gave him a little bit of Tylenol crushed up in some milk. About 400mgs.
Yesterday morning, after not seeing the cat I call Flat Tire for two days I found him dirty and bloody asleep on stanhope’s bed.
I pet his head and brought him some clean water and cold milk. Flat tire tried the cold milk. He started convulsing and drooling blood.
It was 5:30 in the morning and I was beat.
“You sleep, buddy. Tomorrow we go the the vet,” I told him.
Comes the morning light and I’m out of bed with about five hours sleep. I call the Vet. Answering machine. Okay. Gives me an hour and a half to have some decaf and wake into the new day.
I call stanhope’s mom to tell her that the cat came back. She had been worried.
“So, I will take him later on to the Vets.”
“Are they open on Saturday?” she said.
I call every vet in Bisbee Arizona. Closed. Closed. Closed.
The cat is convulsing and drooling blood. This isn’t gonn’a wait until Monday. I start calling outlying towns. The closest Vet is in Tuscon – and that is a two and a half hour drive.
Cool. No problem I get lost going from my bedroom to the kitchen. Long story, I’m lost and not even praying has ever helped. Mother says she will go with me and navigate.
We make the drive. The lab assistant takes the stray into the back room with the other animals at the hospital.
‘Bout an hour later the Doctor comes out. This is what she said.
“You gave the cat Tylenol to help its pain. Unfortunately Tylenol is toxic to cats.”
I’ve inadvertently killed my friend by trying to help alleviate the pain. I’m destroyed and I’m crying. Mother is telling me “You didn’t mean it.”
The Doctor says this:”I want to run some tests to see how bad off the cat is, is that okay?” And I sign some papers to let her do the tests.
Hour later. The tests are negative for Tylenol Toxemia. “I want to run tests for Feline Leukemia,” Doctor said. “Sure,” I said. I’m destroyed.
The Doctor is hopeful about the Tylenol Poisoning. “It’s been several days since you say you gave the Tylenol. The cat should really be dead.”
“He’s a rough Bastard,” I said. I forget that not everyone grew up on the streets, and I watch the Doctor flinch when I say Bastard.
“There is a treatment we can run just in case”.
“Do it,” I said.
“In the meantime, we are going to run Saline Solution and anti-biotic to help reduce the swelling in the mouth which is causing Flat Tire to drool and bleed and not be able to eat.”
“Go home,” the Doctor tells me. “It’s a long drive and it’s been a day for you. I will call you in the morning and let you know what’s what.”
I smile that the cat isn’t going home with me in a box. Mother washes her face in the bathroom and we go back home.
When I get home, I see that I haven’t fed the cat Tylenol, but Ibuprofen. I call Mother. She tells me to call the Vet Hospital to let them know my mistake. Ibuprofen – not Tylenol.
Doc Says, “Well, in sufficient dosages, Ibuprofen can damage a cat’s kidneys and give it gas . . .” she goes on. But clearly the danger has moved from Poisoning to farting. I can live with farting.
This morning the Doc calls, just as promised. “Flat Tire is doing well. He is head butting everyone who comes to pet him and he is up and around The swelling is going down. I would like to keep him another day.”
And I didn’t poison my cat.
I’m writing this and the phone rings. It’s stanhope.
“Doctor Luke? The Prairie Vetrenarian?”
Life is good.
Just for today.