Treacle, our pretty, fluffy cat with a wonky tail, has been back to the vet’s. Some animals are very cheap to run, remaining steadfastly healthy all their lives. Others aren’t, and Treacle comes into the latter category. Since Chris found her and her three brothers as tiny, shivering bundles in the middle of the road, clearly recently dumped there, she’s run up quite a bill. First there was the neutering. We had already learnt the hard way that you can’t keep a female cat intact. You soon find yourself knee-deep in kittens. So Treacle was shipped off to the vets and dealt with accordingly.

One ear up, one ear down

All went well for a while, but about eighteen months ago I noticed her right ear had a big lump in it. I decided it was a cyst which would burst in time. Cysts are common and in our experience are usually best left alone to clear upon their own, unless they become obviously troublesome to the animal concerned. Treacle’s didn’t go and she started shaking her head a lot. Now, we’ve tackled cysts on occasion. It’s not nice and involves sharp blades, scissors and a lot of eau javel. But somehow I couldn’t inflict cyst-busting misery on Treacle with my bare hands. Nor could Chris. We decided to pass the buck and let the vet deal with this one. Just as well we did, because it wasn’t a cyst at all, but a pool of blood. So much for home diagnosis. Some blood vessels had ruptured causing this collection of her blood in her ear. She needed an operation. Her ear is now quilted, literally, so that the same problem can’t occur again. It’s droopier than the other one so she has an asymmetric look to her head now.

And yesterday I noticed blood in her urine. That’s never good so off to the vet we went again. Out came our ancient cat cage. We inherited it along with two cats from our builder when he went back to the UK. It’s allegedly a cat cage but it’s big enough to get a bear in. However, it’s slightly more classy than the washing basket tied up with string that I’d used for feline transportation in the past. Anyway, Benj is home so I coerced him into coming with me to carry the heavy metal monstrosity to and from the car when we got to the surgery.

Treacle mewled sadly every two seconds all the way into Boussac. She wasn’t happy and she wanted us to know that and share her misery. She didn’t have to bother. We weren’t happy either at the prospect of another vet’s bill!  Murielle the vet checked Treacle over carefully and with skillful manipulation obtained a urine sample to go and inspect under the microscope. It was full of sable, which usually means sand but in this case meant crystals. She showed us. The tiny drop of liquid on the glass slide was jam-packed with rhomboid shapes. It was truly impressive, and also truly not good since these calcium based crystals can clump together and eventually totally block a cat’s urethra. Some awkward cats are simply prone to this, neutered cats are prone to this and cats fed a dry diet are more prone to this. Treacle falls into all three categories. So, on top of short courses of anti-inflammatories and anti-biotics, we are looking at a long course of a special, pricey catfood for Treacle. We could tell it was a pricey as the sack of it came with a free and very fancy food bowl! A few months of this should get rid of the crystals and we may be able to then resort to canned food for her. No more milk for our cat, which she’ll be sad about, and ideally no more hunting but she’s an outdoors cat so that will be hard to control. However, she’s not the world’s most energetic cat so if we keep her well fed she may not indulge in too many mice.

For a free cat, she’s turning out rather high maintenance. True, Chris could have just driven on by and left her and her siblings in the road, but he didn’t. We took her on willingly. We said ‘Hello Kitty’, not ‘Hell-no Kitty’, so footing her health bills is all part of the territory. Good job she’s cute though …!