Two Sundays ago, Kanoko had climbed my patio fence to stalk a pigeon roosting in a tree on the opposite side. The pigeon, none too comfortable with the situation, flapped its wings, which surprised Kanoko, who took a bad fall and hurt his left hind leg. He limped inside, grumbling cantankerously, and sat at my feet, where he continued to groan and sigh. He wasn’t bleeding, and a careful evaluation of his leg seemed to show no broken bones. He remained alert, with no signs of shock, so I wrote my office a quick email to let them know I wouldn’t be coming to work the next day, since I needed to take my cat to the vet.
In the vet’s office the next morning, she had Kanoko walk a bit to show how he treated his leg. He put no weight on it, but was still relatively alert, although clearly fatigued and grumbly. The vet suggested putting him under general anesthesia so she could move his leg for x-rays without causing him unnecessary pain. That way we could be absolutely sure there were no broken bones. I agreed.
A few hours later, the x-rays were finished: no broken bones! Kanoko seemed to have a very bad sprained knee; the vet thought it most likely that he’d torn the knee tendons, considering how much abnormal movement was in the knee and how little weight he put on it. The exact details didn’t much matter in his case though, since cats have the peculiar ability to recover from sprained and even torn tendons on their own, without surgery or splints. She prescribed bed rest: absolutely no pigeon-chasing, and as little jumping as possible. I was to return in a week’s time to confirm that Kanoko was doing well enough that surgery wasn’t required – it can be used for torn tendons in cats, in rare cases where recovery doesn’t happen on its own.
Kanoko, being the intelligent feline he is (apart from chasing pigeons he can’t catch, anyhow), was very good about being careful with his leg over the week, and improved noticeably.
Yesterday we went for his return visit. Again the vet wanted to see him walk: I sat him on the floor and moved a few paces in front of him, kneeled and encouraged him to walk towards me. Kanoko crouched. He slowly, almost imperceptibly, slit his eyes and put his ears part way back. He did not move. “Allez mon grand, viens, marche un peu !” I asked him. The vet gently kneeled and reached out to him. As if in slow motion, Kanoko stood just enough to creep away… showing that he was indeed putting more weight on his leg. He crept, as surreptitiously as possible in a well-lit veterinarian’s office, to a corner with a radiator, where he stuck his head and pulled in his body until he imagined he was invisible, an immense brown tabby Coon “blending in” with the white radiator to his side and the two white walls of the corner.
The vet and I laughed. Kanoko flicked an ear back, then forward again, otherwise motionless. Since all was well, I carefully picked him up, and a few minutes later, we were on our way home.
Susu has been making sure that Kanoko’s been warm and well-licked.