Teachers come in many shapes and sizes, and my current one is a small black feral cat that we’re calling Blackie. Not very original, I know, but we didn’t know if she was male or female at first, and I could swear that she told me her name was Blackie. I tried to think of something more interesting, but she just kept telling me it was Blackie, so there you go.
Blackie is teaching me how to care for a feral cat. I’ve cared for cats for many years, but hosting a feral cat in the spare bedroom, and especially, giving her medications, is a whole new world for me. Blackie is, by feral standards, a pretty gentle teacher. She and her able two-footed assistant Patricia are helping me learn all sorts of new things. I am learning by doing.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
First of all, an update on Blackie for those of you who read my first report on her last week. Her eye is improving. It has a ways to go yet, but the vet still hopes to save it. We discovered, after she stopped tucking her tail really tight, that she has some nasty wounds on her tail. She must have been trying to get away from her attacker and got nailed from behind as well as in the eye. Life on the streets is tough stuff sometimes.
Her eye is better than this picture might indicate…I’d just put drops in the eye a little before her photo shoot. Poor planning on my part.
With Blackie I am learning to give meds to a cat who could hurt me if she wanted to, though she doesn’t seem inclined to really clobber me. I wear gloves that have leather for the hands and kevlar from the wrist to the elbow just to be safe, but Blackie now lets me put the drops in her eye using the gloves on one hand, and my bare other hand to open her eye to receive the drops. We have a sort of agreement about all of this.
She had a rough day all day at the vet’s office today, hardly a spa day! She got her tail shaved and cleaned up, under anesthesia, of course. She got knocked out so the vet could get a really good look at her eye and the rest of her as well. Her ears were so plugged with ear mites that she probably couldn’t hear a whole lot and they cleaned that out, and gave me some pain meds for her sore ears. She has dewormer medication, which (thank you, Blackie) she ate with her dinner this evening so I didn’t have to stuff it down her. Just about the only thing that Blackie didn’t have was fleas (thank you again, Blackie!) With a full tummy and some pain meds, she seems to be resting comfortably for the night.
Blackie and her assistant Patricia are also teaching me how to transfer a feral cat from a trap to a dog crate and back to the trap for the trip to the vet’s. Blackie was pretty cooperative. My understanding is that this isn’t always the case.
We’ve done pretty well for the last while with the eye drops twice a day, so the vet has decided it is time to really test my skills. Blackie gets antibiotics twice a day along with eye drops twice a day for the next while, and pain meds for the next three days as well. We’ll see if Blackie’s patience with me holds, or if she has more to teach me. I’ll let you know.