NOTE: Please read “Here Comes Trouble” for the first section of this story.
The saga continued a few days later when Zoë somehow reopened the stitches. I rushed her over to the vet; Dr. C, who opted to stay open late to perform her second surgery. I was filled with anxiety as I sat out in the lobby. This silly troublemaker had bonded to my heart. They carried her out to me immediately after the operation was completed. She reeked of ether, her pupils were oddly dilated but as soon as she smelled me and heard my voice she began to purr. They affixed a better Elizabethan Collar, a big ol’ funnel cone around her head, and only charged $200. I thanked them profusely and dropped off flowers the next day as a thank you.
Zoë adapted to the cone. Dr. C said that she should not be jumping so I closed her off from stairwells and moved all the chairs away and either made ramps or placed boxes on all the locations where she would normally venture. Mo was not thrilled by all these changes and the attention that Zoë was receiving. Zoë would be sequestered to the bathroom while I was gone but could roam the first floor while I was home.
After two weeks, the vet said that she could climb stairs so I permitted her to be out of the bathroom while I was gone. A week later, I came home to find pee piddled on the kitchen floor. Zoë was lethargic so we went on another trip to the vet. This time the diagnosis was dehydration. They had to squeeze saline solution under her skin. It created an odd lump over her shoulder blades. Her body absorbed the liquid quickly and she ate some special high calorie soft feline food. The result was immediate; she perked up and wanted to play. The cost was only $100.
We went to see the vet several more times and he did not want her to remove the collar until fur grew over the wound. Zoë learned how to pick up her favorite ball with the inside rim of the hat and pitch it across the floor. If she was annoyed with Mo, Zoë would head butt her with the collar. Mo hated the collar. Zoë hated bath-time. I would wet a clean towel and wipe her down daily. She would complain the whole time. Despite this effort, she started to be odiferous. I opted to wash her hindquarters in warm water. She did not agree with this plan and began to twist and turn. I lost my grip and she splashed into the washbasin – wetting most of her body. I grabbed the drying towel and wiped her down. It was the first time she ever hissed at me and I received the look of pure hatred. However, the result was no more smelly cat. Despite the passage of time, she now reacts with fear every I carry her near a sink.
After four long months the vet said that she was healed and the collar could be removed. I took it off her head and she looked surprised. She immediately started running around the house and squeezing behind all the furniture and nooks where she could not venture due to the collar. Thankfully, her leg has been fine ever since except for a bit of arthritis and a bald spot over the hock. Nearly $1,000 in medical bills but she has paid me back with purrs…
Gotta go hear that furry accordion music.