When we get in a cat whose behavior is so puzzling and unpredictable, I have to wonder about the story behind the behavior. Cats aren’t born aggressive and ill-natured, they are made that way by experiences, neglect, abuse, ignorance. Chessa is an unprovoked attacker. Without warning of any type- she will latch on for the kill. Her favorite trick is when I am feeding her or am inside the enclosure with her- she’ll just leap on my leg and bite my kneecap. No twitching, no tail down, or ears flat, eyes narrowing- just a straight frontal attack.
This came to a forefront yesterday when I had to take her in to see my vet. Her eyes are such a mess- she has severe conjunctivitis, her eyes, they are blue but they have a film over them- so her corneas look opaque- she has major drainage from her eyes that consists mostly of blood and her third eyelid- all you can see are her blood vessels coming down into the eye which is not normal. This kitty has been sick for a very long time without any type of vet intervention. If these drops (that have steroids in the) don’t work, she will be blind by year’s end. That was the consensus.
My vet said that this happens when as kittens, especially in crowded conditions catch calici or get an URI and no one does a damn thing about it. True enough, I did some digging after the visit yesterday and found out that when Chessa was born, all the kittens (according to the hoarder) had “icky eyes” and she had “no money to take them to the vet!” So they suffered needlessly. I don’t know what happened to the rest of her litter, but I can tell you that Chessa has been in a lot of pain for a long time- which would sort of explain her unprovoked attacks.
Yesterday at the vet, I held her the entire time they were messing with her- and they did everything. They dilated, they scoped, they pulled the eyelids, the third eye, they numbed her up- dialated her again looking for corneal ulcers which would indicate diabetes (she is also pumping out an amazing amount of urine). No corneal ulcers yeah! But just really nasty eyes. I am now tasked to four times a day, putting drops in her eyes. We should know in a few days if the drops are going to work, but I was told that if nothing happens in 4 days to cease and desist all drops.
I was amazed that she was so good, being poked and prodded. She’d been on the table for about 30 minutes while he pulled and poked and investigated. I had told him about her MO and that there was no warning- when suddenly, she sprang out from under the towel, straight for my hand- I jumped back almost tripped over the cat carrier- and one of her teeth just grazed my knuckle. I got lucky- I have 7 holes in my kneecaps right now with her name on them.
My vet just looked at me and seemed really surprised at how agile this fatty catty is- and said “Well, you warned me at least!” He did not get chomped, she was after me.
Now, my challenge lies in how to get her to accept drops in her eyes four times a day without putting me on the menu! LOL I just keep asking her- “Please don’t bite me- I am only trying to help you.” So far the towel trick is working- I am able to wrap her up, and lift her to the table and sneak in one drop into each eye- but this is just the first day. I am sure she is going to try and find a way to get back at me regardless if I am helping her to see or not. Dr. Steve said that right now, with her vision, it would be the same as if someone grabbed my glasses and smeared Vaseline all over the lenses – that is how she sees right now- which also may be why she attacks without warning.
Such a sweet girl with such a bad beginning. The only thing we can do from here on in, is let her have a peaceful life as she gets older and try to establish a mutual trust between us. I also have to trust that the vet bill will be paid soon- yesterday was $265.00 with meds and lab work. And we just gave them a $300.00 payment to pay down the bill.
But we love her because of her feral tendencies and despite them. I just hope that the day will come that I can go into the cat enclosure without wearing knee pads!