The Feral Cat has a history of beating up our cat. It's huge, hard to see at night what with the shabby black coat, and has little fear of humans. Several years ago it nearly killed our puss, and it comes and goes randomly, usually disappearing for several weeks or even months in between maimings.
About six weeks ago it got our kitty big time, requiring shaving of part of her head, anti-biotics, $200 in vet fees, and general extra tender love and care for the poor thing. A week after that I heard her calling out for help one night, yowling and howling, so out I went to rescue her. Coming out the front door I could see her cowering at the bottom of the stairs, making an awful noise. The FC was further up the stairs, between me and my beloved, and it wasn't going anywhere except closer and closer to our cat, who was still in a weakened state from their earlier altercation. My only choice appeared to be to pick up the FC to save our kit.
I'd had to do this once before in a similar situation, and the FC hadn't struggled. I'd thrown it over the fence on to the property next door (not residential) and it had stared disdainfully back before sauntering slowly off, making it quite clear that it was going that way anyway and I had had little impact on its original plans. So I wasn't too worried about plucking it from the stairs again.
Big mistake. It turned, sank its fangs into the back of my hand and when I swore, loudly, and dropped it, it just hissed at me and stood where it landed. Hand bleeding and immobile I shooed it away (the FC merely repeated its usual slow saunter to behind the rubbish bins) and then somehow I managed to drag our cat inside, feeling very sorry for myself.
It didn't really seem that bad, and my partner thought it was just another minor bite, which I'd had from our kitty in the past with little trouble. Washed it, put antiseptic manuka honey stuff on it, and repeated all this in the morning, headed off to work.
By lunchtime almost the whole back of my hand was swollen and red. Workmates were discussing blood poisoning and amputation. One volunteered to drive me to a doctor, which I took up. I ended up with massive doses of antibiotics, a bandage worthy of a much bigger wound around my hand and wrist, and a sling. I went back to work for a while but went green and had to take a cab home. Couldn't even sign the credit card receipt.
Three days later I was able to go back to work properly, lower the antibiotic dose and stop making daily doctor trips for check-ups. In the interim my hand had been debrided twice. If you don't know what that means and you want to gross yourself out then google it. If not then all you need to know is that it is really quite painful, but effective.
It's several weeks later now and still it hasn't fully healed. The two bite marks are raised, and oscillate between pink and purple. They hurt sometimes when I put pressure on my hand. But I can type freely, and bath Wriggly, which is a great relief.
One thing that bugged me about this was my own discounting of my concern that it was a real problem right from the start. I was so worried about being a stereotypically hypochondriac woman that I didn't take it seriously, and still I justify it by telling people that the first nurse I saw told me the other cat bite victim she'd seen that day had to go to Middlemore Hospital. Later on in the process a doctor told me that hands are particularly worrisome places to have cat bites, as the proximity to so many complex membranes means if infection gets out of hand then surgery is the only option.
So the lessons I've learnt are twofold:
- Take a broom to fend off the FC with.
- Don't dismiss my instincts about my health to avoid being seen as a delicate fragile flower of womanhood.