The Cat that Growled

by | Jan 27, 2009 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

“Grrr” “Grrr” I stopped abruptly as I entered the kitchen. Standing still I looked cautiously around me. None of my dogs around. No strange dogs. “Grrr”…”Grrr”. The sound was coming from the washing machine.

The machine stood in a narrow recess with just a slight gap on either side but the nook itself was deeper than the machine, so there was about a ruler length of space behind it. The deep, menacing growl was coming from in there.

The only way to see behind was to lean over the machine and look down from above. Whatever was down there could jump up, teeth bared, claws flying into my face. I hesitated, took a deep breath and peered over cautiously.

A small black face with narrow green eyes glared up at me, and growled again. I retreated quickly. It was Pukka, my black cat, that on a normal day loved nothing better that to drape herself around my neck like one of those fox furs that high fashion people used to wear.
Now what was she so angry about? I ran through possibilities in my mind – she had hurt herself badly and was scared out of her wits or, ‘oh no” could she have rabies?

I gingerly took another look. She was crouched down, staring up at me. There was no frothing at her mouth but her hair was sticking up like the bristles on a brush.

I’d have to get her to a vet but how? I certainly didn’t want to get attacked. Instead of calling our usual small animal vet I called the equine vet because she always came out to see our horses. After listening to my account of what was happening she instructed me to bring the cat into the surgery immediately. It seems that tiny cats don’t qualify for house calls!

I fetched the metal travelling cage and a bath towel. Fortunately the maid was in the house. We eased the washing machine forward so it was only just keeping the recess blocked. Whilst Aletta swung the machine sharply out I threw the towel over Pukka and pounced on the squirming body. Between us we wrestled the bundle through the small opening of the cage, pushed the lid closed and quickly slid the locking bar across. By the time it was locked the cat had wriggled out of the towel and stood bristling on top of it, growling from deep down in her chest.

The vet’s surgery was close by so we were soon in her rooms with the cage stood on the metal examination table. Dr Higgerty keeping a respectful distance from the tiny, angry, black fur ball observed Pukka and interrogated me. What had she eaten? Had we seen any other animals behaving strangely? Had anything unusual happened today or yesterday? “No, everything has been as usual. She was perfectly well yesterday. I put flea muti on her in the afternoon and she ate her usual supper.”

“What did you say about muti?” asked the vet. I explained that a veterinary nurse friend had given us a bottle of anti flea and tick muti to use for the dogs and cats. Yesterday I’d dosed all the animals on the back of their necks. “How many drops did you use? she asked. “Well, it’s supposed to be 3 for a cat but she wriggled so much that I couldn’t see exactly.”

“I think you’ve poisoned her. Cats are extremely sensitive to medicines and they have highly absorbent skins. If she got more drops than she was meant to she maybe terribly ill.

I felt dreadful. I love animals and I never want to see them suffer. And certainly not to cause it.

The vet said she’d give Pukka an injection of atropine and keep her in for observation. If she improved then we’d know it was an accidental poisoning. If she died her brain would have to go to Ondestepoort for autopsy to see if she had rabies.

As she lifted Pukka out of the cage, Pukka, quick as lightening, grabbed her finger and bit, drawing blood. The vet turned white but bravely hung on and the injection was given. A tense couple of days followed whilst we waited to see if the cat and the vet would be alright!

Fortunately a few days later I was able to fetch a perfectly healthy cat from a deeply relieved vet. Pukka purred like a little engine all the way home whilst I promised myself I’d never overdose a cat again.


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