by Elisa Black-Taylor
My favorite photo of Sealy
Sealy waiting outside the vets office
Sealy showing off his stitches
Sealy on kitty morphine
Our car fan blade injured cat Sealy had surgery on Wednesday morning. We’d tried for over two months to heal his open wound caused by a car fan blade. Sealy was his own worst enemy. Even with his paws wrapped to prevent damage, the bandages on his paw would scrape his wound raw (see a list of articles at the base of this page)
We’d gone through the heal-scrape cycle for so long I’d become afraid to check on his injury each day. It would appear to heal some, then he’d decide to scratch at it and make it larger. Thankfully we weren’t dealing with any external infection. Just a wound that refused to heal on a cat who couldn’t wear an Elizabethan collar because of the injury location.
I panicked Tuesday afternoon when I saw how bad his wound had become and Sealy still scratching at it. I went by the vet on my way to work and showed them the photo I’d taken and asked if they could recommend anything to make him stop. The clinic didn’t want to put Sealy on prednisone because prednisone can hinder healing (“used to treat certain inflammatory diseases” in people).
We’d been using a new product called Vet Aid Sea Salt Spray. It would have worked if the injury could have been covered. Laura noticed when pulling off Sealy’s scabs that they looked cleaner than with the Preparation H we’d been using. Unfortunately, an open wound can’t be covered because of the infection that may form under a scab. So we were at a point in his treatment where we didn’t know what to do.
The vet staff wanted to see Sealy immediately, but I was on my way to work and there was no time for me to go back and get him and have him seen. Sealy has an excellent vet and he always seems to have a waiting room full of patients. They told me to bring Sealy in on Wednesday morning prepared for surgery and not to give him food or water after midnight. I’d be able to pick him up after 2:30 p.m. that afternoon.
Sealy didn’t like those orders too well. Our little man is on a five hour feeding schedule. He sat in his cage and glared at me most of the night. He did come out for a short time and go to sleep in my arms. Then he returned to his cage giving me his “feed me” expression.
It’s safe to say neither Sealy nor I had much sleep Tuesday night. I wasn’t sure what the vet would be doing about Sealy’s injury on Wednesday. I’d read up on flap skin graphs and that was a good approach for his type of wound. I trusted whatever his vet recommended and was anxious to hear what was planned.
Sealy slept the whole way to the vet. It takes a good thirty minutes as I live out in the middle of nowhere and the vet is on the other side of town. Sealy was in the cage he lives in. I thought he’d be more comfortable than in a small carrier.
I sat on the outside steps at the vet beside Sealy’s cage until the front door opened just before 8 a.m. He showed his feral side when they opened the door and tried to bolt. Then he realized he was in his cage and started shaking from head to toe. It was heartbreaking to see him so scared.
The vet staff weighed him before the vet came in for his examination. Sealy is now up from a little over 5 pounds to almost 6 1/2 pounds. I asked if he was going to perform a flap skin graph on Sealy. I was surprised to learn Sealy was going to have his wound sewn up. He had a three inch in diameter circle that would have to have the skin pulled over and stitched. It had been almost three months to the day since his fan blade injury. I never realized a wound could be sewn up after this long a wait.
Thankfully, the open wound was clean and the vet had a good surface to work with. Sealy now has quite a few industrial strength stitches in his head. And probably a very big headache. The skin must be stretched tight for the two sides to be joined. I feel so sorry for our little man.
Sealy also has all four paws wrapped so as not to injure the surgical site. The wrapping will come off when the stitches come out in ten days. The vets office cautioned me not to panic if he pulled the paw wrapping off by himself. He may have been a candidate for the dreaded “kitty cone head” at this point, but I was concerned it would rub up against the tightly pulled skin at the surgical site and that would be worse than the bandages on his feet.
If we’re REALLY lucky, fur will continue to grow where the skin was pulled together. Other than missing an ear, he’ll look like a regular cat.
I picked Sealy up shortly after 3p.m. Wednesday afternoon with instructions not to give him food or water until after 9p.m. He was sent home with a half a bottle of narcotic pain medication Torbutrol liquid to be given three times a day. That’s kitty morphine. Sealy’s going to be feeling good for the next week!
Sealy also had a good ear cleaning while he was asleep and was sent home with some yeast infection treatment for his inner ears. It’s difficult to find the entrance to his mangled ear, but that’s possibly another reason he was scratching.
He ate about a tablespoon of his Whiskas Purrfectly Fish cat food around 9p.m. Then another tablespoon after midnight and then he finished off the pack at 3a.m. right after his first dose of pain medicine.
He decided to sleep under my bed until his next feeding. I woke up at one point and had to shake him awake. He was so deeply asleep I was afraid he’d died on me. He was tired. Other than the anesthesia sleep at the vet, Sealy had been awake for more that 24 hours with only an hour nap.
Sealy had a full pouch of food at 6a.m. and Laura gave him another along with his kitty morphine before I left for work at 2p.m. It’s nice to know his appetite isn’t affected by any pain he may be in. I’ve read Torbutrol isn’t a long acting pain killer. It is one of the safest and appears to keep the edge off the pain.
Sealy’s surgery on Wednesday crossed the $1000 mark on his veterinary care charges. I’m happy to report that Sealy’s many supporters have pain 100% of all charges. I have the best friends in the world! Sealy had donations over the weekend that enabled me to order him 16 cases of his Whiskas food. Plus one of his best supporters ordered him some from amazon.com. Everyone has really rallied around my little man. Not only have they paid his medical bills, they’re financially supporting his cat food addiction. Sealy has no teeth and won’t touch the dry kibble.
After his stitches come out, Sealy will have the opportunity to be a normal cat. Well, perhaps not NORMAL. He’ll be waited on hand and foot by his human servants, rocked in a rocking chair by my daughter Laura, and held while he sleeps in my bed. I’m not sure whether any of this is normal. We just feel he deserves it. He’s also convinced I’m his mother. I guess I am, since I meow back at him when he talks to me.
Sealy has a lot of work to do before winter gets here. Or perhaps I should say I have a lot of work ahead of me using Sealy as an example. I never knew how dangerous a car fan blade could be. I never thought a cat could survive such a viscous injury. His cat friend, who was injured at the same time, died before being rescued. I plan to make up some brochures and pass them out to local vets warning people to check under the hood of a vehicle before starting the engine. This job is going to be made tougher because so many people use a remote control car starter to pre-warm their car on cold mornings.
Readers, you can help me with this. Please tell your friends about Sealys page on Facebook. Its here: Prayers for Sealey. Sealy has over 525 supporters now. I’d like to see his page grow, because that means people are being alerted to the danger of what can happen when a cat meets a car fan blade. The cat loses. Sometimes it’s life, sometimes an ear.
No cat should have to go through what Sealy has. He’s a tough little kitty or he wouldn’t have made it this far. I’ll admit there were days when I wondered if euthanasia wouldn’t be a better choice for him. Then I’d look in his eyes and see h ow badly he wanted to live. Especially since he’d found a his forever home and more than 500 people who love him through his recovery story page on Facebook.
I did an article on black cats being healthier. Sealy is proof to me that’s true.
Listed below are all the Sealy stories for those of you who may have missed them. Thank you all for loving our cat.
Other articles on Sealy:
Hi Ruth! I have to sample the food from Sealys stash on a daily basis to be sure its up to my strict standards. Its a hard job but somebodys gotta do it. And if. Sealy doesn’t like a flavor I have to dispose of it. Um…in my belly…teeheehee.
Sealy sure looks just like my Monty, except for the missing ear. He has the same expression on his face. He even eats like Monty. I hope he makes a full recovery so he can have a normal life. Like my Monty, he’s very lucky. I suspect all of Monty’s siblings are dead. Feral cats don’t live very long and the ones caught by animal control were likely put down. For some reason, God chose to save one little black cat. The same with Sealy– he was sent to you for a reason. I sure enjoy reading about all your cats, Elisa. How is Furby handling it since Sealy is almost as famous as Furby now? Is he able to share the spotlight?