FOLLOWING IMAGES GRAPHIC!!
A car fan blade and cats make for a deadly combination. Back in November I did an article here titled Car Fan Blade Dangers. This weekend is my first opportunity ever to deal with a cat who has survived a car fan blade accident.
On Monday I saw Sealy, a beautiful black short haired cat, on the death row list at the shelter where I rescue. I called and offered to foster him. I hated that it would be Friday before I could get to the shelter and pick him up. My work schedule just wouldn't allow me to get to him sooner.
Readers, this is a sight I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I'm including the photos, which I made after we arrived home with Sealy. They are very hard to look at.
Sealy was turned into the shelter last week along with several other cats. Each of them has a fan blade injury. My only guess is an entire cat family was sleeping tucked away around a car engine trying to keep warm. This is horrible not only to the cat, but to the person who realizes they have caused this kind of injury to an animal. Usually this is accidental and sometimes even banging on the hood of a car and honking the horn isn't enough to encourage a cat to move out of the engine area and back into the cold.
This is even more likely to happen should you use a remote car starter to start your car on a cold morning and have it warmed up for you when you leave to start your day.
Now back to Sealy. He was in a small white carrier with a plastic front that's used for specifically for feral cats. We were assured he isn't feral. Not that it matters to Laura and I. We planned to take him anyway.
I wanted a picture of his injuries for my records. I always do this with any injury because I don't want anyone to ever say an injury such as this happened while under my care when it didn't.
Sealy was very unresponsive when we got him out of the small carrier. It was like he'd given up. Laura lined a large cage so he'd have a soft spot to sleep. He crawled over to the food dish where we had dry food and water and plopped his butt down in the water bowl. He refused the dry food. So we had to change the bedding almost immediately. Which meant getting him back out of the cage without hurting him any worse.
As you can see, the fan blade took off most of Sealys left ear and he has a very deep (but healing) cut that goes down into his neck. When you look at him from a certain angle, he appears to be missing a large chunk of his head. We're still unsure whether there's any nerve damage to his hind quarters as we haven't seen him walk yet.
After placing him back in the cage with clean bedding, we hoped the curtain so he could look out the window at the world. He chose to scoot himself around to where he was watching us instead of looking out the window. In my opinion, this is a good sign. At least we know he can scoot.
Laura opened a can of Fancy Feast cat food for him. We had a very generous donation come in on Thursday of 120 cans of Fancy Feast and 4 small bags of their dry food. We put the food in front of him and-nothing. He didn't budge.
Then he must have changed his mind because he scooted on over to the food and began eating. Eating soon became gobbling, for lack of a better word. Sealy was eating as though he were starved!
He ate the whole can in under two minutes. We didn't give him another because we didn't want to make him sick. He'll be given three or more cans a day, spaced out so as not to overwhelm his system. You wouldn't believe how much a good meal perked him up. He was like a different cat. He finished the food and just looked at us as though he couldn't believe he was finally out of the noisy shelter!
Sealy was treated by the vet at the shelter. We were sent home with antibiotics and told not to put anything on the injury. It's already healed over. It's an angry red in color and looks horrible. But there's no sign of drainage or infection. It reminds me of a third degree burn that's healing.
I asked the shelter coordinator if he was being given anything for pain and was told he wasn't. Call me a wimp, but I felt the need to get the boy something for pain. I know if this were MY head, I'd want drugs. MAJOR drugs. So I called Andrea and received shelter permission to get him a few injections for the pain.
Thanks to an anonymous donor, the vet visit was paid for. I have three doses of pain medication and can get more if needed.
I wanted to ask everyone here for advice. First I want to tell the readers how we're handling this situation and please tell me if there's anything we need to be doing. We've never dealt with an injury of this magnitude before. One thing I will say is my shelter really does try to save the life of their cats. It would have been so much easier to euthanize him instead of treating him and getting him out of there.
--We have Sealy in a large kennel type cage. He'll remain in this cage until we think he's well on his way to recovery. He doesn't need to be bothered by the other cats. Nor does he need to go off and hide or chance getting the wound dirty and infected. Once able, we'll allow him to wander in a room with no other cats.
--He's on clean bedding that will be changed twice a day and the soiled bedding washed in plenty of hot water.
--He's being given the canned food spaced out so as not to make him sick.
--We have the pain medication injections to be given once a day for three days.
--He'll be watched around the clock for the next several days. He will go to bed with one of us, as the cage will fit nicely on a nightstand.
--Once he's up to it, he'll be taken out of the cage and held and loved on.
I did have a few people express concern that Sealy isn't spending the weekend at a vet. For starters, the vet has done all that can be done for him. And the vets in my area close at noon on Saturday and don't reopen until 8 a.m. Monday morning. He'd be all alone in a cold damp cage listening to dogs bark and cats meow.
He'd really be no better off than he was at the shelter. Someone would check on him long enough to feed him and maybe clean the cage. Other than that, he'd be alone and we don't like to operate by those rules.
Sealy is at home with us. Maybe for a few weeks and maybe for a long time. It's difficult enough to adopt out healthy black cats. He has quite a few strikes against him with a missing ear and a wound that may not regrow hair, leaving his head with a rather lopsided appearance.
If he doesn't get adopted, we're prepared to take him for the long haul. Fostering would turn into a permanent resident. We feel he'll be a very grateful, loving cat once the car fan blade injury heals.
Are we doing all we can for him? Any advice you can give us to aid us in his recovery?
I hope none of you have to see an injury as serious as the one we're dealing with. It's heartbreaking. I'd tell you the injuries aren't as bad as they appear, but that would be a lie. My daughter and I are both lucky to have strong dispositions when it comes to witnessing injuries. We saw his picture and wanted to help him.
For those of you who would like to keep up with Sealy's progress, please go to www.facebook.com/prayersforsealy. I don't plan to post his recovery photos on my Facebook pages because it's upsetting for a lot of people to have to look at them.
Please keep this dear boy in your thoughts.