Thursday 08 Dec 2016

Broken Kitten
Jennifer Flaten

Next time I buy a kitten I am opting for the extended warranty. About two months ago we decided to add another cat to our household, because three just isn’t enough.


I feel it necessary to have many cats.

Eh, what can I say I like cats. I like dogs, too, but for some reason I feel it necessary to have multiple cats. It is always good to have a backup in case the primary cat goes down.

Not that having more than one cat means I have less mice. Even with three cats, we had a mouse raiding the candy drawer with impunity.

After visiting many animal shelters and nearly coming to fisticuffs over one cat, we found the perfect kitten. We brought him home. We watched the hilarity ensue as our three older cats came to know the kitten.

And by came to know, I mean attempted to murder the kitten. Don’t worry; I exaggerate, a little bit. The new arrival put out the cats, but being cats were too lazy to do anything more than hiss at the new fellow.

The kitten on boarded great with the family; everything was going swimmingly until the kitten broke his leg. How did he do that you ask? Well, we don’t know and the usual suspects aren’t talking. All we know is on Labour Day we found the kitten in the hallway in obvious distress.

We rushed him to the emergency vet. I won’t bore you with the details of the vet visit; let’s just say it took a long time. We were a non-critical emergency; we got bumped several times.

Finally, we get in the exam room and the vet performed a physical exam, but couldn’t find a reason for the cat’s pain. She asked if we want an x-ray. Well, of course we did. Turns out he has a broken leg. Yes, the kitten had a broken leg. So all those old wives’ tales you hear about the flexibility and natural gracefulness of a cat are all lies


Cats are as prone to slipping, sliding and breaking bones as are humans.

They are just as prone to slipping on a grape or, in the cat’s case, falling off of something, as are us humans.

Once diagnosed, it was a case of waiting for the vet to set the cat’s leg. In total, we waited for 5 hours at the vet; we didn’t get home until 2 am. We also arrived home without our cat. We were seconds from taking our cat home, just signing the paperwork, for our eternal souls, because that’s about how long it will take to pay this off, when the vet informed us the cat escaped his cast.

How did he do that? Well, that’s a mystery too. So, instead of waiting another two hours for them to recast the cat’s leg, we went home.

The next day we picked up the cat. He was now sporting a thigh high green cast. As if the cast wasn’t enough indignity, the cat came home clad in what is known in veterinary world as a Victorian collar. It's a soft version of the cone of shame. To say the cat hated it would be a gross understatement.

The cat also came home with instructions to restrict movement, essentially bed rest for the cat. Yes, bed rest for a cat. Now, I know you're thinking, but cats sleep 23.5 hours a day anyway, this shouldn’t be hard.

True, but our problem was two-fold. First, cats are contrary. Tell the cat to sleep and he won’t. Second, it’s a kitten. Kittens don’t sleep, ever. They have boundless energy, which allows them to shred your curtains and terrorize the goldfish nonstop.

Being good pet guardians, we confined him to a crate. It was torture, for him and us. It was like denying Oliver Twist gruel or Bob Cratchit another lump of coal. He meowed piteously. He rattled the cage bars screaming “Attica Attica” but we remained steadfast.

It got so I found excuses to leave the house so I wouldn’t feel guilty looking at his tiny little face peering out from behind the bars. Anytime, he was out of the cage, I hovered over him like helicopter parent. Every week, I hauled him back to the vet for a leg check.


Post cast, I became more of a helicopter parent.

Six long, long, did I mention long, weeks later the cast came off, but the cat wasn’t cleared for active duty. Oh no, it isn’t that simple, it seems his cast shifted and rubbed on his foot, causing him to get an infection in his toes. For a whole week, we had to give him three types of medicine, twice a day. I’d rather wrestle a live alligator then give a kitten medicine.

To make things even more stressful, the cat is sans cast. That’s right going commando. He needed to rebuild the strength in his leg. If you thought I hovered before you wouldn’t believe how carefully I monitored him without his cast on.

Finally, infection was gone, leg was back to full strength and the cat is on his own recognizance.

I am happy to report he is back to full kitten menace mode, poking the dog, chasing the older cats and so forth; sadly he also now has the title of most expensive item we own.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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