On Wednesday, 18th January, Garfield had major surgery once again for the removal of the two tumours in his mouth, and 4 teeth, including one of the fangs .

billyvisitingsickgarfield One of the veterinary nurses rang me just after lunch to say that Garfield was about to be operated on, and told me that he was probably the most relaxed at the surgery – everyone else was on tenterhooks regarding the surgery because of his advanced years – almost 20. Then I remembered that I had put my nightdress in with Garfield and his three teddies and wondered if that was helping him to relax. I had put some perfume on that morning before putting Garfield in his carrier, and then I had rubbed my nightdress around my neck so that some of the perfume would rub off on it. If a cat can smell its owner, then it is supposed to help them feel less anxious. I hoped this was the case.

He was very wobbly from the anaesthetic when he arrived home, and became quite agitated during the evening, so much so, I thought he might have a fit (seizure) or even a stroke. I slept downstairs on the sofa in the lounge so that I’d be within hearing distance if he called me, or if I heard any ‘bumps’ which could be him falling over. He called out a few times and although he didn’t want anything to eat or drink, he nestled into me when I cuddled him. But he wouldn’t sleep with me on the sofa and each time I put him in his little bed on the little sofa in the dining room next to Timmy, he would struggle to get out again. When I got up the following morning he was lying on the floor, in one of the doughnut beds, with Timmy nearby.

He was a different cat the next morning! He waited by his food bowl and ate a hearty breakfast and then he rushed off to the lounge in his custom rickety gait to have a drink of water, before having a top up of more breakfast. He had a wee in the garden when I got back from the local shops, and some lunch. Gone was the wild-eyed manic look from the previous evening (which was probably drug induced) and in its place was the soft-eyed loving look and I knew that Garfield was ‘back’. He kept kissing me and now that his breath is sweet smelling it’s a pleasure not to have to hold my breath or breathe in when he kisses me!

Timmy was at a loose end all day Wednesday. He kept going to the bed where they sleep together during the day to see if – perhaps by magic – Garfield had come back when his back was turned. Then he’d shrug despondently, put his paws back in his pockets and with his head down sadly he would come back downstairs. He kept coming up to me and yapping so I’d pick him up and give him a cuddle and tell him what was going on. Once he knew, he seemed a bit happier and when the vet rang me at 3.30 to say that Garfield was out of surgery and everything had gone well, I told Timmy and he yapped in delight.

Being a carer was no fun when the object of your care was not around to be cared for, so Timmy felt rather redundant all day.

Timmy was upstairs in their bed when I arrived home with Garfield, and after I gotTimmy kissing Garfield him settled on the little sofa bed, I went upstairs to Timmy to tell him the good news. ‘Garfield’s downstairs, Timmy,’ I said, smiling. Timmy got straight up and walked sedately down the stairs. He didn’t want to rush in case he looked desperate – he had to look ‘cool.’  He went straight over to the little sofa and stood up on two legs to look at Garfield. He sniffed him and then climbed up alongside him. He kissed his forehead and gave him a quick wash. Then he lay down next to him in the adjoining bed. His purr was so loud I thought he was going to explode – so that’s what feline joy sounds like! 

A bit later, Garfield was pacing the floor not knowing where he was going or what he wanted to do and he encountered Sam. Sam did a strange thing. First he sniffed at the bandage on Garfield’s front leg (from the drip he’d had in all day) and then he smacked him! I was quite surprised and Garfield was quite taken aback. But Garfield did smell very strange. It was the smell that you seem to pick up at the vets, and he didn’t smell ‘right’ for a few days. Timmy, who loves him, brushed the smell aside and was just pleased to have his best friend back to cuddle up to but it took a couple of days for all the others to fully accept Garfield back in the fold again.

Now, nearly 2 weeks after the operation, Garfield is completely well. He no longer has problems eating because the large, pus-filled tumour in one side of his mouth has been removed. The other tumour was smaller but still caused problems. Eating was a distressing time for Garfield because food particles would get stuck between the side of his mouth and the tumours and then he’d tip his head on one side to try to dislodge the food and overbalance, and fall over.

Now we know the tumours were benign, non-cancerous, and although they grew back again after his operation in June 2004, with the bad teeth out of the way now, if they do grow back, there should be less problems with infection because the rotten teeth have been removed. They were causing some of the problems so paws crossed, he should be fine now.

When I took him back a week after surgery for a check up, he was walking around out the back meowing to the various vets and veterinary nurses who were on duty. They all spoke to him, and he responded with meows. I’d like to think that he was doing the rounds and saying  ‘thank you’ to all those who took care of him the previous Wednesday.  

Our very grateful thanks go to all the veterinary staff at Pet Care Veterinary surgery in Northumberland Heath, Kent, where all my 6 cats go, and Garfield is a bit of a celebrity!

And thank you, too, to all the wonderful people who prayed for Garfield (and for me) on that Wednesday. It was a very long day, but your prayers made it more bearable.


© Pauline Dewberry January 31 2006

Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)

Sponsored Advert