Click below to hear Mr. Vinégar and Jonesy read this passage.
Whatever anger I had felt toward Jonesy for the rip in the couch disappeared the moment I saw him limp in the following morning. His left hind paw was covered in dried blood and, from the sad look on his face, I sensed he was in great pain. I immediately pulled out the carrier to take him to the vet. Usually, he ran and hid at the sight of it, but this time he crawled in meowing quietly, although as soon as we got into the car he yowled so loudly I was obliged to tune into a rock & roll station to drown him out.
The vet, a Dr. Thatcher said that Jonesy’s middle claw had been ripped out but that part of the flesh was still attached to the bone. Apparently, when frightened, cats sometimes dig their claws into whatever is closest – in this case probably the sidewalk or something similar. When Jonesy had tried to escape, the claw had been torn away. Jonesy would have to be sedated so that the flesh could be cut away cleanly and the wound dressed. The vet also said the gash had become infected and a shot of antibiotics would be needed to clear-up the infection. I told him to do whatever was necessary and, after praising Jonesy for being a brave little trooper, left him in Dr. Thatcher’s care.
When I returned, Jonesy‘s foot had been bandaged and he was ready to be discharged. I was given a supply of pills to mash into his food and told that Jonesy must not gnaw at the wound and had to be kept inside. I knew this would be difficult for even as I drove home he somehow broke out of the carrier and crawled around the car howling and whining making it extremely difficult for me to drive.
I hoped that the injury might curb his energy but it didn’t seem to affect it at all. He sprang at the door every time I went out and when I came home I had to push him out of the way to make sure he didn’t escape. I even showed him the veterinarian’s bill of $900 in the hope that this might encourage him to co-operate. It did nothing of the sort.
Two days later we were standing in front of Dr Thatcher. Jonesy had chewed the bandage off and was licking at the lesion. It was just as well that we went. The infection had spread to the pad of his paw and a stronger medication was now necessary. A new bandage was put on, as well as a cone around his neck which was intended to prevent him from chewing the bandage off. I don’t think I ever felt more sorry for Jonesy than when he tried to lick his neck, for he could only lick the cone and the harsh sound magnified his frustration. I scratched his neck and head for him for which he seemed most grateful and for a short while we were almost as close as we had been when he was a kitten.
Three days later we were back at the vet again. I had watched in amazement as Jonesy cleverly pressed the edge of the cone into the floor so that it bent in half and gave him enough room to swing his hind leg around to the front enabling him to nibble at the bandage. Not only that, but once after locking him inside, he jumped out of the bathroom window onto the steps leading to the street below – a good ten feet – for I found him walking along the top of a fence by the little tree, the bandage dangling uselessly from his paw. The cone was re-attached and the bandage wrapped higher up his leg. This however, did not stop him from trying to open the door as soon as we got home. His frustration at not being able to do so, escalated until one evening after nudging him away so that I might pass through, he leapt up and pushed me in the back.
Click below to view Jonesy’s frustration at being left inside:
Those three weeks were TORTURE! I managed to get the bandages off twice and even jumped out of the bathroom window, but I couldn’t get rid of that cone! And going to the vet was murder! Whenever Mr. V called me in that sing-songy voice, Jones-zee Jones-zee I wanted to scratch his eyes out because it meant I’d have to sit in the cage and ride in the car, and all the time he’d be telling me how everything was going to be all right…when I knew it wasn’t! And the vet was a real perv, too. Every time I saw him he shoved something up my butt and looked in my mouth and messed with my paw. As for those pills: I hated them! Mr. V mashed them up and put them in my food – like I didn’t know – but I was usually so hungry that I didn’t have the time to pick them out. He did scratch my neck for me and I liked that. I liked that a lot…especially since we hadn’t been spending a lot of time together. A couple of times I was so relaxed I fell asleep. Mr. V gave me a whole bunch of treats too, but I couldn’t stand being cooped-up, and after the second week I got so depressed I just slept.
Three weeks after the initial incident, the bandage was removed so the wound could get some air. The cone, however, had to be kept on until the medicine ran out. Dr. Thatcher said if Jonesy licked his foot when I took off the cone it meant the infection had not completely healed and I must put it back. If, however, Jonesy didn’t pay any attention to his paw then it was all right and he could go back to his old life. Two days later I nervously untied the cone. Jonesy shook his head enjoying his new freedom. He made no attempt to lick his foot. Much relieved, I opened the front door. For a moment, he looked at it as if he couldn’t grasp its meaning. Go on, I said, you can go outside. He meowed and pushed the screen door open with his nose just enough to slide his body through. For a moment he stood in the doorway, rubbing his cheek against the doorjam looking from one side to the other. Then he hurried down the stairs. He was well again.
My foot was as good as new. I didn’t even think about it. I rushed down the steps to hang out…when I got to the sidewalk, I stopped. I needed to find out where Prince was first. I went back to all the places I had marked. The marks were still mine. I marked them again just to be sure. Then I went to the nice lady’s house. She made a big fuss over me, asking where I’d been and if I was all right. I let her know I was pleased to see her, rubbing up against her legs and licking her hands. I could tell Prince hadn’t been there. I asked around but no one had seen him. He had gone, this time for good, and I can’t say I was sorry.