The black and white cat you sometimes see in the Fluffy Sciences banner is called Bobo.
I met Bobo in January 2010, back when she was called Bono, and was my friend Sophie’s cat. Only six months earlier I had sat with my little tuxedo cat, Posie, in the vet’s office while we overdosed her with pentobarbitol, and let her slip away from her days wracked with arthritic pain, liver failure and dementia. Bono was a very different cat to Posie, confident where Posie would hide . . . slightly dimmer than Posie which really said something because Posie once got a fright when she thought a tree sneaked up behind her.
Come December 2011 and life has intervened, Bobo needs somewhere to stay for Christmas. I know, as friends do, that this isn’t just somewhere to stay for Christmas really, and so I begin some political machinations.
Mum, I say, poor Sophie doesn’t know what to do with her cat over Christmas, I was wondering if I should take her . . .
Sophie, I say, poor Mum misses our old cat so much, she’s been thinking about getting a new one, I think if she looks after Bono for Christmas .
One Christmas stay later, in 2012 Bono moves to my mum’s for good and after a little while becomes Bobo. I feel like a master manipulator. In 2013, my little sister moves out and Bobo becomes surrogate daughter for someone with empty nest syndrome. She is spoiled rotten, and Athena should recognise that her Aunty Bobo was instrumental in making me realise I needed another cat.
But I’m talking about Bobo for a reason. Two weeks ago now I got a frantic phonecall from my mum, on a girly weekend in York, and panicked because Bobo had been found in the hall howling and unable to walk. My stepdad assumed she’d been hit by a car and took her to the vet’s.
A vet, late on a Friday afternoon. A vet who removed my stepdad from the examination room and returned a verdict of cat bites. Prescribed antibiotics and sent her home.
When you work in a vet school, when you work with vet students, you feel a lot of sympathy for vets. I have little sympathy for this one. I cannot understand why this vet didn’t prescribe pain meds, when behaviourally the cat was so distressed the owner had to be sent from the room, when the owner assumed a car accident because of the levels of pain being shown. I can’t understand that.
I also can’t understand how in such an examination, the vet could miss a dislocated leg and a fracture at the ankle.
This week, because Bobo was still in pain, she was taken back to the vets to see her regular vet, who immediately prescribed more antibiotics, steroids and scheduled her for a general anaesthetic for a thorough examination and x-ray. 13 days after the injury, the break was discovered. Bobo’s options were a transfer to Vet’s Now in Glasgow for a risky surgery which might save the leg, or an amputation.
Which would you do?
The surgery carries risk and a prolonged period of recovery, where Bobo will need to be caged for at least six weeks. The amputation carries long term behavioural limitation. Which would you choose?
In an attempt to give my mum the best advice I could I surveyed as many vets as I could find on Friday afternoon, and the answers are mixed. There’s no clear answer here at all, and I couldn’t help but ask for photos and videos to use in teaching. What do you do?
Bobo is currently in hospital, waiting for the surgery that might save her leg. For the next couple of weeks, we’ll talk about her instead of Athena.
Athena’s grudgingly allowed this.