Surgery Day

This morning, we woke up with Castiel snuggled between the two of us. He was purry and lovey. We nuzzled him and kissed him all over. In fact, we kissed him so much that he had that look that said, “blech… too much hooman kissing.”  He quickly caught on that this wasn’t going to be a normal morning when breakfast didn’t arrive on time. He’s naturally suspicious of any change in meal times and quickly sought out a hiding place behind the wicker chair.

At 7 a.m, we scooped him up and into the carrier and headed to the vet hospital.  We were told he had to be there by 7:45 am and with rush hour traffic this meant an early start. On arrival, we sat in the car and phoned in our check-in. While we were waiting for the nurse to take him in, I wrote out a little message to be sent in with him. “Please take good care of our parlor panther Castiel. He is our sun, our moon, our stars — our everything. We love him so much! Thank you, Michelle and Brian.”

When the nurse came to pick up Castiel, we petted him through the carrier, told him we loved him so much, and gave the note to the nurse to show the doctor and others. I was crying  and heaving uncontrollably and trying to catch my breath between sobs. The nurse said she would give Castiel a sedative when he went in, and she said that, she wished she had one for me too. I wished she could give me one too.

At home, we collapsed on the couch physically and mentally exhausted, committed to this path, but still unsure if we were doing the right thing or if it would work out. We just hoped right now that he would do well during the surgery. One step at a time.

The surgeon called around 11 am. Castiel was in recovery. He said the surgery had gone well but taken longer than he thought it would originally take due to the need to avoid the previous surgical suture. The surgeon said he normally would have made a Y-shaped incision but because of the previous suture and the need to get wide margins, Castiel had a crescent moon shaped incision.  I guess, he didn’t want us to be shocked, although I’m sure we will be anyway.  Castiel’s vitals stayed well throughout the surgery, including his temperature. The surgeon said it didn’t drop below 100 (Cats have higher normal temperature than humans). He said that during the surgery and afterward that Castiel was placed on a warming pad. He told us that he was resting and that he was receiving injectable pain medicine (Fentanyl and Ketamine) and fluids.  He said that Castiel was being monitored closely. He said when Castiel went home, that he’d have a Fentanyl patch for a few days, followed by Buprenex and Gabapentin for pain control.

We called again later in the afternoon for an update. The nurse said that Castiel was recovering well. She said that  he was a bit groggy when he came out of surgery and that this was to be expected. She said that his vitals were good and that he was warm and comfortable. He was receiving pain medicine and fluids. She said that he had moved around in his recovery cubicle napping here and then elsewhere. She said he was napping now, which was normal after a big surgery. Normal for him regardless. I reckon he naps about 16 hours a day on a regular day. She said he would be monitored 24/7.  She said that he would be offered food this evening, but not to be concerned if he didn’t eat because sometimes cats don’t feel hungry after the anesthesia and pain medications or because they are nervous.  She said he was a little hissy before the surgery and that he had some diarrhea.  Apparently, he gave her the flattened ear look.  We told her, he was scared and both the hissing and pooing were typical of a nervous Castiel. She said she understood and that the nurses and doctors were used to nervous and scared patients. She said that he hadn’t peed yet but explained that this is something cats are often hesitant to do at vet hospitals. She said if he was well enough, he could go home tomorrow afternoon. She said the nurses and doctors had shared the note I wrote asking them to take good care of Castiel.  She said it was now taped to his cubicle. This brought a smile to my face.

The nurse said that we should call again for an update tonight before we went to bed so that we wouldn’t worry and could get some rest. We’ll worry anyway. It’s what we do.  We will definitely call though. We hope he has a good night. Fingers crossed.

In the interim, we did what someone suggested – we got everything set up. We received a new ramp today and assembled it and placed it by the bed. We moved another ramp down by the sofa and set up a step so he can get on his favorite chair.  We have two low wide litter boxes, a balancing step, two onesies, several raised dishes and two cat calming diffuser plug-ins. I don’t know if we are ready but we did prepare for his return home. Much of the house is now ADA-cat accessible.

Now, if I could just get his tiger (adopted) siblings to eat. They are looking for him. I wish I could explain and prepare them.

Castiel and his siblings. Our lovely black cat is undergoing surgery this morning. He has cancer, and unfortunately the only real treatment is amputation. We’re going to bring our lovely three-legged cat home tomorrow.

9 thoughts on “Surgery Day”

  1. Hello! My name is Michelle and I have a black kitty named Charlie! He is 13 years old. They found a lump in his front right leg. I am having such a hard time trying to decide what to do! Your story helped me so much. I have been leaning more towards going through with the surgery but I am so nervous about it! I would love an update on Castiel! I hope he is healing well!

    1. Hi Michelle, I know it is a very hard decision but if it helps I had a 13 year old cat with three paws who had a second leg amputated at 13 so she was a bi-pawd..and she thrived.

      And well done to Castiel and family – a big day behind you all xo

      1. Wow that’s amazing! I just want him to have good quality of life and I worry that if I go through with the surgery just to buy a little time and he is just miserable in the last years of his life. 🙈It’s such a hard decision!

    2. Hi Michelle, I am so glad our blog is helpful to you. I know how scary this must be. We were terrified when we found the lump on Castiel. One of the important things we did, if you can afford to do it, is to get a CT scan and ultrasound to try and determine if the cancer has spread before you consider removing the leg. Having the scans helped guide us in our decision-making. We also asked the vet specialists lots of questions. Castiel is doing really well today. He is on strong pain medicines but they are helping to control his pain so that he can heal well. We were so relieved to see that he was still Castiel — still purry and demanding belly rubs, rolling about in this sunshine, and just as food motivated as ever. He was so relieved to see us and come home. Although, he had excellent care in the hospital and they were able to monitor his vitals carefully and make sure he had the critical care he needed. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and you and Charlie in my prayers. We found this community to be very helpful and supportive. We were really lost when we started out. The people on this web site really helped us. I hope they can help you too. Take good care! Sending love to your Charlie.

  2. Michelle & Brian, you guys are on it! The surgery is behind you, the parlor is ready for the patient. GOOD JOB!

    We’ve got our paws crossed at Tripawds HQ that he gets to come home today. Stay strong, you’re almost there!

    1. Hi Jerry,

      Castiel is home! And he still loves us and he is purry and affectionate, and getting by. Learning how to walk well again will be a gradual learning process but he seems anxious to get started. We had to put him in the large crate to get him to sit still for a bit. I think he is happy to be home and relieved to see us again. And thankfully, he is leaving his suture alone. We’ve been supervising him closely. He is napping comfortably now. Hopefully, he will feel okay tomorrow too.

  3. Hello !
    I remember when Benjamin came home and it was so scary, I was so afraid for him and of his surgery – he was an absolute star. Very sleepy, a little bit wobbly but clearly glad to be home as ate all his food.

    He had a wee that same evening and I celebrated when he managed to poop the following day.

    He did struggle with the balancing in the litter tray at first so I did support him a little, but after a couple of days he was balancing like a pro and trying to jump up places he should not be! He was kept in the bedroom with pet steps to the bed for the first couple of weeks but now is free to move around the house and is a ninja near accidentally open doors!

    Every day he is a little more like his old self.

    I am sure your handsome fella will be the same soon enough

    Much love

    1. Hi Samantha and Benjamina,

      Castiel is doing well and happy to be home. He too is a bit wobbly and hoppy but he is getting the hang of it. The litter box was a bit of a challenge but he did manage to use it, although he mostly sat and peed. I’m sure this will get easier with time and when he is less drugged. He is snoozed out in a big comfy crate next to us right now. He likes to be in the same room as the rest of the family. His siblings are being very respectful – just a lot of sniffing. I think they are glad he is home too. His suture doesn’t look as bad as I imagined and instead of seeing a lost leg, I just see Castiel, my much loved parlor panther.

      1. So so happy! Before you know it the fur will be back and he will be back to himself

        We have 4 other cats and a dog and at first they just sniffed Benjamin as if he was somehow new but now they all just treat him as usual.

        Best wishes to you all

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