Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
My 16-month-old Bengal cat was, I assume, hit by a car last Tuesday. I didn’t see the event but found him in a dirt hole in shock and visibly injured not far from a busy residential road. I took him to the hospital, and after two days he saw a neurologist, who said he had mild weakness in his back legs.
I’ve had him home for 4 days now and he is no longer on pain meds, but he is so unmotivated to move about. He stays curled up in a ball under a piece of furniture all the time and seems depressed. His body looks and feels remarkably different to me now. His spine has lost its previous curvature and watching him walk around seems so uncomfortable. There is an abnormal curve up right behind the shoulder blades and then a flattening out towards the tail. He did have some internal bleeding in an unknown location; they think was in his abdominal area or the spinal cord. I just wonder if this new curvature is permanent or temporary. Poor guy is getting weaker by the day. I have an X-ray but don’t know how to attach it.
Siouxsie: Okay, first of all: any of you who are going to snap at Nellie for letting her cat out — don’t even start! We don’t know what country she lives in or anything about her life, and she’s already upset about her cat’s injury. We will delete any harsh or abusive comments.
Thomas: Oh, Siouxsie, there’s no need to hiss. I know the readers are nice people and they wouldn’t do anything like that.
Bella: Anyway, Nellie, we’re so sorry about your poor kitty! We hope he’s starting to feel better by now. Sometimes it takes a long time to recover from an injury like that. It’s just as well that you didn’t send the x-ray because nobody here would know what to make of it.
Siouxsie: The first thing you should do is call your vet and discuss your concerns. If he’s not doing as they think he should at this point in his recovery, they may want you to bring him in for more tests.
Thomas: It could be something as simple as the fact that he’s still in pain. Like Bella said, it takes a long time to recover from an injury where you get so banged up, even if most of the damage consists of bruises rather than serious bone or nerve damage.
Bella: If he continues to show weakness in his hind legs, and particularly if the weakness gets worse, you need to get him to the vet right away in order to prevent permanent nerve damage.
Siouxsie: Another thing you might want to consider, once the vet says he’s sufficiently recovered, is chiropractic care or acupuncture. There are licensed veterinary chiropractors who understand the special construction of cats’ spines and can help correct subtle dislocations of the spine bones and hips in order to relieve pain and restore function.
Thomas: Acupuncture is a great tool for pain management and unblocking the body’s energy meridians, thereby speeding recovery. Again, there are licensed veterinary acupuncturists whose study is devoted solely to animals.
Bella: Whatever you do, don’t take your cat to a people chiropractor! Those people chiropractors can be pretty rough, and they may not understand cat anatomy well enough to use proper pressure and techniques.
Siouxsie: We know how important it is for Bengal cats to get lots of exercise in order to stay healthy and sane, so we wouldn’t want to say you should never let your guy out again. However, if possible, maybe you could make a safe place for him to play in your yard. Cat fence systems and special “catios” are great tools for letting a kitty go outside and stay safe at the same time.
Thomas: That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about him getting hit by cars or maybe even stolen.
Bella: Somebody would steal a cat? Horrors!
Siouxsie: Unfortunately, Bella, some people would steal a cat — especially a rare and special purebred like a Bengal.
Bella: That’s mean!
Thomas: Yes, it is, Bella. But don’t you worry: even though we’re rare and beautiful and special cats, Mama won’t let anybody steal us!
Bella: She’d better not. I’d be so sad if somebody stole you, Thomas.
Thomas: And I’d be really sad if somebody stole you, Bella.
Siouxsie: Fine! You two just go be sad for each other over there. I know you wouldn’t mourn me for even a second if I got stolen. And after I die, I bet you’ll take over my heated cat bed without even a second thought!
Thomas: Siouxsie, that’s not true! I’ve loved you ever since I met you 10 years ago. *sniffle*
Siouxsie: Oh, good grief. Now I’ve gone and made you cry. I’m sorry, Thomas.
Bella: Wow, Siouxsie, you really are nice sometimes, aren’t you?
Siouxsie: Listen, smartypants …
Thomas: Okay, everybody, let’s wrap this up so Mama can feed us.
Bella: Good luck, Nellie, and we sure hope your sweet Bengal boy is doing better now. Purrs to you.