Friday, November 30, 2012

When your cat is hit by a car

Cat sleeping beneath a parked car
Beorn in happier days.
Cars are loud, smelly and unpredictable. Cats of sound mind would know this, and as a result, they'd run like hell when they even saw a car coming. Out of the three cats who live outside on this property, there's only one who is smart enough to follow this rule: Franklin. Just start the car and he runs off at top speed. It's something I like.

Beorn and Jasper, on the other hand, seem to think of the car as the delivery device for the people they love, and as a result, they tend to run *at* the car when it's heading into the driveway. I've been terrified about this for years, and this week, many of my fears came true.

It gets dark in Salem quite early these days, so it's hard to see Beorn in the evenings. I didn't see the incident go down, even though I was walking back toward the house when it happened. From what I can piece together, Beorn ran at the car when my husband was backing into the driveway, and in the process, he got clipped.

Cats that are hurt tend to hide. They seem to think that they'll be killed on the spot if they show weakness, so they'd rather head for the hills instead of asking for help. We only realized that Beorn had been hit when he didn't arrive for dinner on schedule. After a few moments of hollering, he came staggering out from underneath the deck, and I whipped him over to the emergency vet.

Most altercations between a cat and a car result in nasty cat injuries involving gravel and scraping. Wounds are pretty easy to spot because they're typically wide open and bleeding. But, cats can also develop internal injuries that are harder to spot, especially if they're just nudged or bumped by a car. Cats like this may only show up with pain-related symptoms like growling or limping or hiding. This is the scenario we're dealing with right now.

At the emergency vet, Beorn was able to stand upright and hobble about, but he had a pretty bad limp on his right rear leg and he was none too pleased about having that leg messed with. The vet didn't feel any broken bones or dysfunction and Beorn seemed just shaken but okay, so I took him home with some pain meds.

Since that time, I think he's gotten a little worse. He's not eating, so I'm force-feeding him canned food mixed with water. He's hiding and pacing, instead of lying comfortably. And sometimes, I would swear he's hallucinating as he mewls at things that I can't see. He's also smacking his lips quite a bit, which might be nausea or more hallucinating. It's hard to tell.

Tomorrow, we go back to the vet for a followup check and it's likely we'll have a series of x-rays done. At this point, things aren't looking good for Beorn. Cats who won't eat and who seem to be searching for a safe place to hide seem a lot like cats who are just trying to die. I'm hoping we can get some answers, and provide him with some sort of will to keep fighting.