Just a few weeks ago, there was a lot of snow on the ground. We went skating (a first for me, I think, and Luca) with Carla and Dan:
Skating was quite frustrating for Luca, so we ended up going sledding toward the end, before the sun fully set:
I also found a photo of Luca and Oberon:
Unfortunately, this is the last photo we will have of Oberon in our home. Mars and Oberon had been getting along, up to a point. They had started play-fighting, and everyone who saw it said it was normal. It made me nervous, though. One day I noticed that Mars had some scabs, and I decided that we needed to de-claw Oberon to avoid further injury, so I set up an appointment at the vet for surgery. However, a week before the surgery, something terrible happened.
For those with a faint heart, please skip the section in the following section. Simply put, Oberon and Mars were play fighting and Oberon seriously injured Mars.
We woke up one morning and all of us were cuddling on the couch: me, Kyra, Luca, and Oberon. Just Mars was missing, and I called him over to join us. He jumped up on the couch, and Kyra reached over to pick him up. She gasped, "Oh my god" or something like that, upon seeing Mars' side: It was cut open with a 3-inch by 2-inch gash in his skin. I believe the epidermal layer had ripped open, probably from a scratch from Oberon.
We were horrified. I picked up Mars and put him down on the carpet to examine the wound. It looked clean, and it wasn't bleeding. Oddly, I didn't find any blood anywhere in the house. I bandaged the wound and isolated Mars in our bathroom to avoid any further injury. I tried to call the vet, but it was only about 7:00 AM, and they opened at 8:00. We thought about calling the emergency vet, but since he wasn't in a life-or-death circumstance, we decided to wait until the vet opened. Once they did, they scheduled an emergency surgery to stitch the wound.
Now recall how we adopted Mars: He was a stray cat found under a porch, probably dumped by someone who didn't want to take care of kittens. He had 3 or 4 diseases, and required quite a few medications and long isolation to clear up, before he could interact with our very young son, Luca. He continued to have skin problems, in which his skin would literally peel off in chunks. We discovered he simply had fragile skin, and de-clawed his back claws, an unusual procedure done to avoid self-injury.
So it was risky stitching Mars' wound: It was possible that the stitches would just pop out. In fact, that's what happened: Every day after the surgery, I had to take Mars to the vet to review the stitches. In the first day, he probably licked some of the stitches off, so we wrapped his torso in a very large bandage. Then the bandage came off somehow, and he opened a new, smaller wound by biting/licking or scrapping up against the wall. This new wound required surgical glue to hold it together so it would heal. He's been wearing a head cone since to avoid further self-injury.
With such a serious injury, we were worried that Mars would suffer from an infection or that the wound would not heal because of his fragile skin, and we would have to euthanize him. This was incredibly sad for all of us. At a few points during the next week, Kyra and I were so upset we broke into tears.
Given the situation, we decided that it was too much of a risk to keep Oberon with us. We just couldn't risk the possibility that they would be play-fighting and this would happen again. Our back-up plan was to have Kyra's mother, Linda, or her sister, Sabrina, take care of Oberon. We called and discussed it with all parties, and they decided that Sabrina and her girls would take Oberon.
The injury took place on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, and Kyra planned on taking Luca and Oberon up to the Twin Cities that same weekend. In the meantime, Mars was isolated in our bathroom and continued to be for a week or two. Kyra visited her family in Minnesota and Oberon fit right in with Sabrina's family, and I stayed home all weekend with Mars, tending his wound.
Here's Mars, isolated and sleeping in our bathroom:
I took this during the weekend I was home alone with him. It was very depressing faced with the possibility that I might have to euthanize him while my family was away. Kyra and Luca said goodbye before the left. It was heart-wrenching.
Fortunately, Mars has been healing, very slowly, with some minor incidents since. However, along with other, normal life stresses, the last few weeks have been very hard. But it's getting better. Mars is nearly fully healed, with a large scab and a small open wound. He doesn't have to be isolated or in a head cone all the time. Oberon appears to be fitting in well with his new family.
I would like to take a moment to thank our veterinarians at the Companion Animal Hospital in Madison, WI. Dr. Kay (rhymes with sky) has been incredibly patient, compassionate, and flexible, and Dr. Hospel has been very helpful in the aftermath. Aside from the surgery charge, we paid very little for all of the follow-up visits, and for that I am very thankful. Here's a more recent photo of our "little lion" as a thank you: