One of the stressful things that happened last week was Rocket’s surgery. Rocket had always had a bit of a lumpy, bulgy tummy, which we thought was at first due to his huge umbilical cord scab but which never seemed to get better. I took him to the vet last Monday and they said that he had a hernia — his abdominal muscles were ripped and those lumpy bumps were his intestines! They recommended surgery, which we went ahead and approved.
It turns out that poor Rocket actually has a birth defect where the middle part of his abdominal muscles never fused together. So he actually had three hernias. The vet tried to add some extra sutures to see if that would promote the muscles to heal and grow together, but warned that he could have problems the rest of his life. In the meantime, he was sent home with a huge incision on his belly, a funnel collar, pain relieving medicine, antibiotics, and strict instructions to not let him climb, run, play, or be around the other kittens.
We set up a temporary Rocket-home in one of the large storage bins we had purchased for our move, complete with small bin inside for cat litter, a towel, and a small water and food bowl that would fit inside the funnel collar. A completely unrelated under-the-bed bin that holds gift wrap sits angled on top to keep him from trying to jump out. (Don’t worry — there are cracks that allow air to get through!)
I like that you can barely see Rocket eating in the right corner of the bin.
I had a pretty rough time getting the collar on Rocket the first couple of times (as he managed to untie the bow or slip out of the collar a few times before he gave up). The poor kitten yowled and thrashed about (despite a firm grip on the scruff of his neck) and I was sure we were ripping up his internal stitches. I’m happy to report, however, that he’s finally “used” to it, and we haven’t had any problems with the collar staying on since the first rough day.
Poor Rocket nearly got killed by his mother when I happened to let Nutmeg into the room. Hopefully it was just the funny collar that set her off (and we won’t have problems after it comes out…), but she whacked him upside down with her paw and then pounced on him roughly, maybe to tear out his throat or something. I had to toss her out of the room, where she spent a lot of time growling and howling outside the door while Rocket trembled with his tail puffed up. We are now very careful to keep him separated from all the others! It’s a good thing that he just started eating solid food before the surgery. He’s been doing well at eating and drinking water, although he looks pretty gaunt compared to the other fat kittens.
During the day, I let Rocket out of his bin and shut us up both in the office. Maybe because he nearly got eaten by his mom, Rocket is pretty clingy and really likes to sit in my lap, which I tolerate when he is less energetic. The best part is when he falls asleep or when he begs to come up into the chair to take a nap. This picture shows Rocket relaxing in my lap and trying to play with his foot (on a towel, for my protection). You can see the many stitches on his belly.
And here he is, asleep:
As you can see, I’m completely delighted to have a kitten sleeping in my lap. Never mind that he nearly clawed my legs to ribbons trying to get up onto the chair.
Steve is all for changing his name to “Satellite” or “Dish,” but I think the poor guy has had enough upheaval in his little life so far!