December 06, 2021

The One Where Duck Came Home

I'll spoil the ending by saying that Duck came home today! (That's him watching me write this post right now)

Last night, the vet tech told me that Duck's fever had gone down to 102.9 (ideal is 102.5) which was a big improvement from 104.0. She said he had taken a few licks of food during the day, which was good news. I decided that as long as he didn't get worse overnight (like if his temp went back up), I would pick him up first thing in the morning.

The vet was supposed to be there at 8:30, so I waited until 9:00 to call. I basically just asked what time I could pick him him up! The tech said that he was still doing good; they would have liked to see him eating more, but his temp was still down and I could try to try to get him to eat more at home. I could pick him up at 10:30.

Naturally, I got stuck by two trains and was behind a school bus on the way there. It felt like it took forever, but finally I got there and spoke with the tech (from my car; we still can't go inside because of COVID). They said that he's already had his meds through his IV--two different antibiotics and pain meds--and there was no medication I had to give him at home. I was surprised by that! But I guess one of the antibiotics was a 14-day one that is given intravenously.

When they brought him out, he was meowing like crazy. Not the cute little talking that he does with me throughout the day, but all-out deep yowling. I knew it was going to be a long ride home! But I just kept talking to him the whole way.

He had an elizabethan collar on, which made me feel even sorrier for him. As soon as we walked into the house, he stopped the noise and I opened up his carrier. He came out (looking kind of wobbly with that collar) and started walking all over to check things out. I took his cone off while I was following him around, ready to stop him from licking his incision if needed.

The tech had told me that because of all of his IV fluids, he'd have to pee a lot today, so I took him into my bathroom (where I set up a temporary litter box while he recovers). I also had several cans of food in there, so I opened one to offer it to him. No sooner had I scooped it onto the plate than he was wolfing it down. I was kind of afraid at how fast he was eating--they never warned me if feeding him too much was a bad thing! He ate the entire can of food and then he was purring like crazy and just rubbing all over me wanting me to pet him. It's like he just couldn't get enough attention :)

I was so happy that he ate so enthusiastically (so I'm sure he wasn't eating at the vet hospital because he was stressed out). After that, though, he kept wanting to go under my bed, which I wasn't okay with. Cats usually hide when they aren't feeling good and it's hard to monitor him when he's hiding. I ended up taking the legs off of my platform bed so it's sitting on the floor now. I brought his carrier into my room to make a little hiding spot where he can feel safe but where I can easily see how he's doing.

The hairbrush is in there because he loves rubbing his face on it!

At the suggestion of a couple of readers, I ended up making a little t-shirt wrap thing that goes under his belly and ties on his back in order to cover his incision well, and eliminating the need for the elizabethan collar. The first one I quickly made turned out to be too stretchy of a fabric and too strappy (the bottom wasn't very wide across his belly). So afterward, I made a different one out of black fabric that is better.

It's still kind of awkward, though, so I ordered a one on Amazon today that looks much easier to put on and take off and it should be here tomorrow. (Sadly, the only color I could get for him was pink! Hahaha, the other colors couldn't be delivered until late this month.)

He's been sleeping most of the day. For a while, he slept in a little bed right next to me on top of my couch. (And under a little table that he likes to sleep under.)

Something that has been completely heartbreaking is that the other cats keep hissing at him! Chick has seemed so lost without Duck over the weekend, I thought he'd be thrilled when he came home. But he immediately started hissing. And whenever I went near the other cats, they hissed at me, too. I read online that it's because of the smell--the cats may not even recognize him because he smells like the vet hospital.

I sprayed some calming spray all over the place but I am afraid that the other cats are going to make him feel bad, so right now it's just Duck and me in my bedroom. I might see if Chick wants to come in tomorrow. It's just so sad to see him hissing at Duck. They were super close! I'm hoping that after a few days, they'll be back to being "like brothers 'n' stuff" (- Bubba from Forrest Gump; a phrase Jerry and I quote often).

I've had cats my entire life, and I've never had this happen before after a vet visit. Then again, I've never had a cat stay at the vet this long, either. Eli just came home from my parents' house, and my mom sent me this cute little book! So maybe it'll have the answers... ;)  Luke and Riley always ask me dozens of questions about the cats, so this will be fun to read with them--we can read a few questions each time they come over.

You'd think that now that Duck is home, I'd be all calm and relaxed and happy. I am certainly happy, but I'm also now super worried that something will go wrong! I am afraid to leave his side for even a second, and I can definitely forget about getting any sleep tonight. Since days 3-5 are the most crucial as far as his incision leaking (the incisions on his intestine itself), I won't really feel relaxed until Wednesday afternoon.

Anyway! I am relieved that I am no longer imagining the worst about Duck at the vet hospital, but I am clearly going to be a bit distracted for a few days until he gets back to the norm. If you have any transformations to share tomorrow for Transformation Tuesday, I'd really appreciate it! Just email a before photo and an after photo to me at: katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. Be sure to include your name and a description of your transformation!

Edit (Tuesday morning): I just had to add this picture. This is how Duck slept all night long! He tucked himself between my shoulder and my cheek. I love when he purrs against my face; it's so soothing. He's happy to be home :)


  1. Glad Duck is home and eating. I'm sure that The Duckster will be OK being on his own in your room for a few days while he's healing, especially if he's getting a little extra love and attention. Cats, like most animals, are extra-sensitive to smells, so it'll probably take a little while before the "hospital stink" goes away and everyone's back to normal. Joey may even be a little apprehensive around Duck at first too. I've had really good luck using Inaba Churu lickable treats (they look like little gogurt tubes) as lures and reinforcers with my fosters.

  2. I am so happy that Duck is home!

  3. So glad he's home and yes. It's nerve-wracking! Sending more good vibes.

  4. It's definitely the smell the cats are reacting to. Don't push contact between the cats, as Duck grooms himself gradually the smell will wear off.

  5. So glad he is home!!!! <3

  6. I'm so happy to hear Duck is home!! I think the other cats will come around, they might be able to sense too that Duck isn't quite his normal self yet! Just keep cuddling him and reassuring him, he is going to be great!

    I totally forgot I was going to take a pic for Transformation Tuesday. I'll try to remember to snap one after work!

  7. I haven't read your post for a few days, and had no clue what your family was going through. You're the best mom, and he knows it! So glad he's home and cuddling and has a good appetite.

  8. I'm so happy to hear Duck is home and better. Hang in there!

  9. Oh goodness, I'm so glad he's home. And it looks like he's so glad too. Sending positive thoughts for a speedy recovery!

  10. Katie, I had 2 cats that were besties. One of them had to have surgery and when he came back, the exact same thing happened. My other cat hissed at him. It is about the smell. They will be back to normal in no time. It's hard watching your fur babies suffer when you feel helpless to do anything. So glad he's home where it's familiar and he can get some real TLC.

  11. I am so glad he is home!! The other cats hissing is totally normal. We have two cats (brothers who have been together their whole lives). Last winter, one of them had to spend the night in the hospital after an allergic reaction to a vaccine. His brother hissed at him and wouldn't come near him for a day or two. They were quickly back to being BFFs. :)

  12. We had this exact thing happen when one of our cats was at the vet's. It's called nonrecognition aggression. Basically they don't recognize each other because the smell has changed. It could take a while until the smell normalizes. It took ours about a week. I tried rubbing our one cat with a blanket and putting it where the other cat ate, but really the only thing that fixed it was time. Just watch when they are near each other that they don't swipe at him. Because our cat that had been to the vet didn't realize what was going on and got too close and ended up getting a swipe to the eye, and we had to take him back to the vet for that.

  13. News about Duck! I just knew the bond you two share would not be broken.

  14. So glad your baby is home and doing well!


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