The sense of relief that has washed over us this week, I can’t even begin to explain it. Although I’m here writing a blog so we all know I’m going to do my best to try.
On the 7th April I shared a post about the back and forth frustrations of lockdown and ironically the picture I chose as my featured image was a beautiful picture of my gorgeous wonderful cat Hugo. Hugo le chat – the inspiration behind my very first blog.
On the 8th April I was sat at my desk 8am in the morning and jumped up after hearing what was the worst cat cry I’ve heard. Hugo is known for his fighting tactics in the neighbourhood, but this sound was different. I rushed to the front door and watched my cute little fur baby limp home, screaming continuously as he panicked around the room. We scooped him up drove straight to animal hospital and they took him in – without us of course as there was a strict drop off system because of covid.
At the time, as horrible as it was to see him in pain, I still didn’t think too much into it, he must’ve fallen, got his leg trapped, slight sprain, needs some pain killers. But I wasn’t at all expecting the news that would follow. First of all, typical Hugo standard his hostility to all the vet staff meant they couldn’t actually take a look at him until he had been sedated… prolonging the wait for us in finding out what exactly was wrong.
Hours later we received a call, Hugo’s back leg bone was shattered. Most likely he had been clipped by a car and the bone was completely broken, to an extent that it would either need to be amputated or he would need a series of metal plates to save his leg.
He underwent his first surgery, the few days we spent at home without him were horrible. I know that some of our friends have been through so much worse as they’ve had family members who have been in hospital with covid and they’ve had to sit home and wait helplessly and I get that is so much worse and I cannot imagine how they coped.
But the thing about this situation… Hugo is our comfort. For the last 10 years Hugo has always been that constant at home, no matter what’s happening, no matter how bad a day we’ve had, how bad a week, whatever bad news has come our way… he has the most wonderful way of knowing we are in pain and being there for cuddles to make us feel better. So to not have him home with us was pretty devastating. Not knowing if he was ok, was excruciating.
Eventually we got a call and they were going to save his leg. Metal plates had been inserted and he came home with a plaster cast splint and he would need to be caged and contained for 10 weeks.
Day 1 and the pain was too much for him, we had to take him back so he could once again undergo surgery.
New tactic, a metal brace was fitted around his leg and once again he would need to be caged for 10 weeks.
He returned and the sad saga of Hugo in a cage continued. If you have a pet you’ll know the lengths that a pet owner goes to, to make their animal happy. In this instance, the thought of him having to live life in a cage was worrying us immensely, so if he was going to do this, we were going to do everything we could to make it as perfect as we could for him.
To do so, we dismantled the spare bed and cleared the room. We moved the rug from our lounge (that he loved to sleep on) and placed it as the base and then built a cage out of a puppy play pen and some cat fencing, fitted with new bed, new scratcher, his kitten litter tray and lined the walls with cardboard to stop him getting stuck in the bars. Amidst the chaos of covid, our whole world had been turned upside down. Every element of our life was now evolved around looking after Hugo. Making sure he was ok going to the toilet. Making sure he wasn’t feeling neglected and alone. Making sure his pain was managed.
The thing about animals, is when they are in pain the look that they give you, the intensity of their gaze it’s impossible to not feel like a dagger is being stabbed through your heart. They look upon you helplessly not knowing what’s really going on and why they’re in this situation.
For weeks we did everything we could to help his leg, exercising it in an evening and we thought he had started to improve.
9 weeks later a scan confirmed that even after all the work the vets had put in, all the effort we had put it in – it wasn’t enough.
Hugos leg had to be amputated anyway.
I was devastated for him. It didn’t matter how many videos I saw of cats living a full life on three legs. It didn’t matter how many people assured me it would be normal, I still couldn’t quite get over the fact that our tiny little fur ball would lose his limb and even though he would be ok and bounce back, the life that he lived and loved would be forever different.
This week, on Wednesday Mo and I finally, after 11 weeks, removed the cone from around his neck and Hugo is cage free.
*INSERT HUGE AUDIBLE SIGH OF ABSOLUTE RELIEF*
Lockdown has been tough in so many ways. From furlough, to extended work hours, not working on radio, not seeing friends, family, not going out… I don’t need to tell you, we’ve all been through this together.
But to be sat here. Staring at my weird, inquisitive, mischievious ball of fluff as he basks in the sun on his new throne, that we brought back from our Thailand trip many years ago. Well we couldn’t be happier.
For anyone who has a pet that has been hit by a car or is going through a pet having their leg amputated, please feel free to reach out to me.
Throughout this stressful period, there were a number of amazing people, the vets – Pet Medics in Swinton – and some other key supporters who helped us through with advice and reassurance. If you are in the position we were in and you want some advice from people who have lived through the trauma, please reach out.
Finally thank you to everyone who sent their love and well wishes to Huggy (he even received a gorgeous handmade card – thanks Madina!)
Not quite sure he was assed to be honest… but it meant the world to us!