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The Dangers of Cedar Picket Fences to Cats:

A few items here on Merl Hairball the Cat from September 18-19th, 2000. Merl opened the sliding glass door and got out of the house at about 3am in the morning, he usually returns within a few minutes, however he did not return at this time even when called by owner's voice. After several hours the sun came up and a search was done of the surrounding areas without finding any trace of him in the street, yard, up a tree, any where in his home, or the surrounding homes. A intensive search was then started with several people; again with no results.

Then going on about my daily activities; when I rounded the corner to feed the rabbits I cought something out of the corner of my eye that looked like a trash bag hanging on the other side of the fence down the ditch where there was a missing cedar fence picket. I immediatly realized this was Merl and ran around the house and down the ditch to his location. His rear left foot was wedged in between two of the pickets. I could not remove his foot easily, in fact I had to pound on the adjacent picket to knock it loose and remove Merl's leg from the fence. His foot was cold and I carried him to the house as quickly as possible. He didn't seem to have much energy left in him. I called the vet and my roommate, and Merl was transported to the vet where he received treatment for two days.

Upon the initial examination Merl's leg was shaven of all fur and an X-ray was taken. The diagnosis was there would be permanate nerve damage and the leg might have to be amputated. The vet opted not to amputate the leg as long as minimal circulation was present and he was sent home on antibiotics which were administerd for twenty days and then held.

Upon returning home the knee joint was quite swolen and eventaully erupted and drained. Merl did not eat for two weeks, no matter what was given to him, and subsequently had lost much of his body mass. All that he would consume was the juice from Fancy Feast Sliced Beef can cat food which was hand fed to him with spoon. Eventually he started eating again given very small quantity of tuna with a little bit of broccoli mixed with it. A large leathery scab formed over the area and eventually fell off.

As of this posting 1st of December, 2000 Merl still has his leg. His foot seems to be in a club position, due to loss of the front ligament which raises the foot, and a open wound in still present. Merl seems to have regained most of his body weight, although he has lost use of his leg he seems to have returned to his normal energy level and activities and he is out running me once again.

Merl Stuck on the Fence - Drawing

Visit the Pet Hospital on the web.

Merl's Invoice

Merl in the Bathtub (with mouse) March 23,2001