Diana has two cats, both obtained at the same time from the DSPCA. Sophie was a young mother cat, aged just a year old, and Max was her kitten. When Diana saw them together at the sanctuary, she felt that she couldn’t separate them, and so she brought them both home.
It was obvious from the start that the two cats had completely different personalities. Sophie soon became an indoor cat, only going outside for an hour every day. She loves the quiet life, sleeping on the most comfortable couch in the warmth of the sitting room. When she goes outside, she finds the sunniest spot in the garden, enjoying a little sunshine before returning indoors. She’s very happy with a calm, settled life.
Max is the complete opposite of his mother. He heads off every morning at 6.30am, as soon as the humans in the house are stirring. If the weather is wet and windy, he’s waiting on the back doorstep for Diana when she gets back from work at 2pm. If the weather’s fine, he stays out till 6pm, when he returns for his supper.
Max’s adventurous nature has got him into trouble before: two years ago he fractured his lower back after being hit by a car. He made a full recovery, and it hasn’t slowed him down at all.
Max’s routine has become very predictable, so Diana knew at once that there was something wrong when she came back from work one afternoon last week. It was a fine day, so Max should have been out and about. Instead, he was lying quietly on a pile of leaves at the end of the garden. When she called him, he refused to come in, and even when she went up to him, he wouldn’t stand up. Diana carried him indoors and examined him carefully. He had scrape marks and grazes on his left back leg, and she presumed that he’d been in a fight. He’s been known to challenge neighbouring cats who muscle in on what he sees as his territory. She decided to let him rest overnight, hoping that he’d be better by the following morning.
The next day, he had improved and was up and about, but he wasn’t putting any weight on his right back leg. She put him into his cat carrier, and brought him down to see me.
Max struggled and yowled when I tried to gently examine his sore leg. I gave him a short anaesthetic and took some xrays which confirmed that he’d dislocated his right hip. It now seemed most likely that he’d been hit by a car. He was lucky enough not to have any broken bones or other injuries. After some pushing and pulling while he was anaesthetized, I managed to put his hip back into place, and then wrapped it up with a bandage to stop it from slipping out again.
Max went home, and when the bandage came off after two days, he was using his leg normally. Unfortunately, on the third day, he had an altercation with his mother: by the time they’d finished scuffling, he was carrying his leg again. He came back to see me, and he needed another anaesthetic to put his hip back in for a second time. He’s been bandaged up again, and this time, he’s been confined to a hospital cage for three days. If his hip comes up for a third time, he’ll need complex orthopaedic surgery to repair the joint, and that’s something that Max (and Diana) would not appreciate at all.
- The hip joint of pets is sometimes dislocated during road accidents
- If there are no broken bones, it can often be re-located fairly simply
- If the joint continues to dislocate, a surgical operation is often needed to solve the problem