Mouse had a week. A bad week. And unfortunately, that week has actually lasted all month.
For those of you who don’t know, Mouse is our cat. I often include pictures of her in our blog, because she is our perfect little princess. There are few humans that I love as much as that cat. She is beautiful, and snugly, and on occasion a total bitch. But we love her as if she was our biological child.
Earlier this month, we noticed that something was wrong with her mouth. She would squawk at us, which is nothing out of the ordinary, but after it looked like she was having trouble closing her mouth. We also noticed that her breath smelt like hot garbage. At first we were worried maybe she was allergic to something, but we couldn’t figure out to what. So, someone took a trip to the vet.
After stuffing Mouse into the cat carrier, which is her nemesis, I had to jump on the train and bring her to the local vet (we don’t have a car. It’s New York. Who wants a car?) She did not care for the train. When we got to the vet, Mouse got a once over, and they said she was in perfect health, but then they looked in her mouth to see what the problem was. Apparently, her body was rejecting her teeth. There was a little blood in her gums, and the vet said we had to remove her back teeth. The operation would make Mouse a much happier kitty, and she probably wouldn’t even notice. She would be knocked out, teeth removed, and wouldn’t feel a thing.
So, a week later, Mouse got stuffed back into the carrier, and she did not make it easy on me. We got back on the train, which was terrifying for her, and I dropped her off at the vet, which was more terrifying. As the vet took Mouse to the back room, I could hear her crying, and I fled with tears streaming down my face.
Later, I got a call from the vet saying Mouse did great with her surgery, and that there were no complications at all. I was so relieved. But then the vet told me her teeth were way worse than we had initially thought. As it turns out, Mouse had pretty much rejected all of her teeth and they were rotting out. In order to prevent further surgeries, the vet took all of her teeth. I cried. Sobbed, really. I felt like a useless, terrible parent for not noticing how much discomfort my baby had been in. I called my mom and cried some more. I called Alex and we cried together. I ran right over to the vet to pick her up. She was all drugged up, and I could see a little blood coming out of her mouth.
That night, Alex and I held each other and cried some more. We both were feeling the same, guilty thoughts of “how did we miss this? How long had this been going on?” But Mouse, after her drugs wore off, started to eat. A lot. I’ve actually never seen her eat so much. As it turns out, her teeth were bothering her so much that eating was not an enjoyable experience for her. Over the next few days, Mouse healed, ate more, and seemed like such a happy kitty. But she still hates Junebug, our other cat.
I had to bring Mouse back to the vet a week later to make sure everything was healing properly, which meant stuffing her into the carrier one last time. She fought me hard, and when I got her in, she peed herself. So I cried some more. We took a cab, the vet cleaned her off, and said she was healing nicely. The vet was good enough to sit down with two worried, guilty parents and talk us through what to expect. We learned that Mouse’s life won’t change at all. It seems that cats often lose their teeth, and when they do, their gums just harden. This means Mouse can still eat dry food with no problem. Soon, her gums will work as teeth and she won’t know any difference except that her mouth doesn’t hurt anymore. It will improve her quality of life, she will be so much happier, and soon can focus all her energy on snuggling with Alex, and hating on Junebug.
The vet told us one of the big reasons something like this goes noticed is cats are prey animals, and if they act weak or in pain they are a target for larger predators. So, they hide it very well. For all of you cat owners out there, you can quickly tell if something is wrong with kitty’s teeth. The first clue is the breath- it’s rank. Cat breath isn’t supposed to be roses, but if it smells like a carcass rotting in the sun, something is wrong.Then look at the gums- if you see any redness it may be time for a check up, or at least a cleaning. Many cats go through what Mouse did, and I would not recommend the experience.
Mouse may not have teeth anymore, but she is still our baby. In all, Alex and I have been way more traumatized by the whole situation than the cat. I think Mouse has been pretty thoroughly spoiled during this whole thing, and will turn out just fine. Be sure to check your cats teeth, and try brushing them from time to time. But be aware, you will probably bleed.