At times in my youth, I avoided trouble by using my wits. At other times, dumb luck saw me through.
Still, there were many instances where I looked before I leapt, yet still misjudged the distance, so to speak.
Today, Leia and I will bond over the sentiment.
You see, as a young adult cat, Leia reigns over her household. Although she is highly trained, she still ventures out from time to time, inventing her own activities.
Last night, her newest venture was skydiving. Low-altitude skydiving, at that. Leaping, sans parachute, from the top of the refrigerator, down onto her owner’s fluffy bunny slippers as they sauntered by on the way to a midnight snack. Human and cat went tumbling in a heap.
Leia yowled out in pain and limped away into the bedroom. She hid under the bed all night, and today won’t use one front leg. She’ll touch her toes down, but won’t bear weight. Her owner is worried about a broken bone.
I’m worried, too. But to be honest, there are worse things.
Clean breaks, once stabilized, heal very nicely, especially in cats. But depending on the break’s location, that stabilization can be tricky.
What’s worse, long term, is a significant injury to a tendon or ligament. Those tissues don’t heal well at all. Sometimes they never get back to normal, even with surgical intervention. Ask any professional football player.
I examine Leia and she’s her polite self, but growls and hisses when I palpate her right carpus (wrist). She has a small warm swelling there and resents movement of the joint.
Radiographs confirm a small “crack” on the surface of her bone. Often referred to as a “greenstick fracture,” this is a broken bone, technically. But more of a crack on the surface of a china plate than a snapped twig, metaphorically speaking.
By its nature, the fracture is stable, just uncomfortable. Rest and pain control are the treatments of choice. I discuss responsible jumping with Leia and receive a conciliatory headbutt in return.
In two months, she’s as good as new.
Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.