Bad Joints

image of Bonkers the cat

Bonkers the cat was at the clinic all day today. He started acting funny last night after dinner, keeping to himself and favoring his left rear leg on the few occasions when he got up to walk a few steps across the floor. Otherwise he mostly sat or sprawled in an out of the way corner or under a desk, eyes half closed, and hardly responded to anyone or anything. Not even Boo could get a rise out of him when she got right in his face, sniffing at his nose. That all by itself was weird enough behavior to make us worry.

So I stopped by the vet’s on the way home this morning and they agreed to see Bonkers at ten. Getting him into a carrier was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Every time I coaxed him into standing up he would flinch in pain and sit right back down again, and he howled when I tried to pick him up, but that only made me more determined to get him to a doctor, so I gritted my teeth, scooped him up as gently as I knew how, and slipped him into the box. The vet carefully squeezed every inch of him until he got to the base of the tail, when Bonkers howled again and wouldn’t let the vet look much closer.

And that’s how I came to leave him at the vet’s all day. They kept him so they could give him a good looking over after administering a mild sedative, and snapped a few x-ray pictures while they had him, too. They were supposed to call me back between noon and one to let me know what was going on, but I didn’t hear from them until I finally caved in to my own impatience and called at three. It turned out the doctor turned to the one page in Bonkers’s file that had an old phone number from back when we moved here in 2005.

The prognosis: Bonkers is old. We’re not sure how old, but fourteen at least, possibly as old as eighteen. Old enough to have arthritis, anyway. The vet figures he was goofing around, acting younger than his age, and his arthritic joints gave him a jabbing reminder that he’s not the kitten he used to be. He got a shot for pain and a bottle of meds for us to sprinkle on his wet food to stave off the worst symptoms. Now there’s an up side to getting old: Bonkers gets wet food every day from here on in.

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