I have been writing this post all week as I took a little break from cooking to care for my healing kitty cat! Hope this post can also help shed some light on kitty (and dog!) teeth / cat oral care for any pet owners out there…
Monday: Today I baked a pumpkin pie all day. All day? Yup. I needed a full-day activity and pie baking + video shooting always does that for me. But I wasn’t working because #MotivationMonday. I was working because I needed a distraction from feeling so worried for my little Sochi face kitty cat.
Today I share Sochi’s oral health story and why he landed in surgery
Sochi’s Teeth. Last Friday, Sochi had an emergency vet visit. One minute he was playing with his brother on my yoga mat in the living room and the next minute I thought he was choking, pawing at his face and trying to spit something up. We rushed him off to the vet and within minutes the nurse found the cause: Sochi had a back tooth (molar tooth) hanging on by a thread and he was trying to swat it loose or cough it out. Luckily, the nurse plucked it out right away. It bled a little but wasn’t too bad. It was a BAD tooth that needed to come out. The vet tech said it was very lucky we noticed him pawing because sometimes cats can swallow or way worse – inhale – their fallen out teeth.
So we took him home, antibiotics and soft diet, and waited until Monday when he would have to come back for an intensive teeth cleaning and also kitty oral surgery to possibly remove any other ‘bad’ teeth and make sure all the root of the fallen out tooth was removed. Ugh, I googled all weekend, freaked myself out and basically was a nervous wreck by Monday morning. Like, I left the vet in TEARS when we dropped him off.
These two little adopted brother kitties are a big part of our family and I only want the best for them! And since they are only four years old, I was really shocked to have a health problem so soon in their lives.
Poor little Sochi is pretty much one of the sweetest kitties. He has never once done anything playfully aggressive to my husband and I. You know how cats can sometimes whack at you or playfully ‘bite’ you very lightly? Nope, nothing. He pushes us away with his tiny paws, but seriously, not even a little friendly paw whack. He literally just gives kisses and rolls around and cuddles and meows and is an angel. (He does paw whack + play fight with his brother though!) So with his sweet demeanor, going to the vet for surgery really freaked him out. And blood drawn, an IV and anesthesia – well, we were really worried about his stress levels. They are both pretty sensitive kitty cats.
Tuesday: Sochi went in, and came home last night. I was SO freaking happy to scoop up his cat carrier and speedwalk to the car. He was very happy to see us too. The nurse said prior to surgery, he hid all day under his little Essentia pillowcase that I left with him. They had to pull five teeth, all four of the giant back molars, aka the ‘chewing teeth’ for a cat, and a little one in back too.
And fun fact: cats actually do pretty well without some or many teeth! It isn’t like they are in the wild eating bones and more intense things. They get soft wet food and kibble. They can eat the wet food just fine and swallow the dry food whole. But after pulling teeth, Sochi has to stay on 100% wet food for a while.
Aftercare. When Sochi got home, his cheeks were very swollen and puffy, his eyes still dilated and he was very wobbly.
Tip: I noticed he was squinting like crazy, I couldn’t figure out why! But then I realized is a CAT’s eyes are dilated he must be in serious bright lights eye pain. I know when I get my eyes dilated at the eye doctor and go out in sunshine I am hurting to even open my eyes with sunglasses on… So I turned off all the lights in the apartment and he slowly stopped the squinting.
But most of all, after surgery, he was starving. I felt his pain. I only ate pie all day, lol. But we were only allowed to give about 2 Tbsp wet food that night because anesthesia can slow down digestion and cause vomiting. So 2 Tbsp it was. It was a struggle to not feed him since he had been fasting for over 20 hours. I have never seen him lick his bowl so much, for like five minutes AFTER all the food was gone. Poor little thing.
That night, we ordered delivery from Fala bar and scarfed down thickly cut sweet potato fries and giant falafel pitas. SO good. Omg. Thank you Postmates.
We both slept on an air mattress in the living room with them all night to watch over Sochi and make sure MrWhite was ok too. He was a very worried brother all day.
All of this kitty care-taking reminds me so much of when Nelly belly was sick with cancer. It was awful. We did this kind of 24/7 kitty care routine for about three months straight. Delivery, stay in my PJs all day, open a ba-zillion cans of cat food to get the sick kitty to eat. Barely sleep because so worried about checking on them. Vet visits, worry. Yucky kitty medications 2-3x a day. Wash, rinse and repeat.
Care-taking is HARD. Emotionally and physically draining. Care-taking for people and pets. Pets have no clue what is really going on big picture, so it can be extra stressful. But I do think after a few days Sochi was like, wow this might actually make me feel better!
Care-taking is demanding. The constant pressure to both furiously love and calmly/rationally care for someone can be overwhelming. Care-taking also reminds me of my mom. I saw it in her eyes when she was care-taking for my dad a few years ago. That feeling that YOU are the the one making sure the soul you love is as comfortable and well as possible.
Friday. One week after the scary tooth incident Sochi is recovering so well. OMG. I think last night everyone else was exhausted with nerves fried, but Sochi was bouncing around, playing like a kitten. I think out of all four of us he is the most resilient and optimistic little soul, ha! I cannot believe he had five teeth pulled a few days ago. He is still sleeping a lot but when he perks up to play he is his old self — or even perkier now since his teeth have been helped!
Having this taken care of was a very good thing. And Sochi should be 100% back to his 24/7 goofball self in a few weeks.
If you are in some sort of care-taking phase of life — short term, long term. Days. Weeks. Months. Years. If you relate to this at all, I want to just send you a thank you and reminder that the work a care-taker does – be it for a goldfish, turtle, best friend or spouse – that work of caring for a sick soul is so valuable. And in some way enriches your heart and bond between you and the soul you are caring for.
I also hope this story educates a few pet owners out there! Cat dentistry and cat oral care are still all brand new to me, especially because Nelly cat was always complimented by vets about how sparkly white her teeth were for her age. I was like, “Oh, is that rare? Good!” I had no idea. Then Sochi comes along with odd bad breath and yellow looking teeth and I knew I was in for something new, but had no idea his teeth were literally FALLING OUT. We also switched vets because I am frustrated our old vet didn’t spot this sooner even though we constantly asked about his bad breath.
Oral health in our pets is very important – just like in humans. Infected teeth down the line can give way to heart, liver, and kidney problems. Pets cannot brush their own teeth. Our vet said that brushing your pets teeth just three times a week, using water-additives that can help control plaque, and using a few dental treats can really make a difference in prevention of future problems. Also getting regular pet teeth cleanings is a good idea. I am still learning about all of this of course..
A few of my friends have texted me about cats they know having teeth removed – and that makes me feel better. I guess it is pretty common.
So today I am finally feeling good. The cats are still recovering from the stress of last week, but they seem to be doing better each day. I will probably still be in my PJS watching them through the weekend, but I am happy to care for such sweet little souls.
Thank you for the love!! Thank you to anyone who posted a little DM on Instagram over the past week. I also appreciate any encouraging tips or stories you guys may have if you know more about all this than me. Sochi feels the love from everyone thinking of him! Thank you.
Have a good week guys, if you need me I will be in my PJs, hovering over Sochi and MrW, ordering AmazonPrime and Postmates, playing relaxing classical music of Halloween movies and not showering til 4pm. Hi.
I will leave you with MrWhite thinking the air mattress is clearly a new giant cat bed…
And me, surrounded by my BFFs. Best furry friends.