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Dilemma, cat behaviour after RTA

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have a horrible dilemma concerning one of my cats billeye. I rescued billeye when he was 9 weeks old with his sister rani. He was in a right state and very nervy but grew in to such an affectionate boy. He became the perfect cat to have round Bethany, in deed they both did. Billeye has always been a roamer. Not even castrating him stopped his love to wander over to the nearby wood and farm. He would often spend a few nights out in the warmer months just hanging out in the woods. He was still a home boy at heart thought, His experiences as a kitten never really left him, and he always came home to “mummy†eventually for a cuddle. Speaking to people who lived near the woods he went to, they spoke of how he would hang round there house but would never let them near him, and he would not go in there house either.
All was well, and things where working out fine, in till he was hit by a car just before last Christmas. I was lucky I had come back from the horses early that morning, and billeye must of dragged himself home, He was in the kitchen and his face was totally smashed in. His jaw was sticking out sideways. Despite his pain he ran into my arms meowing. I picked him up and took him straight to the vets. I told them to do what ever they could, no matter what the cost. However I told them that if he gave up, or if things seemed hopeless to let him go. I was distraught and it was a tough few days. He had snapped his jaw in 2 places, apparently they generally do break down a natural join at the front of the bottom jaw and this is usually pretty easily fixed. But billeye had also snapped his jaw by the hinge at the side as well. His nose and sinuses where smashed in , he was a mess. But the vet was amazed by the way he fought. He greeted everyone with a meow and was purring when being stroked. I know cats can purr when in pain, but apparently he was purring as soon as he saw people and was just such a trooper. He pulled though the first day after being treated for shock, had a bit of internal bleeding and bruising and had completely lost his claws and a lot of skin on his pads , but he still fought.
The jaw was fixed with wire and a plate, but because he could not smell and because he was used to eating raw chicken wings and other fresh foods (enjoyed a BARF type of diet, as well as cat food) he would not eat. The vets tried everything and in the end in desperation he was sent home, to either eat or die. He grew so weak at the vets. Amazingly thought being home, he started to eat, I tried all sorts, blended prawns , I hand fed him from my lap, made him a bed in front of a halogen heater I took water to him in a little bowl. It worked and the vets where amazing at his check up a few days later. He had paralysis on one side of his face and I was told he would always have a weakness at the side break in his jaw. They left the suture in situe on that side. Time went on and after £500 (well spent) he was given the all clear and we started the long road back to recovery mentally. At first trying to be over protective I decided he was never going to go out again. I made a huge penned room, filled it with logs, soil, shavings, sand, toys and cat friendly plants. But billeye just sat by the mesh looking out at the world and cried and cried. He stopped eating, he started to look real ill. I realized that his love for the outdoors was just too strong, he wanted to get back to his territory. I made the decision that maybe it was best to let him have some life and risk him getting into a scrape again, than to keep him indoors and to loose him to an obvious depression. So I let him out and I was happy that in fact he did not want to leave my yard. He would only go out further when I walked the dog and he could follow me. He was very scared of the road and I felt he must of learnt from his experience. We don’t live eon a busy road. But the road to where his woods are, is a busy A road .
Time went on and he bloomed , he enjoyed his life once more, became more of a home cat. Nights out where replaced by him coming home and sleeping on Bethany’s bed, many nights I would go in a and see them curled up together. Then I noticed a change in him about a month or so ago. He started to chase and attack his sister (rani), also started to have episodes where he would do strange random things, like chase things that where not there. He would sometimes grab at Bethany’s had with his claws, never in a vicious way, like a moment of confusion. Then one day while there was torrential rain I noticed he was not in the house. He was always a fair weather cat. He finally came home drenched to the skin, he had obviously been out in the rain, weather he got lost I don’t know. He is still the most affectionate cat, but he has started to spend more and more time away from home again. He is not cleaning him self like he used to and I have a feeling he is going out and getting lost. I don’t know what to do. I was warned by the vet that there may be brain damage to some degree as he had taken the full impact to his head. He was very lucky to survive. However its getting to appoint now where, when I see his confusion I sometimes wonder if I was right to keep him alive at the time , I never thought about the long term mental implications on him. I worry now that it is only a matter of time before he gets hit by a car again, and although this can happen to any cat at any time, I know that just does not make it feel easier. Keeping him home as a house cat just does not work I have tried it. If I could in an ideal world find him a home on a farm as a farm cat where he would also have the use of a warm area and see people I know he would be in his element. He is a good mouser for a boy. However with his past history of injury I feel it unlikely someone would want to take him on. Also I know Bethany would miss him so much, but he is starting to scratch at her hands, and I know he does not mean it. To have come so far and to be met with this situation is hard. He is 3 years old so still a young cat, who should have years ahead of him. I know this is long and thank you for reading if you have got this far. I was wondering if anyone out there had experienced a similar situation and what if anything you did to overcome it. If anyone knows anything about brain injury in cats. The vet told me that cats do not have a higher conscious like us so I should not really see a change in him drastically However I am starting to see changes.. he has also started to wee randomly in the house, and has always been very clean. he ussualy toilets outside and has not used a litter tray for years. I do provide one but other than play in it he does not use it. He does not wee in the house all the time, it is just tottaly random, and has been tested for a UTI. Any help would be very much appreciated.

bethany and billeye
bethany and billeye 2
bethany and billeye cuddle
billeye after his accident (graphic photo)
billeye before his accident
post #2 of 4
This is a hard one! You have gone to wonderful heights to try and take care of your cat, which is terrific, but now you're in a sad place with him as the damage he sustained has probably changed his life, but is not a simple thing to fix, even if it were possible to diagnose, and diagnosing him would be much harder than it might (for his injuries) in a person. I wonder if you could afford one more try - to make (or have made) some kind of enclosure, where he gets to be 'out' (from his private place that you made), but is still protected and away from your other cats. I envision a 4' high mesh (of whatever type is available and appropriate) thing as large as you can afford, and that is very safe for him in terms of not getting out, or getting 'caught' on in any way, so that he can still see birds, eat grass and bugs and visit with other animals, probably in an area that gets some sun as well as light shade at different times. You may not end up with your 'old' cat back, but should certainly feel you've done everything reasonable to give him some kind of 'life'. Other than that, I'm not sure if there's a lot else to suggest that would be fair to him, but also to your other pets.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
i think if I was able to move from here to a different area, away from his territory and all the cats we have here, some he gets on with, others he likes to put his authority over. I would probably have a greater success of getting him to be a house cat again.

When he was tested for the UTI going back a month ago, I mentioned then that I had seen a few changes, obviously at the time not as many changes as I can see now. He was given a check up, and the vet really put it down to a few little things, one being the sensation coming back in his head, he had muscle twitches and sometimes the feeling can make cats go a bit mad and act strange witch would of accounted at the time for the chasing round. However things had got worse since then. Also the loss of washing I can understand that his jaw being slightly out of alignment will make it harder. However his washing had got better than went down hill again. I have looked in to those cattery type pens you can get that I can set up to offer a permanent outside enclosure so he could still have the sensation of being outdoors but still be an indoors cat. However what is concerning me more is his erratic behavior when he is indoors and stress or new situations do seem to make him more unstable. I will obviously talk to my vet again and have a blood test done and see what she says. However I am wondering if we are maybe dealing with a type of brain damage here, or disorder. Looking to changes that co-inside with his changes there really are none I can think of, and I am home all day everyday most of the day so that’s a lot of cat watching! However 2 things that may have a slight significance that I know I can not change are that firstly I am pregnant and there comes the worry of what he is going to be like then with a new baby if he is reacting somehow to my pregnancy already? The second thing is that he has really only started to venture out like he used to the last few months and that’s really when I have also seen the changes. He has become more confident, but maybe he is unable to defend his territory like he used to and maybe this is stressing him. However it stresses him more if he can not get to his territory. We have a lot of cats in the area and maybe now he is venturing out he is not as confident as he used to be. There is not doubt he is very protective in my view of his face, his face is a no go area, he does let me have a check, but he is very careful with it, and maybe with this caution comes his loss of confidence.
post #4 of 4
Well, what would concern me is that with the kind of injuries he had, there's no way to be sure either what sensations have returned (to normal) or which he might have lost for good, but also what new ones, painful or otherwise he might be having. Jaws and heads in general tend to be difficult to deal with even in people, and cats have no way of telling us where it hurts, or if it does, even if only on a chronic basis - which can wear down anyone. I have to tell you that if it were my cat, I might consider, for the cat's sake, a possible end his problems with a very fast acting needle, awful as the prospect may seem to you, if only to eliminate even the possibility that he does have ongoing pain, and that you will always be anxious about it. Plus it's almost sure that he's lost his sense of smell, apart from anything else, and for an animal whose main joy comes from smelling his food, there is only so much else that's fun for them. I don't know what else to tell you except that you've given things a very good try and sometimes that's all one can do.
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