When I was reminded that my column for the APR Newsletter was due, I had another of my not-uncommon panic attacks. What can I come up with this month that’s informative, educational, and most importantly, new? While contemplating my case of writer’s block, I lamented aloud, “Oh, patron saints of brain-dead writers, please help me come up with something.” Well, dear hearts, I should have known that if you ask you shall receive. My cat Jada was sitting in my lap, and I looked down at her just in time to catch a wide-mouthed yawn. I thought my glaucoma had finally taken a turn for the worse, so looking into her mouth I discovered that what I thought I had seen was true; she had no teeth! Panic attack, big time!!
I immediately crammed her into the cat carrier and took her to the vet, fearing this could be some horrible infection that could spread to other parts of her body. It only took the doctor at Arbor Pet Hospital a few minutes to diagnose Jada with an insidious condition called tooth resorption in cats. She only had four back molars left that would have to be extracted to eliminate her pain and end the progression of inflammation. This is not an uncommon malady in older cats, but the problem is that the cause and prevention are unknown. There are various theories, but what basically happens is that the body starts absorbing the teeth until there’s nothing left but a little bump under the gums. Some cats show symptoms such as not eating, drooling, showing signs of pain or, like my Jada, show no signs at all. Incidentally, this condition also affects dogs, but less frequently. Here’s a website where you can learn more about this: http://www.mypetsdentist.com/feline-tooth-resorption.pml
Other than the tooth reabsorption thing, Jada got a clean bill of health, so I could brush off the guilt trip I sent myself on for not being able to afford $5.00 per can for cat food! Jada will go in next week to have the last of her teeth extracted. Her prognosis is for a healthy rest of her life, just having to gum her food unless technology comes up with dentures for cats. Moral of the story is that you should have you pet’s teeth checked at least every year.
If laughter is truly the best medicine, Jada would have been cured immediately after her examination. The veterinary assistant brought in the estimate for the bloodwork, anesthesia, extraction procedure, etc., and I laid it on the examination table while I waited for the doctor to return. Jada began pacing back and forth and meowing as though in pain. She walked over to the estimate paperwork, squatted and let go with a big watery pile of poop right in the middle of it. I went into hysterical laughter. I thought to myself, “Yeah, Jada love, I did the same thing when I saw it, but thanks to underwear and tight jeans, no one will ever know.” The doctor returned to find me with tears in my eyes from laughing and cleaning up the mess. I explained that I had to apologize for Jada’s method of expressing her opinion of the bill and requested a new one.
And, dear hearts, that’s life, and life is a three-lane highway. There’s the fast lane, the slow lane, and bad luck lane. Bad luck is the lane in between the other two where I seem to be stuck. I don’t know how I wound up in this lane, but no matter how hard I’ve tried, I’ve yet to find an exit!