Frodo is a cat of character.
He is a Norwegian Forest cat of impeccable breeding who belongs/belonged to our neighbours across the garden. Sorry, rephrase that. He was ‘loosely attached’ to our neighbours across the garden but had always spent a great deal of time in, or at least passing through our house, always stopping for a snack on his way through.
As a forest cat he feels it his duty to patrol his forest, even if in Frodo’s case his forest happens to be the outer reaches of Belsize Park. So, for the last 11 years, that is what he has done.
(I have just been out to put something in our dustbin and met a girl who lives in the flats next door. She asked me if we owned the big grey cat who was always ‘on duty’ up and down the street and whether he was OK as she had not seen him for a few weeks. She and her friends have christened him Inspector Fofo as they were always ‘inspected’ whenever they went out.)
I don’t know whether it is that his forest genes had not prepared him for urban living or whether he is just accident prone, but Frodo, now aged 11 1/2, has worked his way though a great many more lives than most cats of his age. He has been hit by a car twice, all but eaten in half by a fox, had half his tail removed and, in his youth, got stuck up innumerable trees. His most recent and dramatic adventure was eighteen months ago when his real owners moved house, taking him with them. He did not all approve of being removed from his territory and ran away twice – on the second occasion roaming the streets of central London for a fortnight before being picked up by a kindly passer by. (To read the full story, click here.)
Which is how he now comes to ‘belong’, or at least be ‘loosely attached’ to us. His owners asked if we would take him back – we, of course, said yes – the deal being that we would feed him and look after him (when he chose) and they would keep up his insurance!!
All went fine for a year and he did actually spend a good deal of time – apart from eating – here. (He has always been particularly partial to our food.) However, around mid summer he obviously decided that it was time for another move and started disappearing for days on end. Over a month this settled down into three of four visits a day for food, but no socialising! As soon as he had eaten he was off – although we have no idea where he went. And then….
Around a month ago, on a Saturday morning, an extremely bedraggled Frodo staggered into the kitchen, soaking wet, scarcely able to stand and with his mouth hanging open in a very alarming way. We think must have been hit on the side of the head by a car, and rolled into the gutter which is how he got so wet. Thank goodness that when he came round he still had just enough sense to find his way back to our house as being the most likely place to get help.
His local vet (who knows him well…) thought that his jaw and been broken or dislocated but wanted to ‘stabilise him’ before trying to Xray. But when they did Xray the following day they could not really work our what had happened so, with Frodo doped up and wrapped in a blanket we headed to the depths of Hertfordshire and the Royal Veterinary Hospital.
Text updates over the next two days:
Tues 18th November. Frodo report from RVH. They want to observe and stabilise before giving anaesthetic. Apart from jaw he has eye trauma, a heart murmur and is anaemic. They plan to insert a feeding tube today to improve the nutritional profile. If all goes well they will operate this evening.
Later. It’s looking good. The endocrinologist is working on the anaemia which the cardiologist thinks is causing the heart murmur. The neurologist can detect no brain trauma and the opthamologist will examine the eye in greater detail tomorrow when he is under anaesthetic. The anaesthetist wants be sure that we understand that there is a slight risk involved. I said we do. So it is looking good for the procedure tomorrow when they will also insert a feeding tube. They say he is friskier than any cat in his condition has any right to be!
(What human would get that kind of attention?…..)
Wed 19th November. RVH have now done detailed scan and the results are more complex than anticipated.
Thursday 20th November. The op is planned for 11am. The ophthalmologist says that the retina in his left eye is detached but that for now they just want to monitor it.
Thursday 20th pm. The op has been completed and the RVH are pleased with the outcome. The jaw has been wired and that is how it will stay for the next three weeks. Not surprisingly, Frodo is a bit unsteady on his pins and not at all amused buy the wire cage keeping’s mouth open. The team say this will pass and suggest that we collect him tomorrow morning.
And this is the sad cat that we finally bought home with us nearly three weeks ago….
However, as he has started to get better, he has also got extremely frustrated. He is meant to spend his day, unless we are present, locked in a labrador size cage
in the kitchen, but after he had torn down all the inside lining of the cage and torn off his ‘buster collar’ in attempts to get out, we decided to leave the door open! He does spend a good deal of time in there – but he also spends a great deal of time at the kitchen windows and doors in the faint hope that someone will mistime their entrance or exit and he will make his escape.
Most of the time he just looks – longingly – but when it all gets too much, he does cry fit to break your heart. You just cannot explain to to a cat why it is necessary that he should be imprisoned in this horrible room with this dreadful thing in his mouth so that he cannot even eat or drink and has to be fed through that tube thing!
In fact, when he gets really upset, we have resorted to Rescue Remedy which does seem to help a lot. However, as you can see on the right hand picture, he has taken to frantically over-grooming himself in frustration – and even that does not work properly as he has that wretched collar thing in the way!!
Anyhow, the end is in sight. Tomorrow we go back to the RVH to have the mouth cage removed. Then it is all question of how well the jaw has knit and whether he can move it well enough to eat. I presume that we will have a few further days when we will be tube feeding while he gets used to eating properly again – assuming that he can. And then he can go out…… The question is, if he once gets out, will he ever come back?