A Sprocket Scare

Oh peeps. What an evening. I don’t know whether to tell it the long way or the short way, so I will preface it by saying that Sprocket appears to be okay. But I had such a scare and my heart rate still isn’t normal.

So I got home around 4-ish and noticed that something was off with Sprocket. Sort of sprocketty, but not fun-sprocketty. I reached for him and he eeeped and ran to a cardboard box, whereupon he began grooming himself with vigor. I was suspicious so I checked him over and found nothing stuck to him. Fast-forward two hours to dinnertime, and he didn’t show up! Highly unusual, but not unprecedented. I went upstairs. He was lying on a bed and he sprocketted away from me into the closet. He didn’t want me to catch him, but it didn’t feel like we were playing tag. I noticed that his back was twitching and his tail was swishing back and forth intensely. He is usually intense, so unusual intensity is quite alarming. I scooped him up and took him downstairs. He had two bites before dashing upstairs again.

I truly got alarmed when, after running around in the same agitated manner, he sequestered himself in the back of a linen cupboard, the same place Prince Tweets went when he was really sick a couple years ago. Sprocket laid on the bottom shelf, twitching and grooming vigorously, and biting at me when I petted him. I found a little scab on his back and it looked like it was healing, nothing raw, fur growing back. I thought I remembered it from a few weeks ago. He was clearly agitated and uncomfortable. Papa Miao was worried too. I called my brother, got some advice and moral support, and then I called the emergency vet place 25 miles away and talked to them. They thought it sounded like an allergic reaction, which is what I thought too (Lotus had a reaction from a bug bite when he was little, but then his paw was obviously swollen). I called my mother. Being car-less, I had to get a ride to the emergency clinic, and I am definitely and infinitely grateful for the family support.

I have to mention that all the while, Chun was sitting by us watching, concern and care evident in his beautiful blue eyes.

I was getting paranoid seeing Sprocket. I knew I could “wait and see” but I couldn’t. So we went to the vet. They took Sprocket and I waited in the waiting room trying to stave off some sort of anxiety attack by texting my brother every two minutes. It worked. Finally, I talked to the doctor, who confirmed that it was probably an allergic reaction and he should get an anti-histamine shot and steroid shot and then some Benadryl at home for the next few days.

What could have caused the reaction?
– the new can of Lotus cat food, pricey stuff that I got on a whim because of the brand name. LOTUS! And it is grain-free and looked about the same as the grain-free stuff they usually eat (Dave’s). The vet doesn’t think it likely that this food would have caused it, but it was a difference.
– a basement filled with skeery creepy crawlies. the only limit is your imagination, and when it comes to bugs, my imagination knows no bounds. He is always rooting around in the dingy, dust-bunny infested corners of the basement.
– something parasitical or contagious? Kemi has a raw spot on his back that the doctors didn’t think was from anything contagious, but it is taking a while to heal since he keeps on scratching it. Today, our regular vet suggested I use hydrocortisone cream on it and have him wear a little mini t-shirt, and trim his back claws really, really short. Again, it doesn’t seem likely that it is related, especially since the only spot on Sprocket’s back looks like it is mostly healed, but nothing can really be ruled out. I am almost 100% that there are no fleas, but there is some margin of doubt because negative evidence is always inconclusive. What if they are really clever fleas?
– seasonal allergies. apparently cats can get itchy skin from seasonal allergies.
– the bee from yesterday?

The bee.

Yesterday, I found a bee the size of a quarter (including its legs, I think) belly up on the kitchen floor. I covered it with a jar. Chun tried to uncover it. I checked everyone, made sure no one was swollen or in agony or anything obvious like that. Everyone, Sprock including, seemed fine. So I slid a piece of cardboard under the jar and tried to pick it up. The bee buzzed. It took me a bit to gather my wits. By the time I was carrying the jar outside, the bee had righted itself. It was gradually reviving. I took it to the far end of the yard, set the jar down, and ran.

Someone told me that bees survive for a while after stinging. Papa Miao wasn’t around to tell me if it was a queen bee or just what kind of bee. I think it was a giant bumble bee.

Even though we didn’t notice anything wrong with Sprocket until later today, the vets think there is a possibility that his reaction is from a sting.

On the way to the vet, he was sort of lethargic, no longer twitching. That made me even more worried. Apparently he didn’t itch at the vet’s either, but he wasn’t his usual relaxed self. It wasn’t the same place or people from all his kittenhood amputation experiences, so I suppose his nervousness is normal, but it worried me anyway. I was a real basket case this evening and as I waited every worst case scenario went through my mind.

But the vet people were helpful and encouraging and positive. They said he looked healthy. They didn’t even chastise me for overfeeding him. They said he looks like a cat who has a good appetite but he isn’t obese. I don’t want him to hurt his hip because of carrying extra weight, so I am particularly self-conscious about this issue. Sprocket-conscious. Or maybe it is projection. Regardless, he has a barrel of a belly but he is a big boy and he is growing to be a giant kitty.

So, he got his two medications and they sent him on his way. He was purry on the ride back. He sat up and looked out the window (his carrier opens on the top). He rolled around to get comfy. He encouraged me to skritch his chin. He wasn’t twitchy or itchy or agitated. He didn’t pull away from touch. First thing when he got back, he had a big snack. Now he is napping. I noticed him a tiny bit twitchy at one point but now it looks like he is comfy in his teeny box.

So that is the end of my Sprocket scare, hopefully. Maybe I overreacted. Maybe it would have resolved on its own. But I couldn’t bear to see my normally happy bouncy kitten in so much discomfort and I doubt if I would have slept all night.

Could it have been the bee?

Or something nasty hiding in a dust-bunny?

He’s in my lap now, supported by one arm, and I’m typing with my free hand. I think some Doctor Who and toast and chamomile tea are in order.

And, three minutes later, just when I was starting to relax, he scrambled out of my lap and dashed over to the wall, where he started grooming his tail again and twitching his back. So maybe it’s not over. I know anti-histamines aren’t 100%. But I can’t help but worry what if something else is going on that we just haven’t figured out? Maybe I won’t sleep tonight after all.

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34 Responses to A Sprocket Scare

  1. martinjh99 says:

    Oh Noes – You get well little guy! 😀

    Hope he’s doing well – Glad it doesn’t sound too bad.

  2. Oh dear. Hope all will be okay. *hugs*

  3. msmouse7 says:

    I am sending every thought I can muster to help Sprocket gets better immediately. My cats are sending thoughts too. Think positive thoughts. If it was the bee, it could just hurt for a while (my bee stings do).

    Get better Sprocky!

  4. I know how you feel! When my dog jumped out the window the other day I flipped! Barely slept all night cuz she was whimpering the whole time from her pain meds.

    Hope sprocket feels sprockkety again soon!

  5. Could it have been a centipede bite? Our basement was infested with them, which was scary for me as well as for the cats. Our tomcat, the hunter, got bitten on the lip by one. I thought he was going to die that night, as his face became swollen and he was visibly in pain and very lethargic. We didn’t have an emergency vet clinic in the area back then, so in desperation I gave him a half tablet of Benadryl. The next day it was much better, but the vet said it could have gone badly had I not given our cat an antihistamine. I’m really glad Sprocket is okay now, but I hope you and him both get some rest. If only our kitties could talk and tell us what happened!

    • littlemiao says:

      That was good thinking. Maybe I should have some benadryl in the house just in case of an emergency like that. I don’t normally take the stuff myself because it makes me hyper (and the non-drowsy kind makes me drowsy).

      I’ve suspected that Lotus got his bite from a centipede. Centipedes are scary. Lotus’ paw swelled up so much. It is such a mystery with sprocket. Now he is on the table purring at me, acting more normal.

  6. Oldcat says:

    I would think a bee sting would swell up – I’ve seen a picture of a cat with a bee sting foot and it is twice as fat as the other one.

    Wounds on the body or sore spots are often signs of an abcess, cats are very good about cleaning up the mess so it can pop again.

    Could he have fallen and strained his back or a leg? I had a cat hurt her knee once and act odd but not really limp. Check the spot he’s grooming. Is be snapping at you because he wants to hide or because you are touching a hurt spot?

    • littlemiao says:

      He still snapped this morning. He ate a good breakfast and curled up in a box and then I petted him by his tail and he snapped.

      I can’t find a sore spot, but I might be missing something. He’s so bouncy he could have hurt himself. He doesn’t seem lethargic this morning. I kind of squeezed his tail gently and that itself didn’t seem to be painful for him. No sign of swelling from a sting.

  7. Drude says:

    A big bee is probably not a worker bee, so they’d be reluctant to sting unless squished. So it is strange to have a sting on the back.. the front paws or face would be the typical place.. But of course he could have sat on it or rolled over it or something..

    I was thinking maybe he could have some phantom itch or pain from his amputated body parts… or if he lost feeling in some part of his skin due to nerve damage back at the accident or the amputation, then when/if feeling comes back again it can be in the form of pain or itch or any other weird feeling that the borked nerves start to signal with great enthusiasm as they try to unbork themselves – just for no reason at all. It is very common in amputees (82% of upper limb amputee hoomans have phantom pain) and it can be very bothersome – but you don’t die from it, obviously.

    • littlemiao says:

      Oh gosh. Poor baby. Is there any way to be sure? I will mention phantom pain to the vets when I talk to them today. He keeps twitching his little tailio like it bothers him. It is hard to see the skin beneath the floof, but I can’t feel any swelling. I’m certainly not a professional.

      • Jaypo says:

        Regular big bumbles are black and yellow fuzzy humbuggers. Carpenter bees look very similar, but they have shiny black bodies, not fuzzies. They’re extremely curious and aggressive, and will fly past you several times, trying to figure out if you’re a threat or not. Sounds like a perfect “sting” set up for a playful kitten…

        I’m so glad Sprocky is ok. When they can’t tell us what’s wrong, our imaginations come up with some pretty crazy stuff. BTW, littlem, if there are perfectly circular holes in any of your building/house’s woodwork, it’s Them (the carps).

  8. Oh dearie me. That had to be very bothersome not knowing what was wrong with the Sprockeyboy. Perhaps a bug bite is the answer…..and maybe once the irritation at the site lets up he will relax and get back to his normal bouncy self. We certainly hope so. You have to wonder about that giant bee though – especially since you found it in the house….perhaps it DID sting little Sprocket? Keep us posted….we fans of the Sprock will worry until we hear he’s TOTALLY back to his normal self (you too!!!!).

    Kitty Hugs, Sam (and his Mom)

  9. jimmie chew says:

    omg poor kitty, i hope he is better now 😦

  10. littlemiao says:

    He is napping on my lap right now, which is normal, and he ate a big breakfast, which is normal. But he was a little twitchy after breakfast when he was in his box. He even snapped at my hand again like he was agitated and didn’t want to be touched. So I searched again for a sore spot. And a while later, he presented himself to me for our morning tea and snuggles. I just cleaned dirt out of his nose and he is purring a lot.

    Thank you, Sammy. And Pam. I hope we get to the bottom of this mystery, and/or it just goes away and never comes back. I get so worried about my little kitten.

  11. littlemiao says:

    Now he is itchy/twitchy again. He scampered off upstairs. Something about his tail seems to be bothering him.

  12. zigzagmags says:

    big hugs littleM – i wish i had advice for what to do. the only thing i did think was maybe some of the meds are taking awhile to work out whatever is happening. or even, they have worked but it’s still not completely out of his system so he still gets fits of twitchy. in ppl, allergic reactions sometimes take a few days to completely go away. i’ve seen food allergies that are only lessened after a shot and it takes additional anti-histamines to make it go away for good.

    snorgles for sprocket and hugs for you!

  13. Lauri says:

    Wow! Scary for sure. But, it doesn’t sound life threatening. Hopefully the meds will help. It may just be taking a while.
    The vet gave you some Benadryl to give him, too?
    Phantom pain is an interesting thought. I never would have thought of it. Hope all goes well for Sprockers the rest of the day!

  14. littlemiao says:

    poor thing is drooling everywhere from the liquid benadryl. 😦 I don’t know how much he got down.

  15. Laurie says:

    Is it perhaps getting time for his next home Benadryl dose? The last few hours before he gets it, as the one from the vet is wearing off might make him less comfortable.

  16. lahgitana says:

    oh dear! The terrible worry about Sprocket’s suffering…. I also send healing, calming thoughts to you both. –L.

  17. crankypants says:

    Oh I hope he’s okay now and you got some sleep!

  18. doranyc says:

    Poor little dude! Sounds like he was already feeling better after seeing the vet. Glad he’s OK!!

  19. trishc1812 says:

    Poor Sprocket! I hate that he is having difficulties and is causing you so much anxiety. I hope he is back to normal soon.

  20. Purrs from all of us for “Little” Sprocket…don’t fret too much, we cats are hardy creatures.

  21. Dianda says:

    You were NOT overreacting. In my opinion, if it’s about someone you love, whether a person or an animal, you’re never overreacting. Better be safe and sure, right?

    To me it sounds like an allergic reaction as well, but not sure whether it was from dust-things in the basement or a bee. He doesn’t seem to have any swollen places, right?
    Lethargy is a sign of beestings.

    I hope he’ll feel better soon! I’ll send good thoughts your way. 🙂

  22. Wazeau says:

    Our good thoughts going your way! Poor Sprocket and poor you. Hope he feels better soon 😦

  23. Hope Sprocket gets better soon. One of my cats suffers seasonal reactions, she will start in the next month or so when the warmer weather arrives. It’s mainly from midge bites and she ends up covered in sores, you can see it drives her nuts with the constant itching. She does become really lethargic because she is so fed up with herself. A couple of things that I use are firstly a skin calming cat shampoo (that’s if Sprocket will allow a bath), the second is look for cat products that contain Tea Tree. Ensure that they are specifically for cats so that it is the right dose. I got a skin calming ointment for Magrat last year that contained Tea Tree, and rubbed this into her skin, she loved it and really calmed her itchiness down.

    • littlemiao says:

      Thank you for the suggestions. Very good to know in case there are future incidents. Maybe a tea tree ointment would help Kemi’s sore spot as well as Sprocket’s itchy scab. Thank goodness Sprocket’s itchiness has calmed down.

  24. Pingback: Sprocket update | the miao chronicles

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