Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Tale of Sylvie's Tail

Poor Sylvie. She and Gingy have not gotten along for as long as Gingy has lived here (2 1/2 years). Each thinks she should be queen, and neither is willing to yield. Sylvie growls and hisses whenever she sees Gingy; sometimes Gingy is just peacefully walking by on her way to get a drink of water, but other times, she pounces at Sylvie. A couple of months ago, Sylvie had an injury on her tail, and while i suspected that it was Gingy's fault, it was a single puncture on top of the base of Sylvie's tail and it was possible that she could have gotten snagged on a nail or something sticking out somewhere. I had to take Sylvie in to the vet to get the wound cleaned and antibiotics prescribed.

A few weeks ago Sylvie had another tail injury but i was able to clean the wound (despite much yelling from Sylvie) and it started healing by itself. And then two weeks ago, early on a busy Saturday morning, i heard the cat girls yelling and screaming in the basement so i ran down to break it up. Sylvie was crouched on a carpet remnant in her typical defensive posture...laying partially on her side, ears back and eyes slitted, and tail arched on the ground behind her. Gingy was hiding behind a box. Sylvie quickly ran upstairs. She had one puncture wound on top of her tail that was dripping blood and two more underneath her tail. This is the one on top (after it stopped bleeding.)I probably should have taken her to the vet right then but was so busy all weekend...and hoped my first aid treatment would be enough.

I tried keeping the wounds clean, but by the end of the week, one of the under tail ones was looking puffy and the tail was still very sensitive to the touch. I got a Saturday appointment for Sylvie. Her doctor shaved the fur off the top and bottom of her tail, gave her a penicillin shot, put her on a strong dose of Clavamox, and said that if it wasn't looking better by Monday, to bring her in first thing so they could open up the puffy wound and put in a surgical drain if need be.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what had to be done. I dropped Sylvie off at the vet's as soon as they opened, and picked her up on my way home from work. Here's the poor little tail with drain in place (don't biggify the picture if you're at all squeamish!).
As ugly as it looks, it was 100% effective. The infection cleared up right away. I took Sylvie in on Thursday morning, and the vet removed the drain, and that was that. Now....if only i keep this from happening again!!
(By the way, Cliff has started a tail chaser's club for kitties who chase their tails. Sylvie used to be a tail chaser much more when she was younger...she'd get up on a kitchen chair and circle around rapidly chasing her tail with quite a thumpa thumpa thumpa. Gingy's specialty is to chase her tail in the tub...she gets in the empty tub and uses the tub's contours to help bring her floofy tail closer!)


  1. that looks serious! too bad they cannot get along!

  2. Oh my, poor Silvie! This is quite serious stuff. We are sure you tried every possible advice already...This must be stressful. Purrs to Silvie and Gingy, we hope they'll get along eventually.
    Siena & Chilli

  3. Oh poor Sylvie! We think both Sylvie and Gingy should join the club. We'd gladly accept them if they would stop hurting tails and just chase them for fun!

  4. Poor Sylvie, poor tail! Brings to mind the years of distress Kristie endured with her tail, chasing and clawing it until it bled. One final bad infection led to its being partially amputated, and now it is about 6" long! That was about 10 years ago and was very traumatic for all of us.

  5. Oh dear! Know what it's like having to worry about injury from within the house..screen doors inside the house do help with keeping kitties that don't always get along safe...they can hang out and see each other but can't hurt each other when they may suddenly decide to attack for there is a screen between them! Polly & Brody can be together under supervision ( if we're paying attention for that doesn't always work ) but the screen doors help alot, too. Hope Sylvie's tail stays safe!

  6. Sylvie, we are hoping you heal quickly and you're "sittin' pretty" again soon!