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  • Shocking neglect

    I haven't been doing this anywhere near long enough to say that I've seen everything, but today I saw a condition on a cat that I wasn't aware was even POSSIBLE. Sweet elderly Himalayan boy, 15 years old. Owner said he had "a couple of mats" but that she brushes him all the time. Well, the matting was HORRENDOUS, a solid pelt from the back of his ears to the tip of his tail. I had to resort to my 40 blade in a couple of spots. When I cleared the solid mat from around his rectum, he proceeded to poop for a good 15 seconds. I don't think he'd been able to go to the bathroom for at least a couple of days. I had to stop after that because I could no longer tell where the mats left off and the skin began. The matting was as bad as I've seen, but what came next gave me the shock of my life.

    His feet! His poor, soft, velvety little feet....god, Im crying now just thinking about it....the claws were SO overgrown. They were so long they had curled down and under, piercing each toe on each foot (18 toes so 18 piercings), growing THROUGH the toes and emerging out the top of each toe above the first knuckle, spiraled down underneath and pierced the bottom of the toe a second time. Each and every claw resembled a miniature ram's horn. His feet were swollen, bloody, infected and raw, wet where he had obviously spent considerable time licking them. He couldn't even flex his little paws - I have no idea how he was able to even walk. The entire time, this sweet, sweet man just gazed trustingly into my eyes, emitting soft little peeps of discomfort but otherwise giving me absolutely no static at all.

    I decided then and there that I was done torturing this animal today (and what else could it possibly be? Man, I feel bad that I even did as much as I did but I HAD to clear his rectum, you guys. I just couldnt leave him like that). I halted the groom, bundled him up, took him back into the house, and proceeded to tear his mom a new one. All my calm professionalism went right out the window while I told her, in graphic detail, what I had found, how long it had taken to get that way, and how I felt about it. I was not polite, nor did I spare her feelings. I then informed her that I had taken photos of the cat's condition and that she needed to contact her vet immediately to finish the rest of the shavedown and do something about his feet. I told her I would be back on Wednesday to follow-up and that I would accept no excuses for lack of action on her part. My next phone call would be to AC. I mean, I was HOT and FUMING mad and I almost NEVER lose my temper - and never with a customer. Not once....until today.

    I called her vet myself as I left and told them what I had found, and that they should be expecting a phone call for her soon. I called in a couple of professional favors with their groomer and got her to hold a slot open for him. I then went by the office and dropped off the memory chip in my camera so they could download the photos for their records. I will not be posting these photos here. They are graphic and stomach turning and would only upset people - yer gonna have to take my word for it. Now I have to play the waiting game and hope that she steps up and does the right thing by her kitty. I'm sure there are a number of you out there who would have handled this differently. I probably would have handled it differently myself but I was just so ANGRY....

    Has anyone run into this dimension of claw overgrowth on a cat before? How in the world is the vet going to fix it? Will this lttle kitty be crippled? Will his little feet ever stop hurting him? Please, please - somebody tell me SOMETHING to put this into perspective and ease my battered heart. My mind is racing with a million possibilities right now.
    Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
    George Sand (1804 - 1876)

  • #2
    I've never seen anything that bad in the 12 years I've been grooming. I'm not sure how I would have handled it, but know you well enough to know, you didn't overreact. I'm sorry for the kittie and that you had to deal with it, but I'm glad that little cat has you for its advocate.
    Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
    "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887

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    • #3
      Oh My! I have tears just reading this, how awful! And yes, I think you handled it well, I'm sitting here wondering if I'd handled it that well, I'd have been liable to call animal control or the SPCA on the spot and turn her in right then. Some people are such idiots and should never even consider having an animal.

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      • #4
        I think you handled it correctly and I dont blame you for being upset and reaming her a new one there is just no nice way to say some things.

        Was she younger or older. Some elderly just cant afford to care for their animals anymore.

        I'm sorry you had to witness that I would make it go to the vet to be finished also and I would want my full groom fee for dealing with what you did.

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        • #5
          All I can say is wow. I didn't even realize that could happen with kitty claws. And you know what, although you could have handled it more 'professionally' who cares. You needed to stand up for that cat and you did just that. Its not like this was a valuable customer you would have lost and anyone who knew what kind of condition the cat was in would understand. I think you definitely did the right thing to try and ensure that the cat gets the necessary medical treatment it needs so good for you. Be proud of yourself and think of the comfort you have and will have brought the kitty.

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          • #6
            His feet will heal

            At least, that's what I'm thinking since he is alive and well still. Kitty nails are kind of narrow, so unless he gets an infection that does him in, he should actually heal up, I believe.

            Poor him. Poor you! Yes, do a followup - glad you have photos.

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            • #7
              That poor kitty!

              So glad you did what you did! I think you handled it just fine. She needed a wake up call obviously! I'm glad you didn't post pictures. I'm teary just reading about it!

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              • #8
                i had to read your post twice to fully comprehend the horrible neglect you dealt with. It's hard to say how I would have handled the situation. My first thought I would have driven off with the cat to the nearest vet as an emergency.

                i think the cat's feet will heal. I've seen a few dogs & cats with embedded nails, but not to the extent you have described. The vet will cut the nails and pull them out of the feet. Am sure the cat will be on antibotics for awhile, if the owner follows thru with your demands.

                It might behoove you to go ahead and call the spca in your area and turn the photos over to them and file a complaint. The owner will more then likely take action if the authorities get involved.

                Over the years I've seen some horrific cases of neglect and some down right abuse. Working in DC animal hospitals and one for 10 yrs exposed me to pretty bad things. Some are worst then others and there are a few that have stuck in my mind and heart for close to thirty years. Never will forget some of the worst. This is one of the ones that will stay with you for a llifetime. Hopefully, you will never have to deal with this type of horrific neglect again.

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                • #9
                  Awe, that poor cat. I'm glad you ripped the owner a new one...they needed it!

                  I once had a cat with so much matting a poo stuck to his bum that he couldn't potty either. I shaved it all off and it was like the floods were open. I felt so bad for the poor kitty. I was working at a vet office at the time and when I showed the vet she just kind of shrugged her shoulders and said "gross". It didn't even phase her that this poor cat couldn't even go potty. I told her she should mention something to the owner and she didn't feel it was her place. Oh well, I know I helped that kitty feel better and that's all that matters.

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                  • #10
                    That is absolutely shocking. Please let us know how the follow up with the vet went.

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                    • #11
                      UPDATE: The owner called the office to complain about my attitude (shrug). I had already talked to bossman about it and as usual, he has my back all the way and told her that we would indeed be following up on the cat, and were more than willing to file a cruelty complaint if that's what it took. She then told him that it wouldn't be necessary: she had taken the cat to the vet who confirmed what I had told her and also diagnosed massive infection in both front paws. She declined to pay the $500 for surgery to correct the condition and had the cat PTS instead. Just before she hung up, she told bossman to ask me if I was "proud of myself". I honestly don't have an answer for that. I KNOW this isn't my fault, intellectually. I know that. Emotionally? I feel terribly, terribly guilty for being the catalyst that brought this sad situation to light - and its eventual tragic end.

                      It's days like this that make me think I should go back to office work. I am sick at heart and still so very, very angry...Tomorrow, I will be making some phone calls to local authorities to inquire what, if anything, can be done to make this - person - pay for what they've done. When I think of her sitting there in her $500,000 home, 2 BMW's in the driveway, dressed to the nines...honestly, I wanna just drive back out and smack the **** outta her.
                      Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
                      George Sand (1804 - 1876)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PuppyFluffer View Post
                        UPDATE: The owner called the office to complain about my attitude (shrug). I had already talked to bossman about it and as usual, he has my back all the way and told her that we would indeed be following up on the cat, and were more than willing to file a cruelty complaint if that's what it took. She then told him that it wouldn't be necessary: she had taken the cat to the vet who confirmed what I had told her and also diagnosed massive infection in both front paws. She declined to pay the $500 for surgery to correct the condition and had the cat PTS instead. Just before she hung up, she told bossman to ask me if I was "proud of myself". I honestly don't have an answer for that. I KNOW this isn't my fault, intellectually. I know that. Emotionally? I feel terribly, terribly guilty for being the catalyst that brought this sad situation to light - and its eventual tragic end.

                        It's days like this that make me think I should go back to office work. I am sick at heart and still so very, very angry...Tomorrow, I will be making some phone calls to local authorities to inquire what, if anything, can be done to make this - person - pay for what they've done. When I think of her sitting there in her $500,000 home, 2 BMW's in the driveway, dressed to the nines...honestly, I wanna just drive back out and smack the **** outta her.
                        I'm so sorry that you had to face this and personally I think that you should be VERY proud of yourself! What if that little cat had lived another few years in such condition? You cared about him when she didn't. This hit me a little hard because I lost one of my grandcats yesterday. Anyway, I think you did the only humane thing-thank you!

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                        • #13
                          I'm so sorry! You must know you did the right thing, and her comment has to come from her trying to make the situation right to herself in her own eyes. She's the one who screwed up, and although it's just plain wrong, when humans screw up we tend to try to blame someone or something else.

                          Do look into what can be done, that is just horrible.

                          And kind of as a side note...look at the post about the groomer who screwed up on the cat and how many are attacking the groomer in that case (a recent post, with a link to the news article.) THAT is SOOOOO minor compared to what this OWNER let her cat go through - and yet people are throwing a hissy fit over it. People should be paying attention to things like this poor cat!

                          UGH! Man, I may just be a awful person sometimes, but I'd be tempted to post the pics with her name all over them, especially if she's that well off and in a affluent area. OK, probably not a good idea but gee, isn't it fun to think about doing it.

                          Hang in there, you did the right thing! (What's right isn't always easy, and what's easy isn't always right!!!!)

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                          • #14
                            Aww PF I know it isn't the ending you hoped for but you did everything right. Because of you, that kitty is no longer being neglected or suffering. He can run and jump and play. He doesn't have to rely on that heartless b**ch for anything ever again. If I were you, I would be proud of myself. You helped that kitty to the best of your ability. Even if you had gone inside and talked to the owner without losing your temper, the end result would have been the same. Bottom-line is the kitty wasn't worth the money or the effort as far as the owner was concerned. At least you got her to take the kitty in and in doing so, you helped to end the kitty's pain. I don't know if it makes you feel better but I think you did good. And what I want to know is...is the owner proud of herself???

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                            • #15
                              PF, dont doubt yourself for 1 minute! You did the right thing by forcing her to get medical attention for her neglected kitty. She is the one who should have to look at herself in the mirror and ask herself "are you proud of the way you treated your cat?" At least the poor kitty is at peace now instead of living the painful and neglected life he/she had to endure because of a sorry and uncaring excuse for an owner.

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