Sassy cats – The saga of the dental

Maybe the title should be “The Reluctant Patient” or “The Neurotic Peep.” Both fit.

Here is Gracie plotting her revenge.

It’s the peep today. Gracie is on sick leave and the others are snoozing. Gracie had her dental surgery on Monday. We were expecting five extractions along with a good cleaning. What she received was eleven extractions. She has three teeth left. Some had broken off below the gum line and they had to drill out the roots. For the most part, it went smoothly. Except for me.

The vet group I used is good. I chose them because they do x-rays, and I knew her teeth were bad. If I must fault anything it’s in the “setting my expectations” and “communications” category. I do much better when I understand the process and the timing.

I had to have Gracie in around 7:30 a.m. There were two surgeries scheduled – Gracie and a dog. The receptionist said she couldn’t guarantee but the vet usually did the cats first and the second surgery was always underway well before noon. Ok, I’m thinking her surgery would be around 10 a.m. or so. When I hadn’t heard by 1 p.m., I got nervous. (Let’s face it I was neurotic all day!) I called to find out she had just gone into the process.

First up was x-rays. They called at 1:30 with the news that her teeth were worse than they thought. I had to approve the extra cost. They would call after the surgery was over.

When I hadn’t heard by 4, I called again. (I pictured them trying to resuscitate her just like on the medical shows. Clear! Shock! Stat!) The vet was just finishing up and would call when she got a chance. They said that Gracie was doing good so she was still alive.

I didn’t hear until 6:30. It was a “lively” discussion as we covered medications and such. You can’t pill Gracie. Any meds would have to be either injectable or perhaps a small amount of liquid. Very small. I made sure that her file was marked “CANNOT PILL so don’t give owner any or she will go postal on you.” (Look that up is you don’t get the gist.) Unfortunately, the antibiotic injection isn’t appropriate for dental work. Boogers.

I couldn’t pick her up until 3 p.m. the next day (Tuesday). I had a function that I half enjoyed…maybe. I’m one of those folks that doesn’t feel okay until they see their loved one whether it’s human or furry. Only then could I relax.

When I went to pick her up, I received a lot of liquid medication (oy vay) and instructions to keep her in a collar for seven days. I looked at the tech and said, “Do you really think I’m going to do that?” She didn’t know what to say. I just smiled and thought “get me my damn cat.” (Think of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. I was just as scary!)

Gracie did not make a peep all the way home. There were no stories about the other prisoners or even a complaint about the music I had on the radio. This was very unusual. She likes to sing along or at least do a commentary on my music selection.

I opened the carrier. She bolted out at Mach 1 speed and did two major zoomies around the house. Then she went to her food dish. (Did I mention she had a ding dang collar on or that they couldn’t get her to eat so she hadn’t eaten for two days?) I put food down, but the collar thrashed the food everywhere but her mouth. Off with the ding dang collar. She ate two full cans of Fancy Feast. She has never done that.

She also made it clear that there was no freaking way that collar was going back on. We chatted. I told her if she didn’t paw at her mouth, she didn’t need it.

She never did paw at her face, so the collar went into the closet.

She went on a feeding schedule of every two to three hours. (Where did that come from? Do I look like an orderly? Tuna sammich please!) She ate and slept for two days preferring to nap under the bed where no one could reach her. She wasn’t trusting anyone with opposable thumbs. They do dumb things like put collars on cats.

In her catbed. We are both glad this is over.

Thursday dawned a different day. She batted the mousie around; slept in the big fluffy cat bed and was an all-around pest. She does not like getting the medication and I wear as much on my face as she has in her stomach. Whatev. We try. (It takes 300 lbs. of humans to half medicate this 8-pound cat. The beloved husband wears the medication too.)

The other cats have been different. No other word for it. They will not pester her when she eats (and she eats more often than they do so they just sit and watch in envy). Even Sasha, who will push any cat out of the way with her voluptuous hips, will sit and wait until she’s done. Any bets on how long this politeness will last? I’m thinking maybe this weekend it goes out the window.

Gracie goes in for a check-up next Wednesday. I wonder if I will be able to get her in the carrier.

80 thoughts on “Sassy cats – The saga of the dental

    • She’s been eating soft food and a lot of it. The collar was the worst. I won’t let them put a collar on my cat again unless I am convinced that it is absolutely necessary. Never had a cat who needed a collar for anything including a spay. They groom the area but have never done any damage.


    • This morning’s medicating did not go well. She’s getting more feisty. You can’t burrito her either. She can slither out of anything. Today my husband has claw scratches on his abdomen for his efforts. We are not done with the first bottle and there is a second bottle.


  1. Oh wow Kate – that’s a lot more teeth to lose than the original plan. Poor Gracie and I hope she’ll manage with three teeth … I remember her last post she said “I like my teef.” What caused the tooth problems – did the vet know? I’m glad Gracie’s on the mend and yes, we worry about our little ones. The vet told me I was a “helicopter mom” and my canary was not the tropical bird I imagined him to be. I’d bring him in the cage wrapped in afghans to avoid a chill from A/C in the Summer, winds in Spring/Fall.

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    • She has always had bad teeth. She needed a dental with extractions a week after I adopted her. Poor nutrition as a kitten or bad genes. I can see you coming in the office with a wrapped up cage! 🙂 Canaries are sensitive to heat fluctuations, aren’t they?

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      • I wondered if that was poor nutrition as Gracie was a shelter kitty. Yes, the vet thought it was funny and discouraged it saying a little wind will not make a bad draft. The vet and her husband (also an avian vet) said “we have a parrot and don’t baby it at all and it’s a tropical bird!” Yes, canaries suffer badly in the heat. They will hyperventilate so I had battery operated fans if we had a power outage to cool the area around the cage and also a few paper fans. I was sprayed for spiders/centipedes in the basement for years by a pest control service, so he could not go in the basement to keep cool. In the Winter I had battery-operated scarves, (which I should use for myself now in Winter). Thy were polar fleece and I had them and a hot water bottle to layer between the cage covers for warmth. Protecting the baby. 🙂

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  2. My cat is due for her dental too. Gracie’s experience worries me. And those stupid collars that they can’t eat or drink in frost me. My cat does not bother surgical scars, so I seldom keep them on for long. I’m glad Gracie can still eat her food. It gets really scary when they won’t eat.

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    • I wouldn’t use the collar for a dental. The collar thing is something that’s become “popular” in the past 10 to 15 years. The last cat I had spayed in 2005 (most rescues spay them before adopting them out now) and there was no talk of a collar. She didn’t bother her stitches except to clean it. Rescues here are using onesies for surgeries that require some protection and moving away from collars for the little ones. I’ve had dentals for a lot of cats in my life and this was the first time I was told to used a collar. Fortunately I had something to take because I didn’t want to get charged for one at the vet (at triple the price from Chewy or Amazon). Unless she pawed at her mouth (which I’ve never seen a cat do) I wasn’t going to use it. I’m becoming a fervent anti-collar person. Maybe dogs need them more.


    • She’s doing ok eating. Her teeth were broken and painful so it’s probably easier to eat now. If I can’t get her into the carrier, I’ll pass on the follow up unless something happens between now and then. She’s doing well.

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  3. I am so glad those teeth are out! She cracks me up with the zoomies after exiting the carrier and it sounds so good that she played with mousie and was a pest… all without a collar! Yay!
    Don’t even want to think about if you are going to get her in the carrier for a check up. I’d be thinking I can’t do that!

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    • I think she did the zoomies thinking she could get rid of the collar like that. I’ll see how Tuesday is. Maybe we won’t do the follow up. I don’t like stressing her out more than necessary.


    • Gracie can eat soft wet food. She has been eating 3 cans of Fancy Feast a day. For comparison prior to this surgery, she ate 2/3 of ONE can a day with some kibble. She seems to like the wet better these days. She can’t have kibble for 2 weeks so we’ll see what happens then. As for the nicey-nice, we’ll see. She had lunch (none of the other cats did). They all watched her. No one even sniffed her butt which is what they do to annoy each other.

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  4. hugs to you dear Gracie, you are a trooper… and your mama is one too…. I promised myself in next life I will become a vet assistant. and I call all pet parents or send a message twice per day…. promised…. I know this people have no time to chat with me, but a short all is well via sms would help me to walk no longer on the ceiling…..

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  5. Well done, Gracie and Kate! I swear, animals can sense when you just don’t mess with someone. I don’t know if Sasha could read you or Gracie, but she knew she’d get her big butt kicked if she horned in on the food this time.

    Just like Boss Cat knows which dogs need to be hit in the face with claws…and which ones can be subjugated without.

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  6. Ah, I feel for Gracie! I went in a few years ago to get partial dentures top and bottom and ended up with full dentures top and bottom. I’m proud of Gracie for being able to stick to her promise to keep her paws away from her mouth! I feel bad for the peep who has to somehow figure out how to convince poor, sweet Gracie to get back in the carrier in just a week! Hoping the follow-up will be all great news for both Gracie AND you!

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    • I expect the follow-up will be routine. Unless she’s under the bed, I can pick her up easily. She fights the carrier but I’m quick. I’m going to give some feedback on the process. They could have made my life much easier with better communication.


  7. Oh dear……it’s never easy is it. Teddy is already a very strong 24 lb. boy and it’s hard to wrestle him into the car – forget about a carrier. Poor Gracie had QUITE a lot of surgery and I have to think it hurt and they don’t really understand hurt that well. Sounds like she’s coming around though – bless her. Glad she’s eating and sleeping and that the others are giving her a wide berth. Good luck!

    Hugs, Pam

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    • Thanks. Some cats are easy. Morgan is the perfect cat. When she broke her leg she went to the vet every week to have her splint wrapped. Never a problem. She loved the attention and the techs loved her. Gracie is never excited to go into the carrier. Gus is tough to medicate too and I had to use eye drops and ear drops for him. He’s food motivated so maybe he would take to pill pockets. Gracie would not.


  8. What a worrisome week . . . and what a rebound! Love that Gracie knew what she needed when she got home ~ FOOD, SLEEP, NO COLLAR. And love that the other cats are giving her some space to eat.

    Have a great weekend.

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  9. Lots of trauma for cat and peep, but I’m glad she’s feeling better. With all those rotten teeth she must have been very uncomfortable. Bet she feels better despite everything, and with only three teeth left, the chances of needing to do more dentals should be pretty low!

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