Just when you think you have everything under control, and everything is running smoothly … Oli happens.
We were in the conservatory, as usual, yesterday morning, and I saw him playing with something. I’m seriously kicking myself now for not getting involved earlier, but by the time I did decide to see what it was, it was too late. He made whimpering noises, and ran into the house, limping.
I probably should have stopped to see what he was playing with, but I was too worried about him being hurt, so I followed him into the house to check on him. His foot was clearly hurting, but I couldn’t see any damage, and otherwise he was fine, so I left him to lick it better, and he soon came back out again as if nothing had happened.
Fast forward to about 8pm, and I came in from the garden to find his foot had swelled to about 3 times its usual size and he was walking awkwardly on it – possibly because it was so swollen and uncomfortable, but I couldn’t be sure. There was enough time to get to the vet before surgery closed at 10pm, so I phoned the wonderful lady who runs the (illegal) pet taxi service, and she arrived half an hour later to take us to the vet.
Luckily, by the time we arrived, there was no-one else there, and we were seen straight away. I know I’ve got an outstanding bill with them from Oli’s last visit, which they haven’t chased me about and I haven’t got around to paying, so I hoped they wouldn’t insist on that being paid before they treated him. I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay it, and there wasn’t enough time to go home, sort out money, and get back again.
But the vet didn’t seem to know, or care, about the money – it was getting close to 10pm and he probably just wanted to go home! He didn’t seem too bothered about Oli’s swollen foot either. I said it was probably an allergic reaction to a sting from a wasp or bee, so he gave him an anti-inflammatory injection and told me to bring him back in the morning, so they could have a better look when the swelling had gone down. I laughed about this with Ann, my helpful taxi lady, on the way home. After the trouble I’d had getting Oli in the carrier once, I didn’t think there was much chance of me doing it again at such short notice. When I got home, I did some research, and discovered cats can have prednisone, which is great for controlling allergic reactions to bites and stings, so I paid a visit to my friendly pharmacist this morning, and he sold me some without a prescription. (Have I ever mentioned how much I love living in Spain?)
Meanwhile, Oli’s foot has mostly gone back to normal, which will be the effect of the anti-inflammatory injection he was given. I couldn’t get the vet’s on the phone to find out if it was a 24 hour or 5 day one – it’s always chaos on Saturdays, which was another good reason for not dragging Oli back – so I’ll have to monitor him carefully and see if the swelling starts to come back. (If it doesn’t, I have a nice stash of spare prednisone!)
We went in the conservatory again when I got back, and Oli showed me right away what had stung him, when a thread-waisted wasp (see the picture below) emerged from behind some boxes, and he fled back into the house! I’ve never been bothered by that type of wasp – they just go about their business and ignore me – so he must have really tried hard to get it to sting him! Hopefully he’s learned his lesson.
I find a lot of the wildlife here quite fascinating, and the thread-waisted wasp is no exception. They make hard ‘cocoons’ for their larvae and stash them with food for when they hatch. There’s more about the thread-waisted wasp here. (And it’s the site I stole the photo from, so please pay them a visit!)
The thing that worries me most about this is that Oli was lucky. He obviously had a moderate reaction to the sting, but it was on his foot, so it wasn’t life threatening. If it had been in his mouth, things could have turned out very differently.