A couple of readers have mentioned finding this blog when they were researching cat nosectomy in preparation for their kitties’ procedures. So I thought this might be helpful.
I’ll tell you upfront that I was ahead of the game when it comes to dealing with scary-sounding shit by the time that nosectomy came up as an option for Gorgeous. I had already done feeding tubes with two cats, and learned that scary-sounding doesn’t always equate to scary reality.
I didn’t expect the biopsy to amount to anything, so the diagnosis was both scary and shocking. And my first thought was “can they cut it out” and before I could finish forming the thought, she was telling me that was a real option and that, surprisingly, most cats not only tolerate it well they enjoy an improved quality of life.
By the time we got into the consult with the surgeon, we just wanted to get it done. We weren’t afraid of how it would look or anything like that. We were willing to take the chance even if the prognosis was so/so. We knew, from living with him every day that this was going to be the right thing for him.
We were more concerned about how he would handle the travelling and being locked up overnight with strangers, than anything, because he had gotten really stressed just going to our local vet five minutes away. Car rides and being handled by strangers can be super scary for a formerly feral cat who is still a little iffy about the people he’s known for a few years!
So, a few days before his procedure I thought I might as well go look at some pictures online to be mentally prepared for the result. And that’s where I kind of screwed up.
The pictures I found didn’t look bad at all! A little skeleton nose in a perfect little kitty face. Yes, it could be shocking and disturbing to someone who just happened to see him, not knowing about his surgery. Without knowing, you might think he was injured or something. It could certainly be confusing. But if you’ve seen our taste in decor you’d know that it’s a look that would blend right in around here. No big deal to us on the cosmetic front.
Well, that’s all fine and good, but I was looking at pictures of kitties who had healed from the surgery! And, even though I actually write about cosmetic surgery, and what to expect during your recovery, it didn’t even cross my mind that he was going to be a mess the day of.
So, after all my good intentions, when they brought him out and I saw him I “pulled a face.” Ugh. When I finally realized how I was looking at him I felt like an ass. On the upside, I could tell from the sound that he was able to breathe so much better than he had in a very long time!
So here’s what I didn’t prepared for…
His face was smeared with blood, even though they had been cleaning him up throughout the night. He had big, black stitches sticking out all around his nose and down a line to his lip. Something about his face shape looked all wrong, besides the obvious noselessness. That was a combination of the normal swelling and the fact that they shaved the hair and whiskers around the surgical site. He looked like a big, raw mess – not the neat little skull nose I had prepared for.
I should have known! I absolutely should have expected all of that, but I didn’t. So I’m warning you in advance. Don’t let that part freak you out! It heals. He looks great now, as far as we’re concerned.
Here are some pictures taken the night of the day we brought him home, so about 36 hours after his surgery. He was still confined in the crate for safety, and in the first picture you can see where he was pushing food into his nose-hole when he ate.
And it looks worse before it looks better. Here is a good shot taken a couple of days later. That puts him three days from surgery, which is when they generally say that pain and such from a procedure will peak (in humans, anyway). He was on pain meds and had gotten quite comfortable and happy with hanging out inside the house, as you can see.
Then, about 8 days after surgery he was totally crusted over with scabbing and the food that got pushed in. I was to clean off the scabs as much as he would tolerate without getting too stressed, but nothing worked. The scabs just wouldn’t budge, and I wasn’t to rub too hard or anything like that. Just try to soften it with a wet cloth.
If you look closely you can see the one little hole he had to breathe through. I called the surgeon and sent pictures. She said it would be OK until my local vet was back in the office, the same day he was scheduled to have his stitches out.
So, 4 days later he got his stitches out and they cleaned him up really well! He still looked like a bloody mess and it started scabbing around the edges that same day, but it was easier to clean without the stitches in the way.
Don’t be scared by the pictures. Be prepared. It’s really going to be OK. 🙂 And so much more comfortable for your kitty.