Ellie Mae is a small, female, tabby calico mix with little short legs. “Her personality is more like a calico than a tabby, at least that’s what I tell her as she’s very vocal and likes me to talk to her (and she – of course – answers back),” says pet parent Michelle. “Ellie hunts bugs and flies, and her favorite toy is jumping for the feather teaser wand! She’s also really good at batting ear plugs in the bathtub.”
Michelle “adopted” Ellie by rescuing her from a cardboard box at a local pet store parking lot. She and her siblings (four total kittens) were tightly curled up into a single ball of fur, about three weeks old. “I brought them to my vet who examined them and showed me how to bottle feed them… and then I brought them home with me,” says Michelle. “My other cat Samuel Whiskers immediately became their surrogate dad, making sure all four were safe and thoroughly washed.” The furry family was thick as thieves until the kittens were about two months old, when Michelle found loving homes for all of them except Ellie Mae, whom Samuel Whiskers had bonded with the most. “If I had a larger place rather than a small Los Angeles condo, I would have kept them all!”
Every evening Ellie Mae would visit the neighbors kitten, Bessy, and they would play on the balcony next to mine. “Ellie is a talker and the evening she fell, I heard her meowing which was odd because I thought she was next door visiting with Bessy,” starts Michelle. “I kept calling her name and she would answer back but her meow was really faint. I finally realized the sound was coming somewhere from below me!”
Michelle found her on the patio directly below her apartment; she was limping but still able to walk. “I took her to my vet the next morning and her diagnosis was a fractured metacarpal.” Because it seemed almost miraculous that Ellie had fallen so far and only broken a toe, the vet x-rayed her entire body to make sure no other bones were broken and her internal organs were not damaged from the fall. Surprisingly, and proving that cats truly do have nine lives, Ellie was otherwise in perfect condition.
Despite their graceful nature, fractures in kittens and cats are quite common. They can range from being very serious and requiring surgery, to slight fractures that may be painful but will heal quickly. Any trauma should be looked at by a vet, no matter what age or the cause of the condition. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Traditional signs of pain: crying, howling, or growling
- Limping or not using a leg/limb
- Hitched or unusual tail
- Not eating or able to use the litter box
- Neglecting regular grooming
- Swelling or bruising at the injured area
- Protruding bone (compound fracture)
It’s been about a year since Ellie Mae fell, and she’s recovered wonderfully. As for the vet bill, it wasn’t as easy to tackle: the emergency visit totaled $2,303. Luckily for Michelle and Ellie, their Healthy Paws policy reimbursed the duo $1,573.
No matter how much you try to protect your cat, they can still get injured, both indoors and outside. Knowing and recognizing the symptoms of common injuries and illnesses helps to prepare a pet parent, and signing up to protect your pet with pet health insurance is one of the best things you can do (both for your pet and for your wallet!). Start by getting a free quote today.
if you are a Healthy Paws pet parent with a recovery story to tell, we’d love to hear it! Send your pet’s story along with photos of your four-legged family member to firstname.lastname@example.org