Took Penny to the vet Monday morning to get her little suture out. She's been doing really well at home- eating normally, active playing, etc. I have two carriers and put her into the larger one for the drive down, thinking that this would be better for her. It actually just gave her more room to freak out. She was picking, picking, picking at the front gate and openings on the side. I tried soothing her and telling her it would be okay.
I noticed she started leaving marks on the side openings that she was picking. It took me a couple looks to realize that it was blood. She was reaching her paws through the front grate and I saw blood all over her nails. She was picking so bad that she hurt herself and broke her nails.
WTF. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to pull over on the interstate. I didn't want to turn around and go home, because we'd just have to come back down. I didn't know what to do, other than try to calm her down.
So we got to the vet and I showed them her paws, like, "Oh, hello. I'm the worst pet owner ever, in the world. See?" I took the top off of the carrier and there were bloody scratch marks all over the inside walls. The vet cleaned around the nails and made sure there was no more active bleeding. I felt like a total turd, like I just made Penny have the worst panic attack because I'm a professional torturer.
It took about 4 seconds to cut out the suture. I asked for sedatives (for Penny, not for me) in case I have to bring her back down at some point. And since she was due for a couple shots in March/April, I had the vet give those to her then.
The vet bandaged up Penny's paws with gauze and tape, just to protect her paws for the ride back home. Once we left, Penny kicked out of the bandages and started to pick and freak out again. I absolutely didn't want her to damage her nails more, so I pulled over. I took the top off of the carrier, took off my coat and spread it out over my lap and the center console between the driver and passenger seats. I've never driven a car with a cat that wasn't in a carrier. I've always been worried that the cat would go straight for my legs and pedals. Penny explored the car a bit, crying and panting in a terrified, panic-y state, but she wasn't shredding her nails on anything. So I eased back into the road and carried on driving home. I know a couple cars that passed me must have thought it was funny that I was driving with a meowing cat on my shoulder, perched between my head and driver's side window. But it was stressful. Eventually she settled down inside my jacket next to me and stayed there for the rest of the ride home.
Here she is, after it all:
She was fine once we were back home. Poor thing :(