I remember clearly the night I found Picasso literally on the road.
It was in September 2004 and I was on my way home after finishing a night shift at the News & Record. My usual route was impassable after severe storms had traversed the area, and a law enforcement officer directed me to find another way home because of downed trees.
Flipping on my brights, I slowly made my way home along back country roads. A couple of miles from my house, my headlights illuminated a small gray tabby lying in my travel lane. I stopped short of it, fearing the poor thing had been hit and was either injured or dead.
When I got out and approached him, he lifted his head and meowed. He didn’t appear to be injured and he let out a ferocious purr when I picked him up.
He purred all the way home, really loudly.
Keeping him quarantined in my home office that night, away from my other cats, I took Picasso to the vet the next day. She determined he was about 6 months old and had a minor eye infection and ear mites. His ears were really dirty.
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The infection and ear mites cleared up, but I never could get his ears clean. And Picasso started having seizures, which is unusual in cats and potentially deadly. He’d always start purring when a seizure ended, which made me wonder if he’d had a seizure the night I first picked him up off that road.
And I wondered if he might have some sort of brain injury that night, maybe tosed into something — an EF1 tornado that had touched down in a county that night.
I scoured the internet, looking for possible causes for his seizures. Late one night, I read an article that mentioned a case where a cat had gotten a small seed lodged deep in its ear, causing pressure on its brain that resulted in seizures.
Numerous trips to the vet didn’t turn up any obvious reason for the seizures, and the vet recommended getting a CT scan that would cost around $1,000. I considered it, but suggested that we first try to get his still-dirty ears cleaned properly when he was scheduled for his upcoming neutering.
After the procedure, the vet told me it took two people to clean his ears out, with lots of wax but nothing resembling a seed.
Oddly, I never have been able to find that webpage where I first read about the cat with the seed in its ear. But I’m sure glad I saw it that one time.
Picasso, now close to 18 years old, never had a seizure again.
Contact Kenwyn Caranna at 336-373-7082 and follow @kcaranna on Twitter.