By Beth Barnes
The following blog was written by a BEVS client. Beth Barnes is a former Community Outreach Specialist at a local hospital, and her specialty was teaching families how to keep children safe at home. After her kitten, Frankie, experienced an accident, she decided to put her educational skills to good use, this time for pet parents. We hope you’ll find this useful!
One March morning, I awoke as normal, but one thing was missing: the affectionate greeting of my new kitten Frankie. It was that split second when a mother (or pet mom!) just feels that something isn’t right, and much to my shock, it wasn’t. I searched the house and found my otherwise jubilant, frisky little Frankie curled up under the dining room table with a blank stare on his furry little tuxedo face.
I quickly scanned the room and saw that a spider plant had been pulled, by him presumably, from the top of an antique Welsh dresser. My first thought was that he’d been poisoned because he had clearly nibbled many of the tips. However, it was later determined that as he jumped up to get the plant, he was knocked backward and fell off the furniture and onto the hardwood floor (needless to say, I have now removed all plants from those shelves).
I carefully extracted Frankie from his hidey-hole, only to find something terribly wrong with one of his back legs; he couldn’t put any weight on it. My panic jumped from mild to severe, so I immediately called BEVS. They said I could bring him in, which meant a pre-dawn, two-hour journey on dark country roads for my poor little guy and a very frightened mom.
As soon as we arrived, the BEVS Emergency team took Frankie in. After X-rays and an exam, he was diagnosed with a fracture and fitted with a very unwieldy cast that would have to be changed regularly. His fun-loving life of the past six months changed dramatically, as his world became limited to a small mesh tent in the middle of the living room where he could recoup, but still be part of our family’s everyday life.
One never expects the unexpected, and now I know bad things can happen in the blink of an eye. We adopt our pets intending to love and care for them, and after Frankie’s accident, I knew that I had to be all I could be to this little creature who was going to struggle for the next 4-6 weeks. He’s a brave little guy who has taught me a lot about patience, endurance, and resilience. On his third cast change, we discovered pressure wounds to contend with, so our boy’s healing journey wasn’t over yet!
Protecting Your Pets at Home
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization that helps families and communities keep kids safe, every three weeks a child dies from a TV tipping over. Each day, ten kids visit the ER because of TVs tipping over. Furniture tips over too, and things fall from shelves, and remember, cats and kittens love to climb! Is your TV mounted to the wall or does it sit on top of a piece of furniture?
Please take an inventory of your home and think carefully about those household items, decorations, and furniture that may look irresistible to a cat who just wants to climb and explore. If they’re not secured, their curiosity could end badly. The open shelves on my Welsh dresser were anchored to the wall, so only the plant fell. If it hadn’t been anchored, I doubt Frankie would have survived because of its size and weight.
Please anchor furniture to walls, as well as TVs and other heavy free-standing items that could be pulled down on top of a pet or child. I admittedly took precautions, but I didn’t take them far enough. Accidents in the home can happen to children and animals so please be prepared. You’ll be happy you did, and so will your kids and pets.