A Cat-astrophic Delay

It’s been a rough week, and one in which I’ve probably spent less time thinking about my upcoming thru-hike than any other in the past 2 years. At 2 weeks out from my planned departure date for the AT, and in the midst of the Wisconsin Film Festival, I was expecting a little break from planning to watch movies and spend time with people I love before tackling all of the last minute loose ends my last week. Instead, on Sunday we wound up at the emergency vet with our cat because she had stopped eating due to the pain it was causing her. All of the little decisions and tasks I’ve been fretting about like choosing a bra or how many pairs of socks to bring immediately began to seem really insignificant.


Smallcat helping with my upcoming post about trail bars.

Smallcat was diagnosed with stomatitis, a very painful oral inflammatory disease thought to be caused by an immune reaction to plaque. They sent us home with painkillers and antibiotics, so we’ve been tormenting her 5 times a day by shoving a syringe in her tender mouth. We’ve also been spending a lot of time trying to find the most tempting foods and methods of preparation and presentation. Frequent professional dentalcleanings and home tooth brushing used along with medication can sometimes keep stomatitis under control, but it’s generally considered a chronic, incurable condition. Knowing that she won’t tolerate us brushing her teeth, and based on the research I could find, we opted to go for surgical intervention, which has an 80% chance of relieving her mouth pain and inflammation. Today, they’re extracting her teeth. Possibly all of them.

Obviously, I’m not leaving my beloved small cat a week and a half after she has major dental surgery. It could be a while before we even know whether the extractions will help. Best case scenario, I will head out in mid-May now. Worst case, I’m hoping I can still do a long section of the AT this year, but there may be situations in which I would need to stick close to home on the Ice Age Trail instead.

Many of my loved ones have not been shy about telling me how much they don’t want to be without me for 6 months, but it’s the one who can’t communicate with language who is getting me to stay at least a while longer.

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