A Cat Pinnectomy – Harvey’s Ear Surgery A Personal Report

A Cat Pinnectomy

The Full Harvey Cat Ear Surgery Report

These are the daily notes that record our Harvey’s cat ear surgery (cat pinnectomy) progress after his squamous carcinoma removal. I used the terms ear surgery and cat pinnectomy interchangeably in the daily reports.

I have tried to record honestly and helpfully what happens so that if you encounter the same kind of surgery, you will feel more prepared. A collection of photos have been added at the bottom of this page beyond the long line of ****.

  • WARNING these are not pretty pictures, but they are here for a reason – to prepare others facing the same situation. DO NOT LOOK if you feel you may get upset.

Cat Pinnectomy Recovery Day 1

The cat ear surgery cost was not cheap but could have been much worse. We got Harvey home and I am so happy about that.

Harvey arrived home looking like a train wreck. His ear tips have gone and there are stitches remaining on the rest of his ears. His fur is discoloured due to staining from the surgery. He looks woebegone, unhappy and in pain but, Harvey, like most cats, is resilient and is probably coping better than me.

We have been given Tolfedine for the pain and Clavaseptin (antibiotics) for his medication. Harvey is not happy with the cone (Buster collar) and had blue bandages on his paws when he came home – this was to stop him scratching before the collar went on.

A Cat Pinnectomy

Harvey was distressed at the ‘blue paws’ so we immediately telephoned the vet on our return home and asked permission to take the bandages off. This was given. Now Harvey can walk around freely although he is still learning to navigate with the cone on.

  • Litter Tray Tip – As Harvey is learning his cone, we have spread thick newspaper on a small area and put cat litter on this flat area. The removes a stressful need to navigate the edge of a litter tray wearing his cone – it worked, it was used, cleaned away quickly and replaced.

The first 24 hours seem to have been the most difficult for us all – things are improving slowly day by day.

Ear Surgery Recovery Day 2

Today was our first attempt at pilling Harvey with the Tolfedine (to be taken with food). Harvey is still learning to eat and walk with his cone on so this is a disaster. It is extremely difficult to pill Harvey using one of the ‘injection’ type syringes as he also had some surgery to remove tiny cancers from his nose.  The usual ‘hold around the jaw method’ did not work as it would put pressure on the nose wounds.

After some bad-tempered exchanges by Mum and Dad, this method was abandoned and Harvey was taken to the vet for a painkilling injection and a request (after advice from cat friends online) for liquid painkilling fluid Meloxicam.

Harvey is becoming a bit more ‘himself’, less sleepy-eyed and panic-stricken. He is beginning to navigate with the collar on – good news! It’s hard to hold back and not help him at every step but he is coping admirably.

  • It is worth reminding readers that Harvey has a history of nervous trouble due to previous abandonment trauma.

A Cat Pinnectomy Report Day 3

Harvey is developing a technique that allows him to eat more easily!

  • Feeding Tip We raised Harvey’s food dish so that it is resting on a deeper bowl. This allows him to tip the cone forward and reach the food – this height is important. He is getting better each time he eats and today he also took a drink from the cat water fountain (plant pot type) which is very encouraging.

Harvey took a heavily supervised walk outside today. It was not a success – we know he wants to run away to the hidey holes he can’t reach, so after a few minutes, he was brought back in. He is not hiding in his bedroom anymore but lies more confidently out here in the house.

A big step was made today by Harvey. As I sat listening to the radio in the evening he came up onto the sofa (we have a small set of steps there for ease of access by the seniors) he then settled down for a cuddle up on my lap and then slept. * Quiet cheer *.

Ear Surgery Day 4

The benefit of having liquid medication is, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, have a second go’! We lost one dose this morning – but the second attempt was a success. Relief all around. Harvey is beginning to scratch at the collar – which means, I think, that the wounds must be healing and drying out.

Harvey is beginning to recognise the antibiotics in his food. He is reluctant to eat his usual favourites now thanks to the antibiotics. How does he know? * sigh *.

The boy is resting here in the living room a lot, not hiding in the bedroom where he spends the night. We contain him overnight as he will try to use the cat flap otherwise – which with his ingenuity he might figure out at the worst possible time (3 a.m.) It’s too risky for a boy used to the outdoors with a selection of hiding places all figured out!

Cat Ear Surgery
Harvey’s homemade raised feeding dish.

Harey’s Report Ear Surgery Day 5

The last of the antibiotics was attempted today. We hope we got some down, mashed into his favourite food but we are not sure. Harvey will go to the vet next Tuesday for a checkup to see how his wounds are healing. There seems to be less of an aura of distress about Harvey now – he is calmer and eating more strongly.

Today Harvey took another positive step – I had just determined to start on the assembly of my statistics for the blog as part of my Blogelina.com Profitable Blogging Course when who should come up and want to help but Harvey! Things may take a little longer but when he came and fell asleep on my arm I did not have the heart to wake him from such a restful cat sleep.

Harvey is a very clean cat and appreciated my being able to get some pet wipes from the local pet supermarket Animates. He let me clean all around the inside of his cone and wipe much of the staining off his fur. I will try this a bit every day.

Surgery Day 6

Today is the first day I have had to be away from home for a longer period leaving Harvey unsupervised. He was asleep in the same spot I left him – the dining chair we had occupied while listening to our Blogelina class together!

He looks longingly out of the back cat flap for a long time each day but, as our weather has been declining into Autumn he may (secretly) not be too unhappy to be safe inside.  He will not be allowed out until his collar is removed.

The liquid Meloxicam is working well – it is much easier to dispense and Harvey has none of the stress of the tablets (and the requirement for food before the tablets which was a major issue when he first came home).

Getting Better – Recovery Day 7

Harvey is becoming more confident and coming ‘back to himself’ He is keen to have cuddles now and is comfortable snuggling overnight with Mum and the cone does not get in Mum’s way at all. Harvey is sometimes restive overnight and wakes Mum up she is patient as Harvey’s cone bandage seemed a bit tight so Mum filled for ages with it to carefully untie it and re-tie it more loosely.

Harvey continues to appreciate the periodic use of a Pet Wipe to try and keep his lower face/jaw clean – like most cats he is a very clean boy and this inability to keep himself up to his usual cleanliness must be frustrating

Mum received our consignment of Jungle Kitty Formula from Lou the shop cat and his assistant Chevy at Live Love Meow. This is a senior supplement Lou recommended and we got for Peanut, and Harvey (both over 10).

We are starting with 1/4 of a teaspoon mixed in as Peanut is notoriously picky about her food and Harvey is still coping (well) with eating while wearing his cone – we will be increasing the supplement slowly over the two weeks or so. The mix is gentle, natural and looks as though it will be an asset in protecting their future health.

Recovery of Harvey Day 8

The Jungle Kitty formula is going down well. We will see how it helps! Harvey is spending a lot of time on the bed asleep or in the living room on Mum’s knee, making blogging work a bit of a challenge! He is looking much better although still a bit battered.

Day 9 Report

Harvey is spending a lot of time resting today, surgery does take it out of a little cat body,  and we feel he is very ‘over’ wearing the cone. We feel he is more and more himself, and less the sick cat he was when he came home. Does that make sense?

Tomorrow is vet visit day and we hope the cone will be coming off – however, Mum harbours a sneaking suspicion one or two nice scabs are not quite dry enough and the stitches will need a close look by the vet. Peanut and Harvey are both eating the Jungle Kitty easily and not being ‘picky’. Adding the supplement slowly is working.

Are We Ready to Take the Cone Off? Day 10

Harvey speaks first:- “Today is vet visit day to see if the cone would be coming off. I admit I was anxious as Mum didn’t know if there was enough healing. I still look a bit rough, although the kind blog comments are all saying I look like a tough guy (which is much more fun!).

  • Down to the vet in a taxi (not cheap but my nerves won’t take the walk mum says). The CONE IS OFF. WooHooo this feels good.”

The vet gave Harvey a thorough examination, checking his ear surgery, and pronounced him sufficiently healed for the dreaded cone to be removed. The cone was given a thorough wash and we have brought it home – just in case there is any scratching. Harvey seems almost as traumatised as when the cone was put on.

Day 11 cat ear surgery

It has taken 24 hours for him to begin to ‘come back to himself’ and be more like Harvey.

Harvey also, while unobserved, scratched at the scabs on his nose and took the tops off. *ouch*  The upside of this is that it must have hurt enough that he has not done it since. Everything is drying up nicely. Harvey has taken to settling in Peanut’s heated bed. He is also feeling up to taking a walk outside so we believe he is on the mend.

NOTE:- If you have any questions to ask us, on a general level, about Harvey and his ear surgery please feel free to use our contact form (this emails us direct). We are happy to share our experience and support as much as we can. We know these things can be stressful so you should not worry about cat ear surgery alone!

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The Later Update on my Ear Surgery

Blogging pal Clooney’s recent question about how my cat ear surgery went and how I was recovering from the removal of squamous carcinoma cells prompted Mum and I to sit down and draft an update. The original update was set back quite some time due to Mum’s motorbike accident, but she is on the mend – thank you, so, if you are ready? Here we go……

  • For those of you who would like to read the previous report – there is a page here. This is a diary for the first 10 days or so following my surgery, there is then a clear well marked gap before the images appear. The images are to show anyone else undergoing the surgery what they might expect. If you are sensitive, you are safe to read to the warning in red.
cat ear surgery

As you can see from the pictures here, I am looking more like a Scottish Fold which only adds to my charm as an older guy! The edges of my ears are clean and pink and the hair is growing back nicely. See * turns head around *.

If you look as my nose you can see how well the cryosurgery has removed the cancerous marks. Today there are clean plain pink scars and I don’t feel any different than before! My spirits are in excellent shape and I still chase Miranda, then patrol the garden (when its not raining!). I still cuddle up to Mum every night time; so, life is good, and it’s a cat’s life here in Middle-Earth!

7 thoughts on “A Cat Pinnectomy – Harvey’s Ear Surgery A Personal Report”

  1. Reading this has helped a great deal,our white cat Baloo,Had his ear surgery today,and was very distressed when we got him home,he has eaten and seems to have calmed down abit,we will try your feeding bowl tip,thanks for that,reading about your white cat has made me feel better,but has a real shock to see what the ears are like now,but like us cat lovers ,we just want them well ,thankyou

    Reply
    • I am so glad it helped and I hope Baloo feels his proper self again soon. Our Harvey seemed to cope much better than I did and recovered well. I was a real’helicopter parent’for a while!

      Reply
  2. Thanks so much for this post. My white kitty Alaska was at the vets having his ear sugery today, while I frantically googled for suggestions on how to cope during the recovery period. This blog entry is the one I emailed to myself for ongoing reference! Collected Alaska that evening (after reading this) and was so thankful for the information your gave. E.g the raising of plates – I wouldnt have even thought of that and it has been a real winner (tho we tend to sit and hold a small bowl inside his cone at eating times. And I specifically requested liquid antibiotics ‘cos there’s just no way I’d have been able to “pill” him. Alaska had his surgery on Wednesday. It’s now Saturday night – almost half-way to “cone-off” day. It’s unfortunate that Alaska is also dealing wth arthritis in a front leg … and having a dentail procedure ..all at the same time! (Had taken him to the vet for a sore leg after a local cat fight … and suddenly the ear-surgery became a necessity. Along with a biopsy above his eye (requiring even more stitches!) Just wanted to again say thank-you so much for this post, and I hope you see this! 🙂 (Alaska and his Mum, New Zealand)

    Reply
  3. Just checking in on Harvey, how is he doing now, hope all has healed well with ease, purrs to you buddy.

    Reply
  4. We are happy to hear that Harvey is wanting to cuddle and get affection, sending our biggest purrs and prayers for his complete healing with ease.

    Reply
  5. This is such a danger in white cats. Mom mentioned it on Straw Hat Day, and she is planning a post for Friday which is Don’t Fry Day. Our angel (pink-nosed, white cat) Madison never advanced to Harvey’s damage and skin cancer, but we know how bad this can be. Our mom had basel cell carcinoma and two of her friends died from malignant melanoma. She doesn’t ever want to have one of us in Harvey’s situation. We are purring and praying for him that he gets through this healing phase without too much more hassle. Sending all of you love and prayers. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo and Mom Janet

    Reply

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