My Teary Eyed Jelly Belly
One bright sunny Spring day, I was outside watering my garden when my cat, Jelly Belly, came over to me and brushed against my leg. I gave him a little scratch behind the ears, but when he looked up, I noticed that his eye was watering. Now, Jelly has always had a weepy eye, maybe because he’s got a lot of Persian in him and his face is slightly smooshed in, but this wasn’t normal. The eye was tearing a lot and he was having trouble keeping it open.
I tried to have a look at it, but he struggled and growled. It was really bothering him and must have been sore, so I decided to try to make him comfortable by taking him inside and getting him settled in his favorite bed. Then I sat down beside him with a damp cloth and gently wiped his tears.
A Trip to The Vet
Even though I’d managed to give Jelly’s eye a cursory examination without being the recipient of a bite, I couldn’t see anything wrong. There were no obvious cuts or scratches on his cornea and I couldn’t see anything poking in it. It was still very watery and had actually started secreting a gooey fluid almost like pus. Now I knew something was wrong. I waited for a few hours, gently dabbing at the eye with a warm paper towel, but it wasn’t getting any better. I was frustrated because he was miserable and there didn’t seem to be anything I could do about it. I’m not one to rush off to the vet for the slightest thing, but this was definitely a time when it was necessary as I wasn’t able to do anything. So, off we went.
A Seed of Truth
My vet is only a couple of miles away, which is a good thing because it meant I wouldn’t have to listen to Jelly’s plaintive cries and howls for very long. Even so, I was glad when I arrived and I think Jelly was happy that the car had stopped. He’s traveled a lot with me, but he really hates the cat carrier. He’d much rather be free in the car, but that’s not possible. He’s a roamer. One second he’s on the front seat, then under the front seat, then climbing on my lap, my shoulder, my head. Like I said, he’s a roamer.
Anyway, once inside the vet, I checked in and gave the receptionist a quick breakdown of the problem. Luckily there was only one person ahead of me, so my wait wasn’t long. It probably felt longer to Jelly because every now and then he’d let out a cry and I’d do my usual ‘shhh, it’ll be all right’ to try to calm him down. He’d poke his nose through the bars of the carrier as if to say, ‘yeah, sure, you’re not stuck in a cramped box’.
Once we got into the examination room, I took Jelly out and placed him on that cold stainless steel table. He didn’t like that much. A moment later, the vet came in, frowned at his weight (he’s part Persian and about 20 pounds) and then began tugging on his eye lid right away. She shone a little flashlight into the eye as a technician held down my ferocious beast. The vet asked for some tweezers. Tweezers? Now I was really interested and peeked over the tech’s shoulder.
Within a few seconds, the vet had pulled out a gunky looking grass seed. It was truly a gross spectacle to behold, covered in mucus and slime.
She flushed out his eye, to his great disapproval, with saline and checked his cornea carefully, then gave him a clean bill of health. She also gave me some eye drops, just to make sure that everything was flushed out, and to soothe his sore eye, but that was all.
Turns out that the grass seed, or foxtail, had worked its way underneath his bottom lid, far enough down that I couldn’t easily see anything and Jelly couldn’t get it out himself. Since cats are notoriously curious-remember the old adage of curiosity killed the cat-I could just imagine Jelly rooting around in the grass outside and then getting poked by a loose seed, complete with the little barbed ends. If you’ve ever been the recipient of grass seeds piercing your clothing, then you know how easy it is to pick them up by just brushing by them.
A Happy Fat Cat
After his ordeal, Jelly was made to stay inside for a few days. He wasn’t too happy with that, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want him going out and doing the same thing. So, the moral of this story is that if you have long grass that’s gone to seed in your yard, cut it down, keep your pets inside or check them very carefully. Jelly has always had things get stuck in his fur, even grass seeds, but the eye thing was something new. I’m really careful now and since he’s getting old, he’ll be 12 in October, he doesn’t wander very much and mostly lies on the deck out back. He’s basically a very happy, albeit fat, cat.