Beautiful one year old Marley, a Norwegian Forest-Maine Coon cat, managed to get out onto the road one warm summer evening likely chasing flies in 2021 and even though he experienced a very scary situation being hit by a speeding vehicle he managed to drag himself back to his owner.
He was immediately referred to us by Barn Animal Hospital in Old Basing after his trauma, which initially appeared as a blooded nose and mouth often seen after road accidents where the animal has gone face first into the side of a vehicle. This was also followed soon after by a bleed to his eyes and a CT scan confirmed the initial x-rays that there were multiple fractures to his skull, nose and jaw that were too complex for standard wiring. Marley had also been blinded in his left eye. He was seen by both our neurology team and our veterinary orthodontist Dr Matthew Oxford, who realised that some of the roots of his teeth had shattered, so decided to remove them. Dr Oxford then made a special inter-oral splint, fusing Marley’s remaining incisors into the plate to stabilise the fractures to his jaw and allow it to heal naturally over an initial 6-week period. Marley was also intubated with an oral feeding tube in his neck, to administer recovery fluids.
After a period of hospitalisation, where Marley’s sweet nature and determination to make it through was clear, he was sent home with his feeding tube in place that his caring owner Lynda was instructed how to this use for administering food, fluids and medicines to aid healing and comfortable sleep. Lynda also created a safe clean nursery room for him, initially using a crate, to ensure that Marley was not jumping to keep the splint in place. Marley had lost over a kilo in weight during his ordeal but with our advice available on standby and trips back into us for regular check-ups, as well as check in’s with his local vet, he did remarkably well. All was going well until a few days before his splint was due to be surgically removed when he managed to remove his feeding tube and his splint himself, but Sue our veterinary dental nurse reassured Lynda that after examination, Marley was absolutely fine and able to go home with instructions for soft foods only for a further two months, and no fly chasing.
Lynda said “Marley had become almost unrecognisable at times, especially when covered in his liquidized food and his fur rather matted as he couldn’t groom himself, but Marley is both sweet natured and super smart, a little cheeky at times but quite determined so he really powered through and was over the moon to be home and eat solid wet foods, to groom himself and eventually was soon licking and sucking up my other cats’ biscuits! He became known to friends as ‘miracle or marvelous Marley’ and has grown into the largest, fluffiest and cuddliest cat at 5.4kg.”
“He still can’t see out of his left eye, although some days he seems to have some sight and it responds more than others, with the pupil appearing a little less dilated. Marley doesn’t seem bothered at all though and after a bit of adjusting with his good eye, seems very settled. He also drooled quite a bit after the splint came off and wasn’t quite sure what to do with his tongue for a while as it had been resting mainly behind the split or using it to lap some food as the weeks went by. His little litter mate is a fair bit smaller than him but insists on washing Marley still. All of his gorgeous fur is back to full length, and he is quite the ‘fluffy pants’ and grooming himself daily. He is a very cuddly boy and has a couple of favourite toys which he brings in his mouth up to my bed every night; somehow our nursing experience together has made us closer than ever.”
“His mouth looks good, nice and pink and normal again, and he learnt to put his tongue away, so he is far less ‘dribbly’. He can still be a little nervous around certain sounds (which he wasn’t pre accident), mostly things that sound a lot like some of the rattling vans that pass outside. He also went through a phase of rediscovering things a few months later, such as a good dig in the plant pots and a bit of climbing to the top of his cat tree and the occasional bookcase. He loves his indoor grass pot and to sit and have a look out of the windows. He eats normally like any other cat and I still take him out on walks in the garden on a harness as he is a bit sensitive to outside noises but loves a good fly chase in the house now and then!”.
…and every day I thank our lucky stars how lucky Marley and I are to have him enjoying life again, he is now called Marley Bear for all his bravery and determination, and can’t wait to celebrate his 2nd birthday later this year. I am eternally grateful to Dr Oxford, Sue, and the rest of the team at Anderson Moors and of course my lovely local vet who worked seamlessly with them all.”
More details on the feeding tube: