Cat versus lurcher leads to emergency appointment for The Yorkshire Vet

When he arrived, Ed looked very sorry for himself. A placid lurcher might look grim at the best of times, but the Harry Potter-esque gash on his forehead was deep and painful. This seemed to make Ed’s ears fall even more than usual and he looked as confused and bewildered as he was pained.

“He was ambushed by a cat!” explained its owner, indignantly.

“Oh my God,” I replied. “I don’t think it usually happens that way!”

A lurcher was an emergency addition to the appointment list for Yorkshire vet Julian Norton.

“It’s a big red tom. He had hidden in a bush, waiting to pounce. I watched the attack from afar but couldn’t do anything. He dived on poor Ed when he passed, ”said Ed’s mother, before adding. “He’s a real threat in the village!”

Images of cartoon cats and mice came to mind, where a different Tom was usually the perpetrator of the violence as well as the victim. I wondered if this tom had planned to use a heavy metal object and if a sharp, throbbing mass might appear on the dog’s head as stars and chirping birds spun around.

Once upon a time, the hierarchy was clear. Growing up, my grandparents’ garden was filled with Jack Russells and Bedlington Terriers as well as their own lurchers. Woe betide any feline fearless or foolish enough to venture near. Then all the dogs chased the cats (and the rabbits); cats hunted mice; the birds ate insects (although I know an old lady who swallowed a fly. I don’t know what happened to her). Now the old lines seem to have faded. Times, as Mr. Dylan once said, are changing. I know many cats who live happily with dogs. I even know a goat called Abbie who hangs out with the farm dogs. “She thinks she’s a dog,” the farmer once explained. And I know a pig that lives in a kitchen, happily sharing a bed with two Labradors and a three-legged Huskie. In our own home, on a sunny day, our unhappy but happy bunny hops and jumps around the garden with Emmy, our Jack Russell for company. They seem to be friends, although the harmony of the relationship is really based on mutual ignorance rather than shared interests. But any friendship between a terrier and a ram would have been unlikely in the past.

But back to unfortunate Ed. On closer inspection, there was no throbbing bulge on top of his head or spinning stars. Just the zigzag laceration, like a foil attack from Zorro, slicing Ed’s forehead almost perfectly. It was deep but clean and most of the previous bleeding had stopped, but it definitely needed a few stitches.

After light sedation, careful clipping and cleaning, I instilled local anesthetic and carefully placed a row of sutures. A surgery like this is very satisfying and not at all stressful or overly difficult. When the edges are reaffixed, the pain quickly dissipates and healing can begin. Ed looked much better as soon as he got back (he didn’t even seem to mind Ed) and we called his owner back.

“Come back in ten days to have those stitches removed,” I ordered, handing him a few vials of medicine, “And whatever you do, Ed, stay out of trouble and stay out of the bush. Remind “You’re an Am-bush! Nobody, especially Ed, liked my joke.