First-time pet parents take Biden kitten for hernia surgery

When you don’t know what you’re doing – parenting cats through surgery isn’t straightforward. Read the trials and tribulations of these first – pet parents as they get Bidey bear through his health issues…

Hi there! Well, first of all, I’d like to thank Crystal for giving me the opportunity to write on her cool blog. I’m Olivia and I run a new cat blog MissPetPaws.

So, well this blog is all about Biden and his hernia surgery. Biden is my eleven-month-old kitten that we rescued here in Bulgaria. He’s named after Joe Biden (VP 47). Regardless, of political affiliation, I think we can all agree that Joe Biden is affectionate. As is my Biden kitten. They are both grey. And handsome. So we’ll leave it at that. Politics and cat blogs are a No No!

When we first rescued Biden he was a three-month-old runt of the litter and had managed to hurt his eye. When we took him to the vet I was shocked as they pulled a 2-inch twig out of his eye socket. He recovered just fine!

He also had an umbilical hernia but it wasn’t something urgent we were told. We also have a cat called Kinsey who is a little older at around a year and five months. After a nervous introduction, Kinsey just adored her little brother.

She insisted on licking him from head to toe, regardless of whether he was asleep or had been licked from head-to-toe, already ten times.

But as is the case with many things in life, things changed. Biden grew older and obviously tried to mate Kinsey. That she wasn’t too bothered with while she was on heat. They were still best of friends. 


What she took serious offense to was when Biden began spraying around 2 months ago. The vet explained what they are saying is, “This is my territory,” when they spray. Kinsey, on the other hand, was clearly of the opinion this place is her territory. And she graciously allows him to live here because she’s besotted with him. As soon as he started marking territory she was livid with him. 24/7.

Now, even the vet said Kinsey is wild. And I’ll second that.

So it was a real shame to watch a beautiful relationship turn into one that was so bad, they needed separating. Biden also took to caterwauling incessantly. So, it was definitely time to have Biden neutered and his hernia operated on, also.

Except nothing is quite so simple when you are first-time cat parents. Now, I’ve had dogs all my life, and I was of the opinion the same rules apply.

But they don’t. Do they?

Now, I am not saying dogs enjoy the vets. Especially after a bad experience. But however much your dog does not want to go to the vet, you’ll drag him into the car, all 100 pounds of him, if need be.

But jeez, you’ll get your dog to the vet. Somehow. It won’t savage you.


Try getting a cat that’s less than 10 pounds to the vet, if it really doesn’t want to. And you can think again! It has twenty razor-sharp barbs attached to powerful muscles making the cat virtually the best hunter on the planet.

And if she doesn’t want to go to the vet – she’s not going.

So the first mistake I made was the carrier. I try to look after as many stray cats as I can and as such, I had placed the carrier in the small yard we have. That way, a cold cat could crawl in and get a little respite from the freezing weather.

What I didn’t do was clean this carrier completely before I tried getting Biden into it. A number of male cats had sprayed around it and poor Biden became freaked out with the carrier. Understandably.

He went absolutely crazy and it was impossible to get him into the carrier without him almost ripping his claws into us. So then we got a new carrier and he jumped in just fine. So we headed to the vet expecting to be able to leave him there for his operation. Hmm…

Trip 1

Off to the vet, we went. Biden had some tests to check out his blood before the operation but he had a virus of some kind. He needed antibiotics before his operation.

Trip 2

Ten days later, he refused to get in his carrier and from this point on it was a case of having to sedate him. The first time he ate a bit of sedated food and we managed to get him to the vet. But his blood work showed his clotting still wasn’t great. So more antibiotics.

Trip 3

The next time, he knew what the sedative tasted like so when I put the sedative in the food he wouldn’t eat it. Consequently, I turned up at the vets empty-handed in need of another sedative.

Next, we managed to trick him by squeezing the sedative into his mouth as he played with the syringe. But he still needed another week for his blood work to improve a little more.

Trip 4

By now he knew that the sedative was in the syringe. So he wouldn’t play with it. So now it was a case of playing with him and getting his mouth open and suddenly squeezing it in. That worked. So off to the vet, he went again. This time his bloodwork still could have been better. But the senior vet said it was okay and they could deal with any difficulties.

So finally he had the operation.

He came around from his operation and proceeded to rip off his collar. Then he went for his stitches. So we had to tie his collar on tighter. He was a very angry and frustrated kitten for a while. But he got used to it in the end and recovered well. He stopped spraying completely.

Trip 5

But then after a week,  he refused to accept that he’d had surgery and insisted on leaping, hurling, and jumping. We went back to the vet to get another sedative as we were worried about him. Except this time was the most difficult ye,t attempting to get a sedative in his mouth with a collar. Once again it was the element of surprise that was key to administering the sedative this time. We were worried about nothing and his hernia is supposed to feel lumpy still.

Trip 6

Then when it was time to have his stitches out. We missed with the sedative. It landed on me, not in Biden’s mouth. So it was another trip to the vet without a cat in need of a sedative.

This time we picked up two sedatives in case we missed again. The last time it was once again, surprise and some force, the key mission tactics. My partner had been giving him the sedative so Biden was not expecting a syringe forced in his mouth quickly by me. He sank a claw into my one of my fingers and I took the pain as I held him to make sure the sedative went in. 


And then we were done. Nearly 2 months and 10 sedatives later. One happy, healthy, hernia-free, neutered kitten full of fun and love.

And a few hours hours after the sedative wore off he decided that carriers were his new favorite place. We can’t get him out of either of the two carriers. As soon as his phobia appeared it disappeared. That’s cats for you!

So What have we learned?

Well, for a start even the vet acknowledged that it’s pretty much impossible to get cats to stop jumping about after surgery. Your cat might have hernia surgery at any age. But it’s also quite likely you’ll have surgery performed on a kitten with it being an umbilical hernia or a birth defect. So kittens do jump around. Try not to worry.

Biden tore his collar off Houdini-style overnight about ten days after surgery. He didn’t lick his wound at all though. So it may be worth giving it a shot without the collar and see how your cat gets on. 

Apparently, castration doesn’t solve behavioral problems in all cats. But the success rate is around 90%. And it’s worked with Biden. Kinsey is no longer hostile and aggressive with him. Their play gets frantic at times as they haven’t worked out who is boss. But the change has been quick and remarkable. They are able to eat from the same plate and they are even cleaning each other now. So looks like the love is returning.


But ultimately we’ve learned that it’s so important to be able to get your cat in a carrier. I can’t stress that enough. Biden has overcome his phobia instantaneously which is unusual. But, I realize what a ridiculous situation we were in. You simply can’t own a cat and not be able to get it in a carrier. Imagine the awful but quite possible scenario in the course of a cat’s lifetime that she is injured or is taken ill quickly. And you can’t get your beloved cat in a carrier to get it help she desperately needs.

Not least that we hope to travel soon and it will mean we take connecting flights. With it being a long journey we’ll let the cats out in a hotel room. But what if you can’t reliably get your cat back in? And you are trying to take sedatives in syringes in your hand luggage? And it’s hit and miss and stress inter-connecting flights?

So I checked out some of the best tricks and tips to get your cat in a carrier.

Of course, top of my list in an emergency was cat-expert Jackson Gallery. He has a number of  tips to help out.

zipcarrier (1)

He suggests turning half of the box into a cozy den first and then building the rest of the carrier around your cat as she gets comfortable.

So if your cat currently won’t get in a carrier, please do take the time to get her accustomed so you don’t go through what we have!

If you’d like to drop by  MissPetPaws just follow the link. Thanks for reading.