My daughter left for the week on July 1st and I left on
July 4th, coming home later in the day on July 7th. I
felt the adult cats would be fine on their own for a few
days with plenty of dry food and water in the house
where they are safe.
looked fine and healthy when I left, but my daughter’s
cat, Skweeks, had a severely injured tongue when I
returned, drooling everywhere, including some blood.
would not eat or drink. I took her to an emergency pet
hospital, and the vet said it appeared that she had a
chemical burn on her tongue, which was bad enough to
consider having a feeding tube put down her throat until
the tongue healed.
option could have been a virus, although she is an
extremely healthy cat, and none of the other cats had
this have been a reaction to something she caught, such
as a coral-bellied snake, before I left? We have had a
number of dead or dying mice in the house and yard —
undoubtedly the work of Skweeks.
her blood work came back normal, so no poisoning at all.
Do you, or your readers, have any idea what could have
caused this? Have you heard of anything like this
Poor Skweeks. I hope she’s doing much better by now.
would seem unlikely that Skweeks tangling with a
coral-bellied ring-necked snake would have caused the
injury. The snakes are considered only mildly venomous.
They have two saberlike fangs in the back of their
mouths, but the teeth are solid.
a viper, which injects its venom through hollow fangs,
the ring-necked snake uses the fangs as a way to channel
its venom from a modified salivary gland. Essentially,
the venom coats the teeth and then transfers to the prey
when bitten, although it often takes a lot of biting to
achieve the desired effect.
venom paralyzes the prey so the snake can swallow it
whole. As the snake is pretty small, its victims are
likewise small. Skweeks would have had to really work at
getting bitten on the tongue.
snake also excretes a very smelly musk when handled, and
so it’s possible that might have irritated Skweeks’
tongue. In either case, she probably would have shown
symptoms before you left.
more likely she got hold of something in the house, such
as bleach or another cleaning agent. She might have
licked the container or, if the floors had recently been
cleaned, she might have walked through some residue and
then licked her feet.
cats are less likely than dogs to ingest substances that
are unhealthy for them, they do get into trouble when
they get something on their feet or fur, and then lick
it off in a cleaning frenzy.