Just arrived on Micronesian island of Kosrae when pal Jeanne heard from young Naomi: her cat's cheek had been pierced with a fishhook. Could we help?
Kosrae had no vets, so the request wasn’t unwarranted—just unsettling. Jeanne turned to me, and I turned to run, but the door was shut. We assembled some tools, but what did we know about feline dentistry?
Snowball the cat had sequestered himself under the bed, probably having heard Naomi’s phone conversation. We brought him out to the couch, where Jeanne wrapped him in a large towel, respectful of the beast’s fierce claws.
She pulled open his jaws, and as luck had it, the big curve of the hook was outside his cheek, the single barb inside. I thought I could curl the hook around from the inside of his mouth and pull the big end back through. I also thought I could golf.
Snowball’s eyes flared with cat fire when I tugged unsuccessfully at the hook. He was kind enough to merely flash his incisors for future reference. OK, go to Plan B, cut it in half. Pliers gripping the hook from inside, and wire cutters clamping the hook on the outside, I gave a good squeeze. Nothing. The cat kicked, indicating that he had a play date elsewhere.
Nurse Naomi wiped my sweaty face before my next attempt. With a sharp click, both pieces fell free. The cat scampered off, and both Jeanne and I considered heart surgery for our own pounding chests. We’ve heard that Snowball’s fine, but when he gets an arrowhead in his paw, I’ll be gone fishing.