On Tuesday evening I noticed that the right side of Pook's face looked like he had turned into a chipmunk and tucked a mouse into his cheek for a midnight snack. I had to look closely at his jaws to make sure there wasn't a tail peeking out.
We adopted Pook from the humane society 7 years ago when he was around 8 years old and even then he had bad teeth. He was even missing one of his upper canines. So after seeing his swollen cheek and ensuring that it was NOT, in fact, a mouse I figured he had an abscessed tooth that would need to be removed. So I called the vet and made an appointment for the next evening after work.
I will admit that I was surprised when Pook acted like his normal self while I had my steak dinner that night, begging more aggressively and effectively than the dogs. I gave him lots of little steak pieces, which he chewed in his normal manner, not even favoring his right side. I thought, "Man, that cat is Street! Not even an abscessed tooth can keep him down!"
The next morning he was still very swollen but seemed in good spirits, teasing Icon by getting up on the bed to stretch right in front of him and meowing at me to let him outside and see what Chia and Litter (who don't prefer to be indoors) were up to overnight. Always the alpha pig, Pook shoved the other cats aside as I dumped that cat kibble into the bowl and started munching. Again I was struck by how tough he was to eat kibble with an abscessed tooth.
Well, all the signs were there for me to see but sometimes I come to a conclusion and nothing can make me change my mind. Pook didn't have an abscessed tooth after all. He had an abscessed wound. I came home from work to find him sitting on the cat tree with a decidedly UNswollen cheek. Instead there was a open red sore with pale red puss oozing out of it. The fur surrounding it was stiff with dried puss and radiated away from the sore as though incredible force was involved when the abscess exploded.
Pook got his wound cleaned and is looking much better now, but I'm afraid it will be a long time before I can look at him without imagining his cheek exploding. My skin is tingling just thinking about it. Creepy.
Here is a photo of Pook from 4 or 5 years ago. I will not horrify with a current photo.