Woman Comes Home To Find Her Cat Stuck Like This
At first, Karlee Trafford didn't notice anything amiss.
She had just come home on Sunday night, when her 3-and-a-half-year-old cat Jaxon jumped up to join her on the couch.
But the cat's face appeared to be frozen mid-scream.
"It was pretty scary actually," Trafford tells The Dodo. "Her mouth was open all the way. I actually don't think it could have been opened any wider."
Jaxon's tongue was still moving, she adds, "like she was drinking," and from somewhere deep inside the forlorn feline came a tiny meowing sound.
"She was breathing," Trafford, who happens to be a nurse, explains. "No weird sounds, just couldn't close her mouth. I tried to massage the area, but it was like it was frozen."
A panicked Trafford made a hasty trip to the nearby emergency clinic. She ended up waiting there for nearly three hours.
And just as the vet arrived to look at Jaxon, her mouth closed on its own.
Trafford went home that night. But the very next day, it happened again.
Another trip to the vet followed. This time, Jaxon was sedated while her jaw was gently popped back into place. Although clinic staff told her they had never seen a cat in this state before, they suggested she had a condition rarely found in cats called lockjaw.
Also known as tetanus, it's somewhat more common in humans.
Trafford says Jaxon showed no previous signs of the condition.
Lockjaw is most frequently caused by a bacteria finding its way into open wounds, leading to infection.
Because bacterial contamination of an unattended wound is the leading cause of lockjaw, outdoor cats are at a higher risk.
But Trafford says Jaxon has never been outside and is all caught up on her vaccines.
This leaves the case of the mysterious face freeze unsolved. For now.
But, at least Jaxon got her smile back.