I immediately rang the vets, who were at the end of their morning surgery but graciously agreed to see her at the last minute if we hot-footed it straight over, which we did after the usual shenanigans of trying to insert a terrified (and injured) cat into a small carry-case. They said she'd need stitches under general anaesthetic so we left her there and went home to fret. It all went fine, but unfortunately they close early on Saturday so instead of them keeping her in for a few hours for observation we had to bring her home and keep an eye on her ourselves. She's been fitted with one of those cone-shaped vet collars since the stitches are in an incredibly accessible place where she'd swiftly start to pick at them.
She's in a very sorry state. :-( Ironically the wound itself didn't seem to be bothering her overly. The vet said she must have had it for about 24 hours judging from the edges of the wound, and that she must have caught it on glass or barbed wire. She was behaving normally last night (in fact she even caught a mouse last night which we retrieved and released unharmed as per our normal procedure) and this morning. Only the size of the injury and the risk of infection meant she needed to be looked at. Now that it's been stitched up, however, she's pretty miserable.
She's groggy from the anaesthetic and incredibly upset at having to wear the vet collar. It presses on her ears, so she hangs her head and keeps catching the collar on the carpet, bringing her to an abrupt halt. Worse, it covers her whiskers so she's lost all spacial awareness around her head. She keeps trying to slink along the wall, and of course the collar catches on every damn thing she bumps into. Not being the brightest of cats it takes her a while to work out that backing up might help. Worse she keeps trying to jump off things, blithely unaware that the collar will hit the ground before she will, twisting her head around.
It's very sad to watch, and I'd like nothing better than to remove it, but if she worries at her stitches it'll only make the wound worse. She's being reviewed on Wednesday, but it could be a long few days.
Picture below (I'll spare you close-ups on the wound):
As a result of all this drama we almost couldn't visit our friend's flat as planned for his birthday meal, but he and his girlfriend were good enough to relocate the whole shebang to our house where we could watch the cat, and a very enjoyable time we had too. It's just a shame that Charcoal is so upset. She can't even appreciate being fussed over, or put her head down properly to go to sleep. I do worry that she'll inadvertently hurt herself.