Saturday, December 21, 2013


Toffee, wondering why we're making all this ridiculous fuss over a stupid string.

Two vet visits and $400 in X-rays later, we are still playing the waiting game with The Little Gold String Somebody (Probably Toffee) Ate. We stuffed both Toffee and Harris with disgusting amounts of Vaseline three times a day until Toffee developed some messy back-end problems that didn't produce the missing string. Then we stuffed them with nearly-as-disgusting amounts twice a day. Then all four of us became so disgusted that we stopped.

Yesterday, we took both boys to the vet for their annual checkups and vaccines. (We drove to the new hospital in Jamaica Plain for the first time.) They are in fine health (aside from ingested foreign objects) and at ideal weights, which was good news. Then they each had an X-ray, which did not show the cord, although a cord exactly like it (which I'd cleverly brought along) appeared on a test X-ray our vet cleverly took while radiographing another cat.

Harris's X-ray did show that his insides were so clear that the string would probably have been visible had he eaten it. So signs pointed to Toffee, a known danger to himself and always our prime suspect for anything involving destruction of property or possible death. He also turns out to have a much more congested, hard-to-decipher gut. No string was visible in all that stuff. We went home with instructions to keep watching for signs of obstruction, and a reminder that both cats would probably be tired for a day or so from their vaccines.

I was tired, too. I keep lying awake at night worrying about the potential for doom resulting from a worthless little golden string.

This morning, my husband reported that Toffee did not eat any breakfast. When anyone doesn't want breakfast, that is a cataclysmic event. When I got up and came into the living room, I did not find Toffee heading for the corner where I keep his Neko Fly pole toy, which he insists on playing with every morning. I got it out anyway. He watched Harris chase it, refusing to move. Then I picked him up, and he meowed. I picked him up twice more and got more meows. These were all signs he was in pain, so we called the vet and raced over there.

Of course, in the vet's exam room, he seemed fine. He squirmed as she thoroughly palpated his gut, but didn't cry or show signs of pain. She took two X-rays, which revealed no string or blockage, just a lot of gas and... stuff. His intestines looked normal otherwise. So, a false alarm, probably. (Did you know that, in Italian, they say, "falso alarmo"? I'm not kidding.) Most likely he was just still feeling out of sorts this morning from the vaccines he received yesterday. The vet gave him fluids and sent us home to watch and wait some more.

As we sat and waited for the X-ray results, I found the December issue of Cat Fancy, with an article about Harris's rescue mom and our friend Robin Olson, with a big photo of her. Since we were also messaging each other, it felt almost like she was there worrying with us.

So the waiting game continues, as Toffee eats, hangs around, and look mysterious. I hope I'll have more interesting news soon... and please join me in hoping that the little cardboard Christmas ornament doesn't cost us any more in vet bills or gray hair.

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