Sunday, May 11, 2014

What Were We Thinking?

I can't believe we ever thought we'd be parting company with this guy. 

Look at that face. We must have been out of our minds. He's purring in my lap as I type this. None of my cats has ever done that. Sure, they come and go when I'm sitting at my desk. He settles in.

In this photo I just took, you can see where they shaved his paws and belly for anesthesia and the ultrasound yesterday:

He looks a little strange but maybe he'll feel cooler this summer.

He's doing just fine, although everyone but Toffee is still hissing, growling, and swatting at him. He finds it confusing but he's not letting it get him down. We made a big mistake as we were trying to prevent this very problem, which is simply because Lion smells like the animal hospital and not like himself, so the cats don't recognize him. We were advised to rub all the cats with a towel and then rub Lion, to transfer their familiar scents to him. But then we rubbed the towel back onto the other cats, so they got some of Lion's "Eau de Scary Vet." And we didn't realize that we were only supposed to rub everyone's faces, not their bodies. Oh, well. Wendy was hissing at everybody yesterday and Harris hissed us.

All the inter-cat hostility we caused has simmered down, but only Toffee is nice to Lion. Harris actually skipped a meal or two because he didn't want to be in the kitchen with him. Wendy is asserting herself magnificently for once. Lion can have no doubt as to how much she despises him. I wish I could take this as a sign that she's coming out of her shell but I think she's just enjoying being a shrew for a change. Possum has been the biggest disappointment, smacking Lion, intimidating him, and generally being a bully. He's more than twice Lion's size, which makes it worse. Lion ignores him, and I'm so pleased. Lion can be sensitive and skittish, but he has the fierce heart of a lion deep down. He owns his name.

In my Professor MacGonagall voice, I've been lecturing Possum and Harris (Maquoddy and McBeastie, since students are addressed by last names) on the importance of Noblesse oblige, kindness, gentlemanly behavior, and so on. Possum gave me a dirty look when I told him he was a disappointment to his Norwegian aristocratic heritage.

Harris responded by throwing up his supper — aiming right into the narrow opening between the wooden cover of the steam radiator and the windowsill, one of the most inaccessible spots to clean in this apartment. We could just imagine what the smell would be like if the heat came on anytime soon. I consulted my dad, who has an entire century of problem-solving experience now, and decided I'd try using the fireplace poker and scraps of an old towel to clean it up. It worked. Harris wasn't simply being rude, I discovered. He had a hairball and I think it must have been troubling him for a day or two. I hope he will condescend to eat breakfast in the kitchen with Lion tomorrow.

If the hostility toward Lion continues, I'll call the vet tomorrow. Post-vet aggression usually lasts no more than a few hours or a day, but I've just read about cases where it's gone on for years after a vet visit. I had no idea. Lots of people take all of their cats to the vet whenever one cat needs to go, just to avoid this problem. There are several other tricks people try to keep the peace, but I'm afraid they could backfire on us. We need simple, explicit instructions. I'll keep you posted.


  1. Oh, poor Lion. Maybe Harry and Possum need a short vet stay...maybe to have nail tips trimmed or some other minor inconvenience, just for the opportunity to come home "smelly".
    Hang in there Lion. Your mom still loves you, no matter where you smell like (so does Toffee...he's been there before too)

  2. I read once that if you rub them ALL with a towel scented with something like Vanilla extract, it can help to restore the group scent. Good Luck :)

  3. Glad to hear Lion is OK - what an ordeal! How unusual that you now have three cats who are apt to swallow toys, strings, and Christmas tree light bulbs. And speaking of Christmas, how will you ever keep them away from the tree come December?


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