Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Visit to the Vet

Possum wonders if his apartment has reappeared for a nefarious reason.
A disturbing clue: it's lined with a puppy-training pad.

Possum and Wendy had their annual check-ups and shots last night. We all survived. It's difficult. I don't quite get nostalgic for the years when our previous, elderly cat quartet went to the vet frequently and I sometimes went daily to pick up medications and special food. But I do wish our current crew made as little fuss about going as our other cats did.

It doesn't help that the cat hospital, originally a few blocks away, is now in Jamaica Plain so we have a tense, 30-minute drive. That's a long time for cats to be complaining, panting, and trying to force their way out of carriers.

We put a carrier in the living room a few days before an appointment in hopes that the right cat will be in it at the right time. It never happens, but they like to hang out in there; it's known as "Possum's Apartment." This time, we found that moths had attacked the fake sherpa that lines the bottom of all four carriers. They couldn't eat it, so they just made a mess and died. We now have four well-scrubbed carriers. 

We need a fifth — not that our tiny car can hold more than three. We need a plus-sized one for Possum. He weighs 15 pounds, so he is about 50 percent bigger than any of the others. He can't turn around comfortably in his carrier, which he considers an indignity. But he is big enough to make it roll around with him inside, which is hard to watch and another indignity for Possum once he decides it is. I hold him on my lap in the car, with the door unzipped a little so I can pet and comfort him.

I gave all of the cats several PetNaturals Calming Treats after dinner. I was full of dread and willing to try anything. Our vet thinks they might actually help. I suppose Possum could have been more freaked out than he was about going into his carrier but I don't want to imagine it.

After we catch Wendy, the hard work is mostly over. She figures she is About to Die and rolls into a Ball of Terror. We move swiftly and it is not that hard to zip a furry, headless, legless ball into a carrier. She cries and pants in the car; if I talk to her, she shuts up and feigns death, closing her eyes tightly and pressing her head into a corner.

Our vet is well worth the pain of getting to her. It's an all-cat practice and she has an informed, sensible answer for every question I ask. She's very smart, she listens, and she knows and loves cats deeply, and I trust her. Possum lay placidly on the exam table as we talked, and didn't protest as she inspected and injected him. (What happened to that frantic creature in the carrier?) She said he looked great, including his teeth. Brushing the boys' teeth every other night is paying off. His weight is stable; I guess he will always be "well-upholstered." He was once 17.5 pounds so his current weight is an improvement.

Wendy was ladylike during her exam but we can't brush her teeth and it shows. She'll need a cleaning next year. She is 9.8 pounds and doing well aside from being a skittish, neurotic mess with brown teeth. 

The other hard part of taking cats to the vet is coming home. In the two hours we are away, the cats left behind forget our existence. The returning cats are regarded as strangers who reek of evil, nasty vet. There is hissing, growling, and swatting. Harris, in particular, turns into a spitting demon towards his former pals. Last night he even hissed ferociously at ME, which I take as evidence that he considers me a cat. No cat of mine has ever done that. I felt rather pleased with myself.

To end the hostility, our vet always gives us a paper towel sprayed with Feliway, a calming, pheromonal product that we are supposed to rub all over each cat multiple times, so they all smell more alike, in a good way, and like each other, so they can recognize each other as buddies again. (One time this backfired, and everyone hated each other for a solid day.) Last night it worked well. Toffee and Lion are reasonable cats; I also handed out lots of treats. When Harris continued to hiss at me, I rubbed myself with the paper towel. He settled down.

I wonder if I qualify as a cat now, and can be seen by my vet instead of my doctor. I'd switch in a flash.

1 comment:

  1. Well I'm glad they got a clean (ish) bill of health.

    One requirement of mine when buying cars is that it be big enough to fit all of the cat carriers..

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