Thursday, April 10, 2008

50 Ways

If the situation arose, who would it be more difficult for you to leave?

A) Your hair dresser
B) Your lover
C) Your veterinarian

Well, in my own case, my hair dresser happens to be one of my best friends. I didn't even leave her on the day that I accidentally fell asleep while she was cutting my hair (in my own defense: I was about two weeks post-partum after my third child was born). While I was snozzing, she razor cut my chin-length bob to a snazzy little pixie cut. It was a shock to wake up to, and certainly NOT what I would have chosen for myself... but man, she made me look HAWT, even in my feeble and exhausted condition. She's downright magical, people. I would never leave her. I DO understand that some people have trouble when they leave a hairdresser, and would rather confess an infidelity to their spouse than to their stylist. Especially if they are forced to go crawling back to have a bad hairdo fixed...

As for B, well... I won't go into it. Paul Simon has already given us fifty different options.

My own answer to the question, therefore, would be a resounding C) the veterinarian.

Yesterday morning, George (the Fierce, Vile Cat in Residence) came hurtling out of the basement, as she usually does most mornings, in search of her morning kill... er, um... repast. She wound herself around my legs, and gave me an "affectionate" slash-to-the-ankles to get my full attention. I looked down at her sharply, and she met my gaze... while furiously winking one of her enormous yellow eyes. Upon closer examination, I was dismayed to find that her right eye was actually quite swollen and irritated. Indeed, she looked like an angry pirate in desperate want of a patch.

Ram-pag-ing conjunctivitis.


Not so much because the poor wittle animal was suffering... but because it necessitated that I, the long-suffering owner of poor wittle animal, would have to take her to the v-e-t.

I have a relationship with George's v-e-t that would, at best, be described as "uneasy". Not that she isn't a very thorough doctor of animals-- she is. She is extremely attentive, and a meticulous diagnostician. Hell, I've got the bills to prove it.

The problem I have with this animal expert is the GUILT she attempts to lay on me during each and every visit, whether my cat is ailing or not. She is the Mother-in-Law of all Veterinarians, if you will. Yes, even at WELL-CAT CHECK-UPS, she manages to make me feel as though I've been "shirking" my duties as owner. That I'm flunking out on her feline attent-o-meter, and I'm just not doing enough to ensure that my ferocious, sixteen-year-old black monster--who is normally as healthy as a HORSE, I might add-- will live forever.

Example #1

Sanctimonious Vet: The cat is overweight! What are you feeding her?! And how are you ensuring that she is getting adequate exercise?!

The vet recoils in horror when I tell her that I buy George's tinned food at a major grocery store chain, rather than purchasing million-dollar tins of specially-medically-formulated morsels that meet all of the feline's delicate nutritional requirements. And, I tell her, if I could pry the animal off of the hot-air vent in my kitchen and actually wake her up during the day, "regular exercise" might be a possibility. Apparently, suddenly and frighteningly leaping onto one's owner while she is asleep during the wee hours of the night, in order to beg for food, doesn't count as "exercise". Even if the height of my mattress IS on the tall-side.

Example #2

Sanctimonious Vet: The cat has gingivitis! Why are you not brushing her teeth?!

Well, because I'd have to catch her first, quite frankly. And the idea of roaring around the house, wielding a specially-designed toothbrush that costs more than the electric job I use on my OWN chompers, after an animal that is foaming at the mouth, does not appeal to me, for some reason. The only thing that would appeal to me LESS, would be actually catching her, and having to endure the mauling I would receive if I ever DID attempt to brush her teeth.

Example #3

Sanctimonious Vet: The cat has a bad attitude, and bit me.

If you'd quit shoving things up her backside and forcing her mouth open to a degree that makes it look as though she could turn inside-out and accidentally swallow her own head, I assure you, the cat would PROBABLY be a lot calmer.

Yes, a trip to the vet clinic is NOT on the list of My Favourite Things. And it sure as hell isn't on George's top-ten, either.

It was clear to me that we'd both had enough. And so, I decided to try and screw up my courage and take the cat to a different vet. I decided that I would attempt to find a vet more like the ones I remember from my small-town childhood. A low-maintenance, James Herriot-y sort of vet, who lives in the REAL WORLD and doesn't expect me to treat my cat with even more TLC that I show to my own offspring.

So, I called around. I called four or five different clinics, and you know what? Not ONE of them would see my cat without having her medical records transferred from Sanctimonious Vet's office first.

Fine and fair enough. Having a thorough knowledge of the case history IS, undoubtedly, What's Best for The Animal.

However, the trick in each case arose when I mentioned that it was Sanctimonious Vet's office that they would have to have the records transferred from. There was a pause on the other end of the telephone line... and then I was asked if I would like to phone Sanctimonious Vet and make a personal request to transfer the file.

It turns out that the entire vet community in this town is just as tripped-out by Sanctimonious Vet as I am.

One receptionist even said to me, "Just so you know. She's not going to take it well."

Another one encouraged me, "Don't be scared!! Just phone her!!" To which I replied, "Hell, woman, YOU don't have the guts to call her, either!"

Eventually, I caved. The angst was just too much for so early on a week-day morning. The thought of having to REASON my way out of Sanctimonious Vet's practice was even MORE excruciating than enduring the lashings of laid-on-guilt. Even though I knew I was in for a grilling, I phoned Sanctimonious Vet and made an appointment.

Even after I hung up the phone, I could hear her voice in my head, as I trudged down the stairs to the basement:

Sanctimonious Vet: The cat has ram-pag-ing conjunctivitis, and needs MAJOR SURGERY! We'll be resecting her eyelids as soon as we can get an imprint of your platinum VISA card! Of course, I'm assuming you DO HAVE a platinum VISA card...

For her part, George the Fierce, Vile Patient heard the faintest rattle coming from the depths of the downstairs storage room, and took off like a black streak of lightning for the furthest corner of the house.

Because she knew what was next.

The Wrestle. Into. THE. BOX.

Now, I am aware that many people have nice, gentle, NORMAL cats who will ride in a car quite happily. Some like to perch in the rear window, and peer out at passing traffic. Others like to cuddle in a towel or blanket. Some, like our Little Cat, years ago, like to curl up on the passenger seat, and pretend to be a Person. Our former Big Cat, on the other hand, liked to cower under the back seat, occasionally howling tides of "WOE!!" at various intervals during the ride, because HE knew what was coming next, poor fellow.

However, NONE of this prepared me for the Grand Production that is "George In The Car". I attempted to drive with George, without the benefit of a restraining device, precisely once. And never again. For the shrieking howls that rang out during the short journey, punctuated by the loud THUMPS that were George, pinging off of the ceiling and walls of my hatch-back as she hurtled 'round, searching desperately for an escape... nearly did me in. What DID do me in was the moment that she made contact with my head... and she proceeded to wrap her furry self around me, like a strange, live "turban", sunk her claws, and HUNG ON.

THAT was a trip that will never. be. repeated.

Now, we use The Box, which is equipped with a double-action lock, and special slots to slide a seatbelt through. Yes, we need a seatbelt restraint, too.

Once I have managed to grab the howling, spitting cat, the next trick is to somehow compress her puffed-up self through the door of The Box. Before the door can be closed, however, I must manage to contain all of those hysterically flailing furry arms and legs that keep popping out 'round the sides... and only then can I safely double-bolt the lock... George is usually SO beside herself with rage by this point, that The Box actually continues to bounce up and down on the floor. Hence, the seatbelt in the car. It keeps George-in-The-Box from bouncing off of the back seat during transit.

Trust me, people, I would give her tranquillizers if I could administer them using a dart gun. Because I have discovered the hard way over the past sixteen years, that the only thing I would rather do LESS than attempt to brush this cat's teeth, is to try and get a pill down her throat.

And anyway, if I were given tranquillizers to get her through these trips to the vet, the temptation to take them MYSELF would be almost too great to resist.

After much pomp-and-circumstance, George and I made it to the appointment. And we now have some lovely viscous eye drops that I am supposed to attempt to administer to the cat, three times a day.


I can't complain, really.

Sanctimonious Vet was actually on her "best behavior", as the appointment turned out to be fairly low-key, and went without much incident.

She thoroughly examined the cat, as she always does, and then turned to ask me about my inadequacies.

And THIS ONE was a doozie of a question, people. One that I had to bite my tongue till blood was coming out the sides of my mouth, to keep from answering...

THIS is what she asked:

"Has the cat been under any stress, lately?"

Ooo slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don't need to be coy, Roy
Just listen to me
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free...


Leeann said...

What the?
A cat?
Mine just sits on my heat vent in the kitchen...and jumps on my stomach when I'm sound asleep.
What an odd woman.
*shaking head in disbelief*

mrinz said...

Hehe - that is so funny - I could just imagine it all!

Last time I took our cat to the vet I got clawed when trying to put him in the cage. The vet looked at the blood dripping down my neck and gave me antiseptic to put on it.

So I took the cat to the vet and then got treated by the vet myself! My daughter says I was lucky the vet didn't want to take my temperature!

Candygirlflies said...

I guess I should just consider myself lucky that Sanctimonious Vet hasn't euthanased me yet, then, Mrinz!!

Just kidding (I hope...)

xoxo CGF

painted maypole said...

we had a cat that never failed to make at least one employee at the vet's office bleed at every visit. we prided ourselves in it, actually. ;) She was so tiny and cute looking. heh heh heh. after the first visit they were wise to her, and she STILL got them every time.

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