Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


We are owned by 2 cats.  Our two boys are "cat-cats," not "dog-cats".  Over 40+ years we have had cats that acted more like dogs. We assumed that all cats were dog-like.

How can two reasonably intelligent and educated people be so wrong!

We spare no expense for our four legged family.
  Soap box comments aside,
 I strongly believe that if you can't be a responsible, caring, loving pet mom or dad,
 you shouldn't have the privilege of being owned by pets. 
(please don't comment if you feel other wise)
AND if you mistreat them,
 you should have the word "Scum" tattooed to your forehead
 so that we can easily identify you!
  Slipped briefly onto my soap box.
  Stepping down now.

Today was V-Day ... Vet Day!  We kept it a secret as long as possible from the participants.  But at some point the jig is up - and V-Day becomes common knowledge.
Our story starts with the two very fancy travel cases on wheels that we have for these yearly trips to the vet.  They were pricey, BUT they are worth every single penny.  The cats seem calmer while traveling and it is easier on our aging backs.

It also allows us to make a snooty entrance into the vet's waiting room - making a positive impression by looking spiffy, calm, cool, collected and blood free.  We always get comments on the cases.

Money well spent, I tell you!

But loading our boys into the cases at home can be tricky!  We haven't totally mastered that yet.

The first cat is usually easy.  This time the first cat was Wally.  We pick him up, he is happy, purring ensues, and then ... plop ... we drop him into the case and zip him in.  Easy, peasy.  We are feeling masterful and in charge at that point.  Then Wally yowls a long loud cry, raising the alarm for his brother, Max, who gets the message with lightening speed and dives under the bed. (And it makes no difference who is picked up first.  They are brothers.  They work as a team in crisis situations.)


Now our focus is Max under the bed. We begin with softly worded cajoling (which never works, by the way), and then we move on to the "cookie technique" - cookies placed artfully in a line leading out from under the bed (which worked exactly one time 6 years ago and never since), and then the "catnip offering" which he dearly loves (making him totally manic if he imbibes, but on V-Day - he doesn't.)  We are finally reduced to the "broom technique" - sweeping it against his body to push him out where we can grab him (picture two 66-67 year old codgers laying on the floor beside the bed - one codger has markedly reduced vision - an elephant could pass by and he might miss it - the other is swearing mightily - totally annoyed at how dirty it is under our bed.)

Really, it is not one of our finer moments!

At some point, however, we succeed - but not without many swear words and sweat!

The trip by car it uneventful ... if you agree that pitiful cries from the back seat and cat drool (due to motion sickness) are "uneventful."

The vet's exam is also fairly quiet.  The cats are docile making us look totally ridiculous as we stand there looking damp, layered with cat hair and carpet fuzz.  I guess the vet has seen worse.

It is only once the vet take the cats to the back lab for blood work, urine samples, shots and nail trimming that the true state of affairs become evident.

I mean, after all, imagine just how much fun it must be to take urine from a cat.  For example this time we had this scenario:  the technician returned with Max after the visit to the lab using one hand to wipe the side of her face.  I was immediately worried.  There didn't appear to be any scratches or blood.  She said things got kind of exciting in the lab.  While preparing to retrieve some urine (don't ask how they do that),  Max started to pee all over the place.  I had visions of a vet tech holding sample cup here and there - moving left and right - trying to catch the urine stream before it hit the ground.  What she was wiping off her face was cat urine.

Some people are just not paid enough for what they do!!

The return trip is always quiet.  The cats are exhausted and we much poorer!

And every year on the return trip home I have the same nagging thoughts ... will they remember us when we come next year?   ... do we need to change our names?   ... is there any chance that there will be new staff who don't know us?  After all, those fancy travel cases can carry you only so far in the "positive impression" department.

We know things could be worse.  Been there - done that!  Many years ago we had a cat named Alex whose chart was covered in very big red ink letters with stars and arrows - inside and out - pointing to one over-riding message.

Release cat to owners
totally recovered from anesthesia.

Yes, Alex had issues!

The vet frequently asked how we were able to manage a difficult cat like this at home.  He cautioned us that often cats with this kind of extreme behavior are euthanized.  I sincerely doubt he believed us when we told him that the cat was a cream puff at home. Oh well.  I prefer to think that Alex was just misunderstood.

Rest in peace dear Alex.  We miss you.

August 2013 is now under our belts.  No worries until August 2014.

And between now and next V-Day I reaaallly need to clean under our bed!!!!


J said...

Omgoodness I absolutely LOVED this! We are in 100% agreement on our sentiments about cats - I have a current post that reflects everything you've stated here.
Max and Wally are beautiful and obviously very smart! We have 6 cats but our annual vet visits do not include urine samples. I, too, wonder "how on earth....?"
Yes, us "old codgers" over here have used the broom trick as well. In fact we don't even bother with the trail-o-treats-trick any more. Like with you - it worked once!
Our vet gives multiple cat discounts so we fill the carriers (not deluxe ones like yours) assembly line fashion - hiding one in the laundry room, filling it, moving it swiftly into the car, and then whisking a second carrier from basement to repeat. Three go at a time. We have them stacked up in the waiting room and get lots of comments! Then we go back home, empty, and repeat! Whew! And then sleep for a week! lol

Anonymous said...

What beautiful babies you have.
We had one dear old cat that would ride to the vets curled up in my arms with his face hidden. On the way home he sat up and look out the windows.
Our second cat we placed in a carrier because when cornered he was a fighter and a biter. All the way to the vets there would be deep warning rumblings from the cat carrier. Once at the vets he stepped out of the carrier and made nice with the vet and his helpers. They thought he was wonderful. On the way home he resumed the rumblings. It was always dicey letting him out of the carrier at home.
We are thinking of gettng another cat.....I will be looking for one of those fancy carriers on wheels. They are just the ticket for older pet owners.

Carolyn said...

Very funny post! I must admit that I would be very impressed seeing those travel cases. I hope that Wally and Max have a very healthy year ahead of them. They are a beautiful pair!

Anita said...

One of the best posts ever!
So far Annie is no trouble getting into her carrier (old-fashioned, not wheeled) but there is whining all the way to the office, and total pouting silence all the way back.
Don't know how she'll act when I bring her back from surgery; could be interesting.
I'm sending a link to your post to another cat lover.

Anonymous said...

Aww... your cats are beautiful We have been catless for one year now since our daughter moved out last summer. I love cats, but have to admit I don't miss being able to open the door without having to constantly be on the watch for an escaping cat that I then would have to chase down (or TRY to bribe) to get back into the house (we live on a busy road). My daughter had a pet stroller for her cats. One of the cats figured out how to unzip it. :)

Retired Knitter said...

Oh my God ... unzipping the case. That never occurred to me!! We have one cat, Wally, who is one the the smartest cats we have ever had. HE COULD DO THIS! Wow, just think of the level of "adventure" this development could add to V-Day. I shutter to think on it!

Retired Knitter said...

Thanks, Anita.

As for Annie, she is young. Give her time. The interest level on these trips could raise dramatically! LOL

Retired Knitter said...

Hey thanks. Yes, I visited you ... cats certainly add an increased level of challenge to any endeavor - if they aren't on board with what you want. We have my son's and daughter's dogs here a whole lot. By comparison, dogs are a piece of cake. Although they have one major strength - they are exceptionally good at playing the "guilt card." Cats think the guilt card is a waste of time - they just go for the throat! LOL

Retired Knitter said...

Fighter and bitter. Yes, that was our Alex as well once he figured out that our goal was a trip to the vet. That was why - besides all the red letter warnings - the vet gave us drugs to give to Alex so we could get him into the crate. I remember suggesting that he give us drugs too so that everyone was mellow - he made a face and laughed. I was serious - I don't think he realized that.

Retired Knitter said...

Thanks. For the most part they are healthy. Max has degenerative kidney disease and for 3 1/2 years we have been giving him subq fluids every other day. With those fluids he has been healthy. But they are now both 7 years old and that is senior in cat life span. We can anticipate other stuff and more trips as the years pass.

Debbie said...

I enjoyed your tales of V Day.....having enjoyed similar efforts with one of our cats.. he always got the memo and disappeared till after the appointment time.

Love the carrier bag!