Sparky struggles to get comfortable on the sofa, poor fella.
It’s lap time
Sparky doesn’t sit in laps. He just doesn’t. Or he didn’t. Well, he used to. It’s complicated.
When he was a kitten, he sat in our laps occasionally. Not very often, but he did. Then he stopped. Not entirely sure why, but it may have something to do with his extreme sensitivity to sudden movement and unexpected noises, which will very often send him scrambling to his hidey hole the basement.
It’s been so long since the last time he sat in my lap that I couldn’t tell you how many years it’s been, but tonight he reached a milestone. Tonight he sat in my lap again. Not sure what made tonight so special. He didn’t do it with a lot of fanfare, he just jumped up on the sofa with me as he’s done lots of times, looked like he was going to curl up next to me but instead, he settled into my lap and allowed me to scritch his ears for about twenty minutes.
Our cat’s on Prozac. Never ever in my life did I think I would have to medicate a cat with something like Prozac, but the vet said it might stop him from peeing everywhere and it did, so now he gets 5 mg of crushed Prozac in his wet food every afternoon. Whoda thunk?
We tried dozens of other ways to try to get him to stop peeing outside the box: pheromones, repellents, attractants, piddle pads, obstacles placed in the spots where he peed. Nothing worked. He kept peeing in corners, on doors, and worst of all in the kitchen sink. I think that was the game-changer. The only way we could stop him from doing that was to leave a half-inch of water in the sink. And if it ever slipped our minds to stop the drain and fill the sink after using it, he would get in there and pee almost the minute after we walked away. It was like he had a special sense just for detecting when the sink was empty.
So B finally took him to the vet, explained what was wrong and asked them to check him to see if he had a medical problem that might have made him want to pee outside the box. She also explained that if he didn’t have any medical issues and they couldn’t suggest something to stop him, then we were going to surrender him because we were done with mopping up cat pee every day.
They suggested Prozac but cautioned that it might take as long as six weeks to get results. We’d been trying other methods for a lot longer than six weeks, so we were willing to give this a try. If I recall correctly, he peed in a corner just once the day after his vet appointment, and he hasn’t peed anywhere but in the cat box since. At least, not that we know of, but he didn’t hide his habit before so it doesn’t seem likely that he’s hiding it now.
He’s a different cat now, a lot calmer and not quite as needy. But most importantly we didn’t have to surrender him to a shelter where he almost certainly would have been put down, because who’s going to adopt a cat with a reputation for peeing? So he gets to stay and we get to not mop up his pee and everybody’s a lot less stressed now, cats included.
the cat’s ass
My mother once described a certain person’s defining characteristic this way: “He thinks he’s the cat’s ass.”
I’ve always been especially fond of this phrase as a way of describing a person who was a little too full of himself, even though I was never quite sure what vanity had to do with a cat’s butt. And then …
Then, we adopted Scooter, who thinks his butt is the best butt in the whole world. Not only does he think his butt is the best butt, but he is absolutely positive you would think so, too, if you would only take a long, close look at it, which you will have to do if you let him jump up into your lap. He will insist that you look at it. He will walk back and forth across your lap facing away from you so as to parade his butt again and again across your field of view.
And he will hip-check you, which is his way of asking you to pat his butt. Not pet, although he would like that, too, but he really likes it when you pat him on his butt. He does not like it nearly as much when you pet his head or any other part of him. Butt-patting is his jam. You would be his best friend forever if you would pat his butt for hours and hours.
I am not especially fond of cat’s butts. When it comes to cats, the kind I appreciate most is one who will sit in my lap, purring quietly while I scritch behind his ears. Scooter is not that cat at all, but I appreciate that he gave me a clearer understanding of the phrase, “he thinks he’s the cat’s ass.”
what passes for excitement
Scooter the cat is back home after a three-day stay at the emergency veterinary hospital. We don’t get up to a lot of exciting things during our self-imposed lockdown, so this is what passes for exciting around here nowadays.
I had to take Scooter to our regular vet on Tuesday morning because he looked like he was having some trouble peeing. The vet thought he was suffering from an inflamed bladder, took samples of various fluids to be tested, and sent him home with painkillers. He seemed to be a little better that night.
He slept all day Wednesday, which wasn’t like him at all. I called the vet, but she wasn’t too worried. She figured it was a reaction to the trauma and the drugs.
I woke up early Thursday morning, round about five o’clock, made myself a cup of tea and was sitting down to drink it when Scooter barfed. I didn’t really want to leave my tea but I figured cleaning up cat yak would take only a minute or two. I am so stupidly short-sighted sometimes.
Scooter’s yak was a weak pink color, like it would be if it had some blood in it. Scooter himself was crouched in a corner of the room by himself, and when I went over to see if he was all right I noticed there was a spot of pinkish drool on the floor in front of him.
I could take him to his regular vet when the clinic opened at eight o’clock, three hours after he barfed, or I could load him into a cat carrier and whisk him away to the emergency animal hospital stat. If I waited until eight, I would spend the next three hours obsessing over what exactly was hemorrhaging inside him, which would probably give me heartburn and age me at least a couple years, so into the cat carrier he went.
The emergency vet said his bladder as big as a lemon and she wanted to stick a catheter in him right away so he could pee. He was having kidney problems, too, and she could see bladder stones on his x-rays. He had to stay overnight at least until they were sure his bladder was okay, he was peeing normally, and his kidneys recovered from the trauma.
Those bladder stones would have to come out, too, but his regular vet wouldn’t be available until sometime next week, so we gave the emergency vet the go-ahead to schedule him for surgery as soon as they could. They did that last night.
He was well enough to come home this morning at eight. He was a little frantic at first because apparently he hasn’t eaten in a while, which checks out: they would have stopped feeding him some hours before his middle-of-the-night surgery, and he was in recovery right up until I picked him up, so he might have gone as long as twelve hours without a meal. After slowly & carefully dishing out a few servings of soft food, though, he seems to be a lot more like his old self.
He has to wear a one of those big collars that makes him look like a cat stuck in the middle of an umbrella, which scares the hell out of Sparky; he won’t even come out of the basement if Scooter’s around.
who’s a good boy
Sparky went to the vet yesterday. Did. Not. Like. It.
Or at least I thought he didn’t, because he howled all the way there. He was fine when I put him in the cat carrier, but as soon as I put the carrier in the car he started to howl like he’d been stuck, and he kept on howling all the way to the vet. It’s a twenty-minute drive. He howled even louder when I tried to calm him down by talking to him.
So when I got there, I figured I ought to warn them that Sparky was not in a good mood at all. He was a feral cat when we adopted him but he’s always been the sweetest little guy. Not the friendliest, kind of skittish, but very sweet. Still, I wasn’t going to be in there when they opened the door on the carrier, because of COVID-19. I had no idea how he’d react, so I mentioned to the vet tech who came to the car to fetch him that he was a little on edge.
I kept the phone in my hand the whole time he was in there, halfway expecting to get a phone call from a frantic vet begging for help to calm Sparky down. That call never came. Instead, the vet called me about ten minutes later, told me Sparky was healthy and was one of the sweetest cats they’d ever seen, a little nervous at first, but he quickly made friends and everybody was petting him. Well. That was quite a surprise.
When they brought Sparky back to the car, he began to howl again as soon as I put the car in gear, but he seemed to be doing it only to keep up appearances. He didn’t seem to be really into it.
sheddingest cat ever
We have two cats: the youngest, Sparky, is a standard tabby cat, and the oldest is a mutt, if that word applies to cats as well as dogs. The vet says he’s got a lot of Siamese in him, judging by his rat tail and the shape of his snout, and the rest is probably generic shorthair. More than anything else, however, is that he’s the sheddingest cat ever.
Scooter has very fine, white hair that he sheds constantly. If I brushed him every day, that wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m so chronically lazy that I can’t be bothered to brush a cat more than once a month or two, or more likely three. Okay, realistically I don’t brush him until his shedding problem gets so bad that I can’t touch him without releasing a cloud of cat hair dense enough to choke everyone unlucky enough to be in the room with us. That’s the condition he was in today.
I have a special cat-brushing mitten. It looks like an oven mitt, but the palm side of the mitt is a plastic cat brush. I only had to pass it over Scooter’s coat a half-dozen times before there was enough shedded cat hair on the mitt to stuff a pillow with. After peeling that off, I made another half-dozen passes over Scooter’s coat, peeled another wad of cat hair off the mitt, repeat and repeat.
Scooter just loves this. He struts back and forth when I brush him, purring ecstatically. He’d let me do it all day if my attention span would hold up that long, but it doesn’t. It barely holds up for fifteen minutes. By that time I could brush him without freeing a bale of hair from his coat, so I lost all interest in continuing to brush him. I had to keep some motivation in reserve to break out the vacuum cleaner and clean up all the loose cat hair rolling around on the floor, as well as stuck to my pants, shirt, hair, and face.