Tag Archives: cats

Is there a doctor in the house?

25 Jan
Image Source: https://www.recruiter.com/i/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/CURIOUS-INTERESTED-CAT-DOCTOR.jpg

“What seems to be the purroblem?”

 

I’m sick. I think there’s a chance it might be the flu, but I get irritated by people who self-diagnose incorrectly, so I’ll just tell you my symptoms and let you decide what I have:

  • Fever ranging from 102 – 103.5 for 24 hours, then in the 101 range for a day, now back to normalish.
  • Achy, like someone worked me over with a ball-pein hammer while I was sleeping, including in my ears, across my temples, in the back of my neck, in my hips, and in my ribs.
  • Sneezy, snotty nose and nagging, hacking cough
  • Splitting headache, exhaustion, fatigue, lack of appetite

Oh, and it seems that everything I read/watch/listen to makes me cry. (Don’t even try to tell me it’s PMS. It’s not.)

Now that we have that covered, here are a few snippets that capture the last few days of ceiling-staring:

Musings of the Ill…

ONE: Nurse or Saber-Toothed Death Watch Attendant? 

Miss Moneypenny makes a good nurse… I think. At least, she’s made a point of staying within arm’s reach (either on my lap if I’m upright or snuggled next to me if I’m lying down)  since I started feeling crappy. This could be seen as sweet, but because I’ve heard one too many stories about cats who live in nursing homes and have an uncanny habit of sitting watch for people who are close to death, I’m not entirely sure what to think when I wake up and find her gazing at me. Some part of me does wonder if she’s silently willing me to die.

TWO: Call and Answer

The acoustics in my apartment building are a bit challenging. Built in the early 20th century, I’m convinced the walls and floors are only one fiber more solid than paper. As a result, I can stand in my kitchen and hear my neighbors end-of-day debrief while they cook dinner. (Lately it has included a lot of f-bombs and the word “idiots” when the guy describes his co-workers, so I suspect he’s not long for that job.) And the two year-old below me? I know when nap-time is just not going to happen based on the tantrum that wafts through my floorboards.

This week I’ve been on the other side of it, broadcasting coughs and sneezes for the masses. I hadn’t realized how out of control it had gotten until – after a particularly gripping hacking jag – the silence that followed was met with a neighbor yelling, “Thank God!” No idea which neighbor, but since there wasn’t a key sporting event on TV, I’m pretty sure his words were for me. Upside? If I get into trouble, I know I can summon a neighbor if I shout loud enough.

THREE: Ethics Exam

We are forecast for a major storm this week. I have not left my house since Wednesday. I am down to one roll of toilet paper. Do I:

  1. Try to persuade Alan (who is also sick with the same symptoms) to come to my house and bring a package of toilet paper.
  2. Use InstaCart and pay $8 for what should be a $4 purchase – assuming stores even still have any in stock, given the forecast.
  3. Muster enough energy to go next door to Starbucks, purchase a tea, use their bathroom and take a roll of toilet paper to get me over the hump.
  4. Stop eating solids.

FOUR: Things I Have Actually Googled

  1. How do I know if I have the flu
  2. Dangerously high fever range
  3. Death watch cat
  4. Shows like Downton Abbey
  5. How much Tylenol in 24 hours
  6. Can pets get the flu from humans (answer: yes, apparently)

FIVE: It’s called “Zoonosis”  

On that last point… while Miss Moneypenny has been a great nurse, zoonosis (transmission of human diseases to animals) might explain why I’ve woken up to the not-so-calming sound of her barfing every morning since I got sick. I like to think of her as an overly committed professional, kind of like Marie Curie. “It’s not worth it,” I tell her when I hear her starting to rumble in the mornings, “You’ll never win a Nobel Prize.”

In other news, anyone who owns a vicious dog might want to consider naming it Zoonosis so you can trickily both accept and deflect blame if it ever kills another animal. Imagine how it would play out:

“Your dog killed my chinchilla”

“ZOONOSIS killed your chinchilla.” 

“No, your DOG killed my chinchilla.”

And repeat.

 

Back to bed for this girl. Here’s hoping you don’t get what I’ve got. If you do, blame your pet.

PS: I don’t have the energy to proofread or spellcheck this, so if there are errors: you’re welcome.

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And now we wait…

7 Dec

Image Source: http://gooddogcoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/xmas-cat-w-ribbon.jpg

When your *best case* scenario relies on hoping for your cat to shit out three feet of Christmas ribbon, you know some poor choices have been made somewhere, by someone.

In my case, I can’t decide if I’m at fault for pulling out green curling ribbon when wrapping a birthday present for my friends’ baby. Or if Miss Moneypenny – who suddenly decided that curling ribbon looked DELICIOUS – is to blame.

Regardless, one minute I was sitting there listening the Christmas carols and wrapping a present. The next, I was online googling “cat ate ribbon” and finding that I probably needed to rush her to an emergency vet.

Nevermind that it was 9pm on a Saturday and it was pouring rain outside and I don’t have a car. And the vet is located up near Maryland. Sigh.

Don’t get me wrong – I did consider just riding it out and seeing what would happen. After all, Miss Moneypenny didn’t seem to be distressed. In fact, she seemed oddly sated – and newly obsessed with curling ribbon.

Let me back up.

After wrapping my friends’ baby’s gift, I decided it would look better with a wee bit of ribbon on it. So I pulled out a spool of thin green curling ribbon – ribbon that I’m pretty sure was out frequently last year during the holidays and that seemed to have escaped Miss Moneypenny’s notice at the time.

I cut a four foot section of ribbon and draped it over the back of my chair while I returned the spool to its drawer. When I turned around, the ribbon was on the floor, Miss Moneypenny was sitting on top of it, licking her lips – and only a foot of it remained. I was baffled.

“Did you just eat that?” I asked. By the way she attacked the remaining foot of ribbon, it was obvious that she had. If I hadn’t moved quickly, that last bit of ribbon would’ve been down her hatch as seamlessly as a snake swallowing a tiny mouse. (This, from a cat who is super picky about her REAL food.)

Immediately, I thought of my childhood friend’s dog, Toby, who had once eaten an entire spool of dental floss – all 25 yards of it. My friend’s family had returned home to find the plastic dispenser hanging out of his mouth, and were able to pull about three yards of it out before it seemed to stick on something. They took Toby to the vet, where a chunk of his intestines were removed. Apparently that’s common when an animal eats an excessive length of a linear object.

I did what everyone does when faced with the prospect of bundling up their animal for a weekend/late night ER trip. I a) posted a query on Facebook, hoping my cat-owning friends would tell me I was over-reacting and could just stay home, and b) googled to see if the wider internet community could offer some reassurance that cats regularly ate three feet of curling ribbon and lived to tell about it.

Sadly, on both counts the response was, “Better get to the vet.”

I made one last attempt at avoiding the vet by calling the emergency line and asking if I could just monitor Miss Moneypenny and bring her in if she seemed distressed? Answer: No, get thee to a vet.

So we did. Thank you, Uber, for making that relatively easy. And the animal hospital was surprisingly well-staffed at 10pm on a Saturday. There must’ve been at least a dozen people working, and they were all really friendly. Fortunately, it was also a quiet night, so there were only two other people in the waiting room: one was a woman whose Labradoodle was having an allergic reaction to his vaccines, and the other was a man whose two daschunds had gotten into a tin of pure cocoa and needed their stomachs pumped.

Explaining that my cat had just ingested 2-3 feet of curling ribbon made me feel like they might send us home with a Darwin Award.

Instead, they sent us home without treatment and instructions to just monitor her for lethargy, vomiting or any other evidence that the ribbon had created an intestinal blockage. (I’d like to point out that that was the plan I’d originally proposed, and which they’d shot down over the phone.) There’s a 50% chance she’ll be able to pass it on her own, and a 50% chance we’ll need to go back for emergency surgery.

“Was there nothing that could be done NOW?” I asked, hoping to head-off both the possibility of surgery and having to monitor her litterbox for evidence that it had passed. I also didn’t want this trip to the vet – which would end up costing $200 – to be in vain. “Can’t we pump her stomach and make her puke it up? Or do an endoscopy and retrieve it before it works into her intestines in the first place?”

Apparently the answer to both questions is, “Not unless you want to spend an even crazier amount of money” – at least at 10pm on a Saturday night when their Surgical Internist is home in bed.

So I packed up Miss Moneypenny and we returned home.

Side note: The Uber driver on our way home puzzled me. He seemed to really like animals and was awesome about letting me bring a cat into his cab, but had some questions that indicated a lack of familiarity with cats. To wit:

Driver: How often do you need to cut her hair? 

Me: Cats don’t really need haircuts.

Driver: I take my daughter to PetSmart to see cats get their hairs cut. But there are never any cats. Just dogs.

Me: Yeah, I don’t think cats ever really get their hair cut.

Driver: How long can their hair get though? Very long? 

Me: No, it stays a pretty set length. You know how they have a winter and a summer coat? Maybe they just lose all their fur frequently enough that that’s why we never see it grow past a certain length.

Driver: Do you shampoo her? 

Me: No. Cats do a good job of grooming themselves.

Driver: What does the groomer do then? Just cut their hairs? 

????

So now we’re home. I’m monitoring her. And while I certainly don’t want to return to the vet for emergency surgery, I can’t say I’m looking forward to seeing that three feet of ribbon resurface.

My friend Andrew reminded me that he had an equally distressing situation some years ago when his doberman ate a box of dryer sheets. How’d it work out? According to his roommate, who witnessed the entire thing: “He looked like a tissue dispenser for about 20 minutes.”

At least dryer sheets smell nice.

Great. My cat is an addict.

9 Jul
One if by land, two if by sea

First blush is always deceptive…

Great. So I thought I’d lucked out and adopted the perfect cat.

Should’ve known I was jinxing myself. I mean, I even came up with a LIST of reasons she was perfect. Here are a few highlights to let you know what I thought I was working with:

  1. Found the litterbox without coaching. Even after I moved it. And put a lid on it.
  2. Didn’t act skittish and hide under my bed when she arrived. Jumped on it like a boss.
  3. Purrs constantly. Even just if you make eye contact.
  4. Doesn’t bite. She only swats at you to pull your hand closer to her head – so you can scratch her.
  5. Hates Stompy Michael as much as I do. Stares at the ceiling with a look of exasperation whenever he moves.
  6. Fetches.

And that’s only a partial list.

In any case, that “perfect kitty” image was shattered today when I came home from work and found Miss Moneypenny waiting for me right inside the door with eyes the size of saucers.

“Hmm,” I thought. “This is an odd time of day for her to be hyper.”

She then proceeded to tear-ass around my condo, practically running across the walls as if it were a velodrome. Definitely out of character for a cat who is normally groggy from her nap. And she doesn’t own a bike.

“Maybe she’s just excited to see me,” I thought, heading down the path of so many enablers, making excuses for a user.

Then I went to my bedroom to change and noticed that my closet door was open. Very odd, since I make sure it’s closed at all times so she can’t fur-up my clothes. I looked at her accusingly, but then dismissed it… I’d probably rushed out this morning and left it open myself. 

Yes, sadly, I started blaming myself – another classic enabler move.

But I could hide from the truth no longer when – as a special treat – I went to retrieve “Turtle,” (the fuzzy toy filled with catnip that I shared with her yesterday) and found him missing from his spot inside my closet.

And we all know turtles don’t just hustle off.

Suddenly, everything made sense – the erratic behavior, the open closet door, the big eyes.

I found Turtle ten minutes later, under my bed, still wet from kitty slobber.

Oh, Miss Moneypenny!? 

Miss Moneypenny wouldn’t make eye contact with me, pretending she had no idea who Turtle even was. So quick to disown.

Headshake.

This is the face of addiction, people. We have to confront it head-on. No hiding.

Now excuse me while I run off to finish my Girl Scout Samoas. On the floor of my kitchen. In my underwear.

Do. Not. Judge.

I did that. Did I do that?

22 Nov

Have I mentioned that Alan and I enjoy wine? I would go so far as to say we’re oenophiles, but then I’d have to pronounce it. And as I’ve stated before, I’m not so hot when it comes to zee French.

We’ve each had our fair share of ridiculously amazing bottles, but we’re open to trying just about anything, as long as it’s wet and made from grapes. I momentarily forgot that last week after we drove from Urbanna to Williamsburg. We’d been in the car for an hour when we saw a sign pointing down a dirt road for the Williamsburg Winery. When Alan asked if I wanted to go, I made a weird gargling sound before saying, “Nah! Virginia wines aren’t very good.”

Fortunately, Alan ignored me and made the turn. But – because he’s a nice guy – he immediately stopped and, before proceeding, said, “Your call. But it’s a gorgeous day. Want to just check it out?”

When presented that way, how could I say no? Yet I continued to hem and haw as we drove through the vineyards on our way to the winery. “My thing with tastings,” I explained (because I always have a thing), “Is that I feel obligated to buy something. And if the wine sucks, I don’t want to. So I feel guilty, like one of those people who eats samples at Whole Foods as their dinner.”

Alan, being level-headed and understanding, said, “Let’s just check it out. If there’s a paid tasting, maybe we can do that without you feeling guilty. And if not, we can bail.” Good plan. And as it turns out? They did offer a paid tasting – $10 per person with a tour of the cellar and tastes of seven different wines — plus a few bonus pours.

I won’t keep you in suspense: I loved it. Who cares if Virginia will never be Napa? Not me. It was a gorgeous fall day – crisp breeze, bright blue sky, colorful trees, temperature somewhere around 65. And a retired college professor from William & Mary who loved wine was doing the talking and pouring. What’s not to like?

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