Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Vet

Abbot, my psychotic fuzzy bundle of joy, has spent the last five days throwing up on my rug.

I am not particularly attached to the rug. It's that generic gray that stains can only improve. I am, however, very attached to the kitty. So I must now venture into that area of kitty ownership that folk don't talk about, because it is disgusting and you don't want your friends to know that you regularly handle large amounts of urine soaked clay or small, dead animals.

Abbot has always required performance above and beyond the call of duty. She was abandoned as a kitten, two days old, eyes shut, umbilical cord attached. She wasn't too sure how nursing worked, and of course, had no clue what this "bathroom" stuff was about. The first two weeks of her life were warm cuddling and cute kitten noises, punctuated by me holding a squirming kitten over a toilet and rubbing her nether-regions with a warm, soft towel so she would "go". Her first voluntary turd brought much celebratory squealing, and tuna.

Incidentally, I discovered Abbot does not like Tuna. Or any form of fish, fowl, meat, veggie, or milk, if it is not either in a bottle or part of pre-formed kibble. She will, if forced, eat canned cat food, but only if there is nothing else in the house. I gave her small chunks of turkey for her first Thanksgiving. She looked at me as if I'd just produced a whole dead rabbit kit and asked her to skin it. Also on her hate list are vacuum cleaners, rustling bags, sudden noises, me moving from my bed, at all, ever, outside, the kitty carrier and anyone human who is not me.

So on the third day of hearing that distinctive sound, I got off my lazy butt and poked through the kitty vomit to identify component parts and maybe discern what was wrong. And I found nothing, save for a little foam that the carpet quickly swallowed. In addition to barfing, Abbot wasn't eating. An attempt to hand feed her was met with temporary success, and a pile of soggy kibble and cat hair deposited in the middle of my bed five minutes later.

I check my first resort for first aid information ... the internet. Which, in reality, should be avoided at all costs when medical stuff is involved. A simple check for the words "cat vomit" summons pages on bowel obstructions, feline distemper, cancer, and a terrifying description about why pulling yarn out of your cat's throat is a very bad idea. I will never buy Christmas tinsel again. Completely freaked out, I call my step mom and get an appointment with her vet this morning.

At seven thirty, my dad calls me and lets me know he's on his way. I ask him to call me when he's a block from my house, to minimize the amount of time Abbot is in the carrier. He calls. I get the carrier down from the closet. Abbot sees it in my hands. She hunkers down, ears flat, eyes wider than a pair of shooter marbles, and her claws sink into my bed. I set it down and grab a towel off the laundry. When I turn back, she's evaporated. There are a few bits of tabby cat hair on the bed, that's all.

I find her under my bedroom table. I move it, pick her up and gently wrap her in the towel. Cooing softly, I take her to the carrier, letting her know everything will be alright.

She pees down my leg.

She also catches the carrier with one rear foot and sends it careening into my other leg, and then escapes while I try to get the cage upright again. I catch her clawing at the couch as if she could tear a hole through the recliner. I wrap her in the towel again and try to slide her gently into the carrier. She gets both back feet braced against the door and pushes back. I let go so I can brace the cat carrier and she gets away again.

My phone rings. Dad is now at my front door.

Attempt three turns Abbot into a small blue caterpillar-like creature with a cat head sticking out one end. Quick, I shove her in, let go and close the door. It takes her two seconds to shred the wrappings and peer through the cage door forlornly, screaming "LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT!" at the top of her little kitty lungs.

I repeat to myself, slowly, "Obstructed bowel. Distemper. String," and for good measure re-read the flash fiction I wrote two days ago about a dead cat. I grab purse, keys and kitty carrier and head out the door.

Abbot burrows under the towel and doesn't move.

I get to the vet. The walls are covered in photos of people's pets. Someone is depositing two kittens, I shit you not, Mario and Luigi, I think for ingrown testicle removal. I blink, because it is eight thirty and I am still trying to wake up, and I'm still pretty sure I heard the words "three testicles" attached to the kittens. Abbot hears the dogs in the vet's kennel and digs deeper under the towel. Her eyes glare at me from under the edge. If looks could have killed, I'd be a grease stain. It didn't help her cause that her shelter was baby blue.

I tell the vet tech that I am with my step-mother, because my step-mother has enough cats to keep their kids in college. They send me to a back room. I set the carrier down on the steel table and look at the medical posters, which is also something you should never do when you have an active medical concern. One is for tooth decay, one is for canine separation anxiety, and one details just what roundworms will do the feline intestine. Complete with pictures.

Abbot makes a despairing sound from under the towel.

The vet is male, a bald guy in turquoise scrubs. He looks like the Six Flags guy. I keep waiting for somebody to start playing that song so he will do the funky dance.


He asks me what's wrong. I tell him I brought him a towel, then relent and show him the kitty. He asks me how long she's been throwing up. I tell him. He asks me what was in the vomit. I tell him. He asks me if I brought any of the vomit with me, and I make the same gagging sound Abbot's been waking me up with for the past five days.

He gets a tech in and opens the cage. The towel moves all the way to the back. He reaches in, grabs Abbot and starts pulling. She plants her back feet against the front of the carrier. He gets the tech to hold the cage while he gently manipulates Abbot's pointy ends. When she's out, they dump the carrier and weigh her. All limbs have to be INSIDE the weigh station and there can't be any extra human weight attached. All Abbot wants is to go back in the carrier. Watching this would be amusing if it were not my baby scared out of her mind.

They get her weight, put the towel back on the exam table, and then get out the rectal thermometer.

Somehow, nobody required stitches when this was over.

He declares that she has no fever (102 degrees f is normal for a kitty) and starts pushing on her tummy. I wait for the buzzsaw noise to start and for the tech to run for a pair of gauntlets. Instead, he gently palpitates everything, then sends the tech for an allergy shot. Apparently her fur pulling, hairballs and scabby skin could be indications of allergy and not anxiety, and he's going to give her a shot. The whole time, Abbot is squirming and twisting and twitching and he gently pulls her back onto the table and while not precisely cuddling her,  is being very gentle while she tries to take off like the thermometer was a rocket sled. I am very impressed.

The tech comes back. He hands her the kitty. She takes her as if kitty were radioactive and holds her by the neck and tail. So much for gentle. Vet grabs a fold of skin and sticks Abbot with the needle. Abbot's eyes get even wider. Vet lets go. Tech puts carrier on table. Abbot runs into carrier and immediately shoves head back under the towel.

They hand her back to me. I go up to the front desk, give them money for the privilege of manhandling my cat, and leave.

By five o'clock, Abbot is eating her kibble and snuggling without twitching for the first time in months. I am just glad that all it cost was sixty bucks. That's the good news. The BAD news is, now I have to figure out what the hey she was allergic to.

1 comment:

  1. Bleah. Well, at least it's not any of the really bad options. Allergies suck though, particularly with animals. How do you ask a cat if it's their food or bedding that's making them sick? Hope you get it sorted out soon.