Maisie and Charlie with their daughter Jemima in the biggest cat carrier. Charlie, the first one in, glares from the back of the cage.
J. has removed Raisin from her small private carrier and holds her while she squirms, waiting for the vet.
Bill has known Raisin since her first visit 11 years ago when she was a mere kitten.
Our veterinary clinic sends out reminders as each cat comes due for the booster of their various shots. Usually I stagger the trips for the sake of economy and convenience, but with the possibility of a move up-coming, I decided it was one of the things which shouldn't be left for a last scramble.
I have two large cat carriers, two small ones--and eight  cats!
Teasel had her booster shots last month when she had to have an abcess lanced and a round of antibiotics. As soon as I lugged in the carriers, clever cat that she is, she disappeared under the bed.
Charlie and Maisie are such laid-back characters that they immediately sauntered over to sniff at the carriers and I popped them in. Jemima viewed this from the top stair and was easily coaxed down where I could pick her up and poke her in with her Mom and Dad. There they sat, a bit taken aback, but calmly staring out through the bars. Raisin surveyed this activity from the kitchen counter and I had her in the small carrier with no trouble. She immediately began to wail in a VERY LOUD VOICE.
I had spotted Eggnog, or rather a lump under the bedspread that I recognized, so she was my next victim. Eggie has a very sweet and affectionate nature, until she is cornered for medicating or to be put in a carrier. I set the second small cage on the end of the bed and gently extracted her from her warm bedroll. The moment she realized my intentions she began to struggle and panic-stricken, loosed a stream of urine which bounced off my front and dribbled onto the heavy bedspread. While she thrashed and howled from the closed cage I quickly rolled the spread and hauled it off to the laundry room, stuffed it into the washer.
By now Mrs. Beasley and Chester the Timid were nowhere to be found. J. came in just then and joined the search locating the two huddled under the bed with Teasel. We brought in the carrier, shut the bedroom door and I laboriously stretched full length beside the bed to prod at the cats with a yardstick. J. captured Mrs. B. when she shot out. Chester, meanwhile, had taken refuge under the quilt rack and thought he was safely invisible. I collared him and eased him into a big carrier with Mrs. Beasley.
We lined the carriers up on the living room floor and listened to the various wails, thumps and yowls while I made a sandwich for J. [I had changed my sweater and washed my hands, by the way!]
He decided that he would go to Riverton with me on the vet run although this meant he would have to submit to me driving while he consumed his sandwich. [He managed to endure this indignity without getting carsick--and only once corrected my driving, telling me not to "tailgate." I don't think that is one of my driving faults, but I refrained from comment!]
Raisin kept up a litany of protests in a high key, occasionally switching to a deep theatrical groan. Charlie and his tribe made a few anxious inquiries, Mrs. B. rolled her hideously crossed eyes, Eggnog huddled in mute anguish. The chorus of misery swelled as we staggered into the vet's waiting room. One at a time the carriers were tranferred to the small examining room and each cat was gently handled by our good vet, their histories reviewed; hearts and lungs were listened to, teeth examined.
Once again we discussed Raisin's chronic hairballs and frequent barfing. As he has told us so many times over the years, Bill concluded again that she is one of those felines with a very touchy digestion. I fretted aloud over her bony frame and was assured that she is a long way from starvation.
I learned early on that while Bill keeps up a friendly conversation and seems to be idly stroking each cat, he is in reality assessing the health of each one as those competant hands trace every bone and search for any unusual lump or bump.
The inoculations were administered with hardly a mew or a twitch and the cats were stowed back in their respective carriers. Eggnog, very predictably, had messed in hers before we got her back in the car.
Bill's wife, Pat, printed a record of each cat's shots and reminded us that when we arrive at a new home and locate a regular vet, we should write for the complete records on each feline.
Bill also scribbled a contact number for the state veterinary headquarters in Kentucky, so that well before we start our moving expedition we will know what blood tests or inoculations will be neccesary for Pebbles to enter that state where aristocratic horses reside in great numbers.
"Send photos and write us about your trip and your new home"--these were the parting words as we took our leave of these fine people. Bill's strong hand gripped mine as he said, "I wish there was a good way to say that we will miss you."
We will be blessed if we find again such a dedicated and compassionate vet to care for our animals--in sickness and in health.