Monday, January 25, 2010

We Visit the Vet

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 [8] 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.


  1. Bailey and Eggnog seem to have much in common and like Raisin he yowls all the way to the vet -- or the kennels. This post reminds me of why we only have one cat! Hilarious!

  2. OMG - I just cannot comprehend having to put my 6 in carriers to take to the vet all at ONCE! I think I would be the one struggling not to go in the car : ) Well done anyway, and at least they are all sorted now. I think the only two of mine I could put in a carrier together would be Honey and Gypsy, as they sleep together at night. Everyone else is very much their Own Cat!

    Sounds like it IS going to be Kentucky then. Oh gollygosh, that sounds like a great place to move to - I can see why Pebbles might need extra shots, moving into blue grass country and all those TB studs . . . Sub-tropical climate eh? Sounds like gardening will be possibility again.

  3. yes, your vet sounds like a diamond. I did smile about Teasel dissapearing under the bed. When I worked at the vets people would often ring to apologise that they couldnt make their appointments, becuase they had got the carrier down from the loft and the cat had completely dissapeared!

  4. Does anyone in their right mind CHOOSE to have this many cats? [No, don't answer that one!] Just when the numbers were down to a managable four, the kittens and then their parents, were up for adoption at the local shelter. The rest of the story was a given!
    Teasel, by the way, rushed at the other cats as they were released from the carriers back at home. She told them they SMELLED FUNNY and she knew WHERE THEY HAD BEEN! I spent the evening washing and drying the heavy bedspread and blanket.

  5. I enjoy your blog very much, beautiful surroundings and animals. In an earlier post, you mentioned moving & packing, and thought this hint might be handy.
    Last time I moved, I made stacks of books, tied string or long cloth strips around as if for a package, with a loop on top - it was easy to carry & sling around, without having to box them all.
    Next year I'll be moving 400+ miles away, and like you, also wonder how to manage cats (3), travel, closing arrangements, etc. Wishing you best of luck with it all, and a beautiful new home at the end of the trip!

  6. MTVA; Thank you for the suggestion re packing the books--quilters always have fabric strips languishing. That sounds like a good way to make manageable packages of the big gardening and quilting books--a box of them is a staggering weight.
    The landscape in your profile photo is very appealing--I'm wanting it to be somewhere in the Appalachians [?]

  7. Hi MM, what a great eye for places you have! Picture is from just over the WV border from Blue Grass, VA - the loveliest area you can imagine. I hope to be settled in and writing from somewhere around there in a year or so!

    Your cat/vet experience is just like mine. I've had to actually stand up the mattress & box spring in order to get one holdout!

  8. MTVA; I dragged J. in here to look at your photo--he immediately said, "Cumberland Gap area"--after which we quickly pin-pointed Bluegrass, VA in the atlas. J's paternal roots go back forever in VA and NC.
    I will look forward to the time when you are writing and blogging.

  9. Oh my gosh, that was a great post! I'm groaning at the escapades of Miss Eggie!

  10. I was laughing/groaning through your whole saga. I "only" have 4 cats...but the reason i switched from a smallish pickup truck to a Subaru Forester was i needed a "family vehicle" big enough to carry my whole furry family in an emergency. We had such an emergency a few years ago...gas leak! Had to evacuate the whole neighborhood. I managed to fairly easily get three of the cats into individual carriers (when the smallest cat weighs 13 pounds, there's no thought to putting more than one cat in a carrier!). When it came to Sylvie, the carrier i was going to put her in stank of cat pee (thanks to Gingy, who sprays everything...)...i didn't have time to wash and dry the carrier, and didn't want to stick her in a stinky carrier, nor be cooped up with it for who knew how i popped her loose into the car. I drove to the rescue squad where we were all supposed to pets allowed in the building. So i sat in the car with the cats, listening to the radio and quilting. I opened the carrier doors in case anyone wanted to come out and stretch...not a single one wanted to, and in fact Sylvie squeezed herself into a carrier with Louie!

  11. By the way, thank you so much for your comments on my blog. I've been saving cat whiskers for years and haven't actually used many, but Native American quill work is exactly what i had in mind...just haven't tried it yet.