Monday, April 16, 2012


When you only have one kind of pet, and a species-specific virus lands like a smart bomb in downtown Kittyland (where I live), you usually have one individual who will be effected enough to seek professional help. Such was my plight last Saturday.

"Princess Putanesca" had been sniffling for days and seemed to be dangerously congested.  "Felix," her house companion was the culprit, sneezing in her face with no regard for her well-being; and so to the open-on-Saturday vet in a neighboring county.

Princess Putanesca (whose right eye was damaged by a motorist)

Felix (one brown eye, one yellow) the virus spreader

This particular vet clinic segregates dog and cat owners in their respective rooms.  We dutifully sat on a wooden bench in the lesser of the two, the cat waiting room (which accommodates all non-canine patients).   There was a most uncomfortable gerbil on the bench next to us.  Having filled out the necessary forms, we began to sense the disparity of the two rooms was emblematic of larger differences in the polar-opposite pet lovers.  

A small group of cat people clustered in one corner, a baby stroller parked beside them.  I glanced up from my paperwork at the group relating continuously the biographies of their significant feline others; describing the ecstasy of automatic litter boxes, the cherished inconveniences, so quaint and amusing;  and the glory of ego consumption as payment for the privilege of loving an omnipotent cat.  As my eye glimpsed the baby stroller, I saw two cats in the baby seat, which rolled past me when the attendant called the patients' names. Stunned, I scanned the lady-owners who gave off vibrations of eccentric overindulgence and implicit strangeness.  

And there I sat, I thought, one of them.  We change Her Majesty's name on the form to "Scooter," and appeal for a more desirable reputation as a rare and "completely sane" cat owner.  My grandfather always touted silence as the cloak of personal shortcoming.  Better to look smart than prove the converse with words, was his belief.  I toed that line and exited the clinic without seeing anyone roll their eyes once.  And her Royal Regal Highness, The Princess Putanesca, has been exemplary in tolerating her illness and taking her medications.  I have several wounds.


  1. Did you really change her name to Scooter on the form? Not just Princess?
    I'm sure you do have wounds. When I had two cats, I always had wounds. Our Golden Retriever is much better in this regard. She doesn't scratch or bite, and has never even growled at us.
    I hope the medications do the job.

  2. Yes, coward that I am, I faked her name.

    Well the anti-histamine has finally stopped the gurgling and she is attempting to eat.

    But you know all individuals are totally different. This one is compliant; Felix, the black and white cat, turns into Charles Manson and unless somebody at the vet medicates him, he'll just have to suffer. He's awful.

    God I sound like those cat people now.

  3. Sympathies--our now-departed cat, Spot (she was more like a dog than a cat)once had a vet emergency when she got a 'fox-tail' grass seed up her nose. The tail of the offending seed was at the entrance of her nostril; (the head of the foxtail is barbed--wonderful for boring into packed dirt, but very cruel when a pet encounters one). Spot was loaded amid protests into a small cat carrier, which I lined with a terrycloth towel. On our short drive to the vet's, I heard the worst growling, hissing and yowling from the cat carrier.
    When we got her carrier onto the examining table, the vet and assistant decided the best strategy to handle Spot would be to wrap her in a blanket to avoid the slashing claws and subdue her. I felt so badly about the terror and pain my cat was enduring, while worried about the cost of the impending procedure.
    Halleluia-- the vet shone a light up both nostrils and found nothing...we looked in the cat carrier and there on the towel was the offending foxtail !! Spot must have rubbed her face into the towel on the ride over, and enough of the tail protruded that it caught in the terry loops. She had sneezed so violently that the moisture must have kept the barbed head of the seed from really attaching to the nasal passage. The vet told us how lucky we (all) were...he probably was glad not to do surgery on our furry, growling hellion.(P.S. she was black & white, and part Manx.) Feel better, Putanesca (yes, I know the translation of her name..)

  4. All of which verifies my belief that cat owners need a Panic Room where they can override the hysteria. Next to a pediatrician, a veterinarian benefits more from irrational fear than anyone. (She said, squalling tires out of Waverly Lane like the rescue squad)