What's Not to Laugh?

Almost everything about aging–except grave illness and death–can be funny as well as disturbing. I try to find the funny and help us all get through it!

Archive for the tag “cat blogging”

A visit to the vet, reluctantly

For you first-time readers in this space, my name is Penelope, and I’m a rescue cat. Penelope_softedgesI’ve lived with my adoptive parents over two years now and, much as I hate to admit it, things are pretty good here. Wondering why I hate to admit it? I’m known for my whiny vocals (which Mom calls kvetches; I had to learn a little Yiddish after I came here). I wouldn’t want it too seem like I have nothing legitimate to whine about.

But I am comfy here. Wet food…the Elegant Medley (more expensive) kind, dry food, a litter box that’s scooped several times a day, and two very attentive people who are home much of the time. It’s all good.

Except, that is, once a year, when my parents attempt to take me to the vet for a checkup. They try to be subtle and act like it’s just an ordinary day, but I know something’s up. Maybe it’s that black bag sitting on the floor…the one with the mesh sides and zippers. I remember being in it last year when they took me to the vet. This can’t be anything good. My motto is “You’ll have to catch me first!”

They try. I manage to outrun both of them, even if they’re on opposite sides of the room closing in on me. Dad’s the official catcher though. I give him a good workout, zooming from bedroom to bedroom, down the stairs and up again. When I think he’s getting dangerously close, I scoot under the bed or the sofa, a place neither of them can reach. In fact, they can barely bend down to see if I’m still there.

After this goes on a while, I can hear snippets of a phone conversation Mom is having. “I’m afraid we’ll have to reschedule. We can’t catch Penelope!”

I’ve won another round! Alas, the appointment was rescheduled, and as hard as I tried to win again, I let my guard down for a second, and Dad scooped me up and put me into the black bag. Soon we were on our way.

Although I don’t like other people, the technician and vet were nice to me and very gentle. And I got a compliment! I lost 0.6 pound, and the vet said “Good job!” She may have been talking to my folks, but I’ll except the praise too. After all, I’m the one who scurried around the house and raced up the stairs…an excellent way to trim my tummy.


Message from Maude: Why me?

Allow me to reintroduce myself. I’m Maude the cat who made a remarkable adaptation to a new home and new owners at the age of 12. I’ve been in this new environment for over a year now, and it had been going quite well. I have been well-fed with a delicious variety of foods, including that yummy canned pate that makes a mess for my owners to clean. I have the run of the house (mostly) and can lie down to snooze just about anywhere. (The dining room and kitchen tabletops are out of bounds, but I don’t think they would be comfortable anyway.) But most important, I was treated with gentleness and respect.

So what happened? One day I found myself captured and placed in a carrier bag and taken for a long car ride (I hate car rides) to a strange place. Once there, I was prodded and poked by two people wearing blue outfits with very serious expressions on their faces. My owners looked rather serious too. When we got home, everything seemed normal again. But in a week, I was put in that carrier again (and nobody seemed to care that I made protesting noises during the ride) and taken back to that place. This time my owners left me there. I don’t know what happened after that because I was in a deep sleep. Before I closed my eyes, I heard the word “surgery.”

Then I woke up. The first thing I noticed is that I had this plastic contraption around my neck. I think it’s called a cone. Did you ever try slurping water or lapping up food from a bowl with a cone around your neck? I probably looked ridiculous, but maybe the collar covered up the fact that my fur had been shaved off on the left side of my head. Also, I was very groggy, probably too groggy to know that there were stitches in my ear.

My owners came for me the next day. This time, I didn’t fit comfortably in the carrier because of that *%@$#& cone. But I was too lethargic to complain. And I was so happy to be back home. That is, until the torture started. Not every cat would consider this torture, but to me, forcing liquid into one’s mouth (yucky liquid) four times a day and squeezing greasy ointment into one’s eye twice a day is not my idea of gentle, respectful treatment!

Here I am, barely bearing it in my plastic cone… complete with the manufacturer’s label. Not a great fashion statement.

Here I am, barely bearing it in my plastic cone… complete with the manufacturer’s label. Not a great fashion statement.

I used to be able to hop up on my owners’ queen-size bed easily, but for days after the surgery I found it too difficult. You need to understand that they have a very deep mattress and deeper than usual box spring. Where I came from, there was a king-size platform bed. No box spring. It was always an easy jump. I heard my now owners remark that if they had known they were getting me, they wouldn’t have bought such a thick mattress set. But talk is cheap. And in my woozy state, I just couldn’t make the leap. How humiliating to have to be picked up and placed on the bed!

Worst of all? The worried and sympathetic looks on my owners’ faces. And it only became more troublesome after a phone call from my surgeon with the result of my biopsy. I don’t know what she told them, and I don’t want to know. At that point my concern was to get the cone off my head.

And off the cone came, 12 days later. What a relief! I can once again move about without announcing my presence with sounds of my headgear bumping into walls and furniture. But the force feeding of medicine has continued, although the orange yucky stuff was replaced by even more gooey pink yucky stuff. The only plus to this is that I get treats right after each dose.

I don’t know what’s in store for me in the future, but at least I get plenty of petting—even on my half-bald head—and belly rubs. And I can jump up on the bed again!

I’ll write again when I have something else to complain about.




Maude talks back

Excuse me for bragging, but I’m a remarkable cat. The proof is in the fact that I’ve adapted to so many new homes in my 10-plus years of life, and I’ve done it with grace…most of the time. Here’s a brief history:Maude_for_blog

I was adopted from a shelter, along with my littermate, Sam, when we were kittens. Sam’s appearance and personality were very different from mine from the outset. He’s a black cat and an in-your-face sort of pet. I am a brown/black/white tabby, as you can tell from my photo. As for personality, you turn on the water, and Sam’s right there, ready to bat at it. And when unfamiliar humans are around, he’s always been right there to greet them. I have always hid under the bed or behind the sofa.

The two of us didn’t fight, but we didn’t spend much time together either. Our owner was a lovely single woman who loved cats (except some chap named Oliver, which she had growing up and about which she declared, “He was the worst pet ever!”) She worked all day, five days a week, but she took good care of us and gave us attention when she was home. Sam got more attention because, as I mentioned, he was “in your face.” After a while, our owner met the love of her life, and they got married. But the love of her life had a female cat too, named Scout. Then there were three. We all got along reasonably well, but I usually hid out by myself, so there was no drama. And all five of us slept in the same bed. It was crowded (and sometimes the humans snored), but we felt loved and comforted.

What makes me and my feline roommates adaptable is that we moved to so many new locations and quickly got acclimated to all of them. There were condos, rental apartments, and later a brand new house. (It was a LEED Platinum house too, which was meaningless to us but apparently pleases the environmentalists.) Think about it: In each new place, we had to get used to the location of our litter boxes and our food and water bowls pretty quickly (especially the litter boxes). Did I mention that I’m pretty persnickety when it comes to my litter box?

Then, earlier this year, my owners got the cockamamie idea to move to San Francisco. It’s a lovely city, I’m told, but it would mean taking a very long plane ride in a cat carrier (I hate that thing!) and getting used to a whole new layout for my litter box and food and water bowls…again. I mean, I’m not getting any younger, and neither are my feline roommates! Despite these reservations, I started to anticipate the move.

The next thing I know, my owners are saying that the home they rented in SF will allow only two cats. And, for some reason, I am the cat that will not make the trip! I overheard my owner talking to her mother on the phone and explaining that I’m a loner and I don’t get enough attention because I’m usually away from the main action of the house. “Maude will be much better off in a one-cat home,” she said. I was dubious.

In the meantime, before the big transfer of custody day, I had dental surgery (don’t ask). I survived and was even able to eat solid food soon afterward.

Then, on April 7, I was put into my carrier and taken for a long ride to the suburbs. I don’t like the carrier, I don’t like the car, and I got carsick on the way. That’ll show her how upset I am over this move…for which I was not consulted. I wandered around, hesitantly exploring my new home. Clean litter box. Check. Bowls for food and water. Check. The same litter and food I’ve become used to. Check. So far so good. The new owners looked okay too, but time would tell. Then my former owner left, and I was on my own with these two strangers.

There was a lot of petting and belly-rubbing (my former owner showed the new ones just how I liked it), and that was good. When it got dark out, I found a comfortable hiding place in their master closet. My owners, satisfied that I was all set, I presume, went to bed. Once it was dark, I suddenly realized I missed my former owner, home, and even those two other cats. I left the closet and wandered around the house making all kinds of mournful sounds. I didn’t want my new owners to think that I could just be transferred over to new people and a new home without any objections! I know I kept them awake most of the night.

But here’s the remarkable part: I carried on like this for only one night. I found out that one or both of them were home most of the time, and when they were home, they petted me and talked to me, cleaned my litter box several times a day (and with only one me messing it up, that’s amazing), and gave me fresh food and water. They even bought me some toys to play with. And about a week later, when I decided to climb up into bed with them, they  made room for me—squeezing themselves into two-thirds of a queen-size bed—and gave me much love and affection. I think I’m in heaven…cat heaven, that is, which is very different from human heaven.

Now it’s been 4 months, and I like it here. There are a few weird things, like the way my female owner calls me all these silly names, like Little One, Kitten Caboodle, Sweetie Pie, and Sweet Baby. It’s that last one I can’t figure out. Doesn’t she know I’m almost 11 years old? But she means well. And she does pet me and let me rest my paw and head on her arm (which must surely go numb after all that time) when we nap or go to bed at night. She also is diligent about scooping the litter box and providing fresh food and water.

Sometimes I like to shake things up a bit!

Sometimes I like to shake things up a bit!

The male owner is good to me too, but most of the time I hear him complaining to her that he’s only chopped liver when she’s around. (Chopped liver sounds pretty good. Maybe they’ll feed me that too.) He also is the one to ambush me and force me into the carrier when we go to my new vet. I know it’s necessary, but I still hate it. They also get together to put drops in my ears at night. I struggled at first, then hid under the bed, but now I realize that it doesn’t hurt, so I sit still while he holds me and she squeezes the medicine into each ear. See? Another reason I’m so remarkable!

I do get into trouble once in a while. I’m not supposed to climb onto dressers, nightstands, and the kitchen table. But I still try.

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