Serendipity, my beloved pet of many years, was a typical cat in some ways, atypical in others. I have published over 400 times now, but only five of those - this will be the 6th - have been labeled "Love". Four are based on my own memories. This one poignantly describes the loss I felt when she died - almost fourteen years ago now - on February 14, 1995.
I remember one time - this would have been in the mid-80's - when I was petting her, and she reacted (not violently - she never reacted violently with me, but it seemed like she was trying to pull away from my touch) as tho I was hurting her.
Handling her most carefully, I began the slow process of examining her body all over to try and ascertain where the problem area might be. I found it! A wound, ulcerated and oozing. It almost looked as tho she had been 'stabbed' in the side.
Sick at heart, I took her to the vet, who - after a thorough examination - told me that she had been bitten by a dog. And it would have been a big dog, she said. Pills were prescribed along with an antibiotic salve, which had to be administered directly into the open wound at least once a day.
Ugh, I thought! The pills I could probably handle. I mean, you force the cat's mouth open, shove the pill in, and then hold the mouth closed - all the while massaging the throat until all gagging has stopped and it appears obvious that the 'vile object' has been ingested. That's all there is to it, right? Easier said than done, of course!
The salve was a whole other ball game, it seemed to me. The vet assured me that Serendipity would allow it. And so we went back home. Pills were administered - forcefully, but successfully. Salve was not only tolerated but (seemingly) welcomed until one day she simply would not lie still for any of it!
I called the vet with my concern and she said that my cat would somehow instinctively have known when the treatments/medications should stop. Serendipity was right. Vet was right. I was needlessly concerned.
So what did I know? I was only a human pet owner, for crying out loud!
Now, the rest of this post is very much tongue-in-cheek, and is courtesy of my friend Jennie. Thank you, Jennie! The subject is "How to give pills to cats and dogs" ... ...
1. Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.
2. Remove pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.
3. Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.
4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.
5. Remove pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.
6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees while holding cat's front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold cat's head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into its mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.
7. Remove cat from curtain rail. Get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figures and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.
8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.
9. Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans. Drink one beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.
10. Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.
11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of Scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus jab. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw away shredded T-shirt and fetch new one from bedroom.
12. Ring fire brigade to retrieve the friggin' cat from tree across the road. Apologize to the neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.
13. Tie the little bugger's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining room table. Find heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour two pints of water down throat to wash pill down.
14. Consume remainder of Scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room. Sit quietly while the doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.
15. Arrange for SPCA to collect "mutant cat from hell" and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.
Wrap pill in bacon, drop on floor.