Visiting the Vet

Last night our friendly neighbours invited us over for dinner (see the other post).

As they are Tuffy-cat’s previous owners, I often feel this twinge of guilt when we chat with them over the fence – surely they must resent the fact that we ‘stole’ their adorable kitty-cat from them?

Fortunately, though, as experienced long-time cat (and dog) owners, they seem to understand that felines are probably the most independent and free-thinking of all domesticated pets, and that it was really not our fault that Tuffy decided to relocate into our garden. Besides, it’s not like you can prevent a cat from expanding her territory – there’s always a handy tree to scramble up, or a gap in the fence to squeeze through.

So, after an initial period of guilt-riddled apologies from our side and gracious “don’t worry about its” from their side, I think they now realise that we love our/their kitty-cat from the tickly tips of her whiskers all the way to the soft white tip of her bushy tail.

Yesterday afternoon, however, was one of those times when a slight shadow was cast over the delights of owning an affectionate cat. The day before we had – with some dismay – discovered evidence of tape-worm on her backside… I should squeamishly stress that this is not an area of the feline body that we habitually inspect – though perhaps one should take the common (and acutely embarassing) view held by most dogs that butts (canine and human) are the parts of the body that smell the most interesting! As I said, I am rather squeamish about such things…

The last time we had taken Tuffy to the V-E-T, we ‘officially’ became her ‘owners’. This was last year at the end of October, when the receptionist ceremoniously gave us our own card for the little fluff-ball. We were surprised that the deworming tablet she had been given three months ago was no longer protecting her against intestinal parasites (yurgh). Dr McMullen, the elderly vet, reassured us that this was normal, given the prevalence of fleas during the summer – fleas being intermediate hosts of worms. Agh shame, poor Tuffkins.

As we don’t (yet?) have a cage to transport her, the usual procedure is a rather long-winded one: Richard goes past the vet on his way home from work and picks up a cage (R100-R200 deposit). I, meanwhile, try to find out where the cat is hiding. When Richard arrives, he goes to play with Tuffy and to distract her a bit, while I make sure the cage is standing ready just out of sight. Then he picks her up and cuddles her (tricky – she abhors being picked up), and pops her in the cage.

Yesterday, though, the little wriggly one promptly hops out again before he could close the top, and then she scampers through the brown gate into the front yard (I foolishly left this open in anticipation of reversing the car out). Amazingly, though, she stops and turns when we call her. (I already had visions of her high-tailing it down the road!) Although her ears are flattened and she is all bushed up, she allows Richard to pick her up and put her back in the cage.

Then I get in the car, put the cage on my lap, and talk to her in a quiet, soothing kind of voice, while Richard drives us to the vet – fortunately, it isn’t far, just a few minutes away on Forest Drive. The visit itself is usually over very quickly. The receptionist seems to find it very amusing that we are chronically unable to give our cat a wormtablet and that we are willing to fork out a tidy little sum for these visits.

 Mind you – the alternatives are scratched and bloodied hands, arms, tummies, faces and legs (on our side), necessitating a visit to the emergency room for tetanus injections, and a thoroughly stressed out kitty who decides to relocate to the Equatorial jungles. No thanks… I’d rather that Tuffy associates worm tablets and yukky shots with the V-E-T (even though we take her there and in fact hold her down), and fresh water, yummy food and cosy snuggles with us.

Afterwards, I stay home with Tuffy while Richard returns the cage to the vet and claims his deposit back. It always surprises me that she does not head for the hills after these visits – instead, she is remarkably affectionate and clearly in need of loving cuddles. She didn’t eat much last night, though, and spent the whole night in her new ‘nest’ in our bedroom. When she was still curled up there this morning, it was hard to go to work and abandon her to her no-doubt sore tummy and general grottiness.

This afternoon, thank the heavens, she is almost back to her normal bouncy self!

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