Archive for Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cats suffer human housemates

October 23, 2008

It was a rough week for the cat. First the house was full of visitors, then the turmoil and trauma of a trip to the vet.

My wife and I share our dwelling with a cat. That’s not to say we own her or have her in the normal sense of the word. I’m sure if she could voice her opinion, she’d say she shared her home with a couple of humans despite their weird habits and their propensity to admit other humans — especially smaller ones — into her space from time to time.

She came to us about 11 years ago. She was a gift, as I recall it, from a friend of our daughter. I think originally she was supposed to be the daughter’s cat. Of course, the daughter went away to college the next year, then got married and moved away from home, so the cat was stuck with the two of us.

She’s tried to make the best of what must seem to her to be a bad bargain. Soon after she moved in with us, I took her to the vet to have her spayed and to have her declawed to save the furniture.

Little did I know at the time that it would permanently imbed in her mind the notion that insertion into the pet carrier was bound to lead to pain and suffering. But that’s what has happened. Anytime we put her in the pet carrier, she immediately starts the most pitiful wailing imaginable, and it gets worse once we get to the vet.

Several years ago we were going to New York for a few days to see a few shows and do some sightseeing. I had the bright idea to board the cat at the vet’s and have her groomed and get her vaccinations updated at the same time. So, on the morning we left, I bundled her into the carrier and took her to the vet. She was wailing at the top of her lungs when I left, but I convinced myself that she’d get over it. Fat chance. About three hours later, as our plane was landing at its intermediate stop in Cincinnati, I got a call on my cell phone from the vet’s office, pleading with me to come get the cat. They were remarkably patient when I explained that we were a thousand miles away and wouldn’t be home for several days.

Since then, every trip to the vet for her annual shots and grooming requires that she be anesthetized.

We enjoy having our children and grandchildren come to visit. Unfortunately, the cat does not share our joy. The two older grandchildren, who are 12 and 11 this year, live in fear of her during their time with us. They have pets of their own, but are not used to animals who regard them as interlopers.

When our daughter-in-law visited a few weeks ago we put her up in the spare bedroom. As my wife left for work, the cat followed her downstairs, but only after pausing to hiss and spit at the door of the spare room.

Things are getting back to normal now that the house has only to shelter the three of us again. I think she’s even forgiven me for the pain and indignities I caused her to suffer. She climbed up in my lap last night while I was watching television, but only for a few minutes. I’m sure she doesn’t want me getting ideas above my station.

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