Birthdays and vets and kittens and fat.
Took Taco to the vet yesterday. Just the yearly checkup, which I think was 2 months late. Anyway, both the boys just had birthday, Moosh is now six and Taco four…and apparently 4 is the year to get FAT. Because according to the vet, that’s what Taco is. Tell me how I’m supposed to reduce his food when he eats all of the food? I can’t starve Moosh to cut back on Taco. I got a grazer and a gorger. Guess who wins?
And seriously, 13 lbs for a cat is NOT that bad. Sure, he was 11 lbs for the majority of his adult life but 2 lbs in a year isn’t THAT bad. As much as he runs around I cannot believe he’s getting fatter. Plus, I discovered that we’ve actually been buying “moderate calorie” food, which explains why we’ve been running through it so fast — and why the cats have been begging for food 3 hours after morning feedings.
It also is a two-man job to even get Taco into the carrier, despite careful planning. I had attempted to carry out the kidnapping without waking the boyfriend up but alas, it got too loud, which was fortunate because he heard enough to shut the bedroom door just in time to avoid Taco running in and hiding under the bed. Then came down to help, since I got Taco in but couldn’t close with one hand.
They have kittens for adoption at my vet. These kittens were adorable. I threatened Taco if he didn’t shape up, I was trading him in for a new model. His performance didn’t improve, but the vet rejected my trade offer. Go figure.
As all cat owners know (I assume all, every cat I’ve ever had is MISERABLE in the car) I endured bone-chilling howls all the way there. Slightly muted on the way back. And, upon arriving home, feeling horribly guilty for all my evil doings, proceeded to give Taco all of the treats in the world. Including turkey, which he meowed incessantly for, but didn’t know what to do with upon receiving. Shrugh.
Cats and cars. A comparison.
You may not think that cats and cars have ANYTHING to do with each other whatsoever, save for being one letter different. You’d be wrong. See, they’re both money pits.
You know the old adage, “when it rains, it pours” – I’ve found this to be true about both.
Let’s start with cats.
Most of the time, my boys are healthy and thriving. However, I know that we’re always one sneeze/puke/bloody poop away from a vet visit. Something that is absolutely essential is to have a vet you can trust and ask a bazillion questions to and get informative answers without even a hint of an eyeroll. Someone you truly believe has your babies’ best interests at heart. I have one. This being said, while I do believe veterinarians should be paid handsomely for the work they do, my wallet says otherwise. The bills add up and up, even if you have an excellent vet who is honest about whether certain procedures are necessary. If you’re a worrier like me, you tend to fall on the cautious side and get the tests that are maybe 55% necessary, “just in case.” Then you walk out with a giant bill, and presumably, a healthy cat. Or, like me, you could go in for a simple checkup and walk out with the knowledge that one cat’s pupil is markedly larger than the other, possibly indicating a problem (this requires more tests, of course, and if I really wanted to get serious, a visit to the CAT EYE DOCTOR). It’s never just one thing. And lets not forget the constant maintenance of cat food, which seems to be getting more and more expensive.
Now onto cars.
Unless you have a brand spankin’ new car with a fancy warranty (in which case you’d also have a large car payment and the headache of the immediate depreciation driving off the lot), you have car problems. Having a trusted mechanic in your arsenal is equally as essential as having a trusted vet (I have one of these, too, and I went through a LOT of mechanics before finding Sam, who’s my godsend). Especially if you have a Volvo, which is like having a cat with special needs (okay, that’s a BIT of a stretch, but work with me here). Yesterday I went in for a new headlamp assembly (used, actually – new was a bazillion dollars) because a rock or a BB gun put a nice lil hole in the one I had. And a new hood latch, because the boyfriend broke it opening the hood to look at the headlight assembly when the hole was noticed. While I was there, I discussed having him fix a very slow oil leak that I’d been able to put off because of the very slowness of it. I’d recently noticed more oil where I park my car so I figured it was time. As he pulled my car out, there was a puddle of oil. NOT SO SLOW ANYMORE. So we bumped up that appointment. When I left, I noticed my dashboard light indicating a light out was still on. Brake light, this time. Oh, and my tires are bare. AND it’s almost time for timing belt replacement. And like the constant supply of cat food that’s needed, the car requires a constant influx of gas.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that I basically work to support my cats and my car. Neither of them appreciate it.
I’ve invested more in my cats than in my 401K.
Part 2 of vet visit. The bill. The one that made me faint.
My vet is not a bargain vet. I could find a cheaper one. But I’ve been to a few, and I’ve learned that the peace of mind that comes with having a vet you have complete confidence in and really like is worth its weight in gold. And I don’t just like my regular vet, either. I like the other vet in the office, and the staff as well. No one talks down to me, everyone patiently listens to my bazillion questions and my overanalyzing. I find that I like women docs more, too. I can probably chalk this up to the fact that I’ve only had interactions with 2 male vets and I didn’t feel like either of them were particularly affable. I’m sure there’s plenty of really awesome male docs. I just haven’t met them. In conclusion, when your cats are your children, nothing is more important. So I’ll happily pay a lil more for their care.
I’d expected a decent-sized bill. I just didn’t expect HOW much.
1. Exam. Expected.
2. Bloodwork. Expected. Not expected? Adding the charge to recheck Taco for FeLV and FIV. Suggested because one of his pupils was noticeably bigger than the other. Apparently, even kitties have been screened for this as babies, it’s recommended that they’re screened again 2 months after moving into forever home. Taco wasn’t, and either of these could be a cause for different sized pupils. This is where paying extra for a good vet comes in…Upon your kitty’s first visit, they take his or her picture for their records, as well as make a little laminated tag to put on the carrier. My vet compared the picture to the live Taco and noted that his pupils were fine in the pic. DETAILS. I LOVE THEM. I haven’t gotten the results back yet. Also another reason I love my vet? They’re super up on technology. They email.
3. Rabies vaccine. Expected. Don’t necessarily agree with this one, but it’s required for his kitty license and if we need to board them on vacay.
4. License. Forgotten about, but expected. Stupid, because they’ll never get out. Of course it’s possible, but my cats are terrified of the outside world. Twice the door has opened accidentally and not noticed for a few hours and no one went near it.
5. Kitty probiotics.
Don’t laugh. Taco has the MOST rank-smelling poo in the world. It’s impossible for me to understand how he and Moosh eat the same thing but comes out SO much more foul from his ass. Adding the probiotics helps a bit. Worth the money. I promise.
Not expected. Was reminded it’s coming up on flea season again. Wish to avoid an invasion. And yes, I know there’s natural options for fleas but I’ve tried all of them, and trust me, they don’t work in Florida. It’s all dirt here, which is flea heaven.
7. Kitty food.
Taco’s stupid prescription food. I suppose it’s not horribly expensive but in my eyes, it is for crap food that’s not natural or organic or byproduct-free. But it helps him, so who am I to complain?
And that, my dears, is why Mommy is eating PB&Js for awhile. I never thought I’d spend so much on a vaguely healthy cat. Sigh.
Still waiting for my brats to start working. The slugs are sleeping at the moment.
I’m about to send them out with resumes.
The road to the vet is not a quiet one.
Yesterday was Taco vet day. Just a yearly checkup thing. He’s been fairly healthy. Annoying, but that’s not a health issue. Only in regards to my mental state.
Getting Taco to the vet is a two-person job. I knew he wasn’t going to go quietly, so I asked the boyfriend to do the prep work and have him ready to go. However, the little MFer immediately ran under the bed when the carrier came out, at which point it required both of us to tag team the effort. Upon getting him in the carrier, he immediately began thrashing about. Not even out of the house yet. Then the meowing started. Then the meowing didn’t stop.
It’s a 15-minute drive. Of loud.
Of course, I then began embarking on the futile effort of soothing him with calming words. And I continued to despite the fact that it did absolutely nothing. Although I did discover that he answered me in different tones here and there, which amused me. It seemed that saying his name resulted in a slightly lower volume, but only the 1st two meows. The 3rd went back to gutteral. We continued like this all the way into the vet, where he announced himself loudly upon being carried in.
Thus begins part 3 of the vet experience. The shakes. For all of Taco’s bravado, he’s a big freaking baby. He scrunches into one corner of his carrier and shivers. With an occasional loud meow, attracting all onlookers to comment on what an adorable cat he is, which at this point, doesn’t even fill me with mommy pride because now everyone can see what a wussy cat I’ve raised.
Part 4. The exam room.
Still uncooperative. Still meowing. The vet and the vet assistant have trouble holding him. He is really quite a talented squirmer. I will give him credit for not lashing out with claws. Except that would kinda be less wussy. Despite his best efforts (and a loud, random meow on the scale), I learned that he was healthy, that he gained an ounce (this I don’t understand, he eats everything) and that he runs hot at the vet from all the shaking and flustering. Oh, then the vet noticed one pupil was larger than the other and suggested I take him to an animal ophthalmist (however the hell you spell that. I’m not looking it up.). I’m not overly concerned about this. My eyes do that too. My eye doc said it’s unlikely I have a brain tumor because I’d know it by now. But nonetheless, we threw on FeLV and FIV testing into the bloodwork just in case, because he’s only been tested for those once.
Then I paid the bill. Now I’m broke. That’s a whole other story for another post (although I will add that I wasn’t OVERcharged, he’s just expensive). And Taco still hasn’t gotten a job to pay his way. I’m not taking him to a cat eye doc until he earns his damn keep.
So here’s what I learned about cats and candles.
Thanks to those of you that responded to my candle/plug-in harmful to cats question, I feel a little less clueless in my lack of knowledge. No one has really heard of anything.
I had to take Taco for his laser pew pew pew vet visit today, so I figured I’d ask while I was there (after gushing over the 3 black kittens waiting for homes in the waiting area! Holy crap, they were SO cute. GAWD I love black cats).
The receptionist had NEVER heard of it before, so she went back and asked the vet and vet techs…also nothing. And this is an all-cat vet, so I would assume that the field of knowledge relating directly to cats would be more vast than that of an all-around vet. There is apparently something about cats not agreeing with pine and cedar oil, but nothing about the livers and their lack of metabolizing aromas.
So I’m going to keep my Bath and Body Works plug-ins. Even though I’m not overly fond of the one in the living room currently, and my kitchen smells like a pancake. And I only burn candles every once in awhile anyway.
Oh, she did tell me to check the website for Cornell University. I didn’t see anything about this topic, but there is a TON of kitty info there. Who can’t use that?
Mommy instinct is fallible. And…I think it’s gonna be one of those months.
In case you were waiting with baited breath to find out how Moosh is…
He’s fine. This has been confirmed with a vet visit. He did pee on Monday so I wasn’t worried about crystals anymore but since hanging out in the bathtub randomly isn’t always a good sign either, I decided to take him anyway. This decision was partly based on the fact that he was also overdue for his yearly visit. That fact made me feel like much less of an overreacting freako crazy cat lady.
Listen, if there’s one really good thing you can say about crazy cat ladies, we know our kitties. (Well, that and we take an awful lot of cat pictures.) When something’s off, it’s off.
But in this case, whatever was making Moosh more weird than normal had run its course by this morning, because he was acting perfectly fine. I rushed home from work, lured Moosh out from under the bed with treats and tried to stuff him in the carrier before he was fully awake. Didn’t work. The boyfriend came home just as I was attempting this lovely task, guess who got to help? And guess who got clawed? Sorry baby, thanks so much for the help though!
For a laid back cat, Moosh sure hates the cat carrier. He NEVER meows, except for when he’s hungry, and then it’s a wussy ass “meeewp” but in the carrier, he’s like Taco times 10. He’s really got quite a range.
Anyway. He’s all normal. Including his weirdness, he’s back to his normal weird, instead of the weird weird. The vet pointed out that it may be the changing weather or changing furniture. Probably has something to with the glass breakage too. I found another giant chunk of it tonight. Not quite sure where that was hiding. These boys are lucky they’re not sliced to hell. Taco, on the other hand, didn’t even eat tonight because he’s too busy hissing at Moosh. This will last 3 days. Come ON, Taco, it’s only your freakin’ brother that you see every freakin’ day. He can’t possibly smell THAT different. Starve, then. See if I care. You eat your brother’s food all the time anyway. It’s about time you know how he feels.
My boys are crazy. Just like their mother.
Oh, and then I got home, and decided to check my coolant levels because it smelled like burning antifreeze. Surprise! There’s a leak. I just got a new radiator, I am going to assume that is the most expensive thing that would cause a leak and I can rule that one out, so we’ll pretend for now that it will be a cheap fix. See? Power of positive thinking in effect. At least my babies are healthy. And I have a boyfriend willing to take a claw for me.
And I got to gush over these adorable babies at the vet!
Kitty mommy stress
The boyfriend and I went to Ikea this weekend to buy a new desk, one that makes me feel more grown-up (I’ve had my old one since high school) and a bookcase. This weekend has been a whirlwind of putting stuff together and reorganizing (not even remotely finished with that).
This may be me overreacting, but Moosh is acting weird. I mean, he’s a weird cat anyway so that alone wouldn’t be cause for alarm, but I also noticed that when I cleaned out the upstairs litter box yesterday (which I’d forgotten to do all week), the one that Moosh frequents, there was no pee. None. There was enough pee in the downstairs one that it could have been the work of two normal, healthy cats, but it struck me as odd.
But now I think he’s acting funny. I couldn’t find him this morning and finally did in Jason’s shower. He likes to jump in there, but usually right out. Not like, hang out there. Especially when treats are offered. Other than that he’s just acting funny. Sometimes he’s acting totally fine, and then he does random things. He spent all day under the bed, but I think that’s his new spot, so that part might be ok. And he’s eating fine. But there was only one pee in the downstairs box today and Taco peed on the couch again (that’s a whole ‘nother story) so statistically it seems likely that the pee in the box was Moosh’s, right? I pushed him in his a bazillion times and he keeps jumping right out and looking at me like I’m an asshole.
If you have a male cat, you may already know about crystals. Crystals are a male cat owner’s nightmare. They stop up the peeing process and kitty gets sick. Really sick. And if you don’t get them to the vet in time, they can die. Best case scenario is a very expensive vet visit/stay.
I THINK, though, that crystal-inflicted kitties still go in the box and try. Moosh hasn’t. So I’m trying to not worry. The rational part of me (rarely the part that wins out in a worry situation) says he’s probably fine, he’s probably acting funny because a) when we came home from Ikea yesterday, there was a smashed glass on the kitchen floor, which I deduced that Moosh decided to go in the cabinet and at some point knocked out a glass that hit the counter on its way to the floor, so that may have freaked him out a bit and b) there’s two new, large pieces of furniture in the house that he doesn’t recognize.
I’m still worried. I will continue to worry until there is a properly soiled litterbox or until I take him to the vet. Worry, unfortunately, is what I do best.
New cat drama, yay!
Like I really want new cat drama.
Today, Taco has puked 5 times. All throughout the day. There’s really nothing in the house that he could have gotten into and he’s acting perfectly fine otherwise. We’ve taken him to the vet before for the puking, and she said that based on his age and the normal tests, it was likely just upset stomach and prescribed him Pepcid AC. Yes, the human kind.
Only Taco, being the smart little asshole he is, figured out Pill Pockets, and refuses to eat them anymore. So when he stopped puking so much and started ignoring the Pill Pockets, I just gave up. Since then, here and there he’s been pukey, but really, what cat isn’t? Even Moosh pukes sometimes. Mostly hairballs, I mean, it IS Florida and all, and I see how much hair they have. It’s only natural. I hear pumpkin puree is supposed to work for that, has anyone tried it?
Anyway, I don’t think it’s the hairballs today. He’s puked up all his food AND some Greenies (which will turn your beige carpet a lovely shade of green!) and even did the weird MEOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW thing that cats do right before they puke…only MY cats have never done it right before they puke. In fact, the only reason I know about the MEOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW “I’m about to puke” noise is from Jager…who was sick with FIP. My vet said that the noise was normal, but I now associate it with a dying kitten (which I know, logically, isn’t what’s wrong with Taco as it’s really only a disease that hits cats under 2, and usually way younger than that) and that’s extraordinarily unnerving.
And this is supposed to be my vacation week and I was looking forward to “me” time tomorrow (by vacation week I mean I have the week off one job and 1 and a half days at my day job which may not seem like a vacation week to you but believe me, it is to me) but now it looks like I’m going to have to take Taco to the vet, which also makes me feel like a horrible cat mom and horrible person in general for lamenting the loss of my “me” day for what could be a sick kitty. But something always happens on my days off. And I don’t get a lot of them. Plus, the vet costs money. Money I don’t want to spend at the vet. I love my vet, but really, I would like to see less of her. Just got the “Time for Moosh vaccinations!” postcard in the mail the other day. I should really get a volume discount.
But I suppose I should be happy I’m not getting hit with a hurricane and using my day off to evacuate. And although the RNC is going on just on the other side of the bay, I haven’t had any run-ins with crazy republicans. I did, however, put my “Republicans Hate Kittens” sticker on my car (it has a sad kitty face on it too) in hopes that I offend someone. I reason that any republican who actually does not hate kittens is probably an ok person and wouldn’t be offended by such a sticker anyway. I see the bright side. I guess I just feel like wallowing today. In addition to worrying about the kitty.
Kids? Yeah, I have furry ones.
I’m 30, and I’m pretty sure if my biological clock was going to start ticking, it would have by now. Granted, my mom was 38 when she had me so I probably have time to change my mind if I so desire.
But I’m pretty sure I won’t.
I don’t get all goo-goo-ga-ga over kids. Sure, they’re cute, but I’ll take my cats any day. They depend on my for food and attention but for the most part, they’re pretty self sufficient. I don’t have to take them to school or make them do their homework. I don’t have to worry that they’re hanging out with a bad crowd. I don’t have to let them borrow my car. Not that kids are BAD, by any means, but I think they’re not for me. I’ve heard the whole “Oh, when you actually have one, you’ll understand.” Ok, but what if I DON’T? There’s no 30-day trial period where I can decide “Eh, this just isn’t a good fit” and stuff it back in there. There’s no going back. And on top of that, there’s 9 months of morning sickness, swollen feet, kicking baby to get through first. And if that wasn’t enough, let’s throw in labor pains and the actual process of shoving a watermelon through…well…you get the idea. I’m crossing my legs just thinking about it.
Cats? I’ll goo-goo-ga-ga over them every time. There’s something so innocent and loving about them that doesn’t turn into teenage angst someday. I love being a cat mom. But in some respects, I think it’s a hard choice because unlike kids, you’re almost guaranteed to outlive them. So theoretically I’m setting myself up for repeated heartbreak. I’ve been there. We put our beloved 1 1/2-year-old baby Jager to sleep after a month or so of tests, medicine x-rays and a surgery ruled out everything except Feline Infectious Perionitis. There’s no test for it, because cats can carry the virus that causes it without it ever turning into FIP, so a positive result doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what it is. There’s also no cure. It’s fatal. It was an extended heartbreak because every test carried a little bit of hope that just got smashed, and the dread slowly built until it was settled. There’s another thing you don’t have to do with human kids. Decide if euthanasia is the humane choice. Yeah, there’s the decision to take off life support but you’re not actually giving the orders to essentially cause the death. And worse, you have to decide WHEN. Too soon? Too late?
I know there are people who don’t feel the way I do about the furry babies. People who wouldn’t think twice about putting a cat to sleep. But this is me, and the older I get, the more I think I was meant to be a cat mom. I know the parents want grandkids, but frankly, I think I’m too selfish for that kind of commitment. There are days when even scooping out a litterbox is too much of a bother. How the hell would I deal with diaper changes and 3am feedings? And GODDAMN how do people afford children? The boyfriend and I both work two jobs, and while we don’t make crazy money, I’m pretty sure our incomes are above average. I couldn’t possibly see how we could add that expense in. Hell, I don’t know how my mom did it.
There are plenty of kids in this world. Ones that go hungry. Ones that are abused. Ones that are homeless. In some ways I feel that it would be pretty selfish of me to bring another one into this world just so I could pass on my (admittedly amazing) genes.
For now, I’m good with things the way they are. I haven’t even come to terms with the fact that I, myself, am an adult now. I just bought a pair of ballet shoes on a whim. Am I taking dance lessons? No. I just want to play dress-up, apparently. I’m obviously unfit for motherhood.
Cat chore of the day – nixing the claws.
Taco’s been a lil scratchy-scratchy with the ol’ clawsies lately, so today is SOFT PAW DAY! WHEEEEE!
When I was younger, I never dreamed my life would be so exciting at 30.
Moosh has never had an issue with the scratching. He’s very good about only scratching things he’s supposed to, although he does like to stretch up a wall here and there, but the claws don’t really come out.
Taco, being the bad son that he is, scratches wherever he pleases, although surprisingly not the couch (but he does pee on it, so I’m not really sure which is better). He ADORES my yoga mat. While I’m on it. Have you ever had to shoo away a cat scratching under you whilst doing the downward facing dog? Because I have.
I am heartily against declawing. It is not, as many people think, just an “easy removal of claws.” It is an amputation. It is exactly like removing the top joint of your finger. Even if it weren’t such a HORRIBLY INVASIVE SURGERY that was SIMPLY for the convenience of the owners, what happens if your cat gets out? Mine are actually terrified of the outside world (once, I left for work and didn’t close the door all the way, and the boyfriend, upon leaving for work himself, discovered the open door and Moosh sitting calmly on the porch chair — a porch that is not enclosed) but things happen, and I love them too much to put them at that sort of disadvantage. Nor would I want to dismember them.
Still not convinced? It’s illegal or considered inhumane and strongly discouraged in all of the following countries:
- Northern Ireland
- New Zealand
That’s quite a list. WHERE IS THE KITTY LEGISLATION IN AMERICA, OBAMA???
There’s also possible behavioral changes, complications and nerve damage pain to think of.
So. There is no declawing in my house. There is only Soft Paws. Which really aren’t that bad. Glue in the cap, cap on the nail, hold the cat, release. Reapply as necessary. They can eat them and everything. Out of 3 cats I have applied them to, only one has had a problem with them. Surprisingly enough, it’s the good son, Moosh (who, we discovered, doesn’t need them anyway). I’ll apply them, hold him for the requisite 10 minutes for the glue to dry, and then he will walk 5 paces, sit, and determinedly begin yanking them off with his teeth. He will sit there as long as it takes to get them all off. This is an amusing process to watch, as I am far more lazy than him, apparently. I don’t have that sort of drive. Taco, on the other hand, doesn’t even notice them. He’ll just go on about his day.
Without further adieu, off I go to fit the bad son with his mittens. I am merciful this time, and picked clear instead of pink.
UPDATE: After a lengthy hunt for the claw clippers (finally found under the sofa), the soft paws were applied with little fanfare, until the “holding for 10 minutes while glue dries” part. It would seem that being held by me is akin to being held against hot coals.