originally posted on March 13, 2010
A couple of weekends ago I took my cat to the emergency animal center after she became extremely ill on a Sunday. History has shown that my entire family is wired to never take ill during banker’s hours (M-F 9-5 with a narrow window on Sat.) and apparently, the cat is no different.
The late night technician examined my cat and asked whether or not I brushed the cat’s teeth. Hello, animal doctor veterinarian lady?! We are talking about a cat here. Seriously, do I what? Brush her … teeth? I have a pretty strict policy about never cussing via paper, pen or printer but the expletive that fell out of my mouth was sandwiched between an, “OH” and a rather large “NO” that rattled the antibacterial dispenser near the door. Having spent the better part of the last decade battling to get my 13 year old autistic son to brush HIS teeth it never once occurred to me to add a small hairy cat to the fracas.
After being told that kitty’s tartar buildup may have contributed to her illness, I felt bad about never having brushed her teeth. But, only for a moment before I saw her gnash, thrash and slash as the vet poked around with a cotton swab to provide me with empirical evidence of said dental calculus. Even in her weakened condition, I could see that kitty would try to claw her way out of having those sharp teeth touched, much less brushed to hissy-fresh breath perfection.
Two and a half hours after we arrived, I was informed that Alice “the cat” Katz would be staying overnight so that they could administer fluids, antibiotics and run labs to determine what exactly was wrong with her. I was given strict instructions to pick her up the next morning before 7am, as the emergency center closed promptly at 7am and if I was late, kitty would then be forced to stay another night to the tune of luxury spa hotel prices. Picking her up on time wasn’t going to be a problem, but what was is that no veterinarian’s office in my entire valley (or the next two valleys surrounding us) opens before 8am, meaning I would have to entertain a cat with an intravenous fluid line in a small enclosed carrying case for an hour or so. This was second only to brushing her teeth on my top 10 list of things NOT to do with the cat.
As I left Alice for the evening, I noticed that her intravenous fluid line was wrapped in a bandaged clearly marked DO NOT BITE all over it. Clearly, if the vet thought she was smart enough to understand the importance of brushing her teeth, she must have thought she could read, too.
Four days and fourteen hundred dollars later, Alice was released with stable laboratory results and an appetite, but no definitive results as to what was wrong with her. To add insult to time spent in a tiny steel prison cell (with the world’s tiniest litter box, I might add) Alice came home with shaved front legs that made her look like she had custom Ugg boots made just for her and all the fur removed from her little kitty belly (so they could perform an expensive, inconclusive abdominal ultrasound). For a better picture of how wacky the poor darling looks, you should know she’s a member of the Munchkin breed of cats, so those would be the short style of Uggs, not the tall.
In addition to the humiliating new look they provided Alice with, the vet also handed me a bottle of liquid antibiotic with the news that I would have to administer the frothy white concoction to the cat twice-a-day for thirty days. Not wanting to disappoint another animal doctor with my unwillingness to put anything in my cat’s mouth, I asked if it was at least fish flavored or something. The doc looked down at me, chuckled and announced (as though it was the most normal thing) that it was actually bubblegum flavored. Oh, for the love of Pete’s Dragon. 3 out of 4 dentists may have preferred a particular gum for their patients, but really … who was on the panel that decided that cat medicine should be bubblegum flavored?! Probably the same evil group that thinks they need their teeth brushed.
April can not come soon enough.