The World O' Crap Archive

Welcome to the Collected World O' Crap, a comprehensive library of posts from the original Salon Blog, and our successor site, (2006 to 2010).

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pet Swamp

It’s time once again for a Lileks-like description of my boring daily routine, and a Gurdon-like recounting of some of the adorable things my little ones have done. (Of course, my little ones are cats and dogs, but they are ever so precious and adorable and stuff, so I’m sure you’ll find my stories just as fascinating as if they were about human children named Emmanuelle, Listerine, Lavender Marie, Bud PowerRanger, and baby Pixie Stix.)Anyway, so here are the Jack Bauer-like highlights of my day so far.

3:00 A.M. – I am awakened by loud barking, as Yodie and Flossie alert me to a terrorist threat in the backyard (possibly involving moonbeams, a tree leaf, and a moth). After calling the cable news media to report this new threat to our well-being, I go back to bed.

At 5:30 A.M. – I am awakened by a kitten that is trying to steal my breath and/or attempting to make me get up and give him some food. After firmly telling the culprit (little Torgo, the Kitten Of Fate) that there is no meal service before 7:00, and then throwing him off my bed about 20 times, he gets the message and leaves me undisturbed for about 20 minutes.

5:50 A.M. – Awakened by Flossie and Yodie, who wish to alert me to the fact that the dogs next door are barking, possibly because they have spotted a terrorist paperboy. After upping the threat level to tangerine, I decide I might as well get up and feed the cats. I dish out small servings of canned cat food to Zigra, Tibby, Bix, Torgo, and Andy. (Jet Jaguar, who doesn’t care for canned cat food, chooses to sleep in.)

5:55 A.M – Dish out more cat food to Andy, whose meal was stolen by dingoes, or possibly Yodie and Flossie. Then back to bed.

7:00 A.M. – Awakened again by Torgo, who reminds me that I had said that the first meal of the day would be served at 7:00. I get up, but nobody gets fed this time!

7:05 A.M. – Noticed a trail of vomit leading down the hall into the living room. Got out the Resolve (both George Bush and I have lots of it) and the paper towels and the damp rags, and spend 20 minutes cleaning the carpet. Vow that nobody ever gets fed again!

Then I scoop out litter boxes, refill water bowls, feed the fish, and hand feed the dogs their kibble. (Flossie has developed “dog in the manger syndrome,” and if I put out bowls of food, she won’t eat anything, but instead obsessively tries to guard both bowls from Yodie, or any other pet that might within a foot of them. I’m sure this behavior serves as a potent metaphor for something or other from the current political scene, but I’m too tired to say what.)

After I get tired of the hand feeding, I put little piles of kibble in strategic places around the house (hey, it’s what a book on dog training recommended). Tibby eats some kibble, but Yodie and Flossie tell me that their doctor has insisted that they eat only canned cat food.

9:00 – Call the vet’s office in an effort to make an appointment for Zigra, who has another abscess on his neck. I noticed the lump Saturday afternoon (right after the vet’s office closed, of course), and spent my weekend putting hot packs on it. The abscess burst last night in a colorful explosion of blood and pus, which my carpet conveniently absorbed. (Like I said, I have lots of Resolve.)

The receptionist says there are no openings until Wednesday. When I relate the details of the exploding lumps, with their attendant blood and pus, she gives me an appointment this afternoon. However, it’s at their other location (the one that isn’t five minutes from my home.)

9:30-12:30 – Pick up various material (dog toys, chewed-up green apples, poop, etc.) from the back yard, and then mow the lawn. Take a shower. Get out of the bathroom to find a pile of chewed-up wood on the carpet. Near the detrius are the most likely suspects, Yodie and Flossie, but they swear they are innocent, and insist that the terrorist moth was the real culprit. Spend a few minutes trying to decide what the wood came from (A piece from a chair? A leg from a bookshelf? Part of the wall?). Give up, and pick up larger pieces, and then vacuum, to the consternation of all.

Eat a granola bar. Share same with two dogs after they inform me that they are in immediate danger of starvation, even though the little piles of kibble remain untouched.

12:30 P.M. – Stalk Zigra, capture him, throw him in the cat carrier, and make the 20-minute trek to the vet’s. There is loud wailing all during the drive, most of it from the cat.

1:00 – And we’re back at the vet’s office, where we dropped $140 just 6 days ago! (Although I told the other animals that Flossie got to go to the vet’s and get tutored, she actually got spayed.) Anyway, after a short wait, Zigra’s wound is cleaned, shaved, and squirted with antibiotic, and we are good to go.

Since this is the second time Zigra has had an abscess on his neck, everyone asks me if he is some kind of feline thug who goes around town picking fights. I tell them that actually he is a very submissive cat who offers up his neck to anyone who might be interested in biting it. While I’ve often seen Jet Jaguar, Yodie, and Flossie with their mouths on his neck (to demonstrate their dominance, I assume), I’ve never observed them apply any pressure, or him exhibit any signs of discomfort — he just gets a soggy neck. But I guess a tooth could have accidentally punctured his flesh. Or, since he has recently discovered if he goes to the spot in my fence which connects with the neighbor’s chain link fence, he can climb the links to freedom, he could have re-encountered the little orange tom from two houses down who gave him his previous bite wound.

In any case, since each of these little incidents ends up costing me $90, he has got to quit getting bit on the neck!

2:00 – Return home to find shards of plastic, cardboard, and metal all over the floor. Yes, the dogs have eaten a CD. (I know that it was Flossie and Yodie, as they are still chewing when I walk in the door.) Since it was a CD I had forgotten I even owned (the soundtrack to The Craft), I don’t shed any tears, but I do swear a little as I clean up the mess. The dogs tell me that they are sorry, but since (a) I took the cat for a ride in the car while leaving them behind; and (b) I forgot to give them a chew treat before departing, they had no choice but to relieve their sense of abandonment and boredom by destroying some of my personal property. I see the logic of their position, and promise them that they can go for a ride to the vet’s really soon.

Then I give the dogs each a delicious chew treat, and go to change my clothes, which are covered with cat hair. (It’s a proven fact that cats shed about 100 times their normal rate while at the vet’s.)

2:15 – Emerge from my bedroom to find Flossie chewing a clod of dirt, which she found outside and brought onto the living room carpet to enjoy. As I vacuum, I repent for having implied that it was wrong of Meghan Cox Gurdon to have several mixed drinks every afternoon.

And so it goes.

But seriously, my pets are great, and I love them. Just not today.

15 Responses to “Pet Swamp”

you have broken the first rule of pets, which is: never have more animals in a house than humans. it is your own damn fault!
good luck with the rest of your day.

Clealy you need a Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure.
Bless your giagantic heart, S.Z.
You do the work that so many of us can only dream of, and you do it with… well, if not with ‘elanand grace, then at least with STYLE!
If I could have cats in my current shoebox, I’d have adopted every feral in the neighborhood, which would not only make me the official Crazy Cat Lady for the entire PARISH, but would ensure that I would be able to teach myself how to make yarn & knit sweaters from pet hair.
Next time I send you a book, I think that rather than digging for Lucienne drek at the parish dump, (er, um, LIBRARY, yeah, that’s it! A library book sale!), I’m going to send you this one:

Highly practical and helps keep the house reasonably clean!
(No actual uses found thus far for hairballs, dog vomit, or those lovely cat turds with long hairs linking them together like Pop&Loc toy beads, unfortunately.)
Give all the babies a big hug & a kiss for me, and Biddy, Boy, and Uma The Lesbian Attack Hamster all say “Hi!”
(Actually, they say, “Mrrrrroowwww,” “MEH! MUH! MEH-MEH!” and “(insert squeaky-toy noises for the hamster)”, so make of that what you will.)
You have my sympathy. In the last year, I’ve ponied up for: hyperthyroidism, tooth extractions, chronic irritable intestinal syndrome, festered wounds (like Zigra gets), allergies and chronic renal failure in my cats. It’s nice to know that veterinarian’s kids can get a decent shot at attending an Ivy League school.
You’re probably okay treating the abcesses yourself, the hardest part being finding them. Just use the warm compress method, clip the fur around the wound, use bacitracin (neosporin) liberally after it pops and until it’s closed up again. Your main worry with wounds is making sure they heal from the inside out instead of vice versa. Just make sure to drain it well and watch for it hardening over too fast.
The neck thing is a little weird, I think. I’ve never really noticed cats doing that much–on occasion one will hop on an unsuspecting target, but they establish dominance with play fighting, not with the stupid BDSM rituals of the dog world. Dominant cats don’t lord it over their underlings. Territorial fights do lead to abcesses, but usually on the legs. It’s sexual fights that cause real damage.
Hopefully, the doglets will outgrow the chewing phase. Most dogs go through a bit of a chewing stage in their youth, generally when emotionally upset, i.e., YOU have left them alone in the house. My current labrador, when he first arrived, destroyed several pairs of my dad’s shoes, but has since stopped. Little dogs, since they are kinda high-strung, might continue to chew to some degree. Try to keep as much destroyable stuff as you can out of their reach. It’s a pain, but it reduces temptation.
I thought cats got sick from licking at neosporin? I suppose it depends where the wound is, but then maybe the other cats are licking it off? Or else I’m just wrong, that happens plenty.
I sympathize completely. In the last couple of months, my thirteen year old has lost six pounds while not apparently dieting and not apparently barfing. She’s an overweight cat, at the moment she’s thirteen pounds, and the vet always complains, but she’s allergic to nearly every food on the planet so it’s kind of difficult to put her on a diet, and it turns out she’s never apparently eaten as much as she’s supposed to anyway, she’s just freaking lazy.
So she could afford to lose the weight, but it seemed like it happened damned fast, like one day I picked her up and she was tiny. She hasn’t been acting ill or even tired or anything, and doesn’t seem to be in any pain, the only difference is the weight. So we drag her into the vet Saturday, and they take some blood, and suggest it could be diabetes, since the last time they cleaned her teeth in January, the pre-anasthesia blood tests came back with slightly high glucose only nobody told me this, I suspect a housemate dropped the message, or possibly hyperthyroidism. They called today and said elevated liver enzymes, a phras I strong suggest you do not google in connection with cats if you don’t absolutely have to, because every damned bit of it is scary shit. They tell me they don’t think it’s a tumor, because it’s not *that* elevated, and they’ll give me something to make her take for a month and then they’ll do the blood tests again and hopefully it’s nothing.
Then they start going on about rapid weight loss and fat migrating into her liver, and I pretty much freak out, which I’m still doing. I suck, and I should have noticed her losing weight faster, and I damned well should have gotten her to the vet faster, and I just want her to be okay.
We do have (untested) catastrophic health insurance for them, so that helps, I hope. But my partner is completely clueless on the subject and is doing the “Don’t worry about it before you have to” thing, which is rational but not emotionally helpful, and my housemate and former housemate don’t like the cats anyway, and my other friends are out of town or live in another time zone, and everyone else I know had a cat die recently and does not want to listen to me panic.
So, pardon me for doing it here.
On top of all this, the vet says she still needs to lose weight, and my other cat is sixteen pounds, and I don’t know how to get her to lose weight, either.
So I sympathize, and while I love them, I don’t love that they’re dependent on me, because they deserve way better than that. Cleaning up even hairballs is a small price to pay for what they give us, and what they put up with.
I, for one, love the animal stories. Assuming your animals don’t come up with witty bon mots like the Gurdon kids, which would undoubtedly earn them many, many swirlies if they were not homeschooled. (Maybe Megan should hire a bully or something…) Also, I’m sure you’re not making stuff up like MCG to prove a larger point / make a deadline. Plus you make me miss having pets!
It’s sexual fights that cause real damage.
No shit. Oh, you were talking about cats?
D. Sidhe, hang in, honey. I’m glad you can unload here, and you should. I hope your baby is okay.
And s.z., I love the animal stories too! Thanks for reminding me why I have only one dog and one cat. And while I know you’ll treasure the action figure and the book, if you’ll send me your address, I’ll send you more Resolve. I’m not sending any to George Bush, though. Fuck him.
s.z. I always enjoy your Jane Goodall of the Small Animal World vignettes.
I found a new term for scooping the litter box – “panning for nuggets in El Rio Gato” at One Good Thing ( Too bad they’re not golden nuggets.
What’s this about leaving food everywhere? One dog training book (The Dog Listener) that I’ve read says that you shouldn’t do that. As the pack leader you’re supposed to pretend to eat first to show the dogs who’s boss, then feed them. Seems to work with our dogs.
However, the cat’s a different story. We feed him whenever he decides he needs food because otherwise he’ll trip us and bite our ankles. We bow to our Cat Overlord.
We feed him whenever he decides he needs food because otherwise he’ll trip us and bite our ankles. We bow to our Cat Overlord.
Much needed laugh. Thank you.
BTW, thank you. She has protein supplements now, in tablet form. The first one went down easy, but I took her by surprise. Tomorrow, she’s going to be onto me. By the end of the month, I’ll need a transfusion. Apparently it will help her burn off the fat and repair the liver damage. So should running away from me while I try to give her the pills.
Beyond that, apparently we just cross our fingers a lot. It makes it hard to type.
It’s a proven fact that cats shed about 100 times their normal rate while at the vet’s.
I don’t know about 100x, but it is true that cats shed much more when stressed (as in a trip to the vet). According to my vet, it’s actually a defense mechanism similar to a porcupine dropping quills.
Having had many, many cats and dogs in the past (only 3 felines at present), I certainly sympathize with your various predicaments. Hang in there, and know that the little guys appreciate it, even if they don’t say so out loud.
D., darlin’, I’m sorry that I wasn’t here sooner to pass on my condolences/buck up little camper bon mots, m’love.
I’m glad that your kitty is doing better, and I’ll happily send you all of my neosporin tubes for the wounds on yer arms, if you want. Pill-pushing is the worst duty in which a cat-lover can partake. Yes, worse than cold, slimy hairballs and Meow-Mix vomit.
And I’m sure that my vet can vouch for the shedding thing… last time that we were there, she had enough black fur to knit at least three sweaters. And Boy was actually pretty laid-back about it.
s.z., thank you, i was jonesing for more of your stirring tales of life on Animal Planet- you are not only a lovely writer, but also a dear, good human.
And dear D.Sidhe (another love) when i have to give one of the cats (The Boys) a pill or two, i crush the pill, mix it with water and draw it up into a (needle-less) syringe, then wrap the little guy in a thick towel with just his head poking out, and squirt the pill-water into his mouth- they always get enough of the medecine to make a difference, and i don’t need stitches. Good luck, and know that you are a treasure to many.

late to the party as per usual for me but one thing i’ve learnt about my kitties: never, but never feed ‘em wet food in the morning. i dig sleeping late and them being accustomed to their fave wet food first thing in the AM just ruins my sleeping w/the constaint wails of ‘feed me! NOW!’ (despite the dry food always in the bowls but totally disdained in the morning).
i fucked up and totally forgot about this when i decided to share my life w/Hunter. my bad–he’s worse than Peter was (RIP) as Hunter, when getting no response at about 5AM every morning, fucking jumps my ass and wails in my ear.
mission accomplished: i’m dead to the world as i trudge to the kitchen to give The Important One what he wants WHEN he wants it. but that’s most kitties for ya, as you very well know.
ps, thanks for letting me rave on this. and i wouldn’t trade Hunter for the world.

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