“West Central Veterinary Clinic, how may I help you?” said a nice voice.
“Hi, um…my cat appears to be in a lot of pain, can’t seem to use his litter box, and hasn’t eaten in two days. I’m wanting to know if you have any suggestions?” Thus began the little saga of my Saturday. The nice voice said it sounded not-so-great and they would squeeze me in before they closed that day. So I put a very sick tom cat in a box and drove to Rockville.
This is, I need to interject, unprecedented. We don’t typically take our cats to the vet. They don’t get shots or dental appointments or are neutered. They are au natural. But this cat is kind of special, and well, he was awfully uncomfortable. I’ve held a lot of dying kittens in my arms and I just wasn’t ready to do that again. So off we went.
The nurse giggled when she registered his name. “Sassy Pants?”
“Yes,” I said. “And boy, is he.” (His official name is Shy, which he isn’t, so we don’t often call him that.)
I shared the waiting room with a man and his hyper little golden dog and a tiny girl and her grandfather. Sassy yowled from his box. “Kitty!” the little girl said. A short while later, she and her grandfather passed me to go to one of the examination rooms; their critter had just been brought in from his pen outdoors—a lamb. He baaa’d at us and she waved.
Upon entering the examination room the vet expressed surprise at finding “Sassy Pants” to be a tom. A BIG tom. Sassy didn’t care what anyone thought. He wasn’t interested in his surroundings; he didn’t care about being weighed or inspected. He was not himself at all; he seemed more comfortable when I was holding him—another sign of serious problems. He is not, shall we say, a snuggler.
When the vet was done listening and feeling, he gave a sigh. “Well, Mom,” and he launched into it. I had been hoping for something simple like a little medicine, a shot.
No such bananas.
The vet was quite nice about it, but he made it clear. Either I took my cat home and he died a miserable death in day or so, or he had surgery immediately.
SURGERY?? On my cat?
About half an hour after I got home, I got a call. “Sassy Pants is out of surgery and waking up right now. He’s doing just fine, Mom.”
Two days later, he was still in the cat hospital under observation. I stopped by to see him and pay his bill. (He’s an expensive cat.) The nurses giggled again when I asked to see him.
In examination room three, Shy, alias Sassy Pants, was so delighted to see me he deposited a pound of fur on my jacket. His throaty rumble filled the room. He was all over me, the examination table and the room in general. He was clearly feeling better. It made me grin.
It is both the first and the last time I will probably pay for a cat to have surgery. (No, I am not his “mom.” Good heavens.) It’s also probably the first and last time I could actually pay for something like that. But I’m not at all sorry that I did. Like I said—he’s kind of a special cat.
Long may he live to terrorize the local rodents, rub fur on our pants, and lick toes.