too many words by laura lemay

Cats and vets and shots

I took Ariel (my big cat) to the vet this morning. Ariel has always been the nicer of my two cats, so I expected things to go normally.

Things did not go normally.

The first problem was with Elsa, my little cat. I took Elsa to the vet last friday because I had postponed it for two long, and she was in heat and had kept me awake for most of last week shreiking for a mate at all hours of the night. Elsa went through all her shots and her surgery just fine (although they shaved her, front to back, I’m not sure why; even I know that cats don’t have ovaries in thier neck), and came home on saturday.

Ariel took one look at Elsa, sniffed at her a little, and decided that Elsa was Not The Same Cat that had left 24 hours earlier. This was a *different* cat. All weekend Ariel was highly antagonistic towards Elsa; if Elsa comes within several feet of her she growls and hisses and is generally a nusance. So I replaced one cat who let out ear-piercing shrieks with another one who growls almost perpetually. Sigh.

This morning I got up early, set up the kitty carrier and opened it up to put Ariel in. Ariel promptly ran and hid. After I chased Ariel through two rooms and finally cornered her in the closet, I brought her back to the kitty carrier to stuff her in, only to discover that Elsa had discovered that it was there. Elsa thought that this was definiely nifty: dark, quiet and had a very comfy towel inside. So she set up house.

I didn’t see Elsa in the case when I tried to stuff Ariel inside. Ariel, however, saw Elsa (or as Ariel sees it, the Evil Cat Who Looks Like Elsa but Is Not Elsa), and had a fit. I let Ariel run away and tried to get Elsa out of the case. She didn’t want to go. I finally upended the case and Elsa fell out. I chased Elsa into the bedroom and went looking for Ariel. By the time I found Ariel and got a good grip on her, Elsa was back in the case again.

I locked Elsa in the bathroom, retrived Ariel from under the bed (and Ariel was in a *really* bad mood by now), and stuffed her into the case. Ariel had now equated the case with being forced to be near Elsa, and became a screaming, spitting ball of black fur and claws when I got near the case. Some time later I finally managed to cram all parts of her inside and shut the door.

The trip to the vet was uneventful. Ariel sat head foreward in the case, looking at me with the most evil expression I have ever seen on a cat in my life. But she was quiet, and even stayed quiet through the vets exam. Finally, it was shot time. Ariel was going to be taken into the clinic where they’d give her her shots. I had to wait in the lobby.

I sat quietly in the lobby, reading old magazines and minding my own business, when an ear-piercing cat shriek came through the closed doors and the wall of the lobby. Even the receptionists look surprised at the depth of hatred and anger in that shriek. A few seconds later there was another shriek, which went on for a good five minutes. The receptionist looked at me and says “Is that *your* cat doing that?”

I smiled faintly. “I hope not.” There was another blood-curdling shreik, and I heard running noises from behind the door.

Some time later, the shrieking stopped. I waited nervously, wondering what had happened to my cat. Finally, the vet came out to see me. “Contrary to what I’m sure you heard back there,” she says, “We are not skinning your cat.”

Ariel had put up a good fight; it took four medical assistants to hold her down for three shots. The vet warned me that Ariel would probably be in “a bad mood” for a while.

Ariel gave me the evil eye all the way home. If ever there was a cat curse, I have brought it upon me. I got home, and opened the case, and Ariel crawled out, looking rumpled and unhappy.

Elsa chose that moment to come over and try to say hi. She leaned foreward, with just her nose, and Ariel put her ears back, reached out a paw, and slapped her viciously on the nose. Elsa is going to leave her alone for now, I think.