Thursday, 21 August 2008

Cats, Vets And Pills Don't Mix

Hell hath no fury like a she-cat scorned.

I am in agony as I type this post, quite literally bleeding all over the keyboard.

You may recall that we planned to take our cats to the vet (read about it here). Well yesterday we did the deed. It wasn’t for anything serious; just a visit to clean their teeth. Spike was exempt because he isn’t really our cat, so only Jasper and Poppy had to suffer.

Now call me na├»ve if you will but I imagined that cleaning a cat’s teeth was a simple procedure where we held the cat and the vet moved in with a tiny toothbrush and special fish flavoured toothpaste. I was completely wrong.

The procedure involved:

(1) Taking the cats to the vet in the morning. Obvious really.
(2) Leaving the cats with the vet. Fantastic – at least the vet will suffer the wrath of the feline.
(3) Each cat having a blood test to see if the cat would be allergic to the anaesthetic. Hang on – anaesthetic?
(4) Shaving a portion of the cat’s front leg to administer the anaesthetic. Shaving their legs?
(5) Cleaning their teeth while they are unconscious. The vet is obviously a coward.
(6) Returning them to their owner with special cat food to settle their stomachs. Great! A chance of cat vomit.
(7) Administering antibiotics for five days. WHAT??????

The whole experience was a trauma from start to finish and not just for the cats.

First, we had to keep them in overnight and not feed them after a certain time. Jasper was delirious with hunger and howled in anguish. Poppy was invisible as usual. Keeping them in was difficult; we had to lock the cat flap and push a kitchen bin in front of it. Why? Because Jasper has been known to break through a locked cat flap – I am not joking.

Of course we had to give them access to a toilet as well so out came the cat tray. I HATE cat trays.

The next morning Jasper was so ravenous that he was looking at me as if I were a gourmet meal.

Mrs PM retrieved the cat carriers while I caught the cats. Jasper was easy. He allows us to pick him up all the time. It wasn’t too bad trying to squeeze him into the carrier. Poppy on the other hand is a nightmare. First I had to flush her out from under the bed in the spare bedroom, then Mrs PM had to stand strategically by the kitchen door so that Poppy would be diverted into the lounge. It worked but we had to move every item of furniture to retrieve her.

By this stage, Jasper was howling. Already starving, he was trapped and knew what was coming. We bundled the cats in the car and set off to the vets – a fifteen minute drive. Except this time we hadn’t anticipated the traffic jam.

The fifteen minute journey turned into a forty minute descent into Hell; as the cats’ howling intensified, Mrs PM became more anguished, causing the cats to howl even more and my road rage to intensify, which caused the cats to howl even more. By the time we arrived at the vet, both cats had expelled the contents of their bladders leaving them and the back seat of the car covered in cat urine.

We had to wait ten minutes for the vet and then we left. Mrs PM was distraught.

After work, Mrs PM went to pick them up.

When she arrived home, she was still agitated, but mainly because the entire procedure had cost us a lovely £330.


The fee included anaesthetic, light food, antibiotics, the blood test and the treatment itself. Why did we need antibiotics? Because the de-scaling procedure can cause their gums to bleed; the pills were needed to stop them from getting an infection.

Well, basically the cats stopped speaking to us, apart from Spike who was laughing his tail off.

Poppy, the timid one, glared at me and fled.

Now tonight, we had to administer the first of the antibiotics. We have in the past failed miserably when trying to hide the pill in the cat food - they are wise to that now. We would have to use the technique that the vet was so successful at – opening the mouth, popping the pill in, closing the mouth and rubbing the throat. The vet had made it look easy in the past.

Again, Jasper was easy enough to catch but forcing him to take a pill was very difficult. It took us ten minutes and my hands were covered in cat saliva.

Poppy was far, far worse.

Again we trapped her in the lounge through the use of a strategically placed Mrs PM. And I caught her. As I held her, Mrs PM opened Poppy’s mouth and dropped the pill inside. Poppy closed here mouth and stared fiercely at me. Her little tongue popped out and I caught a glimpse of the pill resting on it. She spat it out even though I rubbed her throat. Three times we tried and three times we failed. I decided that Poppy was small enough for me to both hold her and force the pill inside. After all I’d seen the vet do it many times.

I opened her mouth and popped the pill in. However I left my finger in her mouth a little too long and she sank her teeth straight in. I howled with pain and Poppy saw her chance; as I relaxed my grip she extended all of her claws and literally ran up my shoulder and face digging her claws in as deep as she could to get a foothold. And she spat the pill out for good measure.

Bleeding and feeling sorry for myself (and Mrs PM trying not to laugh) we finally managed to succeed.

Poppy fled and is now on her way to London to seek her fortune.

And the worst thing about all this is, we have to go through the whole thing again for the next four days.

I bloody hate vets!


Kim said...

Giving a cat a pill is a death warrant. They make pill popppers for cats here in the states (they basically look like a needle-less syringe). It's much better than the finger method. Though it's still hard to catch the cat in the first place.

Plastic Mancunian said...

I'll have to check whether we can get hold of pill poppers here as well. Sounds like such a device could have saved me from injury.


Anonymous said...

Medicating cats is torture - for them as much as oneself.

With regards to antibiotics, I've had the most success with a liquid, administered with a dropper. Is that not offered there?

As for pills, it all depends. My boy Casey has thyroid disease and must take a pill twice a day for the rest of his life. Fortunately, his dose is a quarter tablet, which is too small to ram down his throat, but perfect for hiding in stinky wet food.

I dissolve the quarter tab in a drop of water. When it's completely liquid, I mound on top of it a tiny amount of food with gravy, about two licks' worth. That way I know for sure he's taken his medicine. Then I feed him normally. It's worked a treat for over a year now.

Plastic Mancunian said...

That's a great idea. Hopefully I won't have to put it into practice for a while - I'm fed up of visitng the vet :-(