The last few months have epitomised exactly why I refer to my flat and all who live in her as The Cartoon Palace. A ludicrous series of cat-based incidents has left me feeling like I might have a kid after all, because surely even babies wouldn’t demand such high maintenance.
It all began 5 months ago when Blue, my rescue-cat sidekick for the last 9 years, contracted a horrendous paw-based ailment. All 4 paws ballooned into furry little moon-boots, red, raw and seeping, and she was whisked off to the vet, who immediately prepared me for the worst: this could be a life-threatening tumour. Bloods would be taken, X-rays done, and a biopsy would be necessary in the form of amputating a toe. I immediately signed the Document agreeing payment of £600 and one cat-toe, and the next day she was at the mercy of the vet’s scalpel.
Post-op after-care required “Captain Ahab” to be put on steroids and forced to wear a plastic collar. Great. Not only was she already broken of whisker, torn of ear and unstable of mind she was now seventeen of toe (cats have eighteen toes, fact fans). With ‘roid rage. It was like living with the pirate version of Keith Richards.
And the biopsy results? Some sort of allergic reaction to an unknown substance which revealed itself through tumour-like symptoms i.e. Blue was completely fine. My overwhelming relief meant I instantly forgave her for this particular bout of extreme attention-seeking. That, and my Pet Insurance policy.
We still had to go for check-ups, though, and over the following 3 months Blue and I attended the vet so often I’m now on first-name terms with the receptionist (Irene), the vet (Catherine) and we have our own chair which I imagine will sport a commemorative plaque very soon.
Finally, on 17 January – that glorious day! – Blue was given the all clear and we were free to go. Oh God, it felt good, walking out of there never to return…
Until two days later when she contracted a urine infection, and back we went. Two days after that, a check-up yielded lo, another miraculous recovery. I began to feel a bit embarrassed. Were they looking at me with suspicious eyes?
The next day she came in from being out with a mysterious, angry welt on her shoulder. Despite my Nightingale-esque round-the-clock care for one night, alas it didn’t heal. Actually, it looked pretty hideous.
Then the cystitis came back.
Blue brought this to our attention at 5am Saturday morning by excessively howling, squatting, and removing all the litter from her box a la dirty protest. This was at the same time as Winnie (our super-cute, slightly idiotic 3-year-old kitten) revealed she’d broken into the bathroom and spent all night eating the poinsettia by vomiting the petals onto our bedroom carpet.
I dealt with Blue, Husband dealt with Winnie and as soon as the vet opened I was back on the phone to Irene, who sandwiched us in despite there being no free appointments. I wasn’t sure if her saying “We can’t have Blue in discomfort over the weekend” really meant “Blue’s on the At Risk Register; you better get her here now.” Hmmm. Was I being judged?
Or maybe it meant “Every time you come here we make a heap of cash. You don’t need an appointment.” Whatever it was, I was gushing-ly nice to everyone when we arrived, despite the bill, in the hope that nobody had tallied up exactly how many times I’d been in the building of late (4 in 9 days).
All this means that if I find myself back at that vet any time soon, I’m in big trouble. I’m convinced they suspect me of Munchausen By Proxy, and suspect I’m some lonely, mentally questionable cat abuser starved of attention (even though I wave my wedding ring in their faces at every opportunity), who maybe should be put on some register for the good of society. Each time I hear someone in the stair I get The Fear that the vet’s phoned The Social and that’s them comin’ to take my
kids cats away, and I have to pretend to be out…
But for the time being, that hasn’t happened, and my little sidekick Blue – or Keef as I’ve taken to calling her – lives to fight another day. Though who knows what fresh hell this week will bring? Fingers crossed not another trip to the bloody vet.