Taming the Were-Lion OR A Perspective of Love
We’re always had cats, as long as I can remember. When I was little, they were scruffy “barn “cats that lived outside and came in to top up their nutrition in the way of cat food and milk and to lie in front of the fireplace (sometimes a mouse went free if they really liked the cat food of the day!). I would sneak them into the house in the winter and they all learned that climbing a tree and crossing the roof to my bedroom window was a sure warmth winner.
One of the first things I did upon leaving the familial birthplace was to buy a pedigree Siamese cat (which I loved that breed thanks to Lady and The Tramp (even though Am and Si were villains in that movie)) I also decided said cat would become and always be a housecat. No dog, no cars, no wildlife would threaten my precious bundle of fur. The dynasty of house cats continued as one of the first things my husband and I did when my daughter reached a responsible age was buy a pedigree Siamese cat for her too. The love of cats lives on in her and even reached a higher degree. Unknown to us until she was older, she became “the goddess of cats” in that almost any stray, unknown, un-pedigreed, or hurt cat would come to see her when she was in the vicinity.
Fast forward to daughter grown and living on her own with cats, we’re moving overseas to begin my husband’s ex-pat career and our cats must be given to loving homes because we didn’t have the money to ship them with us AND they were backyard adopted cats (except one who was a piddler) so we didn’t feel too horrid for finding them good homes. And it was amazing how fast we placed 3 adult cats to loving homes. We remained cat-less for a number of years but took any opportunities to care for cats including babysitting cats at our apartment in Singapore.
We remained cat-less through a couple of rotations on the ex-pat roller coaster but decided to adopt and give some cats that started out with a rough life a very good home of love and luxury. Hence we headed off to the local pet shop one Saturday. Our intent was to get adult cats but I had to buy something in the back of the store and by the time I returned to the adoption area, my husband was cuddling a small bewildered and upset Tortie-point Siamese kitten. How anyone could abandon anything so gorgeous and precious is beyond me but Godiva went home with us that day, 9 years ago. And since we don’t believe in one cat living alone when we’re off to work or whatever, Puff went home with us that day too, a brown Mackerel Tabby. I grew attached to Godiva more than Puff and Puff became my hubby’s cat.
Godiva is sweet and loving and fluffy and soft and cute and pretty and funny and adorable. She makes us laugh when she rolls over to have a belly rub (she’s been called a “belly-Ho” because she’ll roll over for anyone!) Puff is a bit harder to love as he’s well named because he’s afraid of everything and when he was little, the smallest noise would make him puff –up to appear ferocious. Godiva was kind and loving to everyone. She wasn’t afraid to go anyplace with me and hardly ever hissed or growled except when in mock battle with Puff. So imagine my surprise when around the age of 2 (her age, not mine), she went to the vet for a bit of an infection or belly ache or whatever (can’t even remember why she went now) and suddenly the vet is “expressing her anal glands” which in my opinion didn’t need doing and if I had known what the vet planned to do, I would have stopped it.
This one act is what changed my sweet baboo into a snarling, clawing, hissing, growling, snapping, and biting were-lion. She so hated this procedure that since that episode (7 years ago), she has hated any vets and vet office and lets them all know it the minute we walk in the door. She is extremely difficult in the examining room and vets have barely been able to touch her. She must be dragged kicking and screaming from her cage to get onto the examining table and sounds like she is being tortured. Whenever I leave from the vets examine room, all eyes in the waiting room are on me, wide eyed in terror and disbelief from the sounds they have just heard – their pets quivering in fear at the imagined torture they must now face upon entering through that same door.
As such, it usually then falls to me to help hold her because she is calmer with me involved. That doesn’t mean she stops snarling and hissing and growling and fighting to escape, it just means they have maybe a 20% better chance of touching her and examining her. Last night we had to do an emergency run to the vet because Godiva was doing the “I’m in pain, Mama!” cry. That changed to the “snarl – why am I in the cage, Mama?” to “growl and hiss – hated vets office, get me out of here!!! *($%!***!!*%#)”
The vets are great in that they are worried she might bite me. (She never has except for play bites and when she is injured and my fingers get in the way of her mouth) I said, she probably will if she gets a chance and my fingers get in the way so this vet offered to take her into the back with her “properly trained in handling irate animals” personnel so they could examine her. Less than 10 minutes later, they were back. The vet said they couldn’t touch her or get her out of the cage! My sweet baboo has gone were-Lion again and turned into the snarling monster of the beasts. The vet suggested that maybe it would be better after all if I held her so Godiva comes back to the examining room, still yelling at the world through her cage door and I am able to grab her and get her out and hold her while the vet has a look. Poor baby. She has some kind of infection again but since my regular vet had been working on it for the last month, the emergency vet thought it best if I get medication from them. She was able to give Godiva a pain injection so she could make it through the night. The emergency vet was also amazed that her “trained personnel to handle irate animals” was unable to handle her and yet I could grab her and hold her and calm her down (to an extent) so that she could be examined. We trudge back home with her doing the minimal snarl and growl and hiss from her cage so we know that she isn’t happy with the world, still, and then she does the “get away from me” to Puff and for once, he seems to understand he is going to get his clock cleaned if he messes with the were-lion.
Sweet baboo has become a mess from being at the vets. She always does animal imitations when the purpose suits her. At vets, she does her best squid imitation but instead of squirting ink to disappear, she drops a whole kitten’s worth of fur and figures she can disappear into a fur cloud. She also tries to imitate monkeys who will fling their feces at targets. She just lacks the flinging part but has the getting out the feces in case she ever figures out how to fling part well in hand. So once home, she needs to be cleaned and we need to start her on her medication. I am able to get most of her wiped off until I start on her lower belly which still must be giving her some pain as she scratches out while trying to turn over and leave and I get stabbed a couple of times in the arm. We have to grab her again to give her the meds and it is a huge syringe that has to be pushed into her mouth but it is so hard to push it that I need my husband’s help to hold her and push the syringe. She didn’t get all of her meds, maybe about half. The rest went all over me. We should have waited about ½ hour as she mellowed from the pain killing shot and turned back into my sweet baboo.
Today I get to take her to the regular vet to see if they can figure out what is wrong with her. I hope I don’t have to leave her because she will turn into a were-lion once we reach the vets door and I don’t need the death of a trained professional in animal handling on my conscious.
Obviously we love our cats. We joke about my daughter’s cats and call them our “grand-kitties” since we have no grandchildren. We laughingly figure out the relationships between our fuzzy “kids” and my daughter’s fuzzy “kids”. And when necessary, we spend a heap load of money on them as in last night’s emergency vet. When you love your pets, the money is paid, albeit sometimes with a huge grimace or a juggle to take the money from something else, but we would find the money somehow to keep them going for we love their companionship, their antics, and their love back to us (yes, yes, some don’t agree that cats are that loving but ours are). So our perspective is that the money is the least of the problems when your loved one needs help. And anyone who loves their dog, cat, rabbit, bird, fish, snake, hamster, fox (I add this because someone I know had a pet fox) will somehow try and find the money to help their pet in distress. It cost us 145 POUNDS to go to the emergency vet last night and walk in the front door. Then we had to pay for the meds and any other treatment Godiva got. Luckily I didn’t have to pay for an emergency room visit for any human personnel at the local A&E. When we walked into the vet’s office, a couple were paying and getting ready to leave. Their pet of love was a large rabbit! So 145 pounds for the rabbit was also an acceptable price when dealing with their love of their pet. I do admit that I might not have felt so inclined to spend that much on a pet rabbit but what do I know. Love is powerful and ya gotta do what’s necessary to work it and keep it going even if it means a lot of money for the life of an animal that is probably not going to last your whole life. The time our cats spend with us is ever so precious and wonderful and worth the money. Perspective!