Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tales from the Vet

Every year Ryan and I take three weeks in August and go on a trip to somewhere far, far away. We've been to Costa Rica, Belize, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Japan, and this time last year we were in Vietnam. It is usually the high point of our year and fodder for boring friends with stories and pictures for months to come. However, this year for various reasons we decided to skip the big trip, go on a couple little ones and save our money. You know, like responsible adults. After a little while though we got tired of talking about our investment portfolio, not putting groceries on the Amex and having money fights in our underwear. We needed to find a way to get rid of all this extra cash. Then, we thought of it -- let's take all of the animals to the vet. Problem solved.

It all started with Sally. She goes to doggy day care and so has to be current on all her vaccinations. Since it has been a year since we got her (how time flies when your sofa is being destroyed) she needed her booster shots. And that got me to thinking about the fact the last time any of the cats had been to the vet I had a Rachel haircut. Well, not that long, but you get the idea. I have always avoided taking the cats to the vet unless absolutely necessary. And it isn't because I don't care or because I'm cheap. It's because taking a cat to the vet is a bit like putting a wild boar in a party dress. Only boars don't shed as much. However, now I was taking Sally to the vet, and I didn't want the cats to feel like I was favoring her and trying to make them die. It was decided. Shots all around.

Because Ryan and I are not total fools we decided to not take all three cats and the dog to the vet at the same time. We wanted to work man to man defense, not zone. Sally and Alice seemed to be the easier pair -- so they were up first. And they were pretty easy. Alice did make the drive to and from miserable by yowling the entire time and Sally did try to claw through the stainless steel table, but in the end neither Ryan and I were bleeding and our nerves didn't seem to be totally frayed. I began thinking my worries about the vet were unfounded. I made appointments for the other two cats and for Sally to get her teeth cleaned. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am such a moron.

I should have known my luck was about to change when Ryan called me at work this morning to tell me about dropping Sally off for her cleaning. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say she tried to make herself as heavy as possible and hold onto the concrete with claws. It was not pretty.

Because Ryan had taken Sally in the morning I said I would take the other two cats for their afternoon appointments and pick her up at the same time. I pulled out the cat carriers and set to work. Maggie is traditionally the slipperier of the two so I went for her first. I almost had the top closed when she popped out of the box and took off like a grey lightning bolt to her hiding spot under the bed. Knowing the jig was up I scooped up Rita and put her in her box before trying to coax Maggie out with promises of tuna and pony rides. She wasn't buying it. For minutes I lay on the floor, my head crammed under the bed as far as it would go, breathing in dust bunnies, trying to reach her. Nothing. Finally I flopped down on the bed and let out a sigh. Maggie, thinking I had forgotten all about the box nonsense decided to jump up and join me. Victory was mine.

I mentioned earlier how annoying Alice was yowling in the car. Well, that was a symphony compared to the caterwauling going on today. I don't know where it came from, but Maggie began making this guttural growling/screaming noise that sounded like Satan himself. It even scared Rita into silence. When we go to the vet I got Maggie's box out, set it on the ground and reached in to grab Rita's. It was maybe a five second span. In that time Maggie threw herself against the side of he box, tipped it over and was frantically trying to force her way out. I practically threw myself on the box like a grenade. A grenade of fury and fur.

I got to the door and I think by the look on my face the nurses knew I did not have time to wait. I needed to be seen IMMEDIATELY. The vet followed me into the examining room and opened Maggie's box. That's when she unleashed her inner ninja. She looked like a very large flying squirrel flinging herself around the room. For a moment I really thought I was just going to have to leave her there, and she could become a creature of myth, like the Sasquatch. Then an amazing thing happened. The vet stuck out his hand, grabbed her hind leg and twisted her basically into a kitty pretzel. He wasn't hurting her, but he had completely immobilized her. Two shots and back in the box. I was in awe. By this time Rita had pretty much figured out she was beaten and didn't put up much of a fight. I know, I know, this is a cat who has inspired terror in the hearts of dozens and who in some ways resembles a chupacabra. However, she is also very pragmatic. She just wanted it over.

I got the cats out into the car, started the motor and went back in to get Sally. What I found was a puddle of dog soup. They had put her under anesthetic to clean her teeth, and she was now looking like she'd had a couple of bottles of wine. She wasn't going anywhere on her own four legs. I slung her over my shoulder and carried her out to the car.

By the time we got home I just wanted to fall on the grass and pass out. I released the cats from their carriers and they bounded off to places unknown, and I carried Sally up and into her bed where she has been for the past three hours. Then I poured myself a drink the size of my head. I had planned to go yoga, but that was before the vet trip. I decided this was much more therapeutic. That and I didn't want to leave a drugged dog wandering around the house alone.

Oh, and just so you know, the price for all of this fun? Three hundred and thirty dollars. And that was with the "brave souls" discount for people who bring more than one animal in at a time. And it still isn't over! I have to take Rita and Maggie back next week to have their teeth cleaned.

Maybe I'll make Ryan do it....


Amanda said...

That was beautiful. I have not laughed that hard in a very long time.

Tara said...

Rita mistaken for a chupacabra? Maybe...If instead of just sucking goats blood, the chupacabra roasted them up in butter and pig fat and ate them with a nice side of... butter and pig fat, then rolled over on her side for a short 10, 12 hour nap. Yeah, ok, then I could see it.

Emily-Ione said...

I love hearing about trips to the vet from the other side of the exam room....
You do know that in the biz we call cat's like Rita and Maggie "Special Cats"...... that is vet lingo for "get your cat wrangling hands on and take a deep breath"..javascript:void(0).

330$ huh? Man, you have an incredibly reasonable vet! Did that include the cats and the dentistry?