M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, October 18, 2004  

Little Creatures

M. Tiny is doing well, for a human whose birth date is still supposed to be six weeks in the future. Strat is doing well, for a diabetic cat who is getting injections from the next-door neighbors while his people are spending all their time at the hospital. Which leaves one other cat, Orca, who never likes to be left out of anything. She can’t stand rejection unless she’s the one doing it.

When we got home Friday night, she was wheezing like a small, fuzzy asthmatic. Our original plan had been to sleep in on Saturday morning before going to the hospital, perhaps as late as the decadent hour of nine a.m., but Orca’s breathing convinced us she should go to the vet first thing in the morning. Unless she stopped it by then, because she has had ill-timed hypochondriac episodes in the past.

Morning came around, Strat got his insulin shot, and Orca was still breathing like she’d just learned how. The vet’s office six blocks away didn’t have an opening for her, so they sent us to another clinic a couple of miles away.

A funny thing about Orca: she doesn’t meow any more. Her vocalizing dropped off a couple of years ago. We figured it was because she was just tired of projecting her voice, because she was back in full volume when I drove her to her dental appointment last February. So she could make a respectable racket if she was scared enough. We just didn’t think it was worth it to traumatize her by periodically boxing her up and driving her around just to hear what she had to say. Trash and I thought we’d all be happier just to let her grunt and huff her way around the house; she didn’t have to get worked up into a state of mortal panic, and we could make fun of her.

But then, yesterday morning, there was no panicked yowling from Orca in the car. Just panicked grunting and huffing, which I didn’t really feel like making fun of.

After I got her into the examination room and pried her out of her cat carrier, she stood on the very edge of the metal table with her entire length pressed against me for protection, going "eh" over and over again. I thought about that lump under her skin at the back of her neck, the one we found and had checked a few years ago, that hadn’t moved or grown at all ever since, but might now have subcutaneous tentacles wrapped around her brain. I thought about her relative silence, her new wheezing and occasional coughing, and as the vet came in and put her stethoscope to various bits of Orca’s anatomy, I waited for her to say, "throat cancer." I felt like the worst cat-dad in the world, terrified that one of our kitties might never get to meet our son.

It’s not throat cancer. Orca has an upper respiratory infection. The vet prescribed a course of antibiotics to clear it up. She also suggested a chest x-ray that morning to make sure it’s nothing more serious, but that would have taken a couple of hours and Trash and I needed to get to the human hospital. So we put it off until one day this week, on the theory that if the antibiotics clear it up, the x-ray won’t be necessary anyhow.

Since we were there, I also asked about the lack of vocalization. The vet explained that that was probably due to throat cancer.

No, not really. It’s just that some cats, when they reach a certain age, experience changes in their vocal folds that prevent them from meowing properly. Which is kind of sad to me, because she really used to enjoy bitching about things to us, and now she can pretty much only bitch to herself.

So now we have the premature baby, the diabetic cat, and the cat with the upper respiratory infection. Thank God for all the friends and relatives who are ready and willing to help us out with everything that’s going on. Except maybe for stabbing Strat with a steel needle and squirting medicine down Orca’s throat with an eyedropper, and even that first one is something the neighbors are able to fill in on.

But we don’t have time for all of this indefinitely, which means Orca has to quit smoking, like, right now.

P.S. And this is nothing compared to what happened to me last night. I’ll tell that story in the next entry, and consider myself lucky that I’m able to.

Today’s best search phrase: "Xena sealed boxes of card serious 6." Wow, I didn’t know seriousness went that high.

posted by M. Giant 8:13 PM 3 comments


Since we were there, I also asked about the lack of vocalization. The vet explained that that was probably due to throat cancer.OH MY GOD. Teacher, M. Giant is Not Learning!
*gasp wheeze*

By Blogger Sarcasma, at October 19, 2004 at 7:02 AM  

Poor kitties, all messed up and everything. Maybe they need one of those UV beds to keep 'em healthy too. It's good that you work at home and can be around them for the most part - if they were my cats I don't think I could get any work done at my job, I'd just be fretting all day about it.

By Blogger Marissa, at October 19, 2004 at 8:38 AM  

The image of Orca and Strat (complete with diapers and eye-goggles) in an Isolet under bili-lights is totally amusing!

By Blogger queenrx, at October 19, 2004 at 8:35 PM  

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