M. Giant's
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Thursday, January 04, 2007  

Three Cat Day

Strat was due for a diabetes checkup last week. I had also noticed that certain scabby spots around Turtle's neck (which I had heretofore assumed she was getting while wrassling with the other kitties) were spreading, so she needed to go in for a check, too. And then Trash noticed that Phantom had the same kind of scabs, which caused us to worry that maybe it was some kind of contagious skin condition afflicting both the girls. Trash wanted me to make an appointment for all three of the little beasties.

I reminded her of what had happened the last time we attempted that -- almost exactly two years before, no less -- but she was unfazed.

"I'll come, too," she chirped gamely. "We'll bring the boy. It'll be a party!"

Because wrangling three cats isn't going to be enough of a handful; we also need a two-year-old in tow. I feel confident saying that this was probably the worst idea Trash has ever had. That's because it may be the worst idea anyone has ever had.

Fortunately, the plan never actually came to pass. The vet appointment was for Friday afternoon, when we were both off work for the day. But instead of joining me at the vet, Trash made lunch plans with someone else. She brought M. Small with her, which should be obvious because if she hadn't, you wouldn't be reading this because I'd be dead now.

But I still had the challenge of getting three cats into the car and to the vet's office. Because the construction crew was at work upstairs and going in and out all the time, all three cats were already confined to the basement for the day. This was the one factor that was to my advantage.

I decided to start with Phantom, who is the most skittish at the best of times. I was fortunate that she's also lazy, because when she's curled up on our bed next to Strat, she's usually too comfy to flee. I was able to pick her up without too much trouble, but when I tried to hold on to her with one arm while getting out the pet carrier with the other (I couldn't very well get the thing out and risk cluing her in before I caught her, could I?), she got away.

I'm not fast enough or small enough to chase her everywhere she can go, and I knew that if I gave her half a chance, she'd dart into this alcove she knows that somehow gives her access to the space above our suspended ceiling, and I wouldn't see her again for days. Instead she made the tactical mistake of trying to flee upstairs. At the top, she saw that the door was closed and she was cornered, so she tried to dash back down again. But I was cutting off that route, and was able to grab her on the way down without losing more than a couple of fingers. I still had enough dexterity in my remaining digits to upend the pet carrier, open the gate, and drop her in, slamming the gate behind her, but I'm convinced that if she still had her front claws, you wouldn't be reading this because I'd be dead now.

So then it was Strat's turn. He's not as small or agile as Phantom, but he's smarter and after the to-do with Phantom he was on high alert. And he hates the vet. So getting him into the carrier without releasing Phantom was an entirely other level of difficulty. Basically I put him on top of Phantom, prying his claws from the edges of the carrier's doorway, but not prying them far enough for Phantom to sneak out through the gap. All the while I maintained a death-grip on the scruff of his neck, which in most circumstances switches his brain to Blue Screen of Death mode. Panic still tends to override that effect, though. I'm afraid Phantom may have gained a few new scabs at that time.

Turtle, meanwhile, had watched this entire scene from her perch on the sofa. I don't know if she was too stupid to realize she was next, or if she just thought I wasn't stupid enough to try the same thing with her. Further complicating matters is the fact that our second cat carrier is either lost, broken, or packed away so deeply that I couldn't get to it, so they all had to ride together. It wasn't until I went to pick up Turtle and tried to put her in the carrier with the other two that she made known her emphatic opposition to this plan.

Here's where it could all go south. I had two highly agitated cats already in the box, and getting the third one in there was likely to cost me control of all three of them. And by this time I was late, so I knew I wouldn't have time to chase them all around the basement and under the furniture and through the heating ducts and so forth. So without releasing my grip on Turtle, and without opening the carrier, I brought the whole hissing, spitting, wriggling mess up to our tiny bathroom, where if one of them got out it would have no place to run or hide. I think they probably realized that, because none of them managed to escape the carrier. A minute later I was walking out to the car, leaning to one side while carrying a plastic box that bulged alarmingly downward.

Turns out our initial diagnosis of the girls' neck-crusties were correct. It's just from scrapping. Strat was fine, as is Turtle, but I'm sorry to say that Phantom has developed some dental issues thanks to having the enviable condition of an allergy to her own plaque. We're going to have to start brushing her teeth. She still hasn't forgiven me for when I had to give her medicine for a week, TWO YEARS AGO, so I made it clear to Trash that the Phantom dentistry is going to be her job.

The good news? The vet lent me a second carrier for the trip home, so they got to go double-decker in my car's shotgun seat. Strat and Turtle below, Phantom above. And then we left town for two days, so I didn't have to worry about receiving vindictive scabs on my own neck while sleeping.

posted by M. Giant 9:10 PM 5 comments

5 Comments:

Please know that while I check in here most days, the cat stories are often the ones that leave me in teary-eyed hysterics. We took our 'little two', as we call them, to the vet a while back - I started with two carriers but noticed they were calmer being packed together.

Glad to hear the remodel is going well. 'Tis inspiring to someone who desperately needs to make some more room in their house. Best to Trash and M. Small.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 4, 2007 at 9:23 PM  

I think we need to take up a collection to buy y'all two more cat prisons!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 5, 2007 at 8:52 AM  

If I tried to put both my cats into one carrier, they would both be dead before I even got out the door. Even our house isn't quite big enough to contain their loathing for each other.

By Anonymous GhostGirl, at January 7, 2007 at 7:51 AM  

We have three cats. They go to the vet separately. I only did the group outing once. NEVER AGAIN.

By Anonymous Adrienne, at January 8, 2007 at 5:48 PM  

I catch each of my three cats in pillow cases first, then put the whole bundle into a carrier. By the time they work their way out of the pillow cases we're in the car.

By Anonymous Anna Rain, at January 9, 2007 at 1:38 PM  

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