Sunday, January 23, 2005

Fun with pets

The joy of owning a cat is, apparently, never-ending. I brought our black-furred feline to the vet last week for a followup visit to see if his new diabetic-formula food is helping. Short answer, it is. But before the vet was able to deliver the happy news, he needed some blood from our fearless friend.

A little context before I continue: the only thing Shadow hates more than being in the car (where he will meow incessantly) is being at the vet (where he will growl and carry on like a tortured prisoner in a desert nation awaiting the election of its next dictator.) So I thought I'd help calm him down by holding onto him while the vet drew "just a bit of blood" from his paw.

That was my first, second, and last mistake of the day.

I held his head as firmly as I dared while the vet took the needle out and approached him. My sweet little Shadow then did his best Linda Blair/Exorcist impression as he twisted his head back and bit my finger. This wasn't a little nip: his tooth went full-on, deep into my finger. Blood flowed as freely as a mountain spring during the post-winter melt.

I swore. Profusely. Then apologized for swearing. Doc apologized to me, got all sorts of cleaning doodads out for me to wash it out, then scooped my still-hissing Shadow up in a towel and whisked him off to a back room. As I washed and hydrogen-peroxided myself to remove the lovely cat-bacteria from my bloodstream, Shadow's otherworldly screams (who would have thought that cats can actually scream?) echoed throughout the building.

I was embarrassed that my cat, my pet, could behave in such a manner. Then I realized: he's a cat, you doofus! What else did you expect?

After what seemed like a very long time, a now-flustered doc returned him to me, muttering something about not getting a Christmas card from Shadow this year. Yup, good call on that one!

Then we discussed tetanus, and how it would be a good idea for me to get myself checked out lest I die from it. Yum!

So fast-forward to today. I looked up my records and confirmed that, yes indeed, it had been 10 years since my last tetanus booster. So I made an appointment with my family doc and took the kids with me - in the blizzard, yay! - so they could hold my hand and keep me from crying. Truth be told, blood donation needles are a LOT bigger, and they stay in for 30-45 minutes, and I go through that every week. So a little jab in the shoulder wasn't going to phase me. But I figured the kids would find it a hoot to watch dear old Dad get stuck. So off we went.

They huddled around me in the examing room as the good doc got the needle ready. She smiled as I told her the story of how I came to be in her office on a snowy morning. The shot took the usual three seconds to administer, and my kids were entirely fascinated by how much fun I seemed to be having. After the regulatory band-aid, I was good to go.

We bundled ourselves up before heading into the howling storm to the video store to load up on some snowy-weekend-kids' movies. I'm not sure how long they'll remember the time when they helped Dad get his needle. But I'll cherish it as yet another one of those wacky moments of parenthood that even if I tried, I couldn't have planned it better.


Jamie said...

Wow, besides my own post, this is the second post about kitties I have found this weekend. Guess the cold weather is getting us all a bit closer!

I learned from nursing how to hold people down. But I don't think there has EVER been a person who could hold an unwilling cat and not get at least the obligatory scrape!

Diva said...

Oh - poor Shadow, and poor you! I can really relate to your dilemma, my cat reacted in a similar fashion when he first went to our vet. He injured the vet with a nice long, deep scratch to the forearm (my cat only had back claws but he knew how to use them effectively), and from that point on, he was labelled with a "WATCH" at the top of his chart. Everyone always wore large leather gloves with him from them on, and they always took him to another room for the exam. But I could still hear him, everyone in the building could. He had some healthy lungs on him.

I'm glad Shadow's diet is working.

Moogie said...

Yeowch! That had to have hurt. Glad to see his diet was ok, but sorry you had to go through all of that trauma. said...

I have the cutest Lhaso Apso that was ever born in this world. Pets enrich our lives in every way. If you ever get a chance, try to check out Lhaso Apso's.


Joan said...

How cool to take your chicks with you! Watching you take care of yourself and not be scared of needles will stick (no pun intended) in their minds and help them in the future I bet!

I always want to have nothing to do with the shots or anything else that causes pain to my kitties. I figure they are pissed enough at me for putting them in the car and taking them to the vet without adding holding them down as they were "tortured" by the vet.

I'm glad both you and Shadow are doing good!

L said...

My family has a siamese that also screams hysterically at the vet's office. He hasn't actually bitten anyone, the vet called us to come and retrieve him a day early after surgery -- because he had been screaming constantly all day and all night. All the other animals were freaking out, the staff was stressed....

However, the good thing is that we are always in and out VERY quickly :)

My mom posted a very funny photo of him on her blog if you want to see it:

as you can see, he enjoys canoe trips :)