Meow-ouse Calls

Who knew that veterinarians made house calls? I certainly didn’t, until the vet forgot to inspect Shadow’s “sensitive” paw while we were at his office and I knew there would be no way I could get her back into her crate and into the car and back to his office for a follow-up. So he came to us. Shocking.

Shadow is not a cat who could be said to enjoy any aspect of “travel.” Maybe that has something to do with the fact that the only place I ever take her is to the vet, where she invariably gets poked and prodded and usually also injected with some sort of vaccine. Oh, the horror.

Just getting her into the travel crate to begin with has gotten rather involved. First I have make sure the passenger door of the car is open and facing the back door of our house (which means I often have to turn the car around in the driveway so it’s facing the right direction). Then I have to get the crate out of the garage. Put it into the car and strap the seat belt around it. Make sure the crate door is wi-i-ide open, and leave the car door open.

Then I go back into the house and get my purse and keys, acting as if everything is normal so that if Shadow is watching me (as she often does) she won’t suspect my nefarious plan. Put the purse in the car so I don’t have to come back inside for it later. Finally, go back into the house, scoop up my unsuspecting cat (“Hey, Shadow! How’s my girl?” Scratch her behind the ears, rub the belly, whatever it takes.) and before she can smell my betrayal – for surely it reeks like garlic on my traitorous skin – I whisk her out to the car, gently toss her into the crate, slam the door and bolt it, and finally go back inside to lock up the house. Whew!! What a production.
She howls all the way to the vet’s office. Though I am not one to anthropomorphize our four-legged friends, I have a pretty good idea of what she’s telling me. It doesn’t take a cat whisperer to figure it out. I mean, “irate” in any language is still “irate.”
The vet cannot even coax her out of her crate once we get there. He has to turn it literally upside down, whereupon Shadow clings as fiercely as possible, for as long as possible, to the grille at the back of the crate. Gradually, her deathgrip loosens (making this horrible scraping sound that is worse than nails on a blackboard) and she slides haplessly out onto the examining table. Then she cowers in fear while glaring saucer-eyed up at the vet (she won’t look at me at all. No hope of rescue there, and she knows it, poor thing.).
The irony is that our vet is this utterly benign, totally gentle guy who probably dropped too much acid in the sixties. You know the type. He couldn’t hurt a fly – probably because on one of those acid trips he saw a fly with his mother’s head on it, but that’s another story – and certainly not my sweet kitty.

So on this trip, we learned that Shadow is OBESE. 15.6 pounds of furry love, to be precise (And I think her thick fur coat makes up about half of that). Which is actually not as bad as it could be – the vet gave her an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, after all – but definitely making her a candidate for the Fat-Flush, South Beach Diet Kitty Kibble Plan. He got so involved in telling me how to cut back on her food but not piss her off that he forgot to inspect the paw that she jerks away every time I trim her claws. He also forgot to give her the vaccine that was the ostensible reason for our visit in the first place. Too much LSD will have that effect, or so I’m told.

When we got back home and Shadow had bolted from the crate to hide in her favorite spot under the dining room table, and I had recovered my composure with the help of a glass of wine, I remembered both the paw and the vaccine. Shoot!

Obviously, there was little likelihood I’d be able to get her back into the crate anytime soon. It takes her at least a year to forget each vet visit, despite what we think of as her peanut-sized brain. I called the vet to yell at him for forgetting two out of the three reasons we’d gone to see him – never mind the fact that I’d forgotten all about them myself.
That’s when the house-call option popped up. I was down with that, lemme tell ya. So two days later, at the end of the work day, Shadow got a personal visit from the physical embodiment of her worst nightmare… Mmwa-ha-ha-ha.
But guess what? Seeing the vet on her own turf was an entirely different matter. She ran to the door when the bell rang (because she’s friendly, yes, but also because surely every caller is here to see her, right?) and just stood there looking at him once he stepped inside. No mad dash for safety. Hmmm… maybe Peanut Brain is more apt a nickname than we suspected.

I picked her up and held her while the vet gave her the vaccine and inspected her tender little paw. And you know what? Not a whimper. She was so relaxed I couldn’t believe it.
Then, today I got the bill for the house call, after he had promised me I would be charged only for the vaccine itself. But wait. It gets better. They had listed her weight at 115.6 pounds. What kind of cat do they think I have? A mountain lion?

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