Yesterday the Admiral came with me for the first time in my twice-a-year visits to the nearby Vet with our two pussycats. Hitherto it's been Yvette who has gone: the two of us capturing the cats (which you have to do), pushing them swiftly into their comfortable lovely carriers and zipping the thing closed, driving them to the Animal Hospital together. She'd participate in the talk we usually get involved in with other cat- and dog- owners (mostly it's cats and dogs): a real social scene goes on in these veterinarian rooms. Then she and I go inside with the doctor, watch, listen, talk again and then wait outside for the pussycats to be taken for their pedicure (they have their nails clipped twice a year). Yvette now works full-time and the Admiral is now retired full-time.
So they switched places.
The admiral saw things differently than Yvette. Again Ian yowled his quiet yipping-like continuous yowls all the way there. I had assumed it was the Vet he did not want to go to, but the Admiral said, no, he also intensely dislikes the car ride. Yes because at first he quiets when we get out of the car. This time though he set up his yowling when we got into the place too and he does begin before we get to the car in the first place. Clary has become quiescent; she seems to go to sleep, all curled up in the waiting room in her carrier.
But when we get to the room where the Vet is waiting and they are taken out of their carriers one at a time, she hunkers down on the table too. This time her heart did not race as badly as the last two. Her worst time was after she was spayed and I had to take her every day to get a pill down her because she was not thriving after her internal surgery. I did not like the way the people there had treated me and they were not keen on me and I fear they may have taken this out on her. But that is now 4 years ago and after yowling so despairingly about 3 years ago (the next time going) on the way there, she has not done this again.
She is adjusting, getting somewhat used to it.
Not Ian. The admiral said he trembles intensely on the table, just inward deep quavering for much of the time. The doctor had the Admiral put his hand on the cat to try and soothe him. He is not really fat but has gained weight again so we must try to see if we can feed him just a little less. And she drew tartar off his teeth while in the office.
Other than that both in good health.
What makes me write this is the pathos of this cat. Ian is a wary, retreating kind of cat. He does not lick us but he does at different moments of the day suddenly climb up the Admiral's lap and as far as a cat made be said to do so, make love. He squirms and nudges, and presses his body. He sleeps in Clary's arms and loves when she licks him all over. He wants to wrestle with her every once in a while. He likes to sit on me or on the back of my chair.
Well, yesterday when he got home, he leaped out of his carrier and was not seen for a while, and when he was, he hissed at Clary. It was more than he was not himself. There was a real pathos to his behavior somehow. He sidled up to his water dish looking about him. Oh the comfort of his water bowl as he stretches out and tries to enjoy it. I had almost said there was a sad look in his eyes as he looked about him.
(Pussycat POV. The problems which arise when winter turns into summer. I had had Ian's waterbowl (their) comfortably to the left of the grate where the nice warm air used to come out. Now these blasts of cold air shoot out at him. It was funny to see him try to drink his water and yet lift his body or move it so as not to be chilled. When he gave up, and walked away (puzzled), we moved the water bowl.)
This morning he is not hissing, and not hiding but he is following us about cautiously. Careful over his water bowl. Will not relax into it. I cannot capture any of this in photos. He eludes me, and is reticent when it comes to picture taking:
Curious, he has never been abused. And instead of say growing more used to the Vet, he grows less. Instead of being able to cope more with strangers coming to the house, he remains unable to.
By contrast, Clary's personality comes out continually in her photos:
She is so sweet on the surface but I suppose her courage before the terrors of existence, tenacity of approach (he has tenacity too but of a quieter stubborn kind) is not as apparent; she rather appears quiescent. I get a great deal of pleasure out of seeing our girl cat, Clary, settle down into her cat tree so securely; she feel so safe that she turns and falls asleep in this utterly unguarded way. It probably doesn't bear looking into the sources of this pleasure.
I should mention the outrageous price: $350. The cost covered 20 nails (we are charged per nail), two examinations, two shots each (for rabies and distemper). Had I wanted his teeth cleaned it would have soared to hundreds (anesthesia, time spent as an outpatient). I do realize they have at least 2 vets on the staff, technical assistants and at least 3 receptionists each time we come. There are few vets in our area and they do very well. They are decent reasonable people: they advised me that I could leave the cats alone for 2 nights (though now Yvette will be here and Caroline helps),but they do charge what the "market" will bear and that is high.
Some of the talk in the waiting room was about prices, and decisions to not to operations and thus kill a given animal (let's not call it putting them to sleep), and I told my tale as I have before of our dog Llyr's cancers and my father paying for one series of operations but not going in for more when they spread, and h how I had not imagined sufficiently how cats and dogs have so much shorter a life I would have to witness her death. It was a great grief to me. At the time my father would not say what the operations cost; never mind said he. Another year of life for her. When he lost his Siamese cat (Siamese cats have a shorter life), there I used the euphemism, he had the cat killed because she became so sick, he was broken up and missed her for a while.