Our eleven-year-old cat has been “thinking outside the box”.
Last winter Jasmine decided that the canvas tarp we put down in the basement for months—due to a never-ending, one-thing-after-another, please-God-make-it-stop, basement flood/electrical/asbestos/sump-pump debacle—made a spacious and convenient open-air potty.
Did the canvas resemble a twenty-foot Zen-garden of kitty litter? Did she mistake it for a sand dune? Had she resolved that eight months was long enough to put up with her digs suffering construction?
We rolled the tarp up, put it away, and the cat spent the evening wandering around the basement, confused and despondent and yowling. I feared she’d succumbed to dementia.
Because then she went on the carpet. The new carpet. The beautiful, slate-blue, undefiled, I-got-a-little-peeved-when-our-guest’s-baby-drooled-on-it, new carpet.
So I hauled her miserable carcass to the vet.
In the eight years we had the cat I only took her for medical care once, when someone gave me an Easter lily and Jasmine decided to snack on it. Here’s what happens to cats when they nosh lilies:
One of the most immediate symptoms of lily poisoning is the sudden onset of vomiting. In addition, cats that are experiencing lily poisoning will often exhibit signs of depression, diarrhea, dehydration, and lack of appetite (anorexia). If the condition is left untreated, death can occur within four to seven days of ingestion [http://www.petmd.com]
So we checked her into a kitty hospital and I don’t even want to talk about what we spent to keep a cat breathing.
Never again. My children have never run up that size of an E.R. bill.
So once again I wrapped the #*@& cat’s head and sharp parts in a bath towel and inserted her, back end first, into the kitty crate I excavated out of the basement storage area. I anticipated a shaming of biblical proportions at the vet’s office for not bringing her in every year and dropping a couple of hundred dollars to get an indoor cat’s teeth checked.
But the veterinary staff were actually very nice.
Jasmine, on the other hand, made no friends that day. Besides getting a thermometer up the MroOOwrr! and having her head pinned to the table while they did a physical exam which made my last mammogram seem like an aromatherapy massage, she also got deported to the back room, out of sight of me and my two daughters, for the vet to “express her anal glands”.
Ooh. That doesn’t sound nice for anybody.
I did not know that my cat—nor any living creature—could make sounds like those that emanated from the laboratory. I feared she had massacred the entire staff of the veterinary clinic, shredding their remains into bloody ribbons of cappellini-like flesh.
But they vet came back unscathed and reported that they found nothing wrong.
The blood work came back fine. The stool sample didn’t show anything. Nothing physically wrong with this cat.
“It’s likely a behavioral issue,” the vet said.
Jasmine continues to alternate between using her box and my new carpet. Despite my daily sanitation of her personal sandbox. Despite her regular feedings and pettings from the three adoring children. Despite having a better life than 98.7% of the other animals—and people—on this planet.
You know that old expression, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat?”
I’m thinking I need a new pair of ear muffs. Or boot cuffs.
And Jasmine’s just about the right size.
Anyone want a cat before I rev up my sewing machine?
(It's the Cat's Meow.)