March 25th, 2005

raleigh st. claire

I took Henry to the vet yesterday.

I took Henry to the vet yesterday.

I had been looking forward to this for weeks, because I'm a cat lady.  I'm not a "cat lady in the making", I'm a goddamned cat lady.  Oh well.

I think I was excited partly because I was just excited to be a responsible mom.  I got Henry when he was six weeks old.  I took him to the vet a bunch of times right after I got him -- for the requisite kitten shots, &c, as well as dealing with the things that were wrong with him when I got him (he was sick, and I had to give him medicine, as well as put this gel stuff on his eyeballs.  ON HIS EYEBALLS.  It actually always went better than it should have).  The last time he had seen a vet was when he got neutered -- he was done with his shots, and I was moving.  That was four and a half years ago.

So finally I was taking him to the doctor!  I yam so responsible!  He can get the shots he maybe needs even though he never goes out!  [Oh man that reminds me, I never told you guys about our attempted walk!  It was short-lived and hilarious!  I took him outside on a leash on a beautiful Spring day and he was scared to death and HOWLED and scratched at the door to come inside.  What a pussy!  Then three days later when I was waving goodbye to my parents, he snuck out. Why are you sneaking out if you know you don't want to be out there in the first place, you stupid cat?  I just walked over to the bushes where he was and said "come back inside!" and he hissed at me and eventually got spooked and ran back into the apartment.]  But I think in addition to being excited about being responsible (I'm not responsible often, so I always think very highly of myself when I do something major, like putting away the clean laundry, or mopping the kitchen floor), I was just excited to be doing something with my cat.  I mean, all we ever do is watch TV together.  And I'm not even sure he's paying much attention to the teevee.  But isn't that so sad?  I'm looking for social activities to enjoy with my cat.  I rule!  Only, the opposite of that!

So last night I zip home from work, slip into something more comfortable, and put the cat in the cat carrier (which is sort of not really big enough for him.  He takes up all the space inside of it.)  He wasn't thrilled about going in, but didn't put up too much of a fight, because he had no idea what he was getting into.

The carrier wouldn't really fit into the shotgun seat, so I put him in the back.  He cried a little during the 15-minute ride to the vet.  He wasn't happy.  I felt so badly for him. [I remember all the times taking him to the vet back in the day, though. I'd put the carrier in the seat next to me, and he cried and cried, the whole way there. I'd put my fingers through the grate and he'd cover my finger with his paw, as though that comforted him. God that killed me. I really do love that guy.]

He was very quiet in the waiting room.  He observed Darryl, the house cat at the vet's, silently.  I could tell he was nervous and scared.

I went into the examination room with the doctor and let him out of the carrier. He was just quiet and silent and terrified until the vet came over to comb him (checking for fleas, presumably) and that's when Henry FLIPPED OUT.  It was so embarrassing.  He was howling and trying to kill everyone and squirming and yelling and biting and scratching.  The doc gave me big heavy leather gloves to put on when I held him, but the gloves scared Henry even MORE, so it was sort of a Catch-22.  Hank was growling at the vet when he was trying to listen via stethoscope to his breathing and heartbeat, so that he couldn't really hear what was going on.  He only ended up being outside the carrier for three or four minutes.  I held him tightly whilst the doc gave him a needle in his flank, from behind, and Henry was so worked up I don't think he even noticed.  Then the vet opened the door to the carrier and I let go and Henry shot right into it.  And that was that.

The doc said something about feline leukemia, but that he'd have to get at a VEIN in order to do that.  Haha.  Hahaha.  I was tempted to ask if it would be possible to sedate him first -- give him a little laughing gas, perhaps -- because really, that is not going to happen.

It was so, so mortifying.  I said lamely "he used to be much worse" and the doc said "worse??" but you guys, Henry really isn't like that anymore!  He's not like that at HOME! 

For the drive home, I slid the seat back and put the carrier in the shotgun seat.  I opened the top of the carrier so that Hank could sit up and check out what was going on, which he did, but after a moment he just chilly-chilled in the carrier, sitting down.  I was grumpy.  I scolded him for embarrassing me, and didn't care about going over bumpy road, or shifting awkwardly, as I had on the way there.

I had intended on getting a picture of him in the carrier, but I forgot.  As soon as we were in the apartment, I set the thing down and opened the door, and he shot up the stairs.

Later in the evening, we laid together on the couch and I forgave him.  Poor kid.  He was just so scared, you know?  He lives a very sheltered life, he doesn't interact with anything but me and my friends.  I don't pick him up very often (he's heavy), though later in the evening I tried to, just to see, and he didn't mind at all.  He just sat there in my arms, resting on my belly, being very heavy, for as long as it was comfortable for me to hold him.  He just didn't like the doctor, he didn't like being up on that stainless steel table, he didn't like being in that cage and then not being in it.  And so he reverted to adolescent behavior, he was scared and he lashed out.  How can I blame him for not having any balls when I'm the one who paid to have them lopped off?  But man, OTHER pets get scared, and they don't lash out, they don't try to kill and maim!  They cower!  Why didn't he cower?  Should I be happy he didn't cower?  I don't know.

Also, I think I need to cut his claws back further.  I only clip the tippy-tips, because I'm so paranoid about cutting the vein.  But the doctor said "those claws are sharp," even though I just cut them Sunday.  I have to be braver.

Oh and he's NOT fat.  He's NOT fat!  Haha!  I mean he could stand to lose a pound or two, and he certainly shouldn't GAIN any weight, but he is not fat and the doctor said it would not be appropriate to put him on a diet!  So there.

In lieu of a new picture of Henry, here's an older one from this past October.

(It's hard to tell, but he's actually lying on his back, with his back legs splayed open like some kind of pervert.)

And then here's a really old one, from 2000.  The quarter is for scale.

God, I'm such a sucker for redheads.