Tag Archives: cats

Our Old Yeller Cat

I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with living out on the farm.  When job hunting as I am now, I always take the address off my resume because it could be perceived as a disadvantage, and employers will think I won’t be reliable because I live in the snow belt.  They don’t know that I will drive through anything, and that I’ve come to terms with spending at least 5 years of my life in my car.  Which explains things like my “travel chips” tucked under my seat, and my door pockets that resemble a medicine cabinet.

But I have had to deal with issues that none of my urban based co-workers have.  There was for example, the great Rabies scare of 2006.   We had a cow that was sick and bawling, and hubby had the vet come.   He checked it out and eliminated a bunch of stuff, and then said that one remaining possibility was Rabies.  By the next day he was fairly sure that was the case, so we had to put the cow down, and when the test results came back the diagnosis was confirmed. 

I am a bit of a hypochondriac at the best of times, and learned a long time ago that ignorance is bliss in the area of ailments, as I immediately begin to observe the symptoms in myself or the kids the minute I read about any disease.  We’ve had everything from Malaria to  West Nile to Lyme disease to Meningitis, and that’s just from news stories that I couldn’t turn off fast enough.

The vet said as long as our cats were up to date on their shots there was nothing to worry about with them.  Except that I had let that slide a tiny bit … and they weren’t exactly up to date.  I’ll never forget the feeling in the pit of my stomach as hubby was reassuring me that it was probably very unlikely that we would need to worry about the cats, and that we should schedule them immediately for their shots.  As we chatted, our cat Furbert appeared, purring and rubbing as per usual.  Furbert innocently looked up at me, and he had one single long strand of spit dangling from his lip.

Well, that did it.  I was full blown hysterical, in Old Yeller mode.  Hubby was reassuring me once again, saying that he saw that the cat had pine pitch (sap from a pine tree) on his fur earlier and that he probably just licked it.  That wasn’t good enough for me though.  I called the emergency number of Rabies Control and shrieked into the phone calmly informed the guy  that our cat was foaming at the mouth and demanded to know when I should expect that we were all going to succumb.  Since they had been vaccinated in prior years, he thought we were okay, but suggested we isolate them for a couple of weeks, just to be sure. 

We gathered up the bewildered felines and unceremoniously locked them in the basement, where they all huddled on the top step, protesting loudly. (I understood their outrage though – our house is over 100 years old, and the basement is pretty creepy.  I refuse to go down there, even under threat of impending tornado — I’d rather take my chances going with the house, Dorothy style.)

I didn’t sleep a wink that night, and I had a work meeting in the big city the next day.  I remember groggily sitting around the  table in the glass office tower with my co-workers and agency partners, thinking about how they would feel if they knew that they were sharing a working lunch with a Rabies sufferer.  I avoided looking at the pitcher of water on the table just in case I was already in full blown hydrophobia. I wondered if and when I would be overcome with the urge to bite my colleagues.  I thought about how bad that was going to look on my Performance Review.

As it turned out, hubby was right this one time and we didn’t have to worry.  The cats endured their basement banishment, and got their updated shots and were fine.  We didn’t have to shoot anyone, and none of my co-workers had to get a bunch of needles in their belly because of their proximity to me.

But it sure confirmed one thing for me.  Cats are demented and have very warped senses of humour.  I’m almost sure this is how it went down: Our three cats were all lounging it up in an adjoining room, trading stories about tormenting rodents and licking butter.  Suddenly, Furbert’s pointed ears perk up as he overhears the conversation where hubby is informing me that the cow Rabies test is positive.  Then Furbert probably stretched and said, “Watch this” … and proceeded to work up that single spit strand, then casually sidles in to where we were and was all  like,  

“Purr, Purr, What’s up guys?”  

Of course, he couldn’t have known that it was going to backfire and he was going to go into lockdown for three weeks, or he would never have done it.  He’s not a genius – just a smart aleck with a wicked sense of humour and occasional mean streak .  If he were a person he would be Ricky Gervais. 

Furbert, always the comic, ready to go play Squash

I’m almost sure that’s exactly what happened. Or, I guess there is always hubby’s far fetched theory for the infamous strand of spit – the  “he licked pine pitch” scenario. (Sometimes I think he has an overactive imagination.)

 As always, life on the farm has provided lots of valuable life lessons. Now the kids haul out the old “Time we had Rabies” story as an example whenever they are trying to make the point that I may be just a tad overprotective and perhaps even mentally unstable. And they may be right – I saw a public service announcement about that recently. I  have many symptoms.



Filed under Animal Stories, Farm Life, Memories

Hell Cats

On my weekly to do list for the past 6 months, has been “take cats to the vet for shots and checkups.”  This week I made that dream a reality.

Typical Pet Ride

It sounds easy enough, like you just “pop” them into the car and they cooperatively buckle up in the backseat and purr, whilst appreciating the drive and pointing out things to each other that have changed since their last car trip; and then on arrival, file into the vets office holding onto a rope in an orderly fashion, but surprisingly … it’s nothing like that.   It’s akin to … well…. herding cats.  It’s a covert operation that takes at a minimum of two people about 20 hours of preparation and planning.

11:00 pm. Gather all 3 cats into house for easy access tomorrow.  Everybody is acting antsy.  It’s like they know.  It’s quiet.  Almost too quiet. Their already shifty eyes have a more pronounced “shift”.

9:00 a.m.  Thankfully, all cats present and accounted for.  Nobody is allowed outside.  I announce firmly to hubby and daughter than even though it’s a lovely day, under no circumstances is any of the cat population of our house allowed outside, even though our appointment isn’t until 4:30. I want everyone easily accessible.

9:01. Crazed group meowing ensues.  I ignore, while conscientiously working in my office, (also known as the kitchen table).  Cats alternate between meowing and sulky, stink-eye glaring at me.

9:02  Meowing louder now. Cats commence hurling selves at door. I can’t even hear Regis and Kelly.

9:06  I fling door open to outside world,  but not without a few profanities and a scathing comment about ingrates and the rare privilege of healthcare.  The cats race out past me into the yard, with the sting of my reprimands ringing in their pointed ears.

9:07 I become absorbed in my work, conveniently forgetting about anything else.

3:00. Begin to wonder … where is the pet carrier thing we have that will hold two cats?  I will have to MacGyver something for the other odd man out,  or risk driving down the highway with a feline either wound up in the steering wheel or hiding underneath the brake pedal … but in the meantime, got to find that pet carrier.

3:10 Check the shed.  WOW there’s a lot of stuff in there.  But apparently no cat carrier.

3:15 Check the other shed.   Nope

3:30 Check the other, other shed.  No sign of it.  And I have to leave in half an hour.

3:40  Check the barn.  No, but there are some grocery bins that might work, if we lash them together with string. (Why AM I always buying grocery bags?)

3:45. Plus, where are the cats?

3:50  All cats now retrieved, once again locked in the house. Used the age-old “shake the cat treat bag at the door” trick. (I thought cats were supposed to be smart.)

3:55 Check the first shed again for the cat carrier.  Found it in a corner covered in mud and some strange sticky orange oily liquid.  It’s way smaller than I thought.  Will only carry one cat.

4:00  Wash cat carrier and also grocery bins, just for good measure.

4:05   Grocery bins not workable as pet carrier.  Find 2 large laundry baskets.  Think carefully about what two cats will tolerate riding together, and then place them into laundry basket with other laundry basket firmly attached by way of locking twist tie, very secure and requiring scissors to remove. Place scissors in purse for use at vet clinic.

4:12  Put other single cat into actual cat carrier, which is free from mud but still somewhat sticky.

4:15  Full-blown UFC style cage fight breaks out in laundry basket.  Fur is flying through small slats.  Can’t remember where I put scissors.    Daughter finally finds them, removing the technical knock-out loser of that round.  All possible pairing variations are considered, and we finally decide that they each must have their own ride, so we’re finally ready to go with a total of 3 laundry baskets and one actual (albeit sticky) cat carrier.  Numerous attempts are required to get single cat  inserted into her into pet carrier, as she demonstrates her best starfish impression.

4:20 Finally everyone under secure twist tie lockdown.  Deafening 20 minute car ride follows. (We’re going to a new clinic this time, because the old one was getting too pricey.)

4:40 Arrive at clinic.    I meet the young lady doctor, and by young I mean that when my oldest cat was born, she would have been about 10 years old.  She  graduated approximately yesterday. Checkups get underway.  Cats behave perfectly. Everybody gets vaccinated, toenails clipped.  Our oldest cat gets skin scraped to see why it’s so itchy.  We’re sent to the waiting room to get the bill.  It takes forever. Daughter and I amuse each other by guessing how much it’s going to be.  She guesses  $200.  I guess $250.  Finally the bill is ready – $386.  I feel faint and a little nauseous, and can hardly hear the child-vet telling me that she read the skin scraping thing and to combat the itching our old cat will require numerous visits and treatments. She can barely contain her excitement.  They just don’t see this every day.  She will email me a “schedule” of treatments and “special order” in the medicine.

5:45  Cats are quiet and smug as we place them back in the car.  I can read their cat thoughts. .. “Happy now?”

6:15 Ears may be playing tricks on me, but return trip meowing sounds a bit  like evil “Muwhahaha” laughter.

6:30  Arrive home.  Initiate plans to fake someone’s death to avoid the upcoming treatments.  Can’t decide if it will be mine or the cat’s.

Unpimped pet rides


Filed under Animal Stories, Humor, Thats Life