The Vile V-E-T

I’m a cat people, born and raised. Growing up, my household always had multiple cats that we poured so much love, energy, and of course, money, into. I’ve come to appreciate the habits and personalities of various cats, and their living styles complement mine very well. But part of the love, energy, and the cold hard cash necessary for owning cats involves that annual battle: the v-e-t.

Cats are proficient in comprehending the English language, but a lesser-known fact that only truly skilled cat owners know is that they are abominable spellers. Which is why in my household, every year when the v-e-t appointment was due, we referred to it as the v-e-t. That way, our cats couldn’t overhear our top secret human conversations and plot to rebel once it came time to capture and relocate them for their check-up.

Because cats hate the vet. It seems to me, from my limited understanding of dogs, that dogs like just about any outing accompanied by their owner. A walk around the block? Yes. A drive to the store? Check. An exciting and invasive trip to the vet? Oh boy, bow wow count me in. Seems like dogs love that shit. But cats?

Cats hate the vet. Cats don’t like doing much else than sleeping, eating, or doing anything contrary to what their owners want them to do. So conveniently succumbing to the needs of their owners is at the top of the “Fuck that” list for cats. Which, if you follow my drift, means that cats hate the vet.

I’ve since moved out of my parents’ house and now have a place and a cat of my own. I’ve been meaning to take my cat baby, Esmeralda, to the vet for quite some time now. It’s just that I know how much of a hassle it is to take cats to the vet, and how much dough is involved in keeping them up-to-date on their vaccinations, so I’ve been putting it off like a real loser. Fortunately, though, Esmeralda started peeing on my couch a few days ago which sure lit the fire under my ass on the whole vet thing because it was looking like she may have a bladder infection. Great.

So, now that I’m on my own, it’s time to put to the test everything I’ve learned about the vet from my family. When I lived at home and it came around v-e-t time, my mom always brought out the cat carriers from the depths of the basement (where we stored old toys, dusty trophies, and other horrors) and put them out for the cats to investigate and become comfortable around. That way, the cats would see the cages and be like, “Shit, I know what that means,” but they wouldn’t know when it was coming because the cages would be out for a week or so. So then they’d get bored of being paranoid and cautious and just sort of get over the flashbacks for a minute, until–SNATCH! It’s like Taken 2 up in this bitch. You just got cat-carrier-ed and you didn’t see it coming because you let your guard down, haha!

Anyway, so I brought the cage out a couple days ahead of time. Esmeralda checked it out right away, smelled it, rolled her eyes at it, flicked her tail at it, walked away. Oh yeah, baby, the foreshadowing has begun.

The real action happens right before the vet. It’s important to give yourself enough prep time on the day of because the variables are too great when trying to ensnare a feline. The buddy system is most effective but if you have to do it on your own, it is possible, but it is very much like wrangling an alligator, only scarier.

We have this one cat at my parents’ house, Anchovy, and she’s basically your worst nightmare during v-e-t season. My parents would have to tag-team her; they always put her in the cage first before the other cats because she was the most viciously resistant to it. They had to block her off in a room, then wrap her in a towel and funnel her into the cage. I mean, think Tasmanian devil meets Mowgli from The Jungle Book. (Yeah.)

Anyway, so I didn’t think Esmeralda would give me such a hard time as Anchovy, so I just kind of was gonna try to set her in the cat carrier. I was foolish, trying to do a two-man job with only one woman. But, I did it, so as it turns out mathematically, two men are equal to one woman. Let the record enthusiastically indicate that from now on.

But I was just hanging out with her, petting her, combing her, when it came time to begin the Capture phase. I swear she could sense my nervous energy though, because when I got up to walk towards her, she ran away–something she doesn’t usually do, because she loves attention and affection (something we have in common). But I was just so damn nervous… What if I couldn’t get her in the cage? What if I had to cancel my appointment? What if I had to go to the vet by myself? How could I possibly reschedule this appointment when I essentially work for the entire rest of the week? How could I face my parents (such practiced professionals at the art of cat collecting) after such an elite failure!?!

I coaxed her out, and she foolishly allowed me to scoop her up. That’s when she wisened up to me again and began fidgeting (but not spinning), until I got to the cage and tried to put her in it. Of course, she resisted.

It was quite a struggle. Every time I thought I had her in, she would push her way out, and every time I actually did almost have her in, the cage scooted backwards. So I was in this ridiculous position of holding the cage with my feet and arm wrestling a frantic cat who–despite being front paw-declawed–scratched me up pretty bad across my palms and arms. Although, I would consider that minimal damage, because I know Anchovy could easily remove a limb or two if she wanted. (The power of a moody feline is immeasurable.) (We also have that in common.)

By the end, just as I was muttering, “Get–in–the fucking–cage!” I finally won and got her in it. (By which I mean, she visibly gave up and complied after realizing how persistent I was being. But I can pretend that it was my efforts that won, and not hers that let me win.) After I got her in, I took a look around at the remnants of the massacre: hair. EVERYWHERE. Clumps of hair scattered all around the area. (Hers, too!) I could have honestly assembled a new cat from all the lost hair, dressed it like Esmeralda, and taken THAT fur ball to the vet easier than I could have just taken Esmeralda herself.

Anyway, the fun part after that is driving with your cat. Dog owners can’t appreciate how odd it feels for cat owners to drive around with their cats because dogs are always trying to go places, do great things, see the sights, smell the butts, bark at the grass, etc., etc., but it’s really bizarro to have had Esmeralda as shotgun. And I mean, she was a horrible passenger. Her aux cord game was seriously lacking, and she didn’t once give me a correct direction. Fortunately I’m a pretty skilled navigator otherwise we would have never made it to the vet. Granted, the vet was right down the road from me, but I consider that highly irrelevant in this situation.

And cats–when restricted to cat carriers–are very vocal. LOUD. Whiny. Esmeralda was a lot more level-headed than my parents’ cats; she meowed a bunch, but a reasonable and understandable amount, considering she had no ability to know what the heck was going on. However, my parents’ cats are freaking opera singers. I mean, they go HAM when they get in the car; they belt, they let it all out. And for twelve years, we had four cats, so when we got all those mother-meowers in the car, it was like a barbershop quartet of poorly-tuned bike horns. MOW (MOW!) MOW-MOW, MOWWWW!

But Esmeralda wasn’t too dramatic and kept her meowing to a minimum, which was pleasing. It’s incredible how long a 1-mile drive can feel when you have four clearly dissatisfied cats ceaselessly reminding you of just how completely dissatisfied they are.

The vet was good though; Esmeralda is fine. She got some shots, had a urine test conducted, got weighed (the little porker is a couple pounds overweight). (Another commonality between us.) The vet’s not the hard part, though. The hard part is the prep, as I’ve discussed so far, and the check-out. Meaning, the cost.

Like, this 10-pound fluff sack just put me out of some major cash money. When the vet told me how much was due, it was like an anvil with a dollar sign painted on it hit me in the wallet. “Uh, can you just add that to my student loans? Do you have a scholarship program for funding pet expenses?”

But it was worth it, though. And Esmeralda didn’t stay mad at me for long. I think she’s honestly just happy that we both came back home together instead of me dropping her off somewhere new and scary, like some place with dogs, or with people who don’t let cats inside (I’m getting anxious sweats just thinking about it!).

So hopefully she stops peeing on my couch now. I don’t use my couches a lot, but it’s always nice to have a urine-free sitting option available for myself or guests. Unfortunately for you though, I will never reveal which couch it was. That secret will die with me; have fun speculating about it at my next dinner party though!


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