Feb 13

My day started out with taking my cat in to the vet for a teeth cleaning. He’s had horrible breath lately. To the point where I wished he wouldn’t try to bathe himself because it was making his fur stink. Finally, the day I walked into the living room and thought what died in here? only to discover Sousi yawning next to me, I knew it was time. I’m sure this is making me sound like a terrible pet owner. That I’d let him go so long without addressing an obvious issue. It’s true. I let it go longer than I should have and my only excuse is that I knew how much it was going to cost–more than it cost my daughter’s last visit to the dentist. As a single parent, there are always trade offs when it comes to expenses. If I get one thing this month, I may have to wait on something else. Knowing my cat wasn’t in distress (yes, I checked!) his teeth cleaning got put on the back burner until this month when his lottery ticket was drawn.

When I set the appointment, I explained that I had a 7:30 meeting this morning and the clinic was on my way there so it would be convenient to drop him off early. I was told that even though they opened at 7:30, I could bring him in at 7:15. Perfect. Now I’ve talked about my cat before. He’s 16 pounds, strong, and clever. I’ve never been able to get him into a pet carrier. Instead, I have a big wicker picnic basket with a hinged lid that I can usually lure him into. This morning, I had my daughter help me get him to the car in his basket. Once there I placed my purse on top of the basket to keep him from escaping since the lid doesn’t latch. As soon as I got in the car, he shoved his way out of his basket. Thankfully, my daughter hadn’t made it back to the house, so she helped stick him back, and we place my purse AND my tote bag of books on top of the basket. That seemed to be enough, so off I went. Now Sousi doesn’t like car rides. The only times he’s ever been in the car is when we’ve moved or he’s gone to the vet, so I understand his suspicion. But he’s an extremely vocal cat and I’m an extremely guilty pet parent when it comes to hearing him cry. Our 10 minute ride to the vet consisted of his wails and my singing interspersed with consoling phrases meant to soothe me more than him since he doesn’t understand too many words beyond treats and his name.

Of course I got to the vet early. And sat in the car with him peering pathetically at me through the holes in his basket. Not once did he stop crying. Apparently, the woman who scheduled my appointment forgot to tell anyone else that I was coming at 7:15. The first employee showed up at 7:22. I waited three minutes before carefully removing the barricade and carrying the basket inside. There his howls echoed off the walls and we were ushered into a waiting room where I could finally let him out. He wasn’t happy with me. He paced his way around the room looking every bit like a small tiger and wailed even louder. And like any good parent, I videotaped his tantrum. After a quick overview of expectations from his vet, I gave him a hug and turned him over so I could rush off to the meeting for which I was already 1/2 hr late.

He spent most of the day at the vet. I’m not sure if it’s true for all animals, but they have to put cats under in order to perform this procedure, so there’s always a concern that they may not react well to anesthesia. But I’m thankful to report that his cleaning went well–better than they expected. The staff even wrote “good job” on his paperwork. I’m not surprised. He may be a loud complainer, but he’s really not ever had issues or given me problems. So now, besides taking care of a potential health concern, his clean teeth also mean clean breath, which makes it much easier to cuddle. Bonus.

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