I chose my new veterinarian practice based on its off-street parking. Don’t judge me. I also liked the idea that this vet caters only to cats. I pictured my newly adopted kitten on my lap, with no drooling dogs to contend with. No barking, no lunging.
As you can see, so far it’s all about me.
The waiting room was full but quiet, just as I’d hoped. As is often the case in my life, the first three minutes went swimmingly. Then there was trouble.
After a few minutes, the conversation got around to sharing recipes for homemade feline treats. One woman took out a pad and began jotting down notes. By then I knew I was out of my league and felt a little sorry for the innocent kitten who got me in the owner lottery.
The waiting room conversation turned medical, and I felt a dark place coming on.
“Insulin twice a day,” one woman said while giving a rundown on keeping a 17-year-old cat alive. I shoo away thoughts from my childhood of the pets that went to live on those dreamy farms, always somewhere at the very tip of Long Island — conveniently too far to visit — where they would now be free to run and play all day. I guess parents don’t get away with that one anymore.
Thankfully, the conversation moved beyond urinary tract infections and chronic vomiting, but right before I was called in, several people began commiserating about hard it is to own a cat.
I like to think I know what’s hard. I had a boss once who disliked me so much that she sighed every time I entered the room, and for three years, she could never fully unclench her teeth in my presence. I lived in Buffalo for eight winters and shoveled my own sidewalks. I taught teenagers to merge onto a highway. Cats are easy to take care of. Because they’re cats.
Finn, my kitten, had come from the shelter already “fixed,” and, in my world, it’s always a bonus when your cat doesn’t pee in your closet. Now I needed to get him vaccinated and declawed. Even though he’s an inside cat, the declawing part was going to need some careful treading on my part. Like catnip, there is a big debate swirling.
After the vaccination discussion, during which I tried to win points with my ultra-serious pet-owner face, it was time to come clean and tell the vet that I intended to have her rip those vile little claws right off my precious kitten. Of course I said it in a much nicer way. And I would expect anesthesia and pain meds. Lots of them, because I’m a caring person.
She took a breath. “We don’t recommend that.”
I told her that my mind was made up.
“It’s extremely painful for them,” she wanted me to know.
I stood my ground. During the height of the La Maze era in 1978, it took me 19 hours to give birth to a 9 lb. baby. I didn’t even have a Tylenol. This chick had nothing on me.
The day of surgery arrived and I got to the office in plenty of time, thanks to that glorious parking lot adjacent to the building. I was given the details of the pre-op routine from a vet tech who clearly thought I was not a good person, not a smart person, or both. Then I filled out forms and answered many questions, often twice. Apparently, declawing a kitten is slightly more complicated than — say — circumcising the future king of England.
Finn has been part of my household for a few months now. He is waiting for me at the door in the evening, and most of the time his food and water bowls are full. If they aren’t, he makes some cat noises, and I fill them.
As far as I can tell, he hasn’t yet figured out that he’s come to live with a woman who isn’t fit to meet the needs of a hamster. Instead, he curls up next to me at night, purring away, and sleeps the sleep of a prince. He seems healthy and content, but I’m sure the next time we’re at the vet, I’ll begin to second guess that, too. So I hope I’m not too old to reteach myself to parallel park because drooling dogs in the waiting room may be in my future.
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Comedy – The Huffington Post
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