Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Kitty Carriers
The Carriers: Harbingers of Unpleasant Experiences for Kitties.

This Monday, Hakuna and Matata, relying on that mystical Sixth Sense cats seem to be blessed with, knew that something was up...and they did not like it.

Indeed, it was time for their annual veterinary checkup, an experience that both of them dread. I’m not sure what bothers them more: the three-mile drive to the animal hospital, or the examination itself. If the noise and caterwauling were any indication, it’s the drive they hate, for they manage to be generally well-behaved during the poking, prodding, and needle-sticking.

Hakuna always knows when it’s Vet Time, and she’s a past master at making herself scarce. On top of that, she had a bladder infection and a touch of colitis last month, the which necessitated several “Catch Hakuna and Medicate Her” experiences, with the effect that she has been extremely suspicious in my presence.

To catch Hakuna, you have to cut off her manifold hidey-holes and retreats. I started by chivvying her out of her favorite hiding place, the box spring of Elder Daughter’s bed. Then, methodically closing off each upstairs bedroom in its turn, I left her no choice but to try to hide downstairs.

She was smart enough to avoid getting cornered in the sunroom, where it’s easy to close the doors and trap her. But this time she outsmarted herself, electing to hide in the litter box. It’s one of those covered affairs, and there’s only one way in and out. Bwah-hah-hah-hahhhh!

I waited a decent interval to allow her to attend to her Personal Business - assuming she had any to transact. Then, I clapped the carrier over the opening, tilted it gently, and waited for her to bow to the inevitable Force o’ Gravity. It worked like a charm.

Once Hakuna was in her carrier, wearing an amazingly surly expression and making those low, moaning Meows of Evident Distress, it was relatively easy to grab the much more compliant Matata. I have the feeling she was too lazy to make any serious escape attempts.

Our veterinarian is a middle-aged man with strong, yet extraordinarily gentle hands, and a reassuring manner. It was a beautiful thing to watch as both kitties relaxed (about as much as they could) and allowed him to palpate them. Not a peep, even when they got their shots...and yet, the carriers that they had earlier tried so hard to avoid were now eagerly-sought sanctuaries.

Both cats - now twelve-year-old dowagers - came through their respective physicals with flying colors. I was gratified to see that Hakuna had even gained a few ounces after her health issues last month. Aging gracefully: that’s my girls.

As expected, yesterday both of them were quiet, keeping out of sight. With Matata in particular, the annual round of shots makes her feel logy and out of sorts. Practically inert, she was, curling up in her little fleece-lined bed. And Hakuna was just being, well, Hakuna.

They’re up and about today, though, as they shed their memories of the Dreaded Annual Visit...memories that will be reawakened the instant those carriers come out of the basement again.

Good Morning!

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