C. the Cat Goes to the DENTIST!!

Jack Goblin By Jack Goblin, 30th Sep 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Funny Stories

The story of me taking my cat to the vet for a tooth cleaning. It's not EXACTLY harrowing and bone chilling; but it involves a cat, so it's close.

C. the Cat! C. the Cat run...

As I have indicated in one of my previous stories about my cats C. and P. (to continue to use aliases to protect the innocent. Me, not them), C. has ongoing dental problems: Gingivitis, tartar buildup, gum inflammation, bad teeth, and perhaps the creeping crud. Definitely halitosis, as he proves every time he breathes in my face.

So each six months I have to take him to the veterinarian to have his teeth cleaned and to see if any more of them need pulling. This is NOT a fun event for either of us. As all cat owners realize, however, sometimes you just have to gird your loins and do things neither the cat nor you like. Sometimes this involves donning protective armor and having lots of bandages ready.

Fortunately such measures were not needed this time. All I had to do was ferry C. to the veterinary dental clinic twenty miles away early on the day of his appointment, and leave him there for the vets to do that voodoo they do so well. Things were complicated by the fact that cats don't just obligingly lay back and open their mouths when being approached with dental instruments. No, it is far more likely they'll get the wrong idea about what's about to happen, scream "CAT SACRIFICING SATANISTS!!", and fight desperately with claw, tooth, and lawsuit. Possibly hurting themselves, and definitely hurting those trying to help them

A Hungry cat...

So for dental operations, cats have to be anesthetized. This has several ramifications; but in this case, the main one was, no food after midnight on the day on the operation. With the added complication that since C. has the habit of stealing food from his brother's bowl, that meant I couldn't feed either of them.

Naturally this did not go over well. The cats have concluded my main role in this household, even more than my duties as a cat toy, rubber of ears, heating pad, and sleeping spot, is to provide them with food on demand. That I did not do this on that dreadful morning caused them considerable confusion and unhappiness. They both meowed, postured, and poked at me incessantly to try to get me to do the right thing and break out the kibble, making it very hard to do anything without tripping over a cat. And tripping over a cat just spreads and increases the general unhappiness.

However, after a while I managed to feed P. a bit by putting him and some food into a bathroom and closing the door so C. couldn't get in. That solved the problem as far as HE was concerned. Since P. is a finicky and messy eater, though, it meant I had to stay in the bathroom with him and clean up after he was done so C. couldn't chow down on the leftovers. Also so I could let P. out, since he doesn't know how to turn doorknobs. He says.

C. continued to be upset, though. All the more so because P. was wandering around well fed and happy. He couldn't figure out what was wrong - was I STUPID? Was I out of food? Did I have rabies and needed to be shot? - or how to make me do what he wanted. In desperation he wound up licking plastic bags as I got ready for our trip.

Cats do this; the rendered fat in the plastic apparently makes them tasty. Also, the licking is REALLY irritating to cat owners. Which I'm sure cats approve of. Normally I keep all plastic bags where the cats can't get to them, but C. was so desperate he tipped over a trash can, pulled out the liner, and started licked that. By that point I was so irritated I let him keep at it because it kept him out of my hair.

Travels with my Cat...

Finally, it was time to leave. I grabbed C. and stuffed him into the carrier before he could get away, told P. to hold down the fort and not destroy too many things while I was gone, tossing a bit of dry food in his bowl to distract him and keep him from trying to run out the door with me, and exited. I loaded C. into the van, rolled up the windows, settled back in the driver's seat... then reached over and opened the carrier.

The conventional wisdom in transporting cats in a car is to keep the cat in a carrier, towel over the top, as this will seem like a safe cave and the cat will be calmer. Conventional wisdom never met C. I attempted to follow this advice several times in the past. It soon became clear that not being able to see what was going on, or move about, did NOT calm him. Watching a carrier bounce around in a car because the cat inside is in a frenzy, and later having to clean out bits of yanked in and shredded towel, bladder accidents, and stress shed fur in large quantities, is not fun.

So now I let him out of the carrier once we are both safely inside my van. He is free to go where he wants except for around my feet as they work the pedals, or between me and the windshield or steering wheel. Fortunately his standard operating procedure once we begin traveling seldom varies much. After dashing about peering out of windows and screaming the feline equivalent of "OMG! The world is MOVING! Make! It! STOP!!!", he dives under a back seat and begin letting me know he is unhappy, loudly. Very unhappy. VERY loudly. This leads to conversations, mile after mile, rather like this:

Piercing shriek!
"Shut up, cat!"
Piercing shriek!
"Shut UP, cat!"
Piercing shriek!
Piercing shriek!
"Do NOT make me stop this car!"
Piercing shriek!
"If I have to stop this car you WILL regret it!"
Piercing shriek!
"Shut up, cat!"

And on and on. Threats work as well on cats as they do on children.

Some may be wondering why I bother to respond to his cries at all when it's clear he's ignoring me. In this as in so many other things. The answer is, as long as I provide counterpoint, he doesn't cry out as often. I've tested this and know it to be true. I'm not sure if he thinks we're singing a duet, or I'm explaining things, or what he thinks is going on. I'm not sure if he thinks at all. I do know that the back and forth yelling makes the time seem to pass quicker. Although I shudder to think what anyone watching this performance would conclude; the cat, after all, is under a seat, so to any observer outside of the car traveling along side, it would look like I was in an empty car shouting out comments rhythmically for no good reason...

C. Goes UNDER THE KNIFE! Sort of.

Anyway, after twenty miles and a few thousand years worth of cat screams (at least that's what it felt like) we made it to the vet's, both of us a little hoarser than when we started. Stopping the car stopped the screaming (on both sides) and C. soon came out to see what was going on. I took advantage of his feline curiosity to grab him and stuff him back into the carrier - he never learns - then carried him into the vet's office. After filling out the necessary forms I gave my kitty a final rub for luck through the carrier, then handed him over. The anesthesia, procedure, and recovery would take most of the day, so waiting in the vet's office was out. Instead, I went home.

The trip back was quieter.

At home, P. responded to the disappearance of his brother by bugging me to let him out into the garage, where he crawled into my van. Not to seek a trace of C., as it turned out, but rather to stretch out and sleep for the next several hours.

"Your family concern is noteworthy," I told him once as I went out into the garage on an errand, looked into the van, and saw him sleeping there. He opened his eye a slit, decided I wasn't worthy of his notice, and went back to sleep.

Humor aside, this was an uneasy time. Animals can die under anesthesia, even with competent medical personnel monitoring them. So every time C. goes in to have his teeth checked, I get nervous. At home, I waited for the vet to call to tell me how things had gone and if I could come pick C. up. And waited. And waited. At first, since I didn't get an emergency call, I assumed everything had gone well. But as time passed and there was NO call, I began to be concerned. Finally, about eight hours after I'd dropped the cat off, I picked up the phone to call the vet... and there was no dial tone.

The Sound of Silence.

"Huh?" I asked cleverly. Then thought for a moment. Then started looking through my house. Sure enough, in a back bedroom, I found someone had knocked an extension phone off a nightstand, and my land line was OFF line. I had wondered why the usual calls from those who seem to need my money so much more than I do, had stopped the past day or two. There were no telltale signs of fur or pawprints on the phone, but I had little doubt as to who had caused this callus interruptus. I put the receiver back on the base, wrapped a strong rubber band around the phone set so they couldn't do that again, and checked at a different phone to see if I had a dial tone. And I did.

Communications back in service, I called the vet and got the EXCELLENT news that C. had come through surgery with no problems, he hadn't lost any of his teeth this time, and I could pick him up immediately. I buzzed over and got my errant kitty... and also got to pay yet another bill for several hundred dollars. Even without extractions, feline dental work is costly.

"You are the most expensive free kitty in human history!" I stated to the little hairball horfer as I bundled him out to the van and got inside, reminding him he was a rescue cat who I had taken in only out of the goodness of my heart. Of course such a charge was hyperbole; but he's a cat, what did he know? "Get a job. Pay me back!" I directed, striking while the iron was hot.

Naturally he ignored me. Like threats, orders tend to have as little impact on cats as they do on children. I let him out of the carrier again, and once the van was in motion he started getting antsy. But to my surprise the piercing shrieks did not reappear. Instead he 'meow'ed a lot while clambering and wandering about, before finally creeping under a back seat and remaining largely quiet. I think his view was, it had been a very strange and unenjoyable day for him so far, and he was dubious about what was coming next.

Home, Sweet Home.

As it turned out, we made it home without further misadventure. C.'s first action, once he found himself back in familiar environs, was to demand to be fed. Proving the operation had not changed his priorities. I gave him some food and watched as he chowed down. Both of us were, I think, thankful: Me that he was back safe and sound, he... that I had FINALLY done the right thing and filled his bowl. It was about time.

P.'s response to his brother's return went something like "Oh hey, you're still around. Well, I suppose that's HOLY COW, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN AND WHY DO YOU SMELL LIKE *THAT*?!?!?" The different scents of the doctors, anesthetic, other animals, and the operating room were still clinging to C.'s fur, and P. kept sniffing him to try to make sure he was who he seemed to be. This got on C.'s already strained nerves, and resulted in C. 'bopping' P. with his paw several times. P. would sometimes bop back, then one or both cats would run away or start hissing at each other. This happened several times the rest of the day and finally culminated in a brief cat fight, that night, on my bed, just as I was dropping off to sleep. Which of course snapped me wide awake again.

"Do I need cats?" I asked myself as usual when something like this happens, even as I shouted at them to take it somewhere else. "Do I need THESE cats?"

The Fun Never Ends...

By the next morning the off-putting smells had apparently faded and the cats were as companionable as ever. No more cat fights. Also, to their GREAT relief I fed them both as usual. Since C. had not had to have a tooth pulled I didn't need to give him pain meds, so he remained sober and the bizarre behavior I have written about previously never appeared. All in all, it seemed we had passed through yet another trial and emerged unscathed.

Except for my wallet, of course.

Ah, but the story doesn't end there. Unfortunately. A week after C.'s appointment I took the cats in for their annual check up at their local vet. C. passed with flying colors. Except his love of food, and constant desire to eat, had ballooned him up to 12 pounds. Nine to eleven is the ideal cat weight range. There was no choice; he had to go on a (GASP) diet. Which is complicated by the fact that he's a greedy kitty and, as I said, will happily steal from his brother's bowl. So I've had to be careful, and feed them separately. And get rid of the plastic trash liners. Needless to say he is NOT happy I've gone back to not feeding him as much as he wants, and bugging to the point of cat tripping is now a common thing.

P.'s bill of health, however, was not so good. Eyes, ears, lungs, heart, these were fine. But looking in his mouth - over his SERIOUS objections - the vet noticed inflamed gums, tartar build up, and a tooth that looked pretty dubious. There is no doubt about it: It is now P.'s turn to go to the dentist, for the first time.

This should be no end of fun.

Time for more loin-girding.

Media Source: All pictures are from Wikimedia Commons EXCEPT the ones of C. and P. Those, like the cats themselves, are mine. :)


Cat, Dentist, Humor, Irritating Feline Behavior, Pet, Veterinarian

Meet the author

author avatar Jack Goblin
Was born. Haven't died yet. Don't intend to anytime soon.

Thank you much for reading my articles. I hope they brought you pleasure and enlightenment. :)

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
30th Sep 2014 (#)

This is great. I'm putting it on my FB for all the cat lovers.

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author avatar Retired
7th Oct 2014 (#)

I loved this story!

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