Monday, April 18, 2005

Cat Troubles

Normal weekend activities were cancelled on Saturday afternoon when one of our cats, five year old Ashley, began to yowl and spurt foul substances from both ends of her body. Fearing poisoning, demonic possession or at least a life-threatening blockage, we decided to take her to the emergency vet's.

Now, we haven't had to take her anywhere since we adopted her a year ago, and we were not looking forward to having to get her into the carrier. She's what you'd call "wary." Her brother Chico is Mister Personality, a real in-your-face kind of guy. But if you go to pet Ashley she's like, "Can I see your papers, please?" She's like a wild little woodland creature who's deigned to live among humans solely because she lacks opposable thumbs.

So in the course of getting her into the carrier, she not only darted into the usual cat hiding places, but somehow managed to get under the kitchen stove, where I thought nothing could fit except a field mouse or a big bug. We were afraid to move the stove because we didn't know how far we could move it before the gas hose pulled out and blew up the building.

Jim called 911 and in about fifteen minutes they send over a couple of cops. I was expecting the fire department, because you always hear how they get cats out of a tree. But the two cops knew what to do and didn't think our problem was unusual. They moved the stove slightly and tilted it forward, whereupon Ashley ran out like a maniac, went straight for the slightly open bedroom window and began to climb up the screen.

I caught her before she could escape out the top and fall to her almost certain death. She was hanging on to the screen so tightly that she cut her paw and also left a hole in the screen through which bumblebees will be sailing this summer unless we can get it fixed.

We finally managed to get the terrified, bleeding Ashley to the animal hospital, where three days, many tests and $2500 later they found an irritable bowel, possibly the result of a lot of swallowed hair. This doesn't surprise me, since you could weave a third cat from the hair she sheds.

We figured that while she's in there, they can examine her teeth and rotate her tires. Also they're going to remove a benign polyp from her ear. And meanwhile I'll go buy hairball treats and figure out what other tiny places in our tiny house a cat can manage to crawl into or under. We don't even use the oven on that stove, anyway, just the stovetop and a DeLonghi. We use the oven to store pots and pans. I should submit the problem to Apartment Therapy...maybe somebody can figure out a way to replace the stove with a den.

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