With the kids eating dry and wet food, and Ms. Squeaks back in heat, I decided it was high time to go ahead and make the appointment for Momma cat to go for her operation. It was also time to take Angel in for her yearly check up and round of shots.
Taking the cats to the vet isn’t especially great. It’s not just that they don’t want to go, it’s because it’s very far from me. Yes, there are veterinarians close by, but when I really needed a vet (on a Saturday), the place I go to was the only one willing to take a small, blind, infected, kitten. Everyone else I called (including ones that advertised ’emergency services’) tried to get me to make an appointment two weeks out, or just have her put down at a shelter.
Not wanting Angel to go blind or killed, I kept calling and finally found a place, forty miles away, that would take her. Weirdly, her mother, Ms. Squeaks, decided to go along for the ride and get a full check-up, also. And that’s why I travel for an hour or more to take these cats to the vet, even if it’s for a quick five minute check and a shot, and I always will.
Anyway, Angel’s visit was up first and it was fairly early in the morning. Luckily, she’s already been fixed so I didn’t have to worry about her fasting, just getting her in the carrier. Which she does not like. At all. She spends most of the trip meowing and pacing. And me, being me, can’t ignore her. Every time she meows, I have to talk to her. Tell her she’s going to be okay, or that we’re almost there, or whatever. Once she’s there, though, she’s okay. She takes her shots like a trooper and doesn’t give anyone any trouble. On the way back home, she’s generally quieter.
So that trip went all right. A day later, I would have to worry about Ms. Squeaks. A cat who is somewhat wild, despite having lived in the house for about three months. She was going to have to fast, which I wasn’t looking forward to, because she’s a big eater. I decided that for the previous night, I would keep her in the bedroom with me and the carrier. I’d lure her in with food around 8:00pm to 8:30pm (she couldn’t eat past 9:00pm). I’d hide any leftovers so she wouldn’t be able to get to them. Then, in the morning, I would wake up and put her in the carrier right away. Then I could feed everyone else, get ready, and be on my way.
The plan mostly worked. The only hitch was that the two boy kittens, Rhindle and Grundle, wouldn’t leave her side. Keeping Squeaks inside while trying to juggle two kittens to get them out proved kind of difficult, so they ended up staying with us. Those two spent the night running around, knocking over trash cans, jumping up on the desk, running along the computer keyboard, waking it up which lights up the room pretty good, and, in the case of Rhindle, getting up on the bed and clawing and chewing on my foot.
Waking up was relatively easy, then. Except, when I got up, the kittens were sleeping. Momma wanted her breakfast. I opened up the carrier and found Grundle asleep in it, so I had to remove him. Ms. Squeaks put up a very small struggle going into the carrier. In truth, I don’t think she would have struggled at all, if it wasn’t for her wanting to eat. I closed up the carrier and Rhindle and Grundle went right back to her after they ate.
In short order, I got ready and we left. I was worried about her being in the carrier. The first time, she went because her baby was there and this time she was alone. But, again, she took it in stride. She was either laying down or sitting up, trying to see around. I think she likes riding in the car and just wants to see more.
The other unusual thing about Squeaks is that she’s very good at the vet’s. The first time she went, people kept asking if I were sure she was feral, because she took everything in stride. I told them that she’d been living on my porch for the last six months or so, Before that, she was living next door and crossing back and forth between our yards. If she wasn’t born feral, she pretty much was by that time.
I dropped her off, with some encouraging words and a light skritch on the head. On the way home, I continued feeling kind of bad. You see, I don’t know if she wanted to be fixed or not. I don’t know if having kittens was something she enjoyed or not. Had it been last year, I would have said that she looked miserable being pregnant Actually, she looked kind of miserable this last time. But, you know, I have no idea what goes through her head. I worried that this would be a huge break in the trust between us. I worried that she would be depressed. When I looked at the carrier at the vet’s office, I noticed a small stuffed cat toy in there. I can’t help but think that one of the kittens put it there for her.
One thing Ms. Squeaks never did, that I saw, was play. Except for one brief time, a couple of years ago, when she chased a dry leaf across the patio. Other than that, I’ve never seen her play, and I’ve never seen her play with her kittens. Not even Angel. There were times when Squeaks would come inside to eat and Angel would jump on her and Ms. Squeaks would just walk away.
Lately, though, she’s been playing. She plays with the kittens quite a bit. She even plays with Angel, now. If nobody is around, she’ll find a toy and start throwing it around and chasing after it. Maybe she’s just bored, being inside all the time, but watching her play made me seriously wonder about having her fixed.
The operation was a success. I brought her home and let her loose in the guest bedroom, because I was advised to keep her away from the kittens (so they didn’t fuss with her stitches). After I let her out, she rubbed up against me and was purring. Maybe it was the drugs, but she didn’t seem especially angry or upset with me. So I felt a bit better.
After a while, I tried to feed her but she wouldn’t eat until I moved the food out to where the kittens were. Evidently, she wanted to see them and be around them. Which is also new to me, because I’m quite convinced the reason she started coming over here in the first place was to get away from her previous kids and get some quiet time.
The kittens were happy to see her. Unfortunately, despite eating dry and canned for a couple of weeks, they’ve mysteriously decided they all have to nurse off her again. Since she’s full of pain killers and stitches, I’ve been having a hard time getting them to not do that. I’m not sure what they draw is now, but I certainly don’t need a bunch of pain killer addicted kittens on my hands.
I wasn’t sure why she was letting them do that, either. I’ve seen her push them away when they tried to do that. I guess she’s just falling asleep due to the medication and not really aware of it.
She doesn’t like taking medication, by the way. And I don’t like manhandling her. One, because I don’t know how she’ll react, and, two, because of the stitches. But, I have to hand it to her, she is very reluctant to scratch or bite me. Even when I’m trying to squirt liquid meds into her mouth.
I don’t have a whole lot in life, really, but it seems I do have her love and respect. That means quite a lot to me. I’m not sure if it’s because I started feeding her canned food when I thought she was having a problem eating hard dry food (turns out, she didn’t have teeth problems, she just doesn’t care for dry food), or if it was saving her kitten, or a combination, or what, but it seems we have a pretty solid connection to each other. Or, maybe it’s because I respect her and not try and force things on her (aside from this surgery, and, again, I kind of feel bad about that). For instance, I didn’t handle her kittens unless I felt I absolutely needed to (and, even that one time I did, she got very mad at me). I don’t pick them up (any of the cats) unless I feel I absolutely need to. I mostly let them do their own thing and interact with them when they want to be interacted with. I think that goes a long way with them.