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Kitty Comfort October 22, 2010

Posted by Marc Troeger in cat, humor, pets, stress.
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With my wife away at a medical conference, I returned home from a long business trip to an empty house. And a bald cat.

Coming through the back door, I was greeted by our orange tabby cat, Pumpkin, sitting in the hallway. His entire hindquarters were minus all hair.

I spotted the note on the counter, left by my wife:

“Be back on Friday. The cat’s going bald. He has a vet appointment at 8:00AM tomorrow morning. Fish sticks are in the freezer.”

He looked at me with his big, yellow, pleading eyes wanting to be scratched. I got the heebie-jeebies as I reached down to pet a cat with no hair.

I arose early the next morning, knowing the challenge it would be to squeeze a large (bald) cat into a small travel crate. No disappointments here. As usual, the task resulted in overturned furniture and a bit of (my) blood shed. Arriving ten minutes late to the Vet’s office wasn’t too bad.

“You’ve got a bald cat.” Dr. George stated as he entered the examining room. I’ve learned over our frequent visits that Dr. George was a man of few words who was gentle with pets but a bit less personable to his human counterparts.

“Yes, I do, Dr. George.” I responded.

“Know why?” he asked as he began examining the cat.

“Afraid not. Was hoping you could tell me”

“You didn’t shave him, did you?” he questioned, without looking up.

“I wouldn’t even want to attempt to shave a cat.” I replied, a little irritated.

“Doesn’t look like fleas.” he commented, combing through the cat’s hair.

“Any changes at your house?” he asked.

Thinking, I responded “My step-daughter just went off to her first year of college and my wife’s been traveling a bit more. I travel frequently myself. I guess the cat’s been alone more often these days.”

“Uh, huh.” he replied, finishing up his examination.

He started scribbling something on a pad. “You’re cat’s got a case of the nerves.” He stated as he wrote.

“The nerves?” I questioned, a little puzzled.

“Changes to his environment. New situations in life. Nothing to worry about.” he finished writing, tore the paper from the pad and handed it to me. “Give him one of these each morning and he will be fine. The hair will eventually grow back.”

“This is something to grow his hair back?” I asked, rereading the prescription.

“No.” He stated. “It’s for his nerves. It’s a little kitty comfort.”

“Kitty Comfort?” I looked up at him, puzzled.

“It’s Prozac” He answered flatly.

“Prozac? For a cat?” I asked, staring at the prescription again. “Is this the same Prozac my 78 year-old Aunt Edna was put on to help her with the stress that led to the compulsive shoplifting problem? “

“The same stuff, only smaller dosage.” Dr. George replied.

“So you’re saying stress made him lose his hair and Prozac will help it grow back.” I thought out loud.

“Give it a few weeks and it should do the trick.” He said, easily coaxing Pumpkin back into his travel crate.

I paid my bill, put the cat in the trunk and drove home. Halfway there, I picked up my cell phone and called my dad.

“Hey, Dad.” I asked. “Remember when you told me that you started going bald right about the time I was born?”

“Yeah…” He answered, a little confused.

“Well, I think I might know why and have a cure for you.”

Cat Sample March 24, 2009

Posted by Marc Troeger in cat, humor, pets.
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cat1I was at a loss… the voice mail the veterinarian had just left said that I needed a litter-free urine sample from my cat who was suffering from a possible infection.  How the heck was I supposed to do that?

I have to admit, I’ve never been a cat person.  It was only when I recently got married that I not only took on a wife and her three daughters, but their two cats, Babee and Pumpkin, as well.  Of course, I brought Ernie into the mix, a long-haired, energized dachshund.  For the most part, we all get along, until today…

Pondering my dilemma I eventually posted a message to Facebook and Twitter asking for advice on how said sample was to be obtained.  “Pump the legs, but watch for the front claws!” was one helpful hint, another was “squeeze real hard”.   My sister, a cat-less person herself said that “a ladle would work if you’re willing to follow the cat around.”  Several more creative solution was “two-sided tape and a baggie” and “wait until she’s asleep and put her paw in warm water”.  Of course, my wife’s daughter was the most helpful with “HaHaHaHaHaHa”.

So here follows a brief, Twitter version of my cat afternoon…

  • Cat had no interest in getting in crate.  End up overturning every stick of furniture in the house to eventually corner a hissing, spitting cat
  • While carrying cat to the crate, I feel a warm drizzle down my arm and across my chest.  Success!  Fresh cat pee!
  • Grabbing the first thing at hand, my wife’s coffee cup, capture the few dribbles that were left along with a squeeze from my shirt (Cat pee smells vile!)
  • Late for the appointment, threw crated cat and Ernie in car (not sure why the dog got caught up in the frenzy), grabbed the coffee cup and dashed off to the vet
  • While driving I looked into cup and realized that either the coffee cup had not been entirely empty or we had one very sick cat!  Though proud of my success in getting sample, I wondered what ASPCA rule would be broken if the lab results showed a cat highly amped up on caffeine.
  • Put cup in the cup holder (fatal flaw)
  • Pulling into parking lot, looked down to see Ernie drinking from the cup, enjoying a Cat Pee Cappuccino!  Ahhh!  No sample!
  • Walking into the waiting room with a crated, crying cat, I was ushered into examining room and told to put cat on table
  • Pulling the cat from crate and cradling her to try and calm her – realized the cat had pooped all over herself which meant it was all over me. (Cat poop smells vile!)
  • Vet walks in, looks at us and says “Oh, good!  Fresh sample”.  I can’t remember if he scrapped it off me or the cat.
  • After the examination, his diagnosis: “Cat’s fine!” he said.  “Just nerves.  Try not to excite her too much”
  • Drove home shivering with windows down and 50 degrees outside because both me and the cat smelled like pee and poo; Ernie being oblivious to the fact that his breath smelled the same- he happily got to ride with his head out the window
  • My thoughts turned to my next challenge:  How do you bathe a cat?

A humbling lesson from… Walmart December 23, 2008

Posted by Marc Troeger in humor, life, Marriage, Patience.
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Image from pt’s Photostream: http://flickr.com/photos/pmtorrone/150955293/

My original thoughts about this foot surgery was that I was going to be out-and-about within a few days, resuming my normal activities, albeit a little slower, but without much hindrance none-the-less. When I went for consultation prior to my surgery, Dr. Snyder stated that it would be 6-8 weeks before I could even begin to resume any normal activities.

double_diamond“Bah! I’ll show him!” was the first thought that crossed my mind. I’m a guy who climbs small mountains (novicely), skis down double-black diamond slopes(haphazardly), participates in 24 hour mountain bike races (recklessly), runs marathons (averagely), rafts wild rivers (carelessly) and, bottom line: just can’t sit still (expertly). I was not going to let a little foot surgery hold me down!

Walmart made me think differently.

First off, let me throw a disclaimer out there. I am not a fan of shopping at Walmart. While there is nothing morally wrong with low prices and cheap, Chinese goods, I prefer to shop locally, supporting businesses and services in my hometown and the surrounding area. There are times, though, that the convince and availability is to tempting. Besides, I’d been stuck in the house for 4 days straight and when my wife (a nurse by profession and a bulldog by years of caring for others) felt I could join her to pick up a few things, I jumped at the chance. I was more excited than Ernie is when he knows he’s going for a walk. Her only requirement was that I ride in one of the little, electric, mobile shopping carts the store keeps at the front door. “A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G! Just get me off the couch!”

My pride got the best of me as I walked through the doors of the mega-mart and saw cartthe little cart. It suddenly became a symbol of immobility and, to me, getting older. “ There’s no way I’m riding in that thing!” I insisted to my wife, as I leaned on my trusty, mountaineering pole I was using as a makeshift support. “I am not riding in that thing. No way! I can manage with my trekking pole (I refused to call it a ‘cane’)”. My wife looked at me with those bulldog, caring eyes and then smirked one of those nurses smiles when patients refuses to take their medicine.

“Fine.” was her reply.

Hobbling along, I relished being back with humanity, enthusiastically saying hi to people I didn’t know. I was drinking in the chatter of people and stimulated by all the commerce taking place. At that moment, life couldn’t be better.

It was 10 minutes into my jaunt, halfway to the back of the store, near the frozen food section that something didn’t feel right. Swelling of the foot… pain… a little dizziness… “Bah!” I said, I’ll manage. Five minutes minutes later… nausea and a bit of a sweat formed on my upper lip. I met my wife’s eyes. The nurses smirk was there.

“How are you doing?” she asked, with those bulldog, caring eyes.

“Uh… I think I’m going to go sit in the car.” I said.

“Fine.” was her reply.

Waiting in the car, I sat gloomy and embarrassed. It became clear to me that this recovery would not be as swift as I anticipated. “Six to 8 weeks before you can resume normal activities.” Dr. Snyder’s words reverberated through my head.

My wife got to the car, stowed her purchases and climbed in the driver’s seat. There were no bulldog eyes or nurses smirk. She leaned over and gave me a gentle kiss and a caress.

“How are you doing?” She asked.

“I’m fine,” I replied.

Staring out into the dark night as we drove off, I realized I missed my couch, knowing that it was my symbol of patience and recovery.