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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Another Fun-Filled Day of Getting the Cat to the Vet

You might remember that Lil brought her new puppy to our house for Christmas, and Buddy was less than thrilled with the puppy. After they left, Buddy was itching for a fight and he found it. I don't know what the other cat looked like, but Buddy limped home, relieved of both his collar and the chip on his shoulder. We wondered if there was an infection deep in his leg and decided I would take him to the vet.

I called first and the vet thought he might need to open the wound area, and I was to have Buddy there at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Apparently normal cats walk willingly into a carrier, or don't mind being placed into one. Not Buddy. When trying to put him in, all four feet become a blur of rotating claws and he usually manages to get both front feet on the outside of the carrier so we can't push him in. Apparently normal cats weren't feral cats that the entire neighborhood tried to catch in a cage for two years before one neighbor, with a female cat, finally broke through his defenses. No wonder he has a fear of enclosed spaces.

My normal procedure is to get a sedative from the vet, dissolve it in milk, rub it on Buddy's paws and wait for him to lick it off and get sloppy drunk. But there wasn't time to get a sedative so they told me to use a Benadryl instead. The vet also said to put Buddy in a pillow case and put the pillow case in the crate. If I couldn't put him in a carrier, I sure wasn't going to be able to put him in a pillowcase.

If you are familiar with Benadryl, you know there is a hot pink outer layer. A hard, hot pink, outer layer. It doesn't dissolve fast, doesn't crush, and the inside must be really bitter. At 8 a.m., I smeared it on both feet, Buddy took one lick and that was it. I even smeared it on his mouth and he wouldn't lick it. Hubby suggested it needed sugar so I added that. No dice. When the vet's office opened at 9 a.m., I called and reported my failure and they told me to come get a sedative.

I wiped the Benadryl off Buddy's paws, and dissolved the sedative (also pink) in the juice from a can of tuna. Buddy wouldn't touch it. In those two years of trying to trap this cat, we baited the trap with tuna and for the first year, Buddy wouldn't touch tuna with a ten foot pole. But in the last few months, he has been eating it. But not this time. So I opened a can of Fancy Feast, a salmon pate' and mixed a little of that with the dissolved sedative. It turned into pink pate' and it smelled. Correction, it stank. It was too early in the morning to think about the repercussions of using salmon pate' on the feet of a cat. Think about it, stinky stuff on the feet of an unhappy cat. What could go wrong? He sniffed, and of course after one lick, the bloomin' cat wouldn't take another. He just glared at me when I put more on.

So there was the cat with pink, stinky salmon pate' walking around the kitchen, climbing into the sink cabinet, pawing at the back door, jumping onto the upholstered bench, and walking across my quilt blocks on the table, leaving little smears of pink salmon everywhere he went. Every time he stopped, I smeared more pink paste on his feet and he continued to ignore it.

Finally, at 11 a.m. he started licking his feet. Hallelujah! It started working by 11:15 and then it was a matter of getting him in the carrier which I had hidden in the hall. I opened the door of the carrier and placed it in front of the door that I opened just enough for the cat to squeeze through. I hoped the cat would be in such a hurry to get out of the kitchen that he wouldn't see the carrier. No such luck. He saw it and tried to jump over it but I blocked him.

Then I remembered his fascination with the tunnels we made out of boxes when the puppy was here, and I found a couple of boxes, unfolded the tops and bottoms and made a short tunnel from the door to the carrier. I thought it was going to work too. He went in the first box and I was waiting for him to get in completely before tilting it and sliding him into the carrier. But he must have smelled the carrier and backed out while his back feet were still a position to defend himself.

So I waited. I didn't live through the most stubborn child on earth to be beaten by a cat. By 11:30 his eyes looked loopy and he had a little sway to his walk, so I picked him up and carried him over the carrier and as I acted like I was going to set him on the floor, I turned and stuck him in the carrier, or at least I got his front paws in the carrier. He was madly trying to back out and I was pushing his rear with the gate of the carrier. Finally I got him pinned with just one hind foot and tail out of the carrier. He was trying to turn around so his lethal weapon front claws were nearest the opening, but he wouldn't pick up that back foot so he couldn't turn. Finally he picked up that foot and made a quick turn but I was faster and got the door shut. Yay! It was 11:35 and I could just get him to the vet's before they closed for lunch.

I grabbed my purse and keys, picked up the carrier, and opened the back door. Just as it was opening, the gate on the carrier popped open and Buddy seized the opportunity to jump out of the carrier and out the door. I yelled NO! to no avail and ran after him. But my toe hung in a tarp that was on the deck by the door, and I sprawled across the deck, skinning my knee and wounding my pride.

I figured the cat was probably under the neighbor's shed, so I just lay there waiting for my head to clear and I spotted Buddy laying on the driveway. So I got up, picked up the contents of my purse, and then picked up the cat. I put him down in the kitchen and he walked around switching his tail, and staying as far from the carrier as he could get. By then it was 11:55, too late to get him to the vet before they closed for lunch.

Now the dilemma is what to do with the cat for two hours. I knew I'd never get him in the carrier unless he was completely loopy and in two hours the sedative would start wearing off. I picked him up in his cat bed, carried him to the family room, and we rocked and watched Gunsmoke for an hour. Then he started getting antsy. He wanted out of my lap. In fact, he wanted to go outside.

Back in the kitchen, he searched for a way out. He growled when I picked him up and meowed at the door. The sedative was definitely wearing off. I wet the remaining bits of pink salmon paste so I could scrape it off the plate and smeared it on his feet. He growled at me and pulled his feet away. He ran a few feet and then stopped, swaying. I guess that made him dizzy so I seized the moment, whisked him up, spun around a couple of times, and put him in the carrier.

Once again, I only got his front end in, but this time he fell over before he could fight back and I got the gate shut. This time I made sure the gate was latched well, and I taped it. I thought I could leave him in the kitchen for a half hour until it was time to go, but after he regained his balance, he started hissing, growling, yowling, and clawing at the metal gate and the plastic sides of the carrier. I saw little fragments flying out of the carrier. I didn't know if it was shredded plastic or claws. Turns out it was both.

I decided to put him in the car and drive around. I figured if it worked on babies, it might work on a cat. He didn't go to sleep, but he quit fighting the carrier. And when we got to the vet, he was as meek as a kitten. He let the vet roll him over, examine his leg, check his heart, and squirt a syringe of antibiotic in his mouth, all things he would never allow at home. Made a total liar out of me.

Turns out we were right, and there is an infection deep in his leg, so Buddy is on antibiotics for a week. The vet gave him the dose yesterday by just opening his mouth and then holding it closed. I can't see that working when the cat isn't drugged and paralyzed with fear, so the vet suggested making sure he was starving by breakfast and mixing it with some food. So I put away the self feeder and did that this morning. It worked except he didn't eat every bit of it. So I'm not feeding him any extra until this is gone.

And today we are starting carrier training. If you have any ideas let me know.



  1. What a story! I don't think any cat is easy to get into a carrier. Sometimes holding him up and lowering him in backwards (back feet first) can work. For pills we have bought "Pill Pockets" made to put pills inside, they are expensive though and don't always work the first time. Our cat gets 3 pills a day and I hide them in a spoonful of canned cat food, his regular food is dry so he considers this a treat.

  2. Tom is an exceptionally dopey cat..... we always pop him rear first into the carrier. It doesn't sound like it would work with your little fella!!! Jx

    1. No, I've tried that method before too. It leaves his front feet free for clawing my arms.

  3. When I was growing up we would just put the cat in the car and not worry about a carrier. I guess the problem comes in when you get to the vet and have to sit in the waiting room with a crazed cat ...

  4. I have a Buddy--a 20# Buddy with claws on all four feet. Buddy "might" go into the carrier, but he would be too heavy for me to carry. I just hope he stays well. I had to take other cat, Maggie--a fighter and a biter, last spring--it cost me $400.00--because I "thought" she had eaten the Easter Lily--highly toxic. Come to find out, she was fine. Stupid cats! I don't know what I'd do without them, LOL.

    1. Eek! That's an expensive cat. My buddy is 15.2 pounds and that's heavy enough. Carrying a bulky carrier with a 15 pound cat is hard enough, I'm glad he's not 20 pounds.

  5. My one cat is a dickens when it comes to getting him in a carrier. The last time we took him to the vet I put the carrier in the bathroom and closed off all exits. I stood the carrier on end with the opening at the top. I threw a large towel over him, scooped him up, and put him into the carrier and to this day I don't know which end went in first. Once we get to the vet he is like putty in her hands. But vets have a way of handling them that we will never know or learn.

    1. I will definitely try that next time! Thanks.

  6. Oh my gosh, what an ordeal! I have no cat advice, but I think I'd need a sedative myself after all that. I hope Buddy feels better soon!

  7. I'm with P, I'd be the one needing a sedative after all of that. Hope your knee isn't too bad and that Buddy gets better soon. Most of all I hope you don't have any additional trips to the vet soon.


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