I took my youngest in for her annual shots today. It’s a stressful process for cats: the wrestling match into the carrier, the operatic singing in the car, and then the crap shoot of who is in the waiting room. Today, I suspect that my vet was running some kind of buy one get two or three free on canine procedures. When we walked in, there were two dogs waiting. By the time it was Birdie’s turn for her appointment, a total of six additional dogs had shown up. She watched, wide-eyed, from the depths of her carrier and did not say a single word. The dog beside me was under the impression that everyone including me had come to the vet today to see him.
Malcolm the dog: “Hi, Hi, Hi, Hi! We should be friends! Is that a cat? I love cats! They are furry and small! I am furry and big! Let me jump on you some more! If I tunnel under the chairs maybe my negligent owner won’t notice that I almost fit on your lap. Friend! Friend! Friend! Friend! Friend! Friend! Friend! Friend! Hey, is that a cat?!!! I love cats!”
Malcolm was not, despite his best efforts, a lap-sized dog. Malcolm and his “oh-my-down-boy-that’s-rude-ha-ha-hah” owner are among the many reasons that once my cats are in the carrier, they stay in the safety of the carrier until we are enclosed in the exam room. Cats are not under the impression that everyone came to the vet today to see them. Cats are working under the certainty that everyone came to the vet today to assassinate them. They may be on to something.
Twenty minutes into our wait and about five dogs total, one such assassin entered. Sure, she was well-rounded, wearing Crocs, cheerful looking, and by her own admission someone’s grandma, but she was out to test the nine lives theory.
Grandma’s waiting room cat owner etiquette was a little too relaxed for my comfort. After checking in, she came over and took a seat beside a nervous Rat Terrier/Chihuahua mix. Once seated, she pulled a terrified, but very fluffy, gray and white kitten out of her pet carrier clearly with the intention to water board it or at least strangle it with her misguided petting. The kitten attached itself to her massive bosom, trying to sink its inadequate claws through her cardigan in order to rip out her still beating heart and escape. Alas, while kitten claws are inordinately sharp and pokey, they are not very long.
Grandma to nervous Rat Terrier/Chihuahua mix owner who made the mistake of commenting on the visibility of the kitten…in a room full of dogs:
“Hooooo, this little thing is more trouble than the biggest dog. I can’t bend over for it runs up my back. I’ve only had it a couple of weeks.
I haven’t had a cat for thirty years. It’s the teenagers’ fault.
They got it, but then none of their parents would let them keep it and it just got passed around until it got to Grandma. Suuuuurrre, Grandma will take the cat. I’ve got two Malamutes but this thing just hisses at em’.” (Side note: I’m fairly certain that Malamutes would eat kittens like potato chips. This woman is totally a trained killer.)
“ I haven’t had a cat for thirty years. The last one I had…let’s see my son was about five. I was a lot younger then. (No shit, Gma) My sister had this cat that she was taking to the Humane Society and my boy was all: ‘Mommy, don’t let them. We can keep it.’
I figured ‘What the hell?’ I figured cats don’t live long, right? I mean they get run over after a while. (This was stated as if being hit by a car is the natural way that all cats die after a short period of being “owned”. It’s in all the science books.)
“But not that one! That goddamn thing lived for 23 years!!! Hooooo, I haven’t had a cat for thirty years!”
The kitten and I made eye contact. It signaled furiously with its eyes, for me to garrote Grandma or smother her with her quilted purse. We both knew how that other cat died.