I’m going to assume that you breeders of hairless two-legged children approach your childcare with much the same attitude that I approach the childcare of the furred four-legged variety.
You want the best for your child. You want your child to be safe and healthy and you have to put some trust in your chosen medical professional because, after all, the rest of us are just English majors. All of my fur children have yearly vet checkups, weigh in, have their teeth eyeballed, get their tummies squeezed, temperatures taken and shots given. And every year I seem to have the same conversation during at least 2, if not 3, of the four appointments. The vet, who I like very much and who I’m always glad to catch during her shift, says, “Now if everyone is indoors and not coming into contact with other cats, we could eliminate the blah blah blah shot, BUT if you’re a paranoid mommy (she totally knows that I am completely paranoid when it comes to my pets) then we can go ahead with that shot as well.”
Of course, Brain instantly creates any number of ridiculous, but probable scenarios in which my kittens (they are roughly ages 2, 3,5 and 14, but they are all kittens) might suffer because I did not get the blah blah blah shot. So I give the go ahead, feeling confident in my parental choices.
And then, like any parent eventually concludes, I realize I have fucked up royally.
Vet Visit 1 @$100 I can’t find that bill right now: Birdie has the August vet appointment. She is 2-ish and last month’s vet visit was her second set of official vaccinations since showing up in my backyard and becoming a housecat. Birdie goes into monkey mode once we are in the exam room. She clutches me with all paws, wraps her tail around me and tucks her face in under my chin for maximum protection from the V-E-T. Once she’s on the table, she spends that time head butting my stomach out of protest at the indignities befalling her. In any other scenario, she is 8 pounds of holy terror; here, she’s just terrified. This does not make me feel any better about the sequence of events following her vaccinations at the beginning of the month.
I’m used to the cats being lethargic and not eating until late the day after their shots. By dinner time that next day, they’re generally back to normal. The Bird faked normal long enough to eat dinner and then barf. I wrote it off as a still upset tummy. She ate breakfast the next morning without issue, but I came home from school and found a new puke spot. Really this spot could have been made by any of the four; I had my suspicions though. I fed them dinner and 10 minutes later, Birdie went into the laundry room, courteously yodeled to let me know she was ill, then threw up her dinner. I was reminded of the memory of the first time I put flea drops on Birdie’s back: she immediately developed a bald spot. My girl is a delicate calico flower.
Vet Visit 2 $46.75: We packed up and made a quick stop at the vet.
Me: “Hey, she’s having a reaction to her vaccinations from two days ago and is throwing up everything she eats.”
Vet Guy Who is Not My Favorite: “Your cat is a weirdo. Well, I could run some really expensive invasive tests or I could give her two shots to calm her stomach and her system down.”
Me: “Peachy. Give her the shots.” I am a good parent. I am a good parent………
Vet Visit 3 $12- I think they felt sorry for me: Birdie felt better, I felt better. Unfortunately, about two days later she sneezed. There is an Italian superstition that: ” A cat sneezing is a good omen for everyone who hears it.“
Bullshit. I’m guessing no one in Italy has ever tried to clean cat snot off of a window or invested hundreds of dollars in treatments (Miles was a difficult little snotball).
Birdie quickly progressed to repeated rapid fire sneezes, breathing like a tiny Darth Vader, and burrowing in between my knees every night at bedtime because “Mom, I don’t feel good.” Having gone through extensive treatments for respiratory infections with Miles, my biggest fear was that the rest of the glaring would become infected. We headed back to the vet.
Favorite Doctor #1 said that the shots that calmed Birdie’s system down also gave it permission to ignore the respiratory virus that it normally would have fought, hence sneezy, feverish kitty. To combat this, Birdie now had a week’s worth of twice a day antibiotics to take because there is nothing easier than giving a cat a pill. Let me also mention that at this time Bella was also on twice a day meds because she threw up blood; she had a pill for the mornings and a “slurry” I had to prepare in the evenings. I now own a pill cutter and a mortar and pestle just for cat meds. Getting ready for school in the mornings is challenge enough for me, and my hand eye coordination is greatly lacking at 5:30 am. Add in two medicated cats and I might as well be a rodeo clown. Accept the challenge, but avoid being naked when you do.
Vet Visit 4 $130.50: It would be awesome if it all ended with the round of antibiotics, but I could not ignore that my cat was now growing a lump on her shoulder. I really did think it was my paranoid imagination at first but by the time the course of antibiotics were done, the lump was visible when she walked and I could grasp it. It felt jellied and was roughly egg-shaped and sized.
I had a theory about its location. When I adopted them, Sookie and Miles were already micro chipped at their shelters. Birdie, wild bird that she was, was chipped later during an inexpensive clinic at Colony Cats. The lump was exactly where her microchip should be located. If her body was busy rejecting vaccinations, viruses and any other foreign concepts, why not her chip?
Favorite Doctor #2 was impressed with the size of the lump and hopeful that it was not a connected tumor because she could get her fingers around it. She tested my theory, zapping the lump with the microchip scanner. Yep. Like an oyster with an irritating grain of sand, my cat grew a protective egg sized lump around her microchip. Awesome.
Before making any plans to remove it, FavDr#2 went in with a needle to get some cell samples for the lab. She actually gasped when what she got was a squirt of bloody liquid.
**Side note: It is completely horrifying when a medical professional of any sort has an “oh shit” moment in your presence.**
She was able to draw out a vial of fluid from the lump. That was sent off to the lab. We took more antibiotics home and the hope was that the lump would shrink and become undetectable. I resisted the urge to squeeze my cat’s jelly egg lump to see if we could squirt the other cats as well as further drain it.
Grand total of fun so far: $289.25
To be continued….The most expensive visit yet!