Let’s Play a Little Game of Outwit the Cat (She’s Winning)

I (tentatively) promise that this will be the last cat-drama update. In fact, I’m working on a post for tomorrow and it has absolutely nothing to do with sick cats at all.

When last we left this little saga, Petunia was using her litter box as a place to be alone with her very deep thoughts and little else. No pee. No poop. By Friday, after a day or two on the antibiotics, she was peeing, but still unproductive in the other area, so back to the vet she went. This entailed much hissing and spitting on her part, and more tears on mine. And a saint-like amount of patience on XFE’s part overall.

When we arrived at the vet, there was a bit of a miscommunication misfire. I had specifically called to make sure that Petunia would be taken in to be treated immediately, but the vet, I was told, was still in surgery and might very well be there for at least another 45 minutes. XFE and I abruptly turned into Tiger Mothers and basically threatened to tear apart the whole practice unless someone took care of our cat immediately.

A vet tech we’d previously dealt with was called out of assisting surgery to come out and assure us that (1) it wasn’t likely that it would be 45 minutes, and (2) our princess would be kept in her carrier until her procedure and NOT put into one of the holding cages. This was particularly important to me because she was impossible to get out when they put her in there last time.

We reluctantly left her and went home to work (remotely) and wait. Finally, they called and said we could come get her and leave a good portion of our paychecks for the privilege.

The upshot is she’s mostly fine and there isn’t anything wrong with her other than just a confluence of bad luck. One ailment (UTI discomfort) led to another (not wanting to go to the bathroom at all) until we arrived to Lack-of-Poop-Topolis (population 0.)

The vet gave us a whole bunch of stuff, including more antiobiotics and some gel that’s supposed to help expel/move hairballs. This led to this weekend’s primary preoccupation: Mind Games with a Cat.

First, there are the antibiotics, which, of course, she will not take willingly. We spent the entire weekend figuring out ways to trick the cat into taking her pills, only to have her one up us at every turn.

The vet gave us this stuff called Greenies, which I thought were the cleverest invention ever (at first). They’re little treats with holes in them that you can put a pill in. To further trick the cat, we cut the pills in half and squished them deep into the holes of two treats, and then mixed them into a little mountain with her regular treats.

This worked exactly one time. The next time we tried this tactic, she ate all her regular treats but left the imposters. So we took away her normal food and left just the drug-treat fakes. Reluctantly, she ate it.

Next we come to the hairball gel, which purports to be “tuna-flavored,” but it is apparently laced with Satan’s spit because Petunia won’t have anything to do with it. In fact, she overreacts completely when we try (unsuccessfully) to give it to her.

We were told by the vet that if she doesn’t eat it on her own, we should put it on her paw where she will lick it off. This is a total lie. The first night I sidled up to her with it, she sprinted away. XFE was sure I had gotten a tiny fleck on her, which we did not see later. I looked at my gel-covered finger and saw only failure (I really don’t think I even made contact).

Then she almost went into cardiac arrest last night when I daubed the tiniest little spot on her paw. Obviously, she did not lick it off and in fact ran repeatedly through the house with it still on her paw before hiding behind my toilet. When I caved in and tried to wipe it off with a damp towel, she snarled and wiggled away from me. And now, there it sits, a streak of dried brown, supposedly tuna-flavored gel, just making her angrier and angrier.

So now we’re back to the complete and utter distrust stage in our house. Well, that’s not entirely true. XFE has made some headway. He hid some of yesterday’s antibiotics in a spoonful of wet cat food, which she suspiciously ate, right out of the spoon. He held that stupid spoon in front of her for about a full three minutes. I thought his knees were going to go out from squatting in front of the cat for so long.


The Many Faces of Toonces

Petunia, for those who have not met her, is kinda bipolar.

She hasn’t been diagnosed or anything, but she’s definitely very two-faced.

Table Toons
Are you there God? It’s me, Petunia.

There are basically two Petunia’s – there’s Princess Petunia Potpie, the sweet little calico who follows me around all morning, twirling around my ankles, rubbing her face against mine while I’m trying to sleep.

Sleepy Toons
This is the photo you’re looking for. Most of the other pets are awake, so that should help you identify the Toons.

Then there’s the Petunia that my co-pet-parenting significant other XFE knows – a snarling, hissing she-beast who runs whenever he enters the room and scowls at him from between the banisters of the stairs.

Angry Toons
I’m about to show you the meaning of ‘cat scratch fever.’

It’s hard for me to reconcile the two.

I found Petunia at about six weeks old, hiding under a car while I was living on the East side of Austin. It was April and already warm, but being a poor college student, I wasn’t quite ready to turn the air conditioner on, so I had the windows of my studio apartment open.  I kept hearing a noise that I thought was an annoying baby bird chirping. After about a day and a half of hearing the noise, I became convinced it was actually a scared and lonely cat mewing somewhere.

Baby Petunia was a fraction of the size of this current beast. But still very cute.

After several frustrating hours on my stomach in the asphalt parking lot and lots of sweat and tears, I finally coaxed out a tiny furball covered in grease and fleas.

She’s been my precious little Petunia blossom ever since. How do I know this?

  • She comes running downstairs when I get home in the evening.
  • She sits in the window and sadly watches me leave for work every morning.
  • Licking chops
    Don’t leave me!
  • She sits on the toilet enjoying a steam facial while I shower every morning (I like my showers SCALDING).
  • toilet watcher
  • She sleeps with me in the winter and when XFE is out of town.
  • She watches me while I iron on Sundays.
  • IMG_4279
  • She lays on the computer or a book if I’m reading and not paying attention to her.
  • She shares the couch with me every night while we watch TV.
  • She lets me pick her up and rub my face all over her exposed belly.
  • She lets (and actually loves it) if I pet her while she eats. Most animals are weird and protective about their food, but she purrs away and eats faster.
  • IMG_4254

But she’s a very divisive figure in our household. XFE started off not really liking cats. In fact, he said he was allergic to cats. But, he’s warmed up to her over the years. He’s seen the special relationship Petunia and I share, the affectionate cuddles, and well, he wants a piece of the action. He wants to, oddly enough, pet the cat once in a while.

This, however, is not meant to be.

Paw licker
Sorry I’m not sorry that I’m saving all my love for Poe.

XFE, Petunia and I have lived together for about six years.  And even after all that time, she’s never warmed up to XFE. This despite the fact that (a) he’s very cuddly; and (b) he’s never been anything but gentle and nice to her. However:

  • When he tries to pet her, she leans away.
  • When he actually succeeds in making contact, she actually looks like she’s in physical pain.
  • If I’m holding her in my arms like a wiggly captive so XFE can pet her, she flinches every time he touches her. Flinches. Her skin and fur actually shirks away.
  • She will swipe at him (but to be fair, she’ll swipe at me too when she’s over it).
  • She’ll hiss at him (again, to be fair, she also apparently hissed at Amy when she was pet sitting for us and Amy is just about the sweetest, most gentle person on the planet.)
  • She’ll growl at him.

And in her latest passive-aggressive (or should I say, just aggressive-aggressive) move, Petunia has taken to sitting in XFE’s chair whenever he’s not in it. So if he makes the mistake of getting up to get something to drink, or go to the bathroom, she flies (not an easy feat for such a large cat) down the stairs and across the dining room and jumps in his chair. Where she will then start furious licking her privates. And glare at you if you come near her.

I just want to be left alone.

Petunia will, however, let XFE pet her, grudgingly, if he gives her treats.  She’s angry, not stupid.  Her affection can be bought with treats. Maybe we should put some anti-bipolar meds in those treats.