Yes, indeed our beloved feline has pneumonia. I didn’t even realize that could happen to cats. This poor kitty picked his parents well when he adopted us. He has been the most high maintenance cat I’ve ever had. My sneaking suspicion it is because he’s male. I never had these problems with female cats. Oh, just kidding…well no I’m not, actually. Human males can be a bit high maintenance as well, in my experience.
In retrospect, Mr. Kitty had been trying to tell us he’s not ok with bizarre behaviors; inappropriate urination – on the stove, my shoe, a pile of laundry, hacking up unmentionable ectoplasm all over the house, pawing at us and then running to hide. But when he started gasping for breath we finally figured out he was in crisis and rushed him to the vet.
So now we have a kitty with pneumonia and have to give him medicine twice a day and hope for the best. Giving a cat medicine is no easy task. Of course it doesn’t take him long to figure out our nefarious plan and hides. Then it falls to me to drag him yowling, hissing and scratching out of whatever his hidey hole du’ jour is. We wrap him up in a bath towel like a burrito, so he can’t claw us to shreds, and then give him a dropper full of antibiotic and an anti-congestion pill. He of course struggles, growls, tries to get loose from his towel straight jacket and in general acts like we are skinning him alive for sport.
Just like a child, Kitty doesn’t understand that all these horrible things we are doing to him are for his own good. It reminds me of a sister when she was a kid. She fought like a banshee every single time she needed to take meds. She never did figure out that it was inevitable. She absolutely would not take medicine without a fight. It took 5 of us to hold her down. One sibling to each arm and leg, and one kid to hold her nose long enough for her to open her mouth so my Mom could pop in the medication. It’s sort of ironic really, because she’s swung to the opposite extreme in her adulthood and will take anything she can get her hands on.
My cat is trying to tell me something. Just wish I could figure out what the heck he’s trying to say. I know he thinks he’s had the last word, but this is getting ridiculous.
This morning I wandered into the kitchen in my typical just woken up peaceful state of mind and proceeded to start the coffee-making process. I had a few technical difficulties so I was in the kitchen longer than usual. I put the ground coffee in the place where the filter goes without putting the filter in first. Woopsie.
As I was putting things to rights to get the coffee going I noticed a weird stench. I sniffed the dish rag, nope. The garbage disposal passed the sniff test also. I checked under the sink, nothing going under there.
Then I noticed some sort of bizarre ectoplasm on the stove top. It looked like a pot had boiled over, but there were 2 things wrong with that theory. It was around the back right burner which neither I or Hubman ever use for some reason. Also the house keeper cleaned the living daylights out of the stove on Thursday. (She even puts the burner racks in the dishwasher, so I have to reassemble the stove the next day.) Furthermore we were out to dinner on Friday so no cooking happened.
Then I sniffed it and viola the source of the stench was revealed. I leaned in to check out the stove hood to see if something was dripping from up there. I half expected to see some alien pod attached to it. What can I say, I watch a lot of sci-fi?
Finally I daubed a paper towel in the substance and to get an up close olfactory diagnosis. The mystery became obvious. Our G* D@#m cat PEED ON THE STOVE!!!!!????!!!! I’ve heard of cats weeing in your luggage when you are packing for a trip, or on the bath mat, or even on the bed if they are really ticked off about something. But the stove, what the hell is up with that? How do I figure this one out? Does he want us to cook for him? Or was he mad because we went out to dinner? Bleh, who knows?
At first I wondered if the storms upset him, but the tornadoes happened on Wednesday night. The urinary infraction occurred sometime in the Friday night – early Saturday morning time frame.
Was this just mischief? Does he have a legitimate beef of some sort that he is trying to convey? I swear I briefly considered the possibility of finding him a new home. But, I love the little critter even though he is frequently a royal pain in rear.
I’m seriously stumped here. Maybe it’s time to hire a cat whisperer?
Howdy all. Miss candyforbreakfast kindly provided the first one liner. Technically two but close enough 🙂 Her lines at the beginning of the story in bold. I continued on and built the rest of the story from there. Hope you enjoy. Cheers.
Title – 4 O’Clock
The bright sunshine streaming through her bedroom window warmed her face and appeared red through her closed eyelids, forcing her further away from her already half-forgotten dream. The phone, cradled in its dock on the nightstand read 4:00 a.m.….
She looked around the room rubbing sleep out of her eyes. Did someone call me she wondered? No hint from the phone. She stood up, walked to the window and yanked it open. ‘Damn it’s cold in here. Wonder if Ted cranked down the air con again.’ She shivered in her T-shirt and undies, muttering “we are going to have a talk once and for all about that air conditioner. I’m sick and tired of living in a meat locker. This is ridiculous!” Where is he anyway? What was he doing out of bed at 4:00 a.m.? What am I doing out of bed at 4:00 a.m. for that matter?
Dragging the blanket off the bed to snuggle in she headed to the kitchen to make coffee. Softly singing to herself “Sunshine came softly through my a-window today, Could’ve tripped out easy a-but I’ve a-changed my ways.” Suddenly she stopped dead in in her tracks hard, as if slamming on the brakes. She looked out the kitchen window and shook her head. Rubbing what she saw out of her out of her eyes she looked again. The sunshine was coming softly through the window…at 4:00 a.m. “Uh, what the hell is going on?” she asked the kitchen.
She scurried into the living room and looked out the window again, expecting to somehow see something different, but it was the same. No, not exactly the same, there were patches of snow on the ground. SNOW? She flopped down on the sofa hard as if someone punched the air out of her lungs. Grasping for something that made sense she decided to start over and went back in the bedroom and sat on the bed shivering, but not from the cold.
“Maybe I’m still asleep.” Her voice sounded loud in the empty room and she let out a startled squeak. She pinched herself on the arm. “OWW, dammit that hurt! ….OK, if I felt pain does this mean I’m awake?” Isn’t pinching the proscribed remedy for waking from a bad dream? ‘Eureka, there’s a simple explanation for this. I slept all day and it’s afternoon. That explains it.’ Feeling relieved and a little silly, she scrambled for her phone and pulled it off the stand to check the time. Nope, it is 4:00 a.m. not 4:00 p.m. Well, so much for that theory and what about the snow? And what the hell is that smell?
She wrinkled her nose and looked around the room again. Took a deep breath and started rocking, holding herself as if comforting a frightened child. After a few minutes she jumped up and announced “OK, my weird krap-O-meter is officially in the red.” Not knowing what else to do for the moment she thrashed and slammed around in the closet, whispering profanities under her breath, and finally ended up in a pair of jeans and sweat shirt with the words “Just Do It” on the front. Further hunting yielded a pair of boots and socks.
She walked into the bathroom just to look at her face. Maybe the mirror would have a clue. The smell was stronger in there. She looked around and her eyes landed on a cat litter box. A label on the side proclaimed Clever Cat. She looked in it and thought ‘ah, the usual collection of cat turds.’ No designer litter in the world really covered up that truly unique stench. Nothing so special except…she didn’t have a cat.
Deciding to go for a walk, she shoved her phone in her back pocket. She tromped out the kitchen door and fell off the porch. She landed on her belly with a grunt. Staring into the gravel she briefly wondered if she had died and had gone to some weird limbo place. She stood up and brushed herself off, glaring at the house as if it had deliberately thrown her off the porch.
She shouted “OK, I know my house had a deck off the kitchen yesterday, dammit!” thinking maybe someone was filming her for some ridiculous prank. Pulling her phone out of her pocket she speed dialed Ted. A recorded language that she didn’t understand said something, and then in English said “for English press 2.” She pressed 2. Ted’s recorded voice said. “Hi, you’ve reached Ted Preston, you know what this and you know what to do.” She panicked and hung up without leaving a message. What was she going to say to him anyway? “Hi Honey, it’s broad daylight at 4 O’clock in the morning and oh, by the way, I think I’m losing my mind.”
She walked around to the front of house. Looked OK, except for the patches of snow. It was 85 degrees yesterday. When the hell did it snow anyway? It never snows here. She went back in the house because she was still cold even with her sweatshirt on. Sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee again, her minded churned over possibilities and oddities. She made a mental list of all the weirdness. Daylight at 4:00 .am., cat litter box in the bathroom, no cat in evidence so far, cold with patches of snow on the ground, the back deck gone as if it had never been there, and come to think of it the phone giving her English as a 2nd option. Yet another strangeness.
After her 3rd cup of coffee and enough cigarettes to stink up the house for a week, she decided to call Ted back. It was close to 5:00 a.m. now, but it still should be dark. It didn’t get light until about 6:30 a.m. around here. Around here? ‘Oh my God, am I ….somewhere else? Have I taken complete leave of my senses?’ She wandered around the house with her hair standing on end. This is all just too bizarre. The house looked exactly the same as it did yesterday.
Wait, not exactly. She started running from room to room checking the walls, the desktop, the dresser in the bedroom, even her laptop. There were no pictures of Ted anywhere in the house, no faded spots on the walls where a picture had been removed. ‘OK, I know damn good and well that there were pictures of Ted and me everywhere in this house, and I have one in my purse!’ She grabbed her purse and dumped the contents on the bed. Fumbling in her wallet she took out every scrap of paper and card. The only picture was on her driver’s license.
She flopped back on the bed. Tears leaked out of her eyes and trickled down to her ears. She stared at the ceiling and thought ‘So this is insanity, just a gradual realization that you are not who, what, when, or even where you thought you were.’ Suddenly she sprang up out of bed and shouted “NO!…NO, NO, NO, NO!” The last NO was so loud she choked herself and started laughing and crying at the same time.
With 1 part grim determination, 1 part stubbornness, and 1 part morbid curiosity she decided she was not fruit loops and she was going to figure this out. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? Was this some kind of practical joke? Ted wasn’t the joker type. ‘Whoever is doing this is off my friend list forever and 3 days!’ She pulled her phone out again and called him. This time he answered and said “Where are you?” “At home, where are YOU!” “I’m at home and you are NOT here.” “Yes I am!” “No you’re not.” She sighed “OK, where are you in the house.” “I’m in bed.” “I’m in bed and you’re not.” “Oh yes I am, I’m sitting right here on OUR bed!” There was a pregnant pause as both husband and wife tried to decide what do to with or about a spouse who had obviously gone off the rails at some point.
Ted spoke first. “Did you sleep well last night?” She spat back “Oh now you’re going to make nicey nice idle chat? I want to know where you are and I want to know right fucking now! And I also want you to come home!” He replied in that careful tone of voice used for people on the edge, “Sweet heart, I am home, I don’t know how much more home I can get.”
She shouted “Oh yea? What did you do to the deck and why are all our pictures gone?” “The deck?” “You know the deck, on the patio, you built it last summer.” She heard footsteps through the phone. He said “Honey, the deck is where it is supposed to be. And there are pictures of us all over the house.” He said with a sudden firmness as if he would talk her down. “Where are you really? Tell me now or I’m going to report you as a missing person and you’re scaring me!” “Well fine! You just do that, and I will report YOU as a missing person.” In a fit of frustration she ended the call and threw the phone across the room. It didn’t break and immediately started ringing, probably Ted calling back. She ignored it.
She went back in the kitchen to make another pot of coffee and brood. After another 30 minutes her hand shook when she tried to light a cigarette so she figured she’d had enough coffee. She decided again to take a walk and grabbed a coat off a peg by the front door. At least she wouldn’t fall out of the house going out the front. She knew how the front of the house was configured. She walked down the road in a huff for a while before it occurred to her that the road was gravel and not paved as it was yesterday.
On the corner at the end of the long block, stood a small Mom & Pop store. She walked in, nodded at the Pop behind the counter and picked up a carton of milk and some crackers, just to be doing something. She put her items on the counter and Pop smiled at her and said “god morgon.” She smiled back and thought ‘uh yea, and same to you.’ Then she noticed that the poster on the wall behind him was not in English. She had a brief what the hell moment, turned on her heel, went to the cooler and pulled out a six-pack of beer. Beer is beer in any language. ‘And this is turning into a I seriously need a beer buzz kind of morning.’ She giggled and then stifled herself. ‘Girl, you are starting to sound crazy, better ramp it back a bit.’
She headed back to the house. In the kitchen she opened a beer and drank it down in 2 gulps. ‘College was good for something, I learned how to guzzle beer.’ She opened another beer, went into living room and lay on the sofa. She turned on the TV and by this time was merely vaguely surprised that there were only few channels instead of the usual 257. One seemed to be the news, in what language she had no clue. The newscaster wore an odd suit with huge shoulder pads and a hideous god-awful tie that he should be shot at dawn for wearing. She laughed out loud and wandered if he was having a weird morning too. Maybe all his ties disappeared in the night and that was all he had to wear. Was he going commando as well? She laughed softly, sighed, and pulled the lap blanket down and covered her legs. ‘This must be some strange prolonged dream. I’ll just ride it out.’
Relaxed from the beer she dozed and surfed the few channels on the TV. At some point she fell asleep and woke with a start. She sat up rubbing her face and spied all the beer bottles on the coffee table. ‘Wow, I drank the whole six-pack. That’s going to hurt.’ She stood and stretched, walked over to the window and looked out. The time, afternoon almost 4:00 p.m. The sky – pitch black, no stars.
Here in Texas snow is a rare and beautiful event. Bathing a cat is an even more rare. Also, washing the cat is an excellent exercise in two grown humans trying to collaborate on a task that many claim is not do-able. The fact the said humans are married, and wish to remain so, may grease the wheels a bit.
This undertaking did not come about because of a whimsical urge or boredom. It arose from the fact that kitty suffered from some sort of intestinal outrage during the night and evidently rolled around in it. He and his bed smelled beyond horrible. Being one of those cats that likes to greet you at the crack of dawn by sticking his butt in your face added to the necessity of immediate action.
Checked the internet first with varied results on advice. Some fell under the “well duh” category. Fill tub with water, place cat in tub. Really? Some articles offered advice about protective gloves and such. I have found that if your cat is fighting so hard that protective gear is needed, the battle is already lost. Give it up. Tomorrow is another day.
This is my method for bathing a cat, based on decades as a rather laissez-faire cat owner, and a little research on the internet:
- Instruct Husband to get camera.
- Put on old clothes that you can toss in wash afterwards.
- Fill tub about 6 inches deep with warm water, depending on size of cat. ( less for a tiny kitty obviously) Don’t ask me how I know this, just trust me, Mkay?
- Toss a bunch of old towels and a plastic cup for rinsing in the bathroom.
- By this time curious cat and husband should be in the bathroom investigating, so just close the door. Or fetch cat.
- Fold a couple of towels to kneel on and place them near where you are going to open shower door. (if you have enclosed tub/shower). Put another folded towel over the edge of the tub helps if you want to give your back a break and lean on it a bit.
- Pick up Kitty, who is now getting suspicious, and lower into tub of water, while speaking abundant kitty praise in a low and soothing tone.
- Be prepared to quickly switch to a proper scruff of the neck hold on the cat because this is the most likely point for them to try to bail. If you are not familiar with this hold, and do not know how to do so without injuring the cat or yourself, forget this whole process and take kitty to the vet. However, relying on outside assistance won’t help much in future filth and yucky poo emergencies such as feces or skunk spray, so I strongly advise you to learn this skill.
- Maintain scruff of the neck hold for a few minutes until cat calms down and recovers his or her dignity. Some cats seem to feel better if you let them stand in the tub on hind legs with front paws on the side of the tub.
- Instruct husband to take pictures and not aim the camera up your nostrils if at all possible.
- Have husband squirt kitty soap or baby shampoo in your hand, NOT on the cat. Very important! Some unsupervised husbands will squirt enough soap directly on kitty to degrease an 18 wheeler so take heed of this warning. Don’t make this any harder than it has to be by needing to rinse the cat 87 times.
- Bathe cat however it suits your fancy. However, if you are using flea shampoo start at the neck so fleas are prevented from evacuating to the cat’s head. This is a sight I promise you don’t want to see. (Ignore husband’s advice at this point. If he thought he could do it better, he should have plunked his happy behind down here on the floor and bloody well did it himself. His job is to photograph the evidence.)
- Rinse cat well. (duh) Hopefully by now kitty is resigned to it’s fate and will go down to all fours long enough for you to rinse the belly easily.
- Have husband hand you a towel. This step is optional and it’s usually easier to allow kitty to exit the tub in whatever manner it chooses.
- Dry kitty, who is probably cowering under the vanity, with towels as much as possible.
- Use blow dryer on low setting. If kitty has not experienced this before, it helps to let it run for a minute or 2 before you aim it at the cat to allow him to get used to the sound. Start blow drying cat, ruffling his fur, while holding dryer at a safe distance. A safe distance is defined as; if it’s too hot for your hand it’s too hot for the cat. Also, If he’s cowering in the corner it may be easier to let him stay there instead of trying force him to your arms, counter etc. After a few minutes kitty will realize the he is cold and the warm hair dryer feels pretty darn good. You may notice that his ears, that were back, relax so he will willingly submit to this further indignity.
- When you decide kitty is dry enough or your hips give out from sitting on the cold bathroom floor, open door and allow husband and kitty to stalk out of the bathroom.
Now, wasn’t that easy?