Monday, November 8, 2010

Part-Time Cat

A stray cat kept running into our house. Since he wasn't lurking in our driveway all the time, just a couple times a week, we'd forget and leave the door open a crack so one of our two cats could let himself in. We'd hear the door pop open, and there'd be this stranger cat. He'd gobble our cat food, drink out of our kitty fountain, climb our cat trees, sleep on my bed, and leave.

So we shrugged and did what we could to appease our two boys, who thought that they should be the only people allowed to eat their food, drink out of their fountain, climb on their trees, and sleep on my bed. The children and I kept the peace as best we could. It was an odd situation-- the cat was well-groomed, very well-fed, and didn't seem to either need or want a home. He just wanted our stuff. So we didn't give this part-time cat a name; we just started referring to him as "Sweetie" because that's what my sister-in-law called her children and it seemed so much nicer than the things I tended to call mine.

One day my daughter Elizabeth discovered that the cat we called Sweetie had ticks, and she picked six off him, including several on his behind of all places. Her working on him back there made him nervous, which made him gassy, which made the task quite unpleasant, and he wasn't even our cat. But once she knew that the cat needed help, it would have been ethically wrong not to provide it.

Being de-ticked was so traumatizing, he had to run into the kitchen to gobble up 4 plates of cat food to make himself feel better, and then to jump up on my bed to throw it all up again. I had just made myself a nice plate of spaghetti and had gotten all ready to curl up on the bed with the newspaper to have my lunch when this occurred. Since the 4 plates of cat food were accompanied by some very long, squirming worms, I did not have lunch that day, and that's when the cat formerly known as Sweetie came to be known as Biohazard.

That evening a neighbor told us she thought the cat might belong to some people on the next street over, so we went over there to ask because they needed to know that their cat had worms. We found the right house all right, because there was Biohazard with his two identical siblings. But which was a sibling and which was Hazzy? We examined their noses, listened to their meows, and thought we maybe had identified him in the line-up, but we weren't sure.

Then Elizabeth said that while removing those ticks she'd spent a lot of time staring at his behind, so she was sure she'd recognize it.

So THAT'S why we were standing in a stranger's front yard at night, holding one of their cats head-down and examining his butt by the light of their window.

And being people of good character, we'd do it for any of you too. Watch for us.


  1. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. I have two full-time cats. When Kitty no. 2 moved in, one day she threw up something which resembled a rubber band. And then it started moving... I dewormed all three of us to be on the safe side. None of the pills at the pharmacy were small enough for creatures that weigh 5.5 or even 11 pounds, so we had to go with droplets for them. The smaller one got by with 15 droplets - but imagine, if you will, holding down an 11-pound cat long enough to give him 30 droplets... He was very offended - until he saw me fixing medication for myself and taking it. Then he relented :)

  2. I can't imagine force-feeding 30 drops to a cat. I had to get a tablespoon of pineapple juice into one of my cats last week, and it turns out cats do not like pineapple juice or the mommies who try to kill us with it.

    Did you get deworming meds without going through a vet? I'm asking because my son is concerned that one of his cats may have worms, but they don't have money to pay for both a vet visit AND the meds.

  3. Yes, I was in a hurry and didn't want to wait until my vet was open (they are only open in the evenings). So I trotted over to the pharmacy and got something over the counter for all of us (a different something for me, since I weigh a bit more than 5 kg and therefore didn't need droplets :P ). And it seems to have worked - haven't seen any more worms since then. And since they don't go outside... Keep in mind, this was in Poland, but it's always worth a try.

  4. PS I had a second person help me with the droplets. I held the cats in my lap, turned on their sides, and then the other person administered the droplets. It would have been impossible otherwise :P


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