keeping me on my toes…

Last week I was looking forward to a short week. Since I had Wednesday off for Independence Day and Friday off due to my lovely 9/80 schedule (every other Friday off), I decided to take Thursday off and make it a five day weekend. Yea!

I didn’t know until Monday night that it would be a six day weekend. And it wasn’t something to go all “Yea!” about.

When I got home from work on Monday, I made myself some dinner and ate it while watching Scrubs on Comedy Central. My roommate IrishWriter was off to some political meeting – either Democratic Party business or Richardson campaign business, I’m not sure.

After eating dinner I realized I hadn’t seen all of the cats, so I did a quick headcount. BJ? Present. Edison? Present and yowling for attention. Matisse? Matisse? Nope, nowhere around.

Now that was odd. He’s big on greeting IrishWriter and me when we enter the apartment. He loves humans and doesn’t mind letting them know. And if you sit down on the sofa, you had better believe that he will sit himself down as close to you as possible, whether it’s on your lap or arm or behind your head.

So I went searching. Ever since Noel died last summer, I’ve been a bit paranoid about making sure the cats are around and alive. So I looked under everything and eventually found him under my desk. I called to him (Matisse knows his name and comes when called), but he wouldn’t come out. He lifted his head to look at me and it seemed that his head was bobbing a little in a way I’d never seen it bobble in the ten years I’ve had him. Then he put his head down in a distinctly non-thrilled way.

This was not a healthy cat.

I tried to drag him out from his hiding place, but the hissing started and I knew no good would come of it. I called my roommate, whom I knew was on his way home from his meeting, and asked when did he think he’d be getting home, giving him the 411 about Matisse’s odd behavior. As he had just pulled into our parking garage, pretty much immediately. He decided to wait downstairs while I tried to get Matisse out from underneath my desk and into a cat carrier. Twenty minutes later, after much hissing and digging of claws into carpet, I called IrishWriter and let him know that it would be awhile, so he might as well come on up.

An hour and a half later – during which there were copious amounts of wailing and gnashing of teeth on both my and Matisse’s parts (with Matisse wriggling from my grasp numerous times and finding new hiding places – it got to the point where if I looked at him, he’d hiss and yowl) – I called the closest pet emergency hospital for advice and to notify them we’d be coming in. The woman on the other end reminded me of the old “wrap the cat in the towel” trick, which I knew about and had used in the past, but had completely forgotten about in my panic over Matisse’s seeming desire to hide and die.   (An earlier conversation with HSTeacher yielded the pillowcase idea, but I couldn’t see how I was going to get a pillowcase around a cat scrunched up in the corner).  IrishWriter’s own suggestion about donning gloves was helpful as well.  Fifteen minutes later my sick and ornery cat was in the cat carrier and within minutes we were winging our way to Studio City.

They hydrated him and xrayed him and determined he was in no immediate danger, but they wanted to keep him overnight for testing and observation. For a grand total of $1000+. Which I didn’t have. I knew my own vet would cost less, so I let the emergency folks give him a broad spectrum antibiotic – just in case – paid up for what they had already done and took Matisse home at 11:30pm. I left a message on my boss’s work voicemail, letting him know that I would probably not be in the next day because of the cat situation.

The next morning IrishWriter dropped my twelve year old feline and me off at my vet by 8:00 am. It wasn’t long before he was seen and weighed. The vet wanted to do series of tests normally administered to senior cats and noticed that Matisse seemed very constipated, so she recommended that I come back in about two hours. Off I went to get something to eat, as I was starving, and a little less than two hours later I popped back into the vet’s office. Shortly thereafter the vet sat with me and let me know the in-house urine test revealed that Matisse has diabetes.


After showing me how to administer the insulin shot (which looked soooo easy when she did it) and paying my (high, but not fighteningly so) bill, I called MusicianMan to come and pick us up, as I had made arrangements the night before for this (I couldn’t imagine being on the bus for an hour with a possibly freaked out Matisse in his cat carrier). I spoke to my boss as I waited for my ride, and his response was, “Go home. Take care of your cat.” Yeah, my boss is pretty damned cool. I also called IrishWriter and let him know the medical verdict. His response was the same as mine: Shit. But at least we can take care of it.

MusicianMan showed up and the three of us headed back to my place. MusicianMan loves cats, so he was way too cute in saying, “Pleased to meet you,” to Matisse – he had never met any of my cats before.

A few days later I got a call from my vet – the blood test and external urine test results confirmed the diabetes, but also came back with a urinary infection. So I went and got some antibiotics for that from the local pharmacy (I couldn’t get to the vet’s office when it was open).

Poor sick little kitty.

It’s all manageable, of course. Ten days of antibiotics should take care of the infection. The diabetes will be kept under control with twice daily shots of insulin. He’s already showing immense improvement and is very lively. I’m exceedingly pleased that it’s something that’s manageable. But Matisse will have to be getting these shots for the rest of his life, which won’t be too fun for either of us. The excess skin that he’d had due to his weight loss is becoming less and less, as his weight comes back, which is great. But it’s harder to keep him still for the shots, because he knows something is up, even with the treats we give him before and during the shot.

As for the antibiotics, I tried to shoot the entire teaspoon of white liquid in Matisse’s mouth, but that was an expected nightmare, so I’ve started mixing it with canned cat food, which he doesn’t seem to mind. Then again, I haven’t given the cats anything but dry food and water and the occasional treat for many years (my vet said, back when BJ and Edison were kittens in 1999, that cats don’t need canned food past one year old, as long as they have plenty of water – they’ve had canned food, but only as a very rare treat), so of course he doesn’t mind. They’re loving the canned food now – all three get it, since it wouldn’t be fair to the younger boys. I don’t see myself giving them canned food beyond Matisse’s need of the antibiotics, so there will be kitty sadness in a week or so.

Anywho, my toes? They are quite strong, thanks to all the exercise they’ve been getting. Maybe I should become a ballerina…

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  1. Glad your kitty’s health issues can be managed. I’m a dog person, myself, but we had a recent scare with a lump that had to be surgically removed because his vet said it might be a tumor. Thankfully, it turned out to a non-cancerous cyst. Our 95 pound delicate flower, that’s Boogie.


  2. Thank you, Janiece!

    Glad to hear Boogie’s fine. The big dogs are often the delicate flowers. Maybe because there’s so much of them.

    (I grew up with dogs, so I consider myself to be an animal person in general, because I love cats and dogs equally).


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