As a matter of general principle, neither of my cats likes to travel outside of the house for ANY reason – much less going to visit the veterinarian. But when such a visit is necessary, I always plan to get as much sleep as I can the night before.
Why you ask? Every seemingly simple visit ALWAYS turns into a full scale adventure or traumatic episode depending on your point of view. Benjamin Bunny’s most recent visit was no exception.
Unlike Gracie, Bunny has apparently not learned how to spell yet. When I have to take Gracie to the vet, I can’t even spell out the word VET to another family member if she is within earshot. If I do, she takes off and finds the most obscure place to hide FOR HOURS. 9 times out of 10 I am forced to reschedule the appointment when this happens and offer MULTIPLE apologies for the inconvenience. Luckily, I have a very understanding veterinarian.
Benjamin Bunny, on the other hand, seems oblivious if I go to the trouble of spelling out the entire word. Then again, I typically misspell it so no one else knows what it is either. But, that is beside the point. Prior planning is still necessary in order to even make it into the car with Ben on vet visit days.
Several hours before the visit, I have to sneak into the closet under the stairs (like the one Harry Potter lived in) and remove his carrier from the back of it. On tippy toes, I then peek out of the door to see if I was followed. If I wasn’t, I quickly exit the closet and cross the hall to the downstairs bathroom where I leave the carrier, latching door open wide. Once outside the bathroom, I attempt to walk toward the kitchen nonchalantly in case I am being spied upon by any felines.
Until about 30 minutes prior to departure time, I go about my daily business always making sure to keep Bunny in sight. At the 30 minute mark, I begin the “scoop and pop” portion of the pre-departure routine. I scoop up the correct cat and pop him or her into the carrier. Up until the last vet visit, this had never really been a problem with Bunny. Notice I said “up until the last visit”.
On this particular occasion, I scooped Bunny up and carried him to the downstairs bathroom without incident. The moment I opened the door is when things went downhill quickly.
It began with a pitiful mewing noise accompanied by a slight wiggle motion. Once I started to bend down towards the carrier, the wiggle evolved into an attempt at an alligator death roll. Trying to maintain some semblance of control over the situation, I maneuvered Bunny into position in front of the open carrier.
That is when he seemed to expand into a hulk-like version of himself – either that or the carrier suddenly shrunk. He arched his back, poofed out his tail, dug his back claws into my knees, and braced his two front paws against either side of the open carrier. Apparently, he had no intention of going in.
If you think you are getting me in this
thing, you are sadly mistaken!!
When I got his front paws inside, he raised his head above the door. When I got his head and front paws inside, he arched his back up higher than the door. When I got…… the list goes on and on. Finally, my younger daughter heard the commotion in the bathroom and came to my aide. Coaxing Bunny from both sides, we were finally able to get him inside the carrier with just minutes to spare before we had to leave.
Our veterinary clinic is just a few miles from the house, so the ride only took a few minutes. Bunny’s loud melancholy meows made it seem like hours.
Bunny and I must have seemed pitiful when we entered the vet’s office because we were immediately ushered into an exam room. Feeling horrible about Bunny’s apparent despair, I opened the carrier as soon as the exam room’s door shut.
But, nothing happened. Bunny did NOT come bounding out as I expected. In fact, he wouldn’t even move when I tried coaxing him out. Exhausted, I plopped down on the floor next to him and leaned against the wall until the vet technician returned.
Her approach to the situation was quite direct. Take the top off of the carrier, place it on the floor, and scoop Bunny onto the scale. If I hadn’t been so pooped, I am sure I would have thought of that myself.
After his initial weigh-in, the vet tech put Bunny on the floor to roam while we discussed any specific questions I had for the vet. That is when my cat transformed into a turtle.
As the vet tech was preparing to open the door to leave, I glanced around for Bunny. He was nowhere to be seen. I began to panic – until I saw the top of the carrier moving awkwardly along the floor. It took everything I had not to burst out in hysterical laughter. All you could see of Bunny were his eyes. Every other part of him was concealed by the carrier top. He looked like a mutant turtle you might see on a special edition of Animal Planet.
Bunny's make-shift turtle shell
Within minutes, multiple staff members were crammed into the exam room watching my crazy cat meander around in his newly acquired shell. It wasn’t until someone offered him his favorite treats for putting on such a show that he decided to exit his new hiding spot. Oh, the attention he got then.
Except for a shot, the rest of the visit went smoothly. The vet tech was able to easily “scoop and pop” Bunny back into his carrier when it was time to leave. I honestly think he was just too burned out to put up a fight about anything at that point.
Gracie was waiting for him when we returned home. After giving him a good “sniff over” to make sure he was really Bunny, they escaped to the upstairs spare room and curled up on one of the beds. I think she knew he needed a little TLC (tender loving care) after his ordeal.
What about me? I made a cup of STRONG coffee, collapsed on the couch, and contemplated what it would take to convince my vet to make house calls in the future.
Until next time, remember…
I've never understood why women love cats. Cats are independent, they don't listen, they don't come in when you call, they like to stay out all night, and when they're home they like to be left alone and sleep. In other words, every quality that women hate in a man, they love in a cat.
- Jay Leno