Today I am taking my cats to the vet.
This is a day that causes massive anxiety for all involved because one cat is evil incarnate, and the other cat has a mystery illness that three vets in two different states have failed to diagnose.
When she first arrives at the office, she seems perfectly reasonable and not evil. She purrs delightfully and looks at the vet techs with innocent eyes filled with love and playful curiosity.
Then you put her on the exam table, and her alter ego, EVIL CAT, comes out to play. And by 'play', I mean bite. And bite hard. One year, she bit my hand badly enough to send me to the emergency room. The following year, I asked the receptionist if there was some sort of big red flag on Fat Cat's record because I wanted any who had the misfortune to come into contact with her to know they were dealing with an EVIL CAT. The receptionist told me they didn't put red flags on the files because some of the owners were offended by this. Instead they highlighted the pet's name in orange. I told the receptionist to go ahead and put a warning in big, flashing neon lights because I did not want anyone else to get sent to the hospital just so my cat could have a rabies shot. We see a different vet now. She hasn't bitten anyone yet, but they still put on the armor when they hear she's coming. And probably draw straws to see who has to suffer through her appointment.
Zombie Cat is my fifteen year old enigma. She is so named because there's no way this cat should still be alive. We don't know how she's doing it, but our theory is that whatever illness she does have actually killed her and turned her into a zombie, and we just didn't notice.
No one has been able to figure out what she has. We have had many theories and even more prescriptions over the years. Past (incorrect) diagnoses have included herpes and chlamydia. (I am assured that these diseases are different in cats than they are in people and is, in no way, an indication that my cat is a furry little slut who spends her evenings down at the docks, trolling for sailors.) Here's a short sampling of what happened at her last appointment:
8:50am: The vet, after having shaved Zombie Cat's neck to draw blood from her "old lady" veins (vet's phrase), recommends the cat have chest x-rays done ($110 a pop) because she suspects Zombie Cat's lungs are filling with fluid.
8:51am: I approve the x-rays, figuring that if her lungs are flooding, it's probably best I find out.
9:15am: They return from the x-ray experience (four x-rays total), and Zombie Cat looks ready to bite someone. She always looks like that though, and hasn't bitten anyone yet, so I'm not worried.
9:16am: Zombie Cat bites the vet tech.
9:30am: The x-rays results are in. The good news is her lungs aren't filled with fluid, and her liver looks fine. The bad news is that it could be cancer. Or lung worms. Or heart disease.
9:30:01am: I'm sorry— let's go back a second. Did you say lung worms? As in worms in my cat's lungs? And why can't you rule that out? They wouldn't show up on an x-ray? I mean, you can see the damn kibble in her stomach, for crying out loud. Why can't you see lung worms? Are they invisible? Holy hell, is there such a thing as invisible lung worms?
9:31am: But wait, it gets better because apparently brain fungus is also a possibility.
9:31:01am: Zombie Cat bites the vet.
9:32am: The vet recommends I get the cat a CT scan to rule out brain fungus. An MRI would be better, but a CT would do. The MRI costs more, but the CT scan is only around $1000, and I'd have to drive approximately two hours to get to a facility that performs cat CT scans. Now I want to bite the vet.
9:33am: Out of curiosity, is there any disease my cat might not have?
9:33:01am: Cat herpes and cat chlamydia. Right. Forgot about that. Proceed.
Needless to say, I did not leave the vet's office that day in a very good mood. But at least our visits are never boring, right?
I'm very curious to find out what disease Zombie Cat shall be diagnosed with this time. I'm betting on syphilis. Or a government created killer nano robot infection. (Name! That! Reference!)
Hard to know which one to root for...
Have a great weekend, everyone. And if you're in the path of this mega snow storm that's engulfing New England, stay warm and stay safe.
Until next time...