The Cat & the Carrier

June 9, 2018

Once Dasher saw the carrier, he decided it was time for a dash. How appropriate. And how inconvenient. At this point his heart and mine were both racing.

A few minutes before this, I had been completely taken aback by an alert on my phone. VET APPOINTMENT. It screamed. I remembered the stories Sara had told me about the previous appointment. The struggles. The scratches. The time it took to trap the cat. The clock said I had 15 minutes to get a freaked-out feline and a four-year-old into a van. The odds were not in my favor.

Dasher fled to his favorite spot, which is actually INSIDE the bottom of our leather couch. Over time, he has managed to rip a hole in the thin fabric underbelly. So when he wants to get away from company or an over-loving child, he crawls in and hangs in this homemade hammock.  It sags low, nearly touching the ground. After failed attempts to entice him with cat treats, I flipped the sofa forward and was able to coax him out of the pocket. Of course, he immediately hopped out and sprinted down the hallway as the clock struck you should have left by now.

At this point, I should discuss the aforementioned four-year-old. With his sister gone on a playdate, Elliot became the default deputy. Turns out his blue sea turtle shirt belied his efficacy. He helped me look for Dasher. When we found the fugitive under the bed, he doled out the cat treats. Unfortunately, in Dasher’s mind these dependable delights suddenly became purrsona non-gato. Nevertheless, Elliot did his best at trying to keep the older cat, Tess, away from the enticements. He also offered helpful commentary during my failed attempts. “He’s sooo fast!” he would exclaim. This was a helpful counter perspective, as my inner narrator was stating, “You are sooo incompetent!”

On the fourth try, I finally found the recipe for success. Move the carrier into the bedroom to limit transport distance and tilt the carrier on end with cage door facing up. I dropped Dasher in and he rewarded me by urinating on my stomach.

After a quick wipe down and change of clothes, Elliot, Dasher, and I were headed out the door. Dasher initially made some weird sounds, like he was possessed by the soul of some ancient Egyptian cat spirit. Fortunately, those quickly abated and he was quiet most of the way.

Sara met us in St. Helena and kindly offered to take Elliot home. I was hauling the carrier in when I heard footsteps behind me. Elliot wanted to see this mission through. He probably thought I needed some supervision after my multiple failures with Dasher and the carrier.

While there, a young couple came in with a cat and carrier of their own. I asked them for tips on corralling a cat. They shrugged and said that they just needed to give themselves about 30 minutes. It was nice to commiserate over our lack of competency.

After an emergency clean up necessitated by a nervous dog, we entered the waiting room. I opened the carrier and Dasher came out. He hid between the carrier and the examination table. Elliot immediately went over and started to pet him. An assistant came in to weigh Dasher. I asked her if she had any remedies for carrier dysfunction. She grabbed Dasher by the scruff of the neck and let all 13.5 pounds of him hang down. It looked like he was going to tear in two, but instead he just hung in passive suspension with this ridiculous expression on his face and his front paws sticking straight out. He kind of looked like a burglar who had just heard the words, “Come out with your hands up!”

Then we met the vet. Elliot often has trouble with strangers, but he seemed to be pretty cool with our vet and his Australian-ish accent, his slightly unbuttoned shirt, his mustache, and his protruding chest hair. The word on Dasher was that he probably needed to eat less. No wonder why Dasher didn’t want to come. He’ll probably be battling body issues for the rest of his life.

When our visit was over, I used the neck scruff technique to get Dasher back in. He immediately went limp and dropped in on the first try. I told Elliot to help me remember the major points from our visit.

We had a short car ride back home, but it was good. I asked Elliot if he would want to be an animal doctor when he grew up. He quickly replied, “No.” When I pressed him, he stated that he would rather study sea creatures or insects. He then started talking about cockroaches and how they are so cute. Apparently, they are now his favorite animal. While I respectfully disagreed with his choice, he was very interested in my stories about cockroaches surviving heavy doses of radiation. “Is that really true?” he inquired. I told him I would Google it when we got home.  Turns out it is.

Elliot was a great deputy. He turned a miserable experience into a memory. The next time we visit the vet, I’ll remember these two main things: 1) how to properly pick up a cat 2) how much my misery loved his company.





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