Tag Archives: cat lady

The Great Realization

25 Aug

This past Friday night following a shift at work I arrived home to find blood on my desk. Obviously I freaked out because it was a clear indication that something was wrong with one of my cats. I immediately, and correctly as it turned out, figured it was Grete. She had been acting a little bit weird the past few weeks. She’s always been kind of a brat – waking me up in the morning by head butting me in a desperate attempt to get under the covers and knead me with her dagger-like claws and pissing on the floor right in front of the door to my bedroom if I didn’t feed her the second she started her dinnertime siren call – but she had never been overly vindictive. That is until a month or two ago when she decided to pee on my bed. That is the ultimate sign of feline displeasure. I will be the first to admit that there have been times when I have been remiss in my duties as a kitty mom. At that time, though, I’d been on top of it. So, what the fuck? I figured maybe something was wrong so I decided to take the two of them into the vet for their annual check-up (they get better health care than I do) and just see if maybe, just maybe, there was something beyond general cat-assiness that caused the problem. The vet seemed to think everything was okay. Great. I had an asshole on my hands.

Fast forward to the past week when I started noticing little dribbles of pee around the room. I started to feel like I was playing a game of whack-a-mole. You know, every time I would mop and then spot-clean the floor another dribble would appear. I started to get concerned. And then there was the blood. Clearly that was the last straw. Had to make an emergency appointment. So on Saturday morning at about 10, after sleeping barely at all following what amounted to a 16-hour bar shift between two places, I called the vet and made an appointment. And then I had to get Grete into her carrier. Have you ever tried putting a cat into a carrier? It is no easy task. It’s like they grow extra legs at every possible angle and use all those legs, and the claws that come with them, to forcibly keep themselves from being lowered into the chamber of doom. And then once you finally get them in there the yowling starts.


It’s horrifying. It’s the sound that I imagine a whale would make if it was experiencing a slow and painful death. It would actually be funny if it didn’t make you ears bleed. (Okay, nevermind, it’s funny.) Anyway, I walked my screaming cat half a block down to the vet (bless you, convenience!) and checked her in at the desk. I then put her carrier down on one of the chairs in the waiting room and tried to distance myself. By this point she decided that yowling wasn’t working and thought that perhaps making sounds in a desperate attempt to evoke pity from me would be a more effective technique.

Roooooooooooooooo…… roooooooooooooooooo.

She has it down. At this point I noticed another lady in the room who was alternatively looking at me judgmentally (she had her carrier on her lap and was whispering through the grates to her noticeably silent cat) and then glancing at the carrier that housed Grete with a great deal of pity and concern. Obviously I must be a terrible cat mom since I was standing 5 feet away, giggling to myself. I looked at the lady and said

“She is very dramatic.”

At this point the lady realized I had a heart afterall and asked me what was wrong with my cat.

Lady: Just a check-up?
Me: No, an emergency appointment. (I realized right after I said it that this probably did not make her feel better about my relaxed stance.)
Lady: Oh! Bless her heart!
Me: I think she’s okay. I mean, she’s eating and drinking the normal amount. Has energy. There was just a little blood this morning so I think maybe she has a UTI or something like that.
Lady: Bless her.

At this point, two younger women came in with their cat which they set down on a chair in between where they both were sitting. They took turns clicking lovingly at her. Then one of them looked over at my carrier where Grete was now alternating noises.

MEEEEEEOOOOOWWWWW!!!! Roooooooo………..

I looked at them and I said

“She’s fine. I swear. Just dramatic. Tough to be a kitty, you know.”

Then, this.

Young Lady: Oh, she sounds just like Maddie! This is Maddie. (She gestured at the carrier.) Her name is Madison, actually, but we call her Maddie for short. Oh your cat is just beautiful. A tabby?
Me: Um…yea?
Young Lady: So cute. (Addressing who I assumed was her partner) Doesn’t she sound just like Maddie? I keep hearing her and thinking Maddie is throwing her meow! But she isn’t! It is a completely different cat!

At this point Grete and I got called into the office. I quickly smiled around the room, accepted the well wishes and the “bless hers,” walked into the exam room and explained to the vet tech what had been going on in my house the past few weeks. A few minutes later the vet came in, asked some more questions, did some feel tests and said it was likely a UTI, as I had suspected. We left the office $150 poorer and with a prescription for Clavamox. After dropping my still yowling and slightly traumatized kitty at home, I went to run some errands. During the errands I got to thinking about my experience in the vet office and I had a realization: I am not a cat lady.

Okay, so as a back story, when I adopted my cats over 4 years ago (I have two of them), my mother and I had a very serious (okay only sort of serious) conversation about what it takes to turn into a cat lady. At what number of cats is this an inevitability? We came to the conclusion that you could have up to three cats but once you found yourself at four and up you were basically screwed. I told my mom, at this point in all seriousness, to cut me off at three. We made it sort of a rule: over three, definite cat lady; under three, not so much. We did not, however, discuss the incidence of cat lady-ness at under three cats. It never really came up. I trusted in the fact that I was not a cat lady because I had under three cats, but perhaps there is more to it. Can one, without having an absurd number of felines, actually be a cat lady? I have a lot of thinking to do.

PS Grete is fine. Antibiotics are really something.

There is a Cat Stuck in this Box

18 Mar

A few years ago I was on the phone with my mom when we started discussing cats.  Or, more specifically, we started trying to figure out at which point one might go from being a lady with cats to a cat lady.  After a good amount of discussion we came to the conclusion that when you go from having 3 cats to 4 you have invariably crossed the line.  In hindsight, this was a rather convenient solution seeing as how at that moment my mother was the owner of exactly three felines and she certainly didn’t want to have to think of herself as a cat lady.  To be fair, though, I had found and lured the two younger cats, both of whom were adorable stray kittens, from different potentially dangerous situations and then dumped them at my parent’s house.  One of them, Chicory, had taken up residence in our front yard and driveway which sits just off of a relatively busy road with limited visibility and the other one, Chamomile, I had wrested from the arms of a drunken co-ed who was sitting weeping on the steps of a fraternity during my Sophomore year in college, squeezing the diminutive kitten to within inches of its life.  And then there was Sassafras, by far my favorite, a bitch of a cat who we adopted from the kennel when I was in Kindergarten who only lasted two years after I brought Cammy home and those two years, to be honest, were not her best.  She was very sick with liver failure and passed away on the very same day I went to a dress fitting for the bridesmaids dress I was to wear that coming summer to my brother and sister-in-law to be’s wedding.  At the end of the conversation I said to my mom, in as stern a voice as I could muster,

Mom, cut me off at three.

I am squarely in the safe zone, being a lady with only 2 cats, one full feline below the edge.  I go through my days proudly telling people about my cats, Clark and Grete, and not worrying about the judgement I would receive if I were to then rattle off an additional three names. It was with this calm attitude that I headed out for a run last Thursday afternoon before work.  As I was running past a train yard I heard a loud, shrill, kitten-sounding call for help coming from somewhere within the gated yards.  I stopped and looked around, following the sound, until I located the kitten stuck inside of a kelly green electrical box.  I looked around for help, but it was after 5 and everyone had gone home.  I retraced my steps and ended up at the entrance to some other MTA-owned property with a security guard who seemed relatively unconcerned about the fate of the cat, although he did assure me that he would “send some fellas to check it out.”  I looked around and didn’t see anyone.  What fellas, I wondered to myself, was he talking about?  I figured he must be a dog person.

I headed back in the direction of the cat, saying to myself over and over again that I had to be at work soon, that there was nothing I could do about the cat in the box, that I simply had to trust in the existence of these invisible fellas and that everything would be okay.  As I approached the box I heard the desperate cries of the trapped kitten.  I simply could not pass it by.  So I crouched there and I started talking to the kitten in the box.  Now, mind you, I was on a busy road and cars and people were passing by and the kitten was invisible to everyone but me and, wouldn’t you know it, as long as I was cooing at it the poor little thing stayed calm.  What this meant for me was that it appeared to those passing me by that I was a crazy person in full running get-up talking to a green metal box and frantically looking at every passer-by with panic in my eyes.  Finally, after 1/2 hour of crouching alone by the box in 25 degree weather, a lady, who had just walked past and not given me a second glance, heard the meow and stopped.  I looked at her and to her stationary back said

There is a cat stuck in this box.

She quickly approached and we started trying to come up with plans.  I had noticed a few minutes earlier that the gate to the yard was open but my law-abiding self was afraid to enter and get yelled at by an approaching fella that I had neglected to notice.  She seconded my concerns (minus the fella) and added that she was pretty sure the gate had an automatic lock mechanism and if someone closed it while I was in there I could get stuck and she didn’t care how official my running clothes looked, there was no way I would be able to scale that fence AND the razor wire at the top without (1) getting arrested, (2) falling or (3) ruining my clothes that she was sure were pretty expensive.*  Just then I realized that a car that had glided to a stop was still idling about 20 feet away and I hadn’t noticed anyone get out.  When I looked up at the car, it approached, and the tinted window of the passenger’s side slowly rolled down.  A man in a baseball cap looked out at me and I said to him

There is a cat stuck in this box.

The man looked shocked and quickly came out of the car.  So there we all were, standing on the sidewalk shoulder to shoulder to shoulder, staring at a stationary electrical box and gesticulating wildly.  The man shrugged off our warnings about the possibility of an automatic lock mechanism and entered the yard, with me closely behind him and the lady standing in the entrance to the yard so just in case the doors started closing she could stop them with her body.  He started moving the lid of the box around, I kept an eye out for fellas, and then, just like that, the whole top and side disconnected from the rest of the box.  We peered in and there it was, the cutest, smallest, scaredest little beige kitty.  It wouldn’t come out of the box but, wouldn’t you know it, the man happened to have cat food in his car so he opened a little can and left it propping the box open so the kitty could eat and escape.  Each of us, we discovered, would love to take the kitty home but both the lady and the man already had 4 kittys and I, as I mentioned before, had 2.  So, we left the kitty to its own devices and went off in our different directions, all of us feeling good about having released the kitty and me, with my comparatively small number of cats at home, feeling even more secure in my status as a lady with cats.

*In actuality I bought them on sale, but I still would have been sad if I ripped them.