October 29, 2006

What the Cat Was or Will Be

Or is. I’m not sure how to verb it, as the topic is the cat’s Halloween costume. It is not yet Halloween. Even so, here is the cat, already in his.

Schubert (aka The Cat) has a DRY SKIN problem, and as the seasons change --- especially summer to fall ---- he gets itchy and unhappy under his pelt of long luxurious brown hair. The fix is usually a soothing dip and shot of steroids, but when I took him this year...

HE WAS NOT VERY HAPPY. I could up the font size on the previous sentence a good ten points and STILL it would be understatement. Schubert is….strongwilled. I once tried to transport him in one of those CARDBOARD cat-porters the vet gives out, and midway through the drive he DUG AND TORE a big rip in the SIDE of it, and RIPPED his way out, screaming feline obscenities.

If you’ve read Between---that scene where the dog gets OUT through the fence crack? I used the memory of how Schubert looked tearing his way into the world like Yeat’s Rough Beast. Once loose, he rocketed around and around the car like a brown blur of fury and plague, rending people and upholstery, releasing a thick cloud of panic fur into the air so that we could hardly see out the windshield…

After THAT, I went and bought a reinforced plastic MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON thing that has METAL SCREWS and a locking porthole gate. It is obviously a jailhouse vehicle for the transport of criminally insane miscreant cats, but it’s called something perky (I forget—something like “The HAPPY KITTY KARRY KASE) and that is SO inappropriate. It’s like calling an Iron Maiden “Mr. Happy Fun Box.”

Getting Schubert INTO the HKKK means blood will be shed (mine) and eardrums will be burst (also mine) as he calls upon Father Tiger to loose a dark ancestral jungle curse upon the world. We only do it once a year, combining his skin treatment with his booster shots. SO An hour after I hurled the Happy Kitty Karry Kase through the vet door and fled from the demonic yowling that came ceaselessly from the box’s confines, I got a call from the veterinary assistant.

Her: Um, Joshilyn? I think we need to SHAVE Schubert. I see you clipped his back already, so we can even that out, and…His belly fur has gotten matted and snarled up and the dip can’t penetrate.
Me: I know. I can’t really brush his stomach. He doesn’t care to have it touched.
Her: *In a firm tone* Well, whether he cares to have it touched or not, it has to be done.

This is the same tone she uses when she tells me he is too dern fat. I KNOW, OKAY.
He is OBSCENELY fat.
I squirm in humiliation every time, convicted of cat abuse via overfeeding, and I say “But he BEGS.”
And she gives me a look that contains the elements of that same STERN tone and says circumspect things that imply, “YOU ARE THE HUMAN HE CANNOT POUR HIS OWN KIBBLE YOU MADE HIM FAT AND YOU WILL ONE DAY GO TO HELL FOR IT THIS IS WHAT WILL PUT YOU INTO HELL.”

I sink lower than worm bellies and whine and cringe and grovel apologetically.
But he pokes me with his TOE, I say. I work from HOME and he comes into my home office with his DREADFUL TOE and pokes and pokes me until I feed him.
Then she says, So shut your office door.
I say, He can open it. Same toe. It is prehensile. And evil. You don’t know how strong willed he is. He BENDS me. He BREAKS MY SPIRIT. He MAKES me feed him.

She has NEVER bought it and I get the YOUR CAT IS FAT AND YOU ARE BAD lecture every time I take him in. WHICH I DESERVE because he IS fat and I AM bad, but Lord, He wins. Call me spineless, if you like --- she certainly does. BUT HE WINS.

So she calls and wants to shave him.

Me: I don’t think he will like that.
Her: Well, whether he likes it or not, it should be done
Me: Good luck.

Not an hour later she called back, asking for permission to sedate him. He WOULD NOT let the entire vet team subdue him enough to get him shaved, even with a cat muzzle. They tried wrapping. He tore through. When she called back she sounded breathless and iron deficient, as if she had recently lost a lot of blood. I asked how bad it was, and she said, “Well…let’s just say he tore the vet up a little bit.”

SO they put him out and shaved him and dipped him and shot him up and OH MY LORD but you should SEE this poor thing. It still has Schubert’s one-eyed ornery head on the front end, but after that---there’s this sort of PACKED FAT TUBE of a body, like a walrus body, with four stumpy skinny legs that hold it up, and they left a PUFF of his LONG LONG hair on the end of his tail. Like a POODLE tail. He looks like….a cat-headed poodle walrus. In fact, that is what he is going to be for Halloween, and I am going to eat all the mini chocolate bars he collects.

BY THE WAY! When I picked him up? After he “Tore up the vet a little bit?” First time I have ever NOT gotten the lecture. Our talk went something like this…

Her: You should put him on a diet.
Me: I know. But he doesn’t really LIKE to be on a diet.
Her: *Deep breath* Yeah. He’s very…strong-willed.

Lady, you don’t know the half…

Posted by joshilyn at October 29, 2006 3:40 PM

Oh Peach, pictures, please! Your description is, as usual, far far FAR too funny for words, but a cat-headed poodle walrus...well, I do have an idea, we had to shave our Squink periodically, but she never had the *strong* personality that Schubert has. So pretty pretty please? Pictures?

Posted by: Fran at October 29, 2006 4:17 PM

Yes, I have never SEEN a cat-headed poodle walrus and NOW I WANT TO. Cough up the picture.

Posted by: Mir at October 29, 2006 4:22 PM

Our first, oldest , and sweetest cat ever (Esmeralda, 1988-2006) was not fat, by any means- maybe 8 pounds soaking wet before she got sick this past winter. Around here? A delight. With company? A shameless ho. But at the vet? Well, that's where Sabretooth made his appearances. More than once, I heard one of the vet techs call on "Big Glove Kim" to finish the job one of them couldn't handle.

(Totally off this topic, btw: I thought of your own spirit of wile and beguile when I saw this writing exercise from Wired once or twice removed: the writing of an entire short story in six words. These are sci-fi efforts, but as some of my commenters proved, they didn't have to be:


(Sigh, I hope your site isn't the one which strips links. Oh well, we'll find out in a moment....)

Posted by: ray at October 29, 2006 4:27 PM

I scrolled down, looking for a picture, in vain. I know how prideful cats are, but I promise I won't tell Schubert that you posted a picture of him in all his shame.
Thank you for the big ol' laugh out loud.

Posted by: amy at October 29, 2006 5:40 PM

I'm with the rest, pics please!

Posted by: Sheryl at October 29, 2006 9:46 PM

Just WAY too funny. . .WAY. Forget pics of Schubert. . .I want to see pics of the vet!

Posted by: Roxanne at October 29, 2006 10:56 PM

We demand pictures!!

This one had me howling! I used to have a cat so fat she couldn't jump up on the couch. But she's put her front paws on the cushion and then rev her engine up, bouncing up and down until she's obviously primed herself enough to jump up.

Posted by: Heather Cook at October 29, 2006 11:22 PM

Ohhhh--cats don't like to be shaved. Makes them kind of psychotic. A friend of mine shaved her Himalayan cat because her boyfriend was allergic. (Personally I would have dumped the boyfriend, but I digress.) Anyway--Fu ManChu was NOT a happy cat! I think they did the same kind of shave--kind of a ruff around his face and a poof for his tail... I like the "PACKED FAT TUBE of a body" bit--that gave me a snort!! Hope the vet is ok--may want to send him a card or something...

I won't take my little fluff cat to the vet--I am sure she would NEVER speak to me again if I were to pack her up into a carrier and take her ANYwhere. Hell, she barely speaks to me NOW!! Less than 5 pounds of aloof princess poof... But she has my 70 pound dog whooped! The dog jumped up on the bed the other night, realized that Queen Sophie was laying in the middle of it and she literally CLIMBED ONTO MY HUSBAND'S HEAD to get away from the cat!! I laughed so hard I cried! Ever tried to remove a 70 pound dog from your face?!! Yeah, well, hubby wasn't amused, to say the least! *giggle*

Posted by: Sheri at October 30, 2006 12:43 AM

Oh pictures please! After a story like that, how can there be no pictures?!

I was sitting here reading this aloud to Darren, who was on the other computer and I had to stop because I was laughing so hard. The tears were just streaming.

One eyed cat-headed poodle walrus..."Yarrr! I be waitin' for the carpenter!" :)

(Perhaps an eye patch and a little bandana for his ornery head? If you should be so brave? Or perhaps the vet assistant will volunteer? :))

Posted by: Nicole at October 30, 2006 1:37 AM

he was nicer when he was called Waffles.
I want a photo of his humiated head.

Posted by: Dianna at October 30, 2006 7:14 AM

Prehensile toes. *still laughing* Joss, you are a scream! Oh, and the no lecture bit. Oh, man, that speaks volumes. You just know if there'd been a film crew handy they could have shot one of those "when good pets go bad" scenes. yes, I beseech you, pics.

Posted by: David at October 30, 2006 7:16 AM

I know we all sound like a broken record (yes, I'm old enough to say "broken RECORD") but we neeeeed a photo! We neeeeeeeeds it, my pressshhhhhious.

At the vet's office where I used to work, Schubert's (aka Waffle's) file would have had a big red "BAC" in the corner. That stands for Bad-Ass Cat. My cat (EvilDemonKittySky) had one in the corner of his patient record too. He's also, erm...strong-willed.

Posted by: DebR at October 30, 2006 8:12 AM


Please, please take him trick or treating. OMG, I'm still laughing.

My fat cat actually BITES my children if there's no food in his bowl. The toepoke sounds bad, though.


Posted by: Edgy Mama at October 30, 2006 8:48 AM

I know everybody's already said it, but maybe if I say it too the ear-splitting volume of our collective HOWL will force you to post pictures, since we (or at least, I) lack a prehensile toe that can reach all the way to Georgia to poke you with. Please, please, pretty please? Post a picture!

Posted by: Aimee at October 30, 2006 10:19 AM

Joss you are a jewel. A pretty Tulip of a Jewel.

While this is not a very nice or charitable thought, she got hers. Kind of like Kitty Karma. I hate when the assistant at the office gives me heck for whatever terrible abusive misstep I've alledgedly taken with Arlo. He literally quirked his eyebrow at me because Arlo eats half a banana, two hot dogs, and two cups a kibble each day. He's a big (80 pound) bassett. And darn it he wants his banana...grapes...strawberries...peanuts. okay I get the point.

Me too, pics please

Posted by: Cele at October 30, 2006 11:38 AM

phoTO! phoTO! (or, phoTOE! pho-evil-TOE!)

My mother's family on the farm had a huge Newfoundland whose coat, perfect for insulation in Canadian ocean waters while saving drowning sailors, made him miserable in Michigan summers, so my grandfather would take the sheepshears to him, leaving a lion's mane and, you guessed it, a tail-tuft. Suggest to the cat that it's a lion-tuft -- maybe it will help.

Posted by: rams at October 30, 2006 11:45 AM

Oh yes, please please please post a pic. That would just be the best. Gret and I are both sittin here giggling at the thought of a walrus/lion/sausage/kitty with the evil toe.

Posted by: dee at October 30, 2006 1:31 PM

Ah, yes, they train us well, don't they?

If you don't post a photo, we are all coming over for a look at the poor shaven beast.

Posted by: Suebob at October 30, 2006 3:42 PM

Photo, please! I. Must. See. This.

And don't you just hate those vet lectures. It's even worse for me because I get them from my sister the vet. I'm forced to lie to her. Often.

Posted by: Laume at October 30, 2006 5:23 PM

Hey! I had one of those walrus cats. He was a mean tempered gray persian kitty. weighed about 28 pounds and REALLY tapped you on the leg while at the dinner table and begged. you can't explain it to people or vets, if they've never been under one of the poodleWalrus cat's spell. When we would have him "cleaned up" they would leave little puff balls of fur around all 4 feet and at the end of his tail. He hated it, and wouldn't talk to us for weeks,only poked us with his toe.
we loved him,but he had to go be with Jesus a few years ago. But for those who doubt, They DO exist!

Posted by: desi at October 30, 2006 8:44 PM

Oh, the vet visits. We've got one on Friday. THREE cats and TWO dogs all at once! My cats also open doors and they can turn on faucets. If only they could turn them off...

Posted by: Laura L at October 30, 2006 9:22 PM

This is too funny. How come the most docile little cat turns into this monster when faced with the cat basket? And yours was not so docile to start with. I see the problem.
Pics please, we have to see this!!

Posted by: Jas at October 31, 2006 3:46 AM

ohigod. I have gotten that SAME lecture. My b/w tuxedo cat (Shinsan) is dumb as post, the most loving and affectionate animal on earth, and extremely large. Everyone who sees him says "That is the BIGGEST cat I've ever seen." He has giant paws and six toes on each foot - completely polydactyl. He is big-boned. He is basically fat as h*ll and weighs 22 pounds. Oh well.

The vet gave me the "you are evil and you are giving your cat diabetes and you are going to HELL" lecture. (hubby and I have another cat who is perfectly normal size. ) Vet said, "Well he can't open the cat food himself, you know! It is YOUR fault."

So I bought the expensive dry diet cat food but Shinsan quickly opened the closet and ate thru the bag so I put it in plastic rubbermaid containers in the cabinets. (okay, it wasn't real Rubbermaid - I put it in Manhattan Tupperware - those plastic things soup comes in. I eat a lot of chinese, what can I say.)

So all was okay for three days except he was royally pissed off all the time. But still affectionate.

Then I came home after work on the fourth diet day.

He had opened the kitchen cabinet, pulled out the container and chewed thru the plastic lid. He was lying on his side in a large pile of diet kibble, still eating. He looked up at me, rolling in kibble. Like a feline Caligula.

So they CAN pour the kibble themselves. And WILL.

Vets know nothing.

Posted by: Ellen S at October 31, 2006 11:31 AM

Perhaps you and I should start an online support group for evil cats. I know you remember Boo...

Yeah, when I took her into the vet the first time as a TINY KITTEN, the vet said, "This cat's lucky to have found you and your roommate because I think even I would throw her out on the street. She's evil!"

Posted by: marisa at November 1, 2006 8:50 AM

xeug ueoaxtrwo

Posted by: Margery at November 7, 2006 2:57 PM