Our cat Scooter Thomas, occasional guest blogger, had his first vet appointment in two years yesterday. Here are excerpts from his diary.
Monday, August 25. My owners are behaving strangely. I plodded into the kitchen today just as I heard the female saying, “Well, I suppose we can cram him into anything if it’s just for ten miles.” Upon seeing me, they clammed up. I did one of those little belly rolls that excites them so, and they lavished me with forced affection. Nevertheless, I am on alert.
Tuesday, August 26. My owners arrived home tonight with a Fat Cat Tail Chaser toy packed with Zoom Around The Room* catnip. Given my stated preference for Kitty Hootch products (the good people there have even kindly linked to my post recommending them), I was rather perturbed. Not only were my owners 1) attempting to buy my affection, they were 2) doing so with an inferior product. Like our national government issuing Terror Alerts, any time my owners produce a new toy I know something fishy is afoot. My contempt for them is just towering.
Wednesday, August 27. One of the worst days of my life.
Everything was proceeding just fine — morning tea, Twitter with friends, some Wodehouse, a good poop — when the brute male hijacked me using one of my favorite boxes (forever tainted now with nightmarish memories) and threw me in the car. Despite his best efforts to hold me down as we drove, I scampered out and got a good look at our route so as to give the authorities as many details as possible after my rescue.
We pulled up to a rundown establishment called the Loveland Animal Hospital, which strongly evoked the architectural style of Soviet barracks. As I was carried in my box I thought of making a run for it, but by then the female had shown up and I was outnumbered. The awful sensation as we stepped inside that oppressive hut was horrific. Pictures of my tormented kin adorned the walls, wearing expressions of anguished captivity mockingly contrasted with bright, cheery fonts that screamed hackneyed proverbs like FRIENDS ARE ALWAYS THERE TO LEND A HELPING HAND as one poor slave kitten batted another with his paw.
At this point it is safe to say I snapped. Moving on from the relatively anodyne meowing and hissing I had previously indulged in, I resorted to my full-throated death growl, spicing it up with occasional swipes at the male’s chubby little digits. This finally seemed to put everyone on alert that I meant business.
And then things get blurry. A towel was draped over me and I was transported into a dark room abuzz with the distressed sounds of other poor animals in captivity. When it came off I got a good look at a young woman in soft blue scrubs, and her face was just close enough that I nearly landed a direct blow. This outburst resulted in me being turned upside down so that my box caged me to the floor. My senses thus unbalanced, I was no match for the fiendish man who removed the box and swooped in with a terrifyingly long needle which he then jabbed into me.
Fearing that I had just minutes, possibly seconds, before this toxic cocktail worked its cruel magic and snuffed out my little life, I gathered to myself every happy memory I could recall. But it is worth noting what I did not remember, given what I did recall. I did not remember my first litterbox. Or a patch of sunlight on hardwood floor. I didn’t recall that really great nap the year I was two. My former feline roommate Maggie, whose dithering companionship nevertheless brought me some comfort, did not pop into my head. Not the many catnip binges. The semester abroad in Paris. The non-profit work I did with Dr. Paul Farmer in Haiti. Hiking in the Himalayas. None of these.
This is what I remembered. Dark. Chamberlin Park. The baseball field. The whir of insects. The night sky laid out above me in full splendor. My newfound friend Winnie the Basset Hound was lying beside me on her back, both of us staring up at the stars. We were fresh off a bender up and down every bar on Blue Ash Road in Deer Park: Car Rock Cafe, Stagge’s Saloon, Archie’s Place, Logo’s, the Johnny Knuckles Blue Bell Tavern. But I was in that moment of post-boozing clarity when I felt a heightened awareness of everything around me. Winnie was scatting made-up words to some Cheap Trick song when I interrupted her.
“Winnie, old chap, do you ever look up at the stars and think about how tiny we are? And ask yourself, Why us? Why here? Why now?”
Winnie glanced over at me. “I say, old sport, gotten a bit pensive, have we? Thinking about one’s place in the universe and all that?”
“Yeah, excessive amounts of hard liquor do that to me,” I said. “Sometimes I just wish I knew the answers to the big questions, you know?”
We were silent for a while. Then Winnie said, “Well, dear friend, I’ll tell you what I know for sure on nights like this, looking up at a view like that.”
“And what’s that?” I said.
Winnie waited a beat before answering. “From here, I’ve got a spectacular view of Uranus.”
It was not a split second later that Winnie unleashed the most rancid fart I have ever been witness to in my entire life. We erupted in laughter, rolling and guffawing and crying. “Oh my basset hound ribs,” Winnie said between gasps of air. “They hurt! They hurt!” I was not sure whether my tears were from joy or anguish at the odor.
So lost was I in this reverie, so warmed by this memory as I was certain death was upon me, that I barely realized the fiendish man was presently poking a metal instrument up my ass. I was about to unleash the fury of hell upon him just as he pulled away and the box clamped down on me again. Whether I was there for seconds or days, I cannot recall. But when the box was lifted, I again found myself assaulted by a crew of blue-scrubbed enemy operatives who laced a red leash around my neck, for what reason I don’t know other than total and complete humiliation.
I was carried in my box to another room where my owners were waiting, looking rather alarmed. And I must say: While I continued to put up a holy fuss, growling and hissing and swiping for my dear life, never have I been so happy to see those two faces than that moment after I had, Lazarus-like, risen from the dead. The fiendish man who had administered the shot said something about a “scrape,” and the words “spirited little devil” and “could stand to lose some weight” register somewhere in my memory now like distant echoes across a wide canyon. He used a coat hanger to remove the leash, and it’s a good thing too. I would’ve clawed that hand down to the bone given the chance.
This is not to say I will not exact revenge upon my owners. They will get theirs. But tonight, at least, now that I have put pen to paper and begun to set this cataclysmic trauma behind me, I think I might find a comfy spot on the end of the bed and extend an olive branch of peace. When the alarm goes off tomorrow morning, I suspect I will find it in my heart to saunter up to the pillows and sit on someone’s head, purring and harkening the arrival of — thank God — a new day.
* Zoom Around The Room is copywrited by Fat Cat Inc. Giving your cat a Fat Cat product is a nice gesture, but thinking it will satisfy our craving for catnip once we have experienced Kitty Hooch is like showing up to a knife fight with a spork.
Scooter Thomas shared in the Readers Forum that Starship Troopers made him cry, but not for reasons the filmmakers might have hoped. What movies were so soulless that you cried out of sheer emotional stupor? (Don’t let the fact the cops showed up to the forum scare you. Post here.)