Any day on which you have to inform your vet in the most convincing tone you can muster that you are not actually trying to kill your kittens is not a great day.
Since we’ve had the, neither kitten has had two consecutive solid poops. I know Heather Armstrong makes no pretenses about conversing on the more fecally-related aspect of life, and I found all her insights lovely and entertaining, but I must admit that until we got kittens, I never really had common ground with her when it came to matters-of-the-bum. Life with kittens revolves around poop. Diarrhea, to be specific. The boys I hooked up with Sophomore year COULD NOT EVEN RECOGNIZE ME NOW, my life is so involved in the poop of these two cats. (To be fair, they probably couldn’t recognize me anyway, poop or no poop, but poop is what I’ve got, so poop is what I’m working with.)
Then last week, Moose pooped out blood. You know how sometimes, I tend to over react, and sometimes, when it’s a real emergency, I revert back into Nanny Mode and could fix broken arms with nothing more than some chewing gum and a toothpick? I can always tell whether or not it’s a real emergency by whether or not I’m freaking out. If I freak out, chances are it’s nothing. If my brain instead starts quickly and quietly flipping through my Oh, Shit! Rolodex, I know we’re really buggered.
You see blood in your boyfriend’s stupid cat’s butt-juice and you whip that rolodex out faster then you did when you had to find a way to explain to your mother how your sister’s arm has a bruise the perfect shape of your fist, and why she suddenly has no interest in raiding your closet any more.
I bagged the poop and dropped it off at the vet for testing. That night, Moose pooped out worms, ACTUAL LIVE WORMS, and I did what I always do when the cats are into something gross: I demanded that James COME LOOK THIS INSTANT! He was equally impressed with the grossness.
Then I flushed them. Because surely if there were full-grown worms (3 of them) in this poop, they CERTAINLY found worms in the poop we dropped off earlier that day, right?
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong wrong. So, so wrong. Painfully incorrect. And the next week, we spent countless hours cracking open litter-dried kitty poop in hopes of finding more worms. Or stalking the kittens every time they looked at the litter box, in hopes of catching a fresh puddle of poo. Have you ever HOPED your kitten would have the squirts, Internet? Have you ever hunkered down with the litter shovel and waited, searching eagerly for signs of life in the ooze?
It’s a low-point, folks. That’s all I’ll say about it.
A week passed. No worms. Not. A. Single. Fucking. Worm. Lots of blood, some mucus, LOTS of poop, but no worms. My mother likes to point out a lot that trying times lead to Growth of Character. My mother encourages this type of growth, as apparently, it makes you a better person. You learn stuff about yourself, you see. At 23 years old, I’m at quota for Stuff I’ve Learned About Myself This Week, and so, learning that I have issues with poop just about shoved me over the edge of my mental capacity.
Blood? I can handle. Vomit? No problem. You have mucus? Snot? Puss? I’m totally your girl. I can handle almost every bodily excrement you can come up with with grace and nonchalance. Being a Nanny in Tribeca will do that for you. Being a founding sister in a sorority will do that for you. But nothing… I repeat: nothing can take away my aversion to poop. Having to sift through poop for a week straight was more than my constitution and gag reflex could handle.
Thank God that boyfriend of mine has balls of steel and zero olfactory issues.
Finally, last night, Moose’s pooped simplified itself down to, essentially, blood and worms. I tossed it in a baggie with efficiency of which my mother would have been proud. Jubilant, I texted James. He was equally excited about the worms, which just tells you how perfect we are for one another. I was all “WORMS!!! I GOT WORMS!!” and he was all “YOU ARE A TOTAL ROCKSTAR!”
Welcome to my new reality.
We took the worms to the vet, complete with the poop. They couldn’t see anything. I started to lose my temper, so James kindly turned the gentleman vet tech around so the steam shooting from my ears would not alarm him, and nobly poked at the baggie of poop again until he found what we identified as A WORM. The vet tech agreed and gave us pills for both kittens.
Let me just say that again, in case you missed it: P.I.L.L.S.
Do you know what’s harder than getting a kitten into its carrier when it feels it should be allowed to roam free and hunt toes at its leisure? Convincing a kitten that it REALLY DOES want to swallow a massive, foul-tasting pill. Kitty-putty did not work. Breaking it into smaller pieces did not work. Trying to get Elephant to take it so Moose would get on board did not work.
Finally, I flipped Ellie over and cracked open her little mouth and pushed the quarter-pill back as far as I could. I had read Kittens for Dummies. I sorta-knew what I was getting myself into. I blew on her nose. I massaged her through. I watched her VERY CAREFULLY…
And that’s how I knew that she was choking on the pill before James caught on. I saw her arch her neck a little, and felt her body tense in my hand. “I think she’s choking.”
He leaned in closer, “No… I think…I think she’s OK…” Her jaw dropped open and a bit of spit slid down her lip, her eyes bugged out of her head a bit.
The voice in the back of my head said, evenly and calmly, She is choking. Heimlich. Gentle. Once. Up, under the rib cage.
“She’s choking!” I said it once, assertively, and took the butt of my palm and hit her once under her rib cage because I could tell she was about to buck out of my grasp. I felt the pill pop out of her windpipe… I heard it. I felt her suck a deep breath in, and then she got really calm. She stood still for a moment and I leaned in to make sure that her chest was moving. She was breathing, slowly, through her nose. She wasn’t moving, she was holding her own head up, eyes wide but not bugged, and she was breathing. I looked at James. “She’s breathing. Is she breathing? She’s breathing. RIGHT!” He leaned in. He told me she was breathing. I took a deep breath, let it out, and started sobbing uncontrollably. Hysterically.
Ellie had almost choked on a pill literally right in the palm of my hands.
It took me longer than I’d like to admit to pull myself back together. I had to hold her a couple times, and see that she would play, and run around, and wiggle to get away to go get her toy before I could calm down. I was a wreck. She’s my little Evil Kitten. If I ever lost her, I don’t know what I’d do.
We decided to grind the pills to powder and mix it with their food. Our cats are picky eaters, sure. They’re a little spoiled, fine. Once or twice we’ve given them new dinners because they didn’t seem thrilled with one kind of kitten food, so what? They’d totally eat the food with the yucky meds in it and not make a fuss, right?
Have I mentioned we’re morons? Like, no one should trust us with children, under any circumstances, EVER. They got through three, maybe four minutes of semi-eating the food and then quit completely, more than half the dose still in each dish. We scrambled a little, trying to keep them interested in their snack, to no avail. James went to get something from the fridge, or the freezer, and an empty wine bottle came crashing down from the top of the appliance to the hard ceramic tile floor. Shattered. Glass. Everywhere.
I yelled for James to grab Moose as I pulled Ellie into my lap and we put both cats into the bathroom. Shards were everywhere, they both needed baths to make sure that glass in their coats was not ingested when they cleaned themselves. Moose hates baths; Ellie tolerated her fourth bath this week. James had his panic-face on, so I stated that we had to call the vet, explain that they both got partial doses, explain that their food was contaminated and ask what we should do.
The Grammercy Animal Hospital, being angels of mercy, told me to bring the cats right in, and that a tech would administer the pills. “Uh, they’re both soaked,” I had to explain. She didn’t understand. “Well, the glass,” I said. “I washed them to make sure that there were no pieces in their coats.”
She told me I was smart, that I had done the right thing, and I wanted to cry, because it was the third time I thought we were going to kill the cats today. When I explained the same thing to the vet tech, who had no problem getting Ellie to swallow half her pill, and only had to try twice to get Moose to cooperate, he looked at me with slight astonishment on his face.
“I’m sorry we’re back here again today,” I told him, referencing when we were in earlier and I almost yelled at him for not being able to see the worms that were MAKING MY CAT POOP BLOOD. “I swear to God, we’re just trying really hard not to kill these cats.”
He laughed, only charged us for one pill, and let us take our babies home. They slept in the carrier, are eating and drinking, and will hopefully poop out all the evil parasites over the next few days while we’re on vacation.
It’s 9PM, and I’m totally wired from all the adrenaline of the day, just now starting to ease off the high. Now there’s just a quiet anticipation bubbling around the edges of a heavy gratitude that all our mishaps and adventures today landed heads-up each time. Nobody was cut. The cats have their medicines. James and I were a powerhouse team through it all.
Tomorrow night, I get to start my vacation, where I get to introduce the monsters to my Mama, and I get to spend time with my Dad.
Most importantly, I’ll get to meet Jonas, and hug Kristin, who is very relieved at simultaneously finding herself in the middle of a beautiful new family and also no longer pregnant.
I bet her boobs are totally huge.
After a wobbly day here in Weebleville, I can tell you we’re all going to rest easy tonight knowing that we managed to prance around the dark spots once again. Weebles wobble, sure. But we’re all still standing. And everyone is excited to try again tomorrow.
45ezxA#GHt … Love, Ellie.