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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Moles or Medicine?

Elaine wasn’t due to go to the vet for two more months, but here she was, just wasting away in front of us and yowling about it the whole time, too. I made an appointment for last Monday. Getting Elaine into the cat carrier has always been, to put it mildly, problematic. You could pop treats in there or sprinkle it with catnip, but she was not enticed. Since her last check-up, we inherited one of those small, fabric carriers from my daughter’s cat. While it is quite a bit smaller than our own carrier – in which we transported two cats – Elaine, amazingly, allowed herself to be poured right into it.


Not only was she put into her carrier without any of my blood being drawn, but she was relatively calm in the car. There was meowing, yes there was, but much less than usual, and she calmed more readily to my voice. Now if you’ve ever tried to actually talk for an entire car trip, even the 18 minutes it takes to get to our vet, you will realize it’s not as easy as it seems. My only refuge is to filk. Old filks (the famed, Pussycat’s Deck the Halls and Good Morning, Dear Pussycat) and new filks (variations on Jingle Bells and ‘Tis a Gift to be Simple) were growled out of a throat still hoarse from bronchitis. At least Elaine didn’t yowl along. An added benefit: this carrier weighs a third of the old one, so carrying her was waaay easier.
The vet gave Elaine a good check up. Aside from the arthritis in her hips, she is in really good shape for a 16-year-old cat. Except . . . . Why is there always oan except? The vet took some blood, and Tuesday he confirmed that Elaine suffers from a hyper-thyroid. This explains the daily in-the-basement yowling, the constant hunger, the weight loss, the inability to swallow chunks of food (the swollen thyroid impinges on her esophagus).
Hyper-thyroidism is easily controllable with medication. A medicine dropper twice a day and voila! Except, well, has my vet ever tried to give Elaine a dropper full of medicine? I think not.

Not that it can’t be done once. Maybe twice. However, experience has taught me that by the third dose, Elaine won’t come anywhere near me.
The medicine is tuna flavored. “Some cats love it,” the vet tech told me with a smile. Yeah, right. I strategized that here we have a cat who will eat dead birds and mice and even gnaw on the occasional mole. Maybe she’d accept tuna juice squirted into her favorite evaporated milk? Nope. Cold moles seem to be more appealing that tuna-flavored milk.
In the end, I did exactly what the tech told me not to do (because you never know how much she’s getting). I squirted it onto her cat food. This morning she downed it without a glance. I see that some of tonight’s food still remains. However, I have hopes. Not that I’ll fool Elaine. I’ll never be able to do that, but hopes that she’ll accept the unusual concoction
Without the medication, of course, Elaine will eventually die. She’ll stop being able to swallow, he heart will continue to race, she’ll become more emaciated. And maybe that will happen. Hey, maybe that’s Elaine’s plan. She’s smart, and she’s stubborn, never a good combination.

Oh, dear, it’s like a bolt from the blue: the parallels to my mother are endless.

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