Friday, July 23, 2010

Cat Bites As a Torture Device?

Our 15 year-old cat Dusty recently began exhibiting VERY annoying behavior--much akin to a pestering child who asks WHY?? 5 million times in one day. He has always been vocal. When we first 'rescued' him, he howled all night long. We  immediately knew WHY he had been abandoned and were quite sympathetic with the abandoners. 

Back to the present. Dusty ramped up his meow volume, multiplying its frequency and intensity  until we thought our heads would explode. Perhaps the military should consider hiring Dusty for their musical torture interrogations. I understand why the MEOW mix commercial made it to #9 on the top 10 hits for torturing prisoners.  

He also started acting like a rapid crazed animal--knocking over garbage cans to scavenge food. I caught him ripping apart a chicken carcass. He managed to knock open a tupperware that I had left in a cooler and devoured the Greek spanakopita. Who knew cats liked Greek food? Most disconcerting was when we were attempting a rare family dinner and he leaped up in the air, grabbing the food out of my husband's hand, scarfing it down before he landed on the floor. 

Despite his advanced age, and physical deterioration--the swayback, ribs poking out, he seemed to have LOTS of energy when it came to asking for or stealing food. My vast veterinary training told me that he was just old and about to die. My husband was in agreement. Thus we suffered his antics for a couple of months before taking him to the vet. 

Like most cats, Dusty does not like the vet. He bites the vet at every opportunity. He even showed off his loud howl when the vet gave him a shot in his rump. Good news!! My animal is not rapid and does not need to have a vocalectomy to render him soundless. He has HYPOTHYROID, which is causing his erratic behavior. 

Solution? We only have to give him a pill twice a day. For those of you who have given cats pills, you know this is not an easy feat. Google has 2 million sites dedicated to this phenomenon. My favorite is How to Give Your Cat a Pill in 20 Easy Steps The last step suggests calling the SPCA to take the cat and going to pet store to buy a hamster. The vet gives Dusty his first pill and it looks VERY easy. I can do this. 

That night Ian and I are practicing civility towards each other. Honey, will you please help me give the cat the pill? He responds--Of course my sweetness. Let me change my clothes. I ask him whether he wants to HOLD the cat or do the pill part. Since I am giving him a choice, I of course think that he will do the chivalrous thing and do the pill part. Since you gave me a choice, I want to hold the cat. This is when civility breaks down. I would rather hold the cat. Why don't you jam the pill down his throat? He responds with a little LESS civility, YOU GAVE ME A CHOICE AND I'MNOTJAMMINGTHEPILLDOWNTHECAT'STHROAT! I don't give up easily. I badger. Why don't you want to jam the pill down the cat's throat? Why is it always MY responsibility to take care of the pets? In a slightly more rational tone, he says that he doesn't want to get bitten. 

FINE! I'll do the pill part. As you probably guessed, it did not go smoothly. As I pried Dusty's jaws open and tried to push the pill in, he chomped down on my thumb. Instead of showing concern, my husband insists that he KNEW this would happen and he didn't want to have a catbite on HIS thumb. He then proceeds to tell me about how DANGEROUS cat bites are and how I can DIE from infection. 

I went to the ultimate expert to read about cat bite treatments--GOOGLE. in particular provided excellent insight. 
Cats have teeth. Cats have sharp teeth. A cat will bite when it's upset. A cat will bite hard when it's very upset. Cat bites hurt. Cat bites in your finger joints hurt a lot.

The author should win a genius research grant. She did say that she spent 4 days in the hospital from a cat bite, which resulted in having both her hands amputated. (ok--i lied about the last part) Apparently 80% of all bites result in infection.

I watch my thumb for signs of infection. Then I go to the beach to visit a friend. A few days go by and Ian calls to inquire about the status of my catbite. When I look at my hand, there is a blister and large swelling in the bite area. It kind of looks like leprosy. Now, I'm unsure if this means that I'm onmyway towards DEATH or if it is a result from burning my thumb on the stove and/or touching the water that comprises the jellyfish soup a.k.a. the Long Island Sound. I SLATHER antibiotic cream on my hand 10x/day and pray for a miracle. 

Thankfully I avoid amputation and Dusty is allowed to remain alive for a while longer, as is my husband. I determine that the military is wasting their time using the Meow Mix commerical as a torture device. Dusty and his friends can be the new secret weapon. Cat bites as a means to break down those prisoners.

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