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RG the Cat Guy can’t handle the tooth


If you go ogle “cat attitude study” on your closest search engine, within a minute you are greeted with 29,100,000 results — all ready to tell you (especially if you are owned by a cat) what you can figure out for yourself.

That is … trust your first instinct.

If your cat is upset with you — IF! (I crack myself up sometimes) — there are easy tells.

There’s the Death Ray Stare, the one that bypasses surface interaction and breaks through the door to your soul like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.”

Or, the Head of Your Household can emit the dreaded Howl of Disgust — a half-hearted harrumph which translates thusly: “As long as you insist on still being here … feed me.”

If you’re lucky, the cat will simply go into Full Garbo mode, and demand that one of you vamoose while the vamoosing is good.

The other morning, I should have been so lucky.

One of my duties, which I am overly-compensated for by being allowed to live in her house, is to fill the food dish before heading to bed.

But on this particular evening, this task was not completed — no fresh kibble, no dish even — since she was headed the next day (without her knowledge or permission) to have her teeth check.

I awoke, stepped out of bed … and onto a swirl of chocolate soft-serve left in just the spot where she knew I would find it.

Well, I thought … in the immortal words of The Church Lady, isn’t that special?

The only thing missing was a note reading “… and the horse you rode in on.”

I mean, scanning through 29,100,000 links about feline frustration wasn’t going to tell me more than was readily apparent. I didn’t even need to send an emergency email to Dr. Fox.

“Dear Dr. Fox: What does this mean?”

“Dr. Fox: It means you’re on her … list.”


Dental work had made its way through her household this year, and finally it was her turn — although any servant will tell you that having a cat’s teeth examined only leads to having to have your head examined.

A cleaning and two extractions later, we shared a very quiet — “too quiet,” as they say in a Western — ride home. Just the driver, the aggrieved party … and a combination of meds.

Unfortunately, these were for her.

Now, let’s review, shall we?

She went unfed overnight, was packed against her will into a carry-case, driven to the vet’s office, left behind by her servants, drugged, had her mouth scrubbed and two teeth yanked, then left to recuperate as the drugs wore off and I arrived to take her home.

“She’s such a sweetheart,” I was told after being handed the carry case. “No trouble at all.”

I did what any parent would do upon hearing such compliments about their child … I checked to see whether they’d given me the right cat.

There was a tranquil middle of the day, an eye of the storm during which she slept it off and ate a bit, while we planned our strategy for the drug-dispensing mission ahead.

A needless syringe filled with a pain killer, and an antibiotic in tablet form, each to be administered twice a day, 12 hours apart.

Easy-peasy … what could go wrong?

Stop laughing.

If you have trouble getting her to take the antibiotic, we were told, hide it in some unsalted butter and have her take it that way.

Okay, a couple of things here.

Do you know how many different kids of butter there are on the dairy shelf at your average grocery store? We clearly sent the wrong person to buy some, for I stood there befuddled, examining ingredients lists before fulfilling this task.

Now, of course, as anyone reading this knows, we now have a useless package of unsalted butter in the refrigerator — for she licked the butter and left the tablet alone.

I hadn’t seen such an expert example of it’s-good-for-you avoidance since our mother tried to hide a carrot slice inside my brother’s mashed potatoes.

Step 2 involved one of us wrapping her in a towel, holding her firmly and coaxing her mouth open … while I attempted to drop the antibiotic into her mouth.

Stop laughing.

We once had a cat who could be the subject of more than half of those studies all on his own.

We tried the towel-and-drop method on him once, then waited until we saw and heard evidence of the gulp before releasing him.

First came the Death Ray Stare, then the Howl of Disgust, then he spit out the tablet at our feet, turned tail and went Full Garbo on us until we came to our senses.

This week’s first attempt went no better and, although we carried on intrepidly, the entire sturm and drang did unite the three of us in one regard.

Dr. Fox might be expecting a letter from the vet’s office.

Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin is rarely off his meds at rgalvin@rosebudmedia.com