Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Aguado Got More For Christmas Than I Will

A year or two ago Puck and I noticed cat furniture at Costco. We thought about it, but passed because we figured it'd be there next month...not! So everytime our conversation drifts toward stimulating our aging cat, Aguado, thought eventually turns back to the huge cat condos they had at costco. Well, a couple of weeks ago I was sent by the Missus to pick up a few things that would've worked out to about $100, and a cat condo wasn't on that list. So the dilemna hit me when I hit the "cat corner" of costco and saw the condos there besides the litter and cat food. It was $99.99, but I was just at PetSmart earlier to get greenies and a litter mat, so I was slightly comforted by knowing that smaller cat condos there were $169.99. 'So', I thought to myself, 'is Puck going to be down with doubling this shopping trip or what?' I had her bank card with me at the time and hell if I know how much money is in there. 'I'm doing it' I thought. Any pissyness she feels will be overcome by the pee-in-her-pants excitement of her cat kicking it in a cat condo. With the decision now made, I attempted to move this 5 foot trump-tower of a cat condo and realized I had more immediate problems.

I looked at the condo. I looked back at the cart. I did it again realizing now that this wasn't going to work. I hadn't picked up too much yet, so it wasn't a big deal. I abandoned my cart in search of the orange flat carts. I get to the front and all I see are a few pairs that were inextricably stuck together. Some ass of a costco employee just watches me without offering any freaking help. After a few more minutes of this I see one all alone that someone must have dropped off while I was trying to break one of the pairs apart.

Flat cart in my paws, I made my way back to my abandoned cart and the cat condo. Everything was there. I'm going to guesstimate this thing is about 60-70 lbs so I was more pulling and dragging this thing and then lying it flat on the cart. I was definitely getting a lot of looks as I picked up the rest of the stuff on the list. Little 'ole me, with a cat condo almost bigger than I am with odds-and-ends conveniently tucked away in the cat condo.

The last problem I had thought a little of but came to the forefront when I got to the receipt checkers was some guy commenting on how cool the condo was and assuming I had brought a truck to take it home. I was like, "No, but I have a subaru". If we still had the old Impreza, my attempts to take the condo home would have been fruitless short of tying the thing down to the roof of the car. In the new 5 door all I had to do was put down the back seats and push the passenger seat a bit forward and it was in there nicely. I had to back into the garage. It went up the stairs alright.

We greenied the hell out of Aguado so he'd have a pleasant connection with his new piece of furniture. If we'd been a bit more patient, the catnip would eventually have pulled him in it. We have it on top of the stairs next to the ledge so he can jump on his ledge and then jump up to the top of the --nevermind, I'll get a picture posted by tommorrow. He even slept in it a few days ago during the day instead of his usual hiding places under the bed or in the closet.

The snow is almost all melted over here. It's still really cold--below 40F. I'm still working on Mario Kart in small doses. I still need to at least get first in the 100cc cups--I've done like 2. I'll get there in a week or so.

Krang. Must. Have. Teh Kittay. Pics! Nows!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Insert Teh Kitty Here!

Well, I finally met Teh Kitty (vet name Jake) this Thanksgiving.  The people he's taking care of are o.k., but man does Teh know how to scare the bejeezus out of me.  So we're in the guest bedroom, and after settling in the bed Puck and I hear a distinct knock.  I get up, being closest to the door and all, assuming it's Krang wanting to do something with the computer, and open the door to see


I got frightened for a moment, staring out into the dark hall.

Then I looked down, and there he was looking back up at me menacingly.

Slowly, I backed away from the door, Teh Kitty swept quickly through the room, looking for God knows what, and in another flash he was out and scampering back into the darkness from whence he came, his claws partially sliding, partially tapping along the hardwood floors.  A few seconds later I heard tiny thumps added in.   He must have been half running, half sliding down the stairs to the bottom floor.

'I want a cool cat like that, just not so scary and ugly' I thought to myself as I climbed back into bed to go to sleep.!  Nows!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dying Cats Can't Suck

Jazzy-Jazz, as my pilgrim bride likes to call her, is still not doing well. In fact, we were going to have her euthanized yesterday afternoon per the vet's recommendation. The vet called yesterday and said that our cat had more yellow fluid in her abdominal cavity and the fact that she hadn't really gotten any better despite steady fluids over the weekend meant that she probably did have F.I.P. Slightly curious to me was that they never gave her the test for it until yesterday despite having giving her the blood test for exposure to corona virus the day she was hospitalized. Despite feeling the way she did, she ran the test anyway before calling us and then gave us the option of waiting for that test to come back and say yes she has F.I.P no doubt about it, or spare ourselves further heartache and euthanize in the near future. She informed me that the test takes 3-5 days to come back. I didn't really dwell on that at the time because I wanted the vet to stop beating around the bush and give her opinion as to whether we should put her through 3-5 days of force feedings or help her go with some dignity. The vet, after a few times having to repeat the simple question to her over and over finally opined that if it were her cat, she would have it euthanized. My head didn't go back to the previous thought above that if it were her opinion the cat pretty much has F.I.P....

a) Why didn't she run the test the first day she was hospitalized?

b) Why did she run the blood test before she called me to tell me the cat isn't doing any better and probably has the disease she decided to wait until today to test for?

Anyways, I was too wrapped up emotionally in anticipating my wife's reaction to this news and wrapping my own emotions around the hard, cold fact our cat was going to die to pin those two inconsistencies to a bulletin board hanging on a firm wall within my head. So I became pretty pragmatic and informed the vet we would most likely agree to have Jasmine euthanized, but I would need to speak to my wife about it and get back to her. She suggested that if my wife agreed I could just call her back and she could have it done to avoid us further pain, noting we hadn't owned the animal for that long and may just want it done a.s.a.p.. That kinda woke me up a bit emotionally and my response was that I didn't know if Nancy would want to be there but at least I did want to see it take place. She said I could but didn't seem to enthused about that but I didn't pay that any attention. So the call ended somberly and I braced myself to call Nance.

So I called Nancy and informed her what the situation and options were. She was o.k. about having the cat euthanized and preferred to see Jasmine before it happened, but didn't want to see her put to sleep. I expressed to her how I felt (I wanted to see the whole thing through, and as to this moment I still can't explain why). We ended our conversation and I called the vet back and I told her what we'd decided upon and that we could be there between 4:30 and 5 P.M. and if that was o.k. She stated it was fine and she didn't leave work until 6 P.M. No other rules of etiquette regarding euthanizing were laid out by the vet as to what we were supposed to do when we got there and how the process was supposed to go.

So we get to the vet's office about 4:40 P.M. or so and we give our names and inform the vet assistant at the counter that we're here for Jasmine and she's supposed to, I think I used the term 'put down'. The lady asked for our last names printed up the bill, and while the printer was still chugging out the paper said to the effect that your balance is yada yada dollars. We informed her that her office had already charged our card the day we checked her into the hospital so it's on file and we had already paid about 98% of the price she had said. Her response was, o.k. you still owe yada yada dollars, someone will have your cat waiting for you in room 1. I don't think our names, the name of our cat, nor the word sorry came out of that woman's mouth. It was getting me pretty angry. What I was angry about was that either she was pretty callous, or that she wasn't meaning to be callous but wasn't listening when we said that we were here to see our cat get put to sleep. In her defense, it later became evident that the woman was new at the job because on our way out the other vet assistant had to assist the lady who'd we dealt with when we arrived pretty much check us out. Specifically I remember her telling the women to pay attention as she did something on the computer screen to reprint our bill as we left the office. Which leads me to what happened once we sat in the waiting room waiting for Jasmine.

So we sit down in the waiting room and share in meaningless conversation just to break up the silence in the room. A vet assistant brings in Jasmine wrapped up in a pillow sham and sits her on the metal exam table and within 30-45 seconds after that Nancy begins to cry. The crying experience for Burdicks is a bit different than most human beings I've encountered. It is, like most other things Burdicks do, quite inaudible. The only reason I knew she had started crying is because I turned to my right and looked at her eyes and face, which were both very red. It's in some ways both a blessing and a curse that Nancy isn't much of a crier. A curse in that she suppresses a lot of emotions that I have to pull out of her sometimes. A blessing in that sometimes crying can be a very annoying thing about women, especially when it seems to be over not very much at all. Well, this was a big deal, but I was still surprised to see her crying, as she's probably cried less times total than the number of years we've been married and we haven't even been married 10 years yet.

Nancy eventually stops crying after a few minutes. Time marches on and on. It's now after 5 P.M. and we're both kinda wondering what's going on but also realize we're not the only ones with a sick pet and maybe not the only animal to be put to sleep at this clinic today. We wait patiently some more. I start to become angry at the staff and hospital while still expressing to Nancy that I'm probably nitpicking them because I am upset that our cat has to die whether we like it or not and I'm scapegoating the closest thing possible. I guess in short I was trying to keep perspective. But we were confused. What was the etiquette of this? Were we supposed to walk back out to the front desk, wait in line again to tell them again to kill our cat? I still really don't know the answer to this question. I'd never visited a vet office in my entire life. Maybe my expectation that the doctor was going to come in and let us know she was ready to do her job and to say our last good-byes wasn't reasonable. At the very least there wasn't enough communication between the vet and myself on the logistics of putting our cat to sleep in her office. So at about a few minutes before 6 P.M. I told Nancy that this was ridiculous, the cat carrier was still conveniently in the car from the day we brought her here, and I was going to go get it, bring it back, and Jasmine was leaving with us.

And that's what we did. We did go back up to the front desk and inform them that we'd kinda waited for the doctor and that we'd now changed our minds and would take Jasmine home. We also asked them to redo our bill without the euthanization charge on it. Her response was, 'oh she's better now?' I don't really remember how I answered that one but I held my anger and contempt in check and gave a rather muted response that basically no she's not better. The bill thing was especially hard because we had to ask her to print a bill as she wasn't offering to give us one to look at, even that first time when we checked in and she quoted what we owed the vet. Again in her defense I think that wasn't purely callousness, but that she didn't know how and the person that did was busy with someone else. The lady wasn't mean now that I'm looking back at it, it was more that she is the type of personality that cannot admit it when they do not know how to do something, which we would have totally understood because everyone is new at one point in time.

So anyways after we asked for the revised bill on our way out I believe the vet assistant/cashier/receptionist woman knocked on the door right behind her which was the vet's office. Went in, and came out about 5 seconds and finally offered something that addressed what was irking us for the last hour and a half. She said that it was o.k. for us to take Jasmine home. I stated oh, o.k. well, we're leaving now, thanks for the revised copy of the bill and we were on our way. As we walked away the doctor was still in her office, still engaging in what sounded like a personal conversation with someone else in there. She never stepped out of that office. When we got back into line with Jasmine in her carrier I had noticed that there was someone blabbing away in that office almost non-stop but the voice was indistinct. So after the receptionist came and went from that room did I realize that had been the vet that was talking up a storm with who knows.

So Nance and I rehashed everything about this visit and how disgusted we were. We get home and apparently the Dr., at 6:07 P.M. called and left us a message saying it was our right to take Jasmine home, she thought we were still saying our goodbyes to Jasmine and that when we were ready we should have let someone know to let her know we were ready for her to be put to sleep. Again, my expectations may be unreasonable as a first time user of vet services for a pet, but I thought it was pretty clear when we said we'll be there between 4:30 and 5 P.M. that somewhere around there something was going to happen. Again, I'm no vet etiquette specialist here, but I think a half-assed voicemail blaming us for being more assertive/not taking control of the euthanization process at their animal hospital was lame. Very lame. Put in more blunt terms Nancy our I should have left the exam room, got back in line, and requested again for our pet to be put to sleep...I can't wrap my head around that one still. Maybe I should have ordered a singing telegram or a skywriter, too. Oh and the voicemail message stressed twice that the I.V. needed to be taken out of Jasmine's paw. Yup, we knew that. Between me receiving them and Nance's doling them out as care on people, I think we've got that one covered. I inspected her paw this morning and the swelling of it has disappeared. It looked like some kind of cartoon cat clown paw because the I.V. had infiltrated.

So anger put aside at the moment, Jasmine is at home with a little bit more weight on her because of the hospital's force feedings. She's still pretty sick and she won't eat. She's just basically hiding out in different spots in the house resting. I feel terribly about her. We're going to bring her to another vet this afternoon to put her to sleep. We decided we weren't giving the hospital that treated us like dirt after they got our thousand dollars the pleasure.

In a week or so I'm going to make a kind of conspiracy oriented post about how that vet kind of took us for a ride and the little things that the vet did and didn't do, did say and didn't say along with other things that were weird when we look back at it now disillusioned with the sincerity of this vet for at least our pet.

I'm kinda happy we have an extra day with her because if she'd gone out surrounding some of the callous stuff that went on yesterday it would be impossible to not have our last day with Jazzy-Jazz tainted. Hopefully we can make it right for her and us today :(

Monday, June 9, 2008

We've become a bit concerned

So the feisty little Jasmine that we took home has stopped eating for the most part, and just isn't her energetic self. This weekend Nancy and I brainstormed what could be wrong. So we did web searches on 'cat stopped eating' and 'cat obsessed with plastic' to try to get a clue as to what's wrong.

After reading other people with similar problems on message boards we think she's a bit depressed because we took her plastic away from her. One of her quirks we discovered upon adopting her was that she was obsessed with chewing plastic. Nance and I proceeded to take away all the plastic in the house so she wouldn't accidently choke or suffocate herself. We think that made her a pretty sad kitty. She became increasingly withdrawn to the point of mainly sleeping under our bed all day and maybe drinking a bit of water.

So today I've strewn a few plastic grocery bags around and kept our bathroom door open (it's empty except for the plastic bag liner) to see if that makes her happy enough to enjoy life again and eat. We also bought her a small rubber chew toy just in case she takes to that for her plastic fix. We bought a bunch of varieties of cat food wet and dry just in case she's just finicky.

On the eating front she was really enthusiastic to dry food when we first brought her home so we were like, 'great'. She would only lick the juices from the wet food pouches while Aguado chowed down on all the whatever it is cat food is made of. She's withdrawn to the point we have to place her at the food dish and maybe she licks some of the juices and if she's eating dry food it's when we're asleep.

She was already skinny when we got her and our scale doesn't show a pound of weight loss yet but I'm sure she's close. Hopefully Jasmine is back to her old bitchy self soon.