Friday, July 27, 2007

Going to the vet's plus the bad weather

Do you think cats can mind-read?

Our two seem to be able to do so, or are very attuned to our
general mood or body language. We took them earlier this week
to see the vet for their annual check-up and jabs - this was
on Monday. I went downstairs to feed them and make myself a
cup of tea at about 6.30 in the morning, and there they both
were, hanging around their food bowls waiting for their food,
as they usually do.

Anyway, after I’d put some food in their bowls, I nipped
downstairs to blockade the cat flap in the back garage door
to stop them getting out of our house (our house has got
three floor levels, by the way). Unusually, they followed me
into the garage about half a minute later, either to
see what I was up to, or to make a sharp exit. And for the
next few hours they kept their distance, dashing past us if
either Mrs C or I approached them.

Over the years we’ve just about perfected how we catch them
… although the cats always put up a last minute struggle and
howl a lot when we pop them in the baskets. I remember the
time when they were younger and smaller, and when we took
them to the vet's in just one basket … the first one inside
the basket would zoom out as soon as we tried to get the
second one in … quite funny with hindsight, though
frustrating for us at the time.

They’re quite different at the vet’s – they have to be
dragged out of their baskets, and usually stay very meekly
on the vet’s table during the check-up, etc..

They also take evasive action whenever it’s time to dob them
with their anti-flea treatment. The makers of the stuff
recommend giving this every 4 weeks all year round, though
we tend to give them it every 6 weeks and for about the six
months of the year around summertime … touch wood, this has
worked for us. We do our best to conceal what we’re doing
while we’re opening up the lotions, but somehow our cats
sense this even when they’re having a cat-nap. So getting
this stuff on them can take about a day or so, when we can
grab them unawares.

Rather than trying to pin them to the floor, when if they’re
on carpet they switch on their four-wheel drives, and often
struggle free, I now pick one of them up swiftly with one
hand and dab the stuff on the back of her neck with the other.
They zoom off at top speed afterwards, and about 20 seconds
later we see them hurdling over the wooden garden fence
outside, to make their get-away.

We’ve got more fun and games with them in future as our vet
has advised us to worm them every 4 weeks, as we’ve got very
young children visiting us from time to time. The vet’s given
us a special spoon/syringe to get the pills down their
throats - as neither of us are good at getting stuff past
their teeth. I don’t think I could have been a vet, as I
don’t like being bitten – hamster teeth are amongst the
worst, don’t you think? –- they’ve got needle-sharp chompers.

Those of you who are living abroad may have heard that
parts of the UK are under flood-water at present – affecting
low-lying areas around the Severn and Thames in particular.
People have been without proper drinking water and
electricity for days, and have had their houses ruined.
For those who have stayed inside their waterlogged houses,
what do they use for a toilet, I wonder?

And how are GPs managing to run their surgeries in such
areas? Have they set up themselves in tents on hillsides
nearby, and are they examining people lying down on camp
beds? Smear tests by torchlight? "Just take your clothes off
behind the screen, Mrs B, and put them and your wellies just
by the paraffin heater.... Oh dear, I could do with some new
batteries for this torch ... now, let's have a look inside."

We’ve had the wettest summer here since 1903. This time last
year, it was very dry and hot. Hosepipe restrictions were
in force and our reservoirs were drying up. We were being
advised to plant plants in our gardens that could withstand
such weather, and that a Mediterranean-style climate would
become the norm for the UK. I thought this would be great
– we Brits wouldn’t have to travel abroad as much, for the
sun. However, this year we’ve had the worst June and July,
in terms of rainfall, for a century. And then we read about
the high temperatures in central and southern Europe, 45
deg C or so, and 500 people dying of the heat in Hungary
this week. What’s going on? Is it just a natural blip in
the weather, or is it all due to global warming, or a bit
of both?


Blogger angel said...

i've heard some stories about european weather dude- very strange!
as for the furbabies- they are SO smart when it comes to changes in "routine"! my three are the same at the vet, as in won't come out of their carriers... but they're much easier to get into the carriers as the boxes're permanently on the floor with their doors wired open. they're part of their territory & greebo even hides in one of them during thunderstorms...

8:43 PM  
Blogger justin said...

Hi Angel: yes, we do something similar with our cat carriers -- we put them out in our dining area about 2 weeks before the trip to the vet -- sometimes we find one of our cats fast asleep inside one of them.

5:26 AM  

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