Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lunatic Fringe

Being good pet parents, we dutifully made and kept the appointment yesterday with Dr. Sheila to have our kitten, Bronte, fixed. We dropped her off at 7 a.m., with her pick-up time scheduled anytime after 2 p.m. that day.

The house, during Bronte’s absence, was strangely quiet. Neither one of us had to yell, “No!” “Stop!” “Get Down!”, not even once. Olivia dozed most of the day, and I discovered how much easier it is to sweep the floor without having a cat attached to the broom or belly flopping into a pile of schmutz collected from my sweeping efforts.

But in spite of the quiet reprieve, we kept Bronte in our thoughts and hoped she made it through her surgery with no problems. Around 2:30, David picked her up. Apparently, she had just woken up a short time earlier, so was still pretty groggy. Dr. Sheila said that it may take a couple of hours for that to wear off. During that time, it would be best to keep her in a room to herself.

Upon arriving home, we put Bronte in the spare room and shut the door. This way, Olivia wouldn’t be able to pounce on her, and she could recover in peace. But within minutes, Bronte started meowing – loudly. She didn’t appear to be in pain, just lonely. We tried to let her be for a bit, but she kept increasing the volume. We then decided to let her out and put Olivia in the room instead. That worked better and gave Bronte time to regain her sea legs, so to speak. The poor thing insisted on jumping up on things, only to lose her balance and fall off. After about two hours, she seemed to be more like her normal self…at least that’s what we thought at the time.

We let Olivia out of the room and Bronte promptly started attacking her. Not in a “let’s wrestle quietly here on the floor” kind of attack; more like “let me sink my claws into you and bite your ears off” kind of way. We did our best to keep the wrestling to a minimum because we felt poor Bronte still needed recovery time and may not realize the wear and tear she might put on herself. Silly us. It became quickly apparent that whatever drugs she was given had her in a dimension that defied space and time. She became a LOON-A-TIC! She had this wild, crazed look in her eyes and proceeded to go on a whacked out mission of craziness…more than her usual antics.

I went back and reread the patient care instructions that Dr. Sheila provided to see if I could glean any insights to what was going on. Let me share some observations:

Per the instructions –

“The cat should be given a quiet place to sleep, as the drugs will not be out of her system until tomorrow.”
We tried that “quiet place to sleep” routine earlier and knew that wasn’t going to work. Matter of fact, the cat did not sleep…at all…for the entire night. Okay, she dozed off around 9 p.m., so we all trundled off to bed. But within minutes, she was awake, she was perky, she was a bundle of non-stop energy. After about a half hour of flat out, insane jumping around, biting toes, attacking the dog, and basically being a royal pain in the ass, we put her in the “quiet place to sleep” spare room and shut the door, none too gently. She HOWLED and would not stop. We let her out and the manic behavior escalated. What was the lesser of two evils? A howling banshee or a demon intent on trashing everyone and everything in the house? Either way, sleep was clearly not going to be on our agenda. It got so bad, even Olivia had enough and chased her away.
We managed to doze off for a bit, but woke up to the sounds of things being chased and tossed off of the kitchen counters. This morning we found the mesh strainer from the kitchen sink, a dish towel, and a scrubbie thing for pots and pans strewn around our bedroom floor. And let’s not forget the sponge and nail brush on the kitchen floor, along with the bottle of dish detergent overturned on the counter.
“For two days, the cat’s activities should be moderately restricted.”
Explain to me what “moderately restricted” means. We were dealing with a cat on speed. There was no restricting anything, whatsoever.
“A light supper should be offered the night of the surgery, as the cat may still be sleepy from the anesthetic. Some cats will not eat until the next day.”
We did offer her a small bowl of dry food with a little bit of milk around her normal dinner time, thinking she might just want to nibble a little bit. She wolfed it down in no time flat. Not surprising, as she hadn’t had anything to eat since dinner the night before. But that bowl of food wasn’t enough. She started attacking the plastic bin where we keep her cat food. She wouldn’t let up. We finally gave her more food, which she promptly scarfed down again. “[She] may still be sleepy…” Uh-huh.
 “This cat will not have kittens. If you allow her eat everything she wants she may become obese. This cat already has a lot of abdominal fat.”
See prior paragraph. She was clearly hungry. She was clearly going to continue on her crazed attack, unless she got something to eat. But besides that, the cat weighs four, count ‘em, four pounds! How in the world can she have that much belly fat?
“If the cat seems ill or has other problems, please contact me.”
Oh she has other problems alright. In addition to her reaction to her anesthesia, can someone, anyone, explain to me her absolute obsession with climbing inside the refrigerator? I've already, by accident, shut the door of the fridge with her inside. She has me totally paranoid that I'll inadvertently make her into a catsicle.
To be fair, it’s now Tuesday afternoon, and she’s been mostly sleeping for the last two hours. We’re keeping fingers crossed that the Bronte we know and love is returning to us from her drugged out high. If not, David and I may need drugs to finally get some sleep.
P.S. Bronte’s brother, Nelson, had his appointment to be fixed today. We thought it only fair to alert his parents, David and Dianna, of Bronte’s behavior. If it runs in the family, they could have their hands full at this very moment. God help them, their other cat, April, and their three dogs. They could be in for a long, long night.

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