Magic is on seraquin for her knee joints. She thinks these are so delicious as you hold it out between finger and thumb she very delicately wraps her paw round your little finger and softly guides your hand towards her mouth. It is a tender, lovely little moment twice each day. As soon as I say 'tabby babs' (ok, not the coolest phrase!) she belts into the room and sits there with love in her eyes in anticipation of her special treat followed by a few whiskas pockets for afters. Red is treated the same tho' he just gets the pockets.
As Magic is so good with this, if friends are over when she needs her tablet I'll offer them the opportunity to give it to her if I think it is something they might enjoy doing. Those who have never had a cat usually accept right away and ask how to do it. Afterward they often feel they have the Dr Doolittle touch and maybe missed their vocation as a vet. Those who have, or have had, a cat they've ever tried to medicate look at me in undisguised wide-eyed horror and hiss 'whaaat.....noooo!' clearly traumatised by their past experiences.
Yesterday a friend enjoyed the ritual of the tablet. Later I was thinking about my old cat, the one called Cat. For many years she was on a fifth of a tiny 15mg phenobarbitone tablet and I was just thinking about some of the times we had just getting the tablet into her and how we used to handle her differently.
When Cat came into our lives she was too young to eat by herself, she'd go to the plate and nose around but couldn't quite manage to eat so for the first fortnight I bottle fed her. I used a baby bottle, tucked her in like a baby and gently squeezed the teat to drip the milk into the side of her mouth. This worked well until I had some evening shifts and I would come home to the smell of fermenting milk, my Mum and Sister both high as kites and a hungry kitty with a milk crust round its entire chest and neck. Basically between the two of them they could not get any milk into Cat, yet within minutes I had her fed and keeled over to sleep with a satisfied full tummy. From her earliest days I obviously became the alpha or mummy cat too.
Over the years there were numerous 'procedures' that somehow became my job as I could handle Cat allegedly or more like no one else fancied doing it. Like the time she had some weird thing hanging from her back end and it turned out she'd been eating the crimson fringes off of the back of the chesterfield sofa. I was volunteered to remove it while my Dad fled the room, my Mum and Sis watched in horror and the cat was bewildered and had that look they do when the vet takes their temp. Something similar happened years later with the sub-cuticular suture that was supposed to dissolve after her partial thyroidectomy. Somehow she got a hold of the top knot and her little chest kept wrinkling and lifting as she hung onto the knot with her teeth and tugged. Guess who was volunteered to remove her long suture....oh, yes, cue looks of horror again though this time Cat was cross eyed trying to see what I was up to at such close quarters. To this day I can still recall her look and it makes me laugh. The care of nail clipping, bathing, bowels and bladder also fell to me and I even have experience of administering an enema to a cat - it's just like for a human except you have to chase and hold down your intended victim!
When Cat became epileptic and went onto the phenobarb I gave her the tablet fragment. This involved tucking her in like a baby again, jaws open, flick tablet to the back so that it cant be spat out, close mouth and wait till swallowed. She loathed this but on the flip side with me she realised when I meant something it was going to happen. This was all fine until I had to go to Ireland for a work placement as part of a course and in the course of discussing it Mum stopped dead and said I there was no way I could go as, get this....."how are we supposed to manage Cat's tablet". Eh, same way I do maybe...? Mum and Sis actually discussed taking Cat to the vet's twice a day while I was away! So over the weeks while I was studying for my exams, as the only cat wrangler in our house I had to train my Mum to administer the tablet.
Cat totally took advantage of the opportunity to play up and my mum was so nervous of hurting her that she'd accidentally nip the cats lip as she tried to open her mouth or not hold her firmly enough so that she could wriggle or escape. She also didn't always flick the tablet back far enough and spent ages rubbing the cats windpipe as she thought this would make her swallow while the cat kept the tablet in then spat it out. Great fun! Eventually, détente was achieved and finally one other person could medicate the cat besides me.
Though many of these skirmishes took place between Cat and me over the years I always won though sometimes it was only after a couple of rounds before the submission. I was a novice cat owner and just did what I thought or knew was in her best interests as I loved her completely. In looking back, although she had quite a diva-ish temperament and with me she knew the line not to cross. There was a strong mutual trust as she always sought me out when she was ever ill needed assistance with something as I could pick up on her behaviour and similarly if I was ill she refused to leave my side until I recovered. Truly she made me the cat owner I am today and I learned much from her as we muddled along.
So, as someone who has spent many years cat wrangling while trying to administer a fragment of a tablet it is lovely to be able just to announce that it is tablet time and have the cat actually help you get it into her mouth. It is also nice to let friends share in this sweet time.