Struggling With the Neutering Decision: Funny Adventures in Cat Adoption, Part Two
Hilarious account of what we did and didn’t do (but should have) when a five-pound bundle of fluff dropped into our lives.
Skeeter the Kitten
Our family includes three cats. The original one, whom we nicknamed “The Goddess” (does this tell you anything?), is a bit reserved and aloof. Or downright unfriendly, if you want the un-spin-doctored truth. She hides from all human visitors, won’t sit in the laps of her family humans, and isn’t even all that crazy about her own son.
Sammy, her son, is a joy. He is relaxed and a peace-seeker, shifting to a hiding nook under a desk or table to avoid confrontations. As a kitten, I was told, he was a silly, energetic, cutie-pie. When I first joined the household, he would chase a thrown toy and sometimes even bring it back. However, now I fear I have overfed him and he is more sedentary. Well, Skeeter is changing that.
Skeeter is our unplanned cat-kid. A neighbor pleaded with us to take an abandoned kitten of which she was aware. “It’s SUCH a friendly little thing,” she included in her appeal. Since I half-believe the notion that your cat picks you, not vice versa, I foolishly blurted out, “OK, I’m in.” This was before I checked with My Guy.
The Start-Up and Why Must We Castrate Him so Soon?
Happily, Skeeter won My Guy over on their first “hello,” with My Guy quickly choosing the name for the kitten, if it was a boy. Skeeter (the boy) was dreadfully underweight when we got him, tipping the veterinarian’s scales at about five and a half pounds when he should have been 8 or 9 pounds. This explains part of my hesitation at committing a ”testicle take out” procedure on him so soon after adopting him. We have been striving assiduously to strengthen him, feeding him high-fat kitten food, exercising him, and trying to protect him from the Goddess who is behaving like Madame Defarge. It defies logic to put him through the stress of a surgery as he has been so stressed already in his short little life.
Saints be praised, Skeeter is making great progress. I have the comparative photos to prove he has grown. In addition, his behavior development seems to catching up. On the first day Skeeter joined us, he was so weak he permitted me to trim all – yes, on all 4 feet – his claws. Those days are gone! Now he is a wiggly and mildly feisty, independent kind of cat. A bit like a 7-year old boy. Our all-boy tomcat can’t be inconvenienced with pedicures. Also, he chases Sammy around, at first, as if they were playing tag. So, Sammy is running as I‘ve never seen him run – sometimes as the “Tag-ee” and sometimes as the “It.” Lately, however, it has become a little more intense in strength. Wrestling has been added and teeth have been applied to each other (not breaking the skin, thank goodness.) Is the little upstart Skeeter trying to assert dominance here?
So, despite the short time we’ve loved and cared for him, and the significant amounts of money we’ve already woofed out, it is undeniably time to snip the tidbits, if they are what is causing the over-the-line aggressiveness and tomcat “fragrant enhancements” of our rooms.
Meticulously Comprehensive Veterinarians
Our veterinarians are very thorough and detailed. Neutering requires an afternoon appointment for pre-surgery bloodwork. For this, Skeeter needed to fast for 6 hours! A further necessity was the purchase of a new cat carrier for the transporting. The one My Guy owns was like a supersized Happy Meal cardboard box which anyone and anything could huff and puff and obliterate (which we learned when we took Sammy to the vet last year.) So I parted with (more) hard-earned bucks to get a plastic crate with windows on all 4 sides and even a car seatbelt notch.
With felines being so environment-focused, this acquisition required cat orientation of the crate. All three sniffed it, but otherwise ignored it. On blood test day, My Guy helped put our baby in. He (Skeeter) was perfectly calm about it and we talked softly to him the whole time we loaded him into the car and drove to the vet. I felt so guilty, like the child kidnappers who commit unspeakable atrocities but then let their victims pick which fast food restaurant will be the dinner venue.
Skeets was calm in the waiting room and calm when the vet tech took the handle of his carrier and disappeared with him to a back room. When she later returned, she said he was such a good boy in the back. Isn’t that always the way with kids – they raise the dickens at home but then put on their good manners out in the world? Actually, he is rather good to us humans, but his recent testosterone surges have him playing a little too roughly with his sister and brother. And they are responding in kind, so our house is a 3-ring circus – or a 3-cats-in-one-ring circus. We really hope his surgery will take away only the bad and leave all the good.
To be continued.
To read Part One:
Text and photo copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan