Pumpkin has been liberated! He’s now back in population, and loving it. Oddly enough, he still loves me, too, unless he thinks I might be trying to capture him. While he still needs to stay on a special diet – a fresh can of worms now that he’s out, but one I’ll leave be for this missive – he’s otherwise in fine fettle indeed. I expect to have him snugged tight to my side when I go to bed tonight. The humble little roly-poly guy is a happy LRPG.
In his place as prisoner, alas, is Peanut. A distraught and horrified Peanut. A Peanut desperately trying to scratch, claw, climb, tunnel his way out of the cage.
And why is he in there? Because at a recent wellness check we found serious periodontal issues, requiring a future appointment for plaque excavation under sedation, and antibiotic followup at home. Trouble is, getting him to that vet visit entailed catching him at mealtime and stuffing him into the carrier despite fierce resistance. Whoever would have thought a massively obese 18-pound cat could writhe and twist and lunge so vigorously? He almost got away. Only a lucky seizing of random handfuls of blubber foiled his escape long enough for me to shove him into the carrier and force the lid down on his madly surging self. Peanut thrashed and protested all the way to the vet’s; huddled in horror during the examination; and yowled miserably all the way home.
Well. The poor little fat man was utterly traumatized by the whole thing (and who can blame him?); so much so that ever since he’s been wary of coming downstairs for mealtimes. He lurks till he’s sure I’ve left the area before scuttling down to forage for whatever the others have left uneaten. This is not all bad, since I daresay his caloric intake has dropped and he could stand to lose several pounds; but it means that getting him back to the vet’s for the dental work, and then administering a course of antibiotics at home, will be a bitch.
So the plan was formed: Once Pumpkin exited the cage, wait till the opportunity presented itself to get Peanut into the vacated confines, lock Peanut in, and voila! Being able to make an appointment with some confidence that I’d actually be able to show up with the cat? Check. Withholding food and water for ten hours before the procedure? Check. Being able to catch said cat for pilling afterwards? Check.
Accordingly, when Pumpkin won his release after a checkup this afternoon, I left the cage set up in the living room, complete with litter box, water dish, and towel bedding; left the side door open; and waited. About an hour ago Peanut entered the cage, sniffed about, and stepped into the litter box at the end away from the side door. Aha! I slithered from the adjacent recliner, swooped around to the side door, and quickly shut and latched it. Success!
Peanut went berserk. Pumpkin had fretted for a bit, then accepted his fate quietly. Not so Peanut! For the first fifteen minutes or so he frantically tried to fight his way out of captivity, radiating distress vibes that freaked out the other cats. The box got shoved all over the place; the towels got dug up and bunched; the water dish (of course) got tipped, spilled, and pawed into the towel snarl. Now, roughly an hour later, he’s settling somewhat; has stretches of several minutes where he’ll lie still on his towel pile and even lean into caresses through the bars; but is he resigned to his fate? Hell, no! As I write this, I hear intermittent bouts of scratching, bar-rattling and yowling wafting up from the living room.
I’m off now, to spend a couple of hours sitting with him, soothing and observing. I hope to be able to right his water dish and leave him with something to drink by the time I go to bed; to push a bit of food through the bars when he’s less crazed; and to find him calmer in the morning. And I hope like hell they can fit him in tomorrow for his damn teeth cleaning!
Update, the next day:
Alas! Just called the vet’s office to schedule Peanut’s periodontal reaming out. Today and Monday are booked solid; surgery (under which this falls since it involves anesthesia) isn’t done on Tuesdays; it looked as if the first opening would be after Thanksgiving! But I whined as piteously as the prisoner cat himself, and so Peanut is now scheduled for the procedure on the 24th. Happy Thanksgiving, little fat boy!
So will I...? Hell no! Let him out now and I’d never drag him back into captivity. He’s a lot calmer this morning, mostly sitting or lying and whining about how awful it all is, but his struggles to escape have become half-hearted. I was able to give him a breakfast bowlful through the side door without him bolting over me to freedom; to extract the poor tumbled-about water dish, clean and refill it, and return it to the cage; and to clean the box while he was stuffing his pathetic face. Maybe by the time he goes for the cleaning he’ll be sufficiently resigned to his cruel fate to endure the carrier ride and so forth with less angst.
Interlude with camera
And here he is!
As you can see, he’s been rearranging the furniture while I was writing this.
At least the scrabbling for escape isn’t as fiercely desperate and prolonged as it was last night.
One of Peanut’s preferred maneuvers has been the retreat: keep backing and backing and hope it ends well.
Lemme outta here!
Is that a pathetic Peanut or what?
After Peanut's encounter with dentistry, he had to stay on a course of antibiotics for ten days, thus remaining a periodontal prisoner in the living room cage. Physically he did well; but mentally he seemed depressed. He was been eating and drinking, and processing his intake, in good health; but moralewise, I thought the boy could use a bit of a pick-me-up. So I got him a hanging scratching pad, complete with toy, and hung it in his cage. He seemed dubious at first, but the aroma of catnip infusing it, plus his native curiosity, lured him over to it soon enough:
Catnip aroma etc. also lured Squash to check it out. Seeing Squash play with his new toy goaded Peanut to get competitive. Pumpkin watched from a safe distance.
There was a bit of a tiff over toy rights.
Peanut, holding the superior position, won out.
Squash made do with the back of the pad (also enticingly surfaced and catnippy). And everyone was happy.
Peanut emerged from his prison stay mentally as well as physically healthy, and noticeably slimmer than when it began -- a good thing, given how grossly obese he'd been. He continues to be wary of capture at mealtimes, and slow to come to the feeding frenzy. That, combined with the all-wet-food, only-three-meals-per-day regimen the household is on now, has encouraged further weight loss. He's still too heavy (boy is he solid heavy!) but he no longer looks like a duffel bag with a golfball-sized cat head stuck on it. And as long as he doesn't think I'm going to grab him and stuff him into a carrier, he's snuggly and happy. So all's well that ends well.