My cat Ella has a bladder infection. Learning this was a multi-day, messy business that involved two trips to the vet during which Ella made me feel like I was what was wrong with her and that ended with prescriptions for two pills I have to give her “at bedtime,” according to the bottles. I am not sure what bedtime even is for a cat, particularly an elderly arthritic cat like Ella. All the time is her bedtime, so I decided to interpret these instructions as my bedtime–although what that has meant is that right before I go to bed, I make my sweet cat hate me.
My other cat, Benny, who is not very sweet, is also not very bright. When I’ve had to give him pills, I just put them in his food bowl, and he eats them, because one of the few things Benny has internalized in his twelve years is that he should eat the things in the food bowl.
Ella, on the other hand, is fooled by nothing. Through the years, I’ve tried disguising pills in countless ways she shuns, and now we’ve settled into a routine where I cradle her in one arm while using the other to open her mouth and pop the pill straight down her throat. I have gotten better at this, and Ella has correspondingly gotten better at giving me the most disappointed look after I’ve given her a pill, like How could you? She puts her ears back and her pupils get all wide and she even stops purring, which is notable since that cat even purrs when she’s sleeping. I have to hold her there for a while, too, because if she can, she’ll try to keep the pill in the back of her throat until she can go spit it out behind the couch.
I admire her determination, but I also want my sweet cat to stay with me for a while longer. Years longer. At this point, I’m not sure she feels the same way. Amy and Arthur were here for TV night earlier, and I think she would have been happy to go home with them, though she probably would have felt differently when she got to their house and saw their cats. Ella’s sitting next to me now, though, and purring. She will again a few minutes after we do the pill routine.
She doesn’t know we have another appointment with the vet on Friday.