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Today was devoted to "pampering" my cat

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Spa day? Pampering? Ha!

My cat Harleigh had gotten into the habit of scratching the walls and door jambs of my apartment, and scratching sores on herself with her impressive claws. It seemed like she had completely forgotten that her scratching post existed. I was worried about the paint in my apartment (although of course I was also worried about the wall damage). When I moved to California in 1998, property management handed out a sheet explaining that older paint (70s) and popcorn ceilings most likely contained asbestos. I have lived in a low-income neighborhood (or at least most of it is) for 19 years in the same apartment and the apartment was NOT repainted when I moved in. I don't want Harleigh licking up asbestos when she cleans her toes!

So last month I took her in to her veterinarian and had her toenails trimmed. The fee was outrageous, but I wanted the vet to do it because Harleigh had never experienced this before then. I thought she might be difficult, even wrapped in a towel.

Veterinarian recommended giving her a prescribed relaxant-sedative for her next visit, an hour before her appointment. It's cat-dose liquid gabapentin (Neurontin). I didn't know what to expect--I was told cats have different degrees of varying reactions and that it might not work at all on her. Um, yeah it did! And it scared me.

I didn't overdose her, I know that. I thought it would be like a Valium or a glass of wine, it would relax her and she would be fine. The veterinarian did NOT trim her nails this time, it was one of the veterinarian assistants (much cheaper! 20 bucks instead of 60). Someone who does it all the time, so I have no concerns about the treatment of my cat, just her reaction.

She threw up in her carrier on the way home. AND she was loopy and drugged, she could barely drag her rear legs around. I talked to an assistant on the phone. She told me that pets can feel so stressed out that they get car sick and barf in the car. She also advised me to watch her and not let her jump up on the couch or furniture. The gabapentin was going to wear off in about 5-6 hours BUT if she continued to throw up or had trouble breathing to BRING HER IN.

That made me really feel much better(not)! I did clean up her carrier right away and discovered a big hairball. She usually doesn't throw up that amount when she has a hairball, though. I ate my lunch in a chair watching her where she lay on the floor. When I was finished eating, she climbed on the bed before I could stop her, clipped nails and all and scrambling with her back end.

I spent my entire afternoon sleeping next to my cat, which she appreciated. She clumsily put her hind end up against my arm and she was vibrating with purrs as I pet her, despite this unfocused look. She is fine now, she is coming out of it and she climbed onto her nest I have on my love seat, a piled bedding for my bed. Harleigh was kind of sticking out in a funny way, so I carefully put my arms around her and got her more in the middle.

So today wasn't just stressful for Harleigh but stressful for me. I trust she will get so used to this routine that I no longer have to drug her to have her nails clipped.

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