Diet of Worms

September 30, 2006

There are about a hundred things I should be doing right now, including blogging somewhere else I promised to be: the Harlequin Historical blog, where I will be turning up form time to time to hang with the homies who I share a bookshelf with.

And there is a troublesome next book, which I should have been working on all week. But I have an excuse for that. I was busy.

Of course, on release week of my book, when I should pull up my socks and try to act normal in case anyone reads the thing and wanders in here to find out a little bit about me, what am I likely to be moved to blog about?

Worming cats. Because nothing quite says “Hi, I’m a romance writer, buy my book” like veterinary intestinal issues.

We have two cats and a dog. And goldfish which do not count as pets, since they don’t provide anything more than Zen landscaping. Even if I forget to feed them, they eat bugs and plants from the pond and continue to thrive.

Dogs and cats are another matter. They require regular attention. And I noticed that they needed some of that attention recently. I will gloss over that part. You don’t want to know. Really. I will skip right to the pilling, which is always the best part of any story involving cats and medicine.

I’d gotten two doses of worm pills, figuring I’d sneak it into their food. I always think this. Because I am an optimist with a short memory. The only way I’ve ever gotten pills into these two is to take them to the vet and have them held down and force fed by someone with strong nerves and good reflexes.

But I didn’t have time to take the two separate vet trips, since it’s hard to get one in the car, and two would be impossible. So I ground up the pills, and went looking for something to hide them in. I gave Mohawk a lovely dish of moist, medicated food.

Of course, I was out of canned cat food. I’d gotten canned dog food by mistake. I figured, what’s the difference?

The difference is, Mohawk doesn’t eat dog food. He will eat everything else in the world, except perhaps weasel. He will even eat dry dog food, given the opportunity. But he looked at the dog food, looked at me, and went outside to get a mouse.

OK, $8 down the drain.

Next I tried Fluffer. Tuna water. Her favorite. Mixed with chunks of real tuna. And worm medicine. She looked at me with utter contempt and sent it back to the kitchen.

OK, $16 and counting. If I give up at this point, I’ll need 2 more doses and an office visit charge. I can do this. I know I can.

In the mean time, the dog got into the basement, and helped himself to the contents of the catbox, so he’d need drugs as well. My choices were a three dose treatment which cost a lot, and an efficient one dose treatment, which cost a lot more. I got the one dose, since it would at least be fast, and since I was going to save so much on future vet bills by learning to pill my own cats from now on. And two more doses for the cats.

To build confidence, I drugged the dog. Kaiju is 100 pounds, will eat anything in sight, and is gentle enough and large enough so I can put my fist into his mouth and grab his tonsils. Tossing pills into Kai is like tossing pennies into a well.

I grab a Kraft cheese single and wrap the two worm pills and lob them into the dog. No problem.

Now, on to the cats.

I am still convinced that I can use food to disguise the taste. I tell #1 son that we need some mint chocolate chip ice cream.


Because this is Mohawk’s favorite flavor.

He points out that only a sick person would think her cat has a favorite ice cream flavor.

But he does.

We are all out of mint. We have orange dreamsicle. Orange is a good flavor, too. One of my favorites. It will have to do. Not wanting to blow a full dose in an experiment, I put half the dose in a spoonful of ice cream and pretend to eat, then leave the bowl on my desk where Mohawk can jump up and steal it.

He jumps up, takes to licks, give me a dirty look and walks away.

#2 son points out later that orange dreamsicle was never going to work. Mint ice cream probably tastes a little like catnip, if you have a small brain and a little imagination. But cats don’t go crazy for a chance to roll around in oranges. At least not here in Wisconsin.

Ok. I admit it. Food is not working. Let’s try a full dose, full frontal, gonzo attack on the other cat. I grab Fluffer, wrap her razor-sharp claws in a bath towel, and give #1 son the medicine and the rubber pill syringe I’ve never gotten to work. I hang on to the cat like grim death.

Fluffer is vocal. She is swearing at us. She opens her mouth to swear some more and # 1 son shoots the pill down her throat.

Fluffer is livid. She is foaming at the mouth. She is too fat to get out of the towel. Fluffer is a senior female, with “meat on her bones”. It is not as hard as I expected to keep a grip on her.

She opens her mouth to swear again, #1 son shoots, misses, shoots, misses, shoots and scores! Game over.

We still have one cat left, and I am down half a dose of worm pills. Round two must wait until the next night, after I get more drugs.

The dog is looking at the dish of orange ice cream and saying, “You gonna finish that?”

We start fresh the next night. I wrap Mohawk in a towel. He enjoys the attention. He likes a blanket and a hug from Mom.

#1 son grabs the pill gun and aims.

Mohawk turns his head 360 like Linda Blair. On the second approach, he locks his jaws and backs further into the towel and half way down my leg.

I scoop him back up.
He retreats.
#1 son is waving the pill gun in the air, looking for an opening.
The cat looks like a very angry Eastern European woman, with the towel around his head like a babushka. For a moment, he disappears entirely. He is not leaking out the back of the towel. But he isn’t sticking out the front either. I can feel a cat in my arms, but we can’t find anything feline to stick drugs into.

After ten minutes, we give up in disgust.
The cat runs away.
And comes back in 5 minutes to rub our ankles, having forgotten the whole thing.

I go to the kitchen. I get a Kraft single. I whack the pills with a knife and begin rolling the bits in balls of processed cheese and dropping them on the floor.

Mohawk grabs them and swallows them down, relieved that there are no hard feelings about the whole not-wanting-medicine thing, and thanking me for the treat.

Stupid cat.