Mark the Cat goes outside a little, but I make him wear a bell, which is like your mother making you wear a bow tie to school on picture day. He goes around the corner from the house and tries to take it off, just like that kid on picture day did, and he is often successful. I have so far bought six collars in seven weeks. I know I’m going to run over one with the lawn mower.
He doesn’t go far. He comes whenever I call him. But yesterday he came home squinting. At first I told myself it was the sun. It wasn’t the sun. I’ve seen enough cats squint at me to know a scratched eyeball when I see one. I asked him if he’d poked it in some bushes. He squinted at me.
I rummaged through the medicine shelf for some cat eye drops. I found some dog ones, and hit the Googler. Close enough. I got him in a headlock and threw some in, and kept Googling for a vet. I’d switched vets after I lost Maggie because it made me sad to go in there, and also because indoor cats are basically free once they’ve had their shots and you’ve fixed their kitten makers. It was time to re-up his shots anyway, so I found the vet clinic that had been part of his original adoption.
I don’t put Mark in the car, because the one time I tried to take him to the cottage he threw up and pooped all over the car. I had suggestions of how to drug him but I’d rather pay someone to move in with my cats than drug them into submission. It wasn’t until Ari and Taryn moved out that I was finally forced to appreciate just how much I took for granted, flouncing off with little notice knowing someone would always be around.
He’d been in his cage on our aborted trip, but he’d been flailing around so much that he’d rolled it. Cat cages have little holes all over them, so he tumbled about. Picture a cat cage filled with a cat covered in things now on the outside of a cat that should be on the inside. Now picture all that leaking out of a holey cage while a cat screams like he’s being murdered. That is why I don’t take Mark in the car.
But I looked at his squinty eye and knew I had to get him to a vet, the first time I’ve attempted a cage match since the Great Cottage Carsickfest. I brought the cage up, and he strolled around it nonchalantly knowing it couldn’t possibly be for him. I stuffed him in. He started howling.
I grabbed for my car keys before realizing that I didn’t have my car. Ari had my car. I stared hard at the only car in the driveway: a friend’s classic Mercedes. I looked at Mark, who was screaming in his cage. I looked at the car. I put him in the front seat and begged him not to throw up.
The road to the vet has a posted speed limit of 40 km/h. For the first time ever, I was going less than that. For the first time ever, I saw a police officer car tagging speeders. I’ve attempted a few different ploys to dodge a ticket, but I’ve never had a threatening-to-explode cat save the day.
Save for the non-stop yowling, we got to the vet and back relatively unscathed, including the car. The only heart-sinking moment?
The vet told me I have to bring him back in a week.