Monday, January 14, 2008

Siren Goes to the Vet

Victory! Satisfaction! Joy! Relief!

Siren had his annual check-up Sunday morning. He's healthy as a horse, has been ever since he recovered from his misadventures under the bridge when he was a wee one.

So why the strong emotions?

Taking Siren to the vet is a task requiring saint-like patience and super-human strength. All cats are creatures of habit, their routine is their safety net and any change in that routine sets off the internal suspicion alarm. Siren's alarm is extra sensitive. I imagine, if Siren could talk, that he'd sound like the robot from "Lost in Space" - "Danger Will Robinson, Danger"

Vet visit preparations begin several days before the scheduled appointment. The cat carrier must be set out so that Siren can examine it at his leisure. It must sit there for at least two days showing that it means him no harm.

The carrier must not smell like any other animal. I made the mistake of leaving JR's little blankie in there - thought it was sweet to pass the blankie on to the next generation. I was wrong. Entering the carrier must be from the roof. It took me forever to find a large, hard sided carrier with a top opening. Most have the cute little swing open door with hinges that are perfect for Siren to loop his paws around - again, if he could speak he'd be chanting "Hell No We Won't Go". I refuse to taser a cat.

Two hours before his appointment Siren gets a mild sedative. Two hours after Siren's appointment I get a stiff drink.

The sedative works wonders - Siren gets quiet, then sleepy and becomes very passive. He is gingerly lowered into the carrier. The carrier is then covered with his (Martha Stewart line) baby blanket and we make it to the front door. The car door must be open and the car must be running. No idling allowed. The sedative wears off the moment the car begins moving. "Ahhhh-oooooooo" - over and over again. Then the cackling sound that can't be defined - we think he's imitating the birds and squirrels he lived with under the bridge. To me he sounds like a deranged duck choking on a singing bird. Very pleasant in close quarters.

The 15 minute drive to the vet's office feels like forever - the sound is deafening but the silence is scary. Silence either means he's preparing to vomit (we carry several towel changes) or he's chewing the carrier. I once tried a soft roomy shoulder bag style carrier - he chewed through the stitching.

This appointment was scheduled for first thing Sunday morning. I love Sunday mornings - the air seems still (except for Siren's shrieks), there is no traffic and the vet's office is empty. And the vet is fresh and ready for "my most challenging patient".

Normally we weigh Siren on the large dog scale while he's in the carrier, the carrier weight is in his chart and is then deducted from his total. I think he secretly loves all this inconvenience - proves he's in charge. Once we make it to the examining room "Siren's team" is called in - the vet, two assistants and several large towels. One year he was so freaked out we had to disassemble the carrier around him. His temperature was not taken that year.

Although the trip to the vet's office was pretty much the same as always the rest of the event was different - in a wonderful and gratifying way.

Siren allowed me to lift him out of the carrier - a few low moans and one warning hiss but he was out and in my arms. He was weighed while standing on the little basket scale - very much the same way he stands on my lap - close but ready to flee. I wrapped my arms around him and pushed his head into my chest while his temperature was taken - a whole lot of hissing but claws remained retracted and mouth was closed. I was especially glad about this since I was not wearing my haz-cat suit - have yet to design a fashionable version. I know that shouldn't be an issue but the vet is really good looking - has an Antonio Banderas thing going for him and well, in my life it qualifies as a date .

The worst part of the exam was the stethoscope. The vet is gentle (oh my) and soothing (oh my my) and his hands are warm (I'll stop now) and the stethoscope was warm but Siren felt the need to do his Linda Blair in "The Exorcist" impersonation while shrieking in a manner that would put an opera company to shame. And still - no biting, no clawing - just struggling followed by melting against me and trying to get inside my shirt - perhaps he was helping to get Mommy a real date?

He took his shots like (better than) a man and leaped into his carrier. I was covered in hair. I've taken about 6 showers since the visit and I'm still finding cat hairs. He shed half his body weight.
Once home he examined all his possessions - can't be too careful when you've been gone for 45 minutes - hordes of cats could have gotten in and moved everything.

The vet has known Siren since day 1 and his observation is that me and the "Sy-Man" have totally bonded - and it only took 4 years! He clearly knew I would protect him and he didn't try to hurt me. Makes me feel better about the decision to add another kitty to the chaos.

In the photos you see Siren performing his post-visit inspection - never know who might have taken up residence under the bed - and then reclining on the sofa as Mommy gets quietly drunk and dreams of Antonio Banderas and a warm stethoscope.


Cherie said...

Oh, poor baby. (I'm talking about Siren, of course. lol) I wish that I would have heard all those prepatory things before taking my cats to the vet. My procedure was to not get the carrier out until the second before it was time to go, so that they didn't have time to plan countermeasures. lol But your version sounds much more humane. I would have done that if I would have thought of it.

And I'm thrilled that you got to have a date with "Antonio Banderas"! :D

Jeni said...

Isn't it great how much excitement and color cats bring into our lives? Gotta love 'em, that's for sure!

Jay Simser said...

My vet comes to the house. The dogs know it it her and they disappear. Thank you for the wonderful story. Give Siren a special scratch on the head from me. j

Dianne said...

"... so that they didn't have time to plan countermeasures."

that's hilarious Cherie, because it's true. When Siren's ears move about I really do believe he's tuning in to the cat network for updates.

They certainly do add color Jeni - as much as the trip to the vet is stressful, coming home is wonderful - I love to watch Siren check out the whole house while giving me dirty looks.

Jay - my vet just recently started doing house calls - but only if animal or human can't get out - mostly for all his elderly clients. Scratch on head has been delivered and Siren says thanks.

Lisa said...

Great story, Dianne! Poor Siren--and poor you. We've always had rescue animals and had no idea of their histories but almost all of them were terrified of the vet. The ones we have now are no exception. It certainly makes going to the vet an adventure, as you have described so well and with so much humor.

"Two hours before his appointment Siren gets a mild sedative. Two hours after Siren's appointment I get a stiff drink."


"the vet is really good looking - has an Antonio Banderas thing going for him and well, in my life it qualifies as a date."

Love that!

Well, the good news is, it's done for another year. The bad news is, you won't see that vet for another year. :-(

Dianne said...

I'm always planning Lisa - Siren needs his teeth cleaned so that will be one more visit in the next 2 months. Then there's always the new kitty whenever that happens. And I signed up at the retirement village to drive some seniors on errands and one of them uses this vet. And last but not least I put the vet's card up on the bulletin board for my VFW buddies and I said I'd drive LOL

magnetbabe said...

Seriously, the best reason to get a new kitten is to bring that precious thing to the vet to have the hot doctor check it out. You can have a fun vet experience without the trauma and anxiety that Siren brings.

This post had me laughing hysterically. It's not quite as bad here, but thank God the vet is only about a mile from us, the car noises are quite the distraction. Once there, however, they all behave as if they are completely attention deprived.

lisa said...

Oh, you're good, Dianne! LOL!

Anonymous said...


I have Sirens twin. A beautiful yellow cat named "Bad Boy"...and he lives up to the name. He is 13 years old and spoilt rotten. My carrier has the cute swing door that he holds on to for dear life. He makes crying sounds like i am skining him alive. He knows that carrier means Bad


Dianne said...

I love the name Bad Boy - just what the world needs, another Siren LOL

Minnesotablue said...

Your Siren is a beauty. To bad, I have a female vet!

Smalltown RN said...

That sounds like an adventure which takes lots of patience and time...good for you for being there for Siren....more pets should have owners like you....


Dianne said...

He is a handsome boy isn't he? Thanks minnesotablue :) - sorry about the female vet LOL

smalltown rn - My neighbor tells people that, in her next life, she wants to come back as my pet.

Michael Manning said...

Dianne: First of all I love that name, "Siren". Next he is a great looking Cat--quite out of the ordinary. Lastly, I am very happy to read this report. Cheers on the Margarita! :)

Dianne said...

Thanks Michael - I named him Siren to honor the police who rescued him while recognizing that he doesn't meow or cry - he wails. Not so bad now but the first 3 months he was here it was all he did.

And the drink was yummy :)