Purrrly Whites

The cat and I share very few similarities other than we both like to have food available to us 24/7, and we want everyone to leave us alone.

Today, we had another similitude.

We both had dentist appointments.

With different dentists, mind you.

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I remember when we first plucked this lionhearted kitten out of a mass of squirming furballs at the animal shelter. She was less than thrilled at being disturbed from her nap amid her breathing blanket, and upon making eye contact with me, swiftly assessed I was less than qualified wearing my new hat of ‘caretaker.’

I could see her point. I’d broken the cardinal rule we both share:

Unless I come to you, don’t come to me.

She breaks our cardinal rule far more often than I do. She brings me a dead leaf approximately the size of a mouse in exchange for one of those doodads in the treat jar on the counter. A dozen times a day. In her mind, gluttony is justification for her behavior.

Plus, rules are for schmucks.

Brushing a cat’s teeth is not a job for anyone hoping to retain either their hypothetical friendship with their cat, or the same amount of blood they possessed in their body before starting the procedure. It is an adventure one goes into with the understanding that it will be pleasant for no one and likely fairly fruitless.

Chances are it would make an entertaining YouTube video that may have better than average odds at going viral.

Three years ago, upon securing this peevish puss, my daughter also amassed a collection of references in order to aid her on her journey of surrogate motherhood. The cat was “hers”—a birthday gift long awaited and finally realized. The gift also came with a few caveats that were not so gifty.

– Feed her

– Amuse her

– And dispose of her deposits.

PS. You get to brush her teeth. Good luck. Love mom. And remember pretty is on the inside.

The scratches didn’t leave scars, thank God, but we did figure out that a glass of wine helped to make the whole job easier. We also figured out that the cat preferred bourbon, so I took over with the glass of wine. Brushing the feline’s canines was clearly a two man job. My daughter wrestled the cat into submission while I sipped my way into oblivion.

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It was a win win.

Eventually, our bicuspid brushing bash trickled down from our twice a week joint shout of “SHOWTIME!” to my daughter’s “Yeah, I’ll get around to it,” and settled firmly at the bottom of my vet’s “Now, I’m not suggesting braces—you can decide that later after you’ve had a chance to discuss it at home—but your cat would surely benefit from scraping the three pounds of tartar off her teeth.”

Well, at least she’ll only be two pounds overweight once they’ve finished the job. Bonus.

It’s often said that it’s an easy slip to let the cat out of the bag, but getting the cat INTO the bag is usually more of my problem. Some cats do not see the appeal of a bag no matter how many pieces of dried chicken strips and dead mouse toys you throw into it. But I am not one to wither and give up. Plus, I really didn’t need that second eye anyway.

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Getting my teeth cleaned is not such an anxiety-ridden affair any longer, but stopping the whole procedure to answer my cell phone can be tricky. Talking to anyone with a mouthful of foam, a suctioning tube hissing away from the side of your mouth and a tartar pick embedded in the side of your cheek can be extra tricky. Telling your dentist to back off and give you a second can be trickiest of all—especially since he’s still within reach of all the sharp, gleaming surgical instruments and is running behind by thirty minutes. One must be delicate.

It turns out that the vet was calling to let me know a few quick things:

Firstly, the cat voiced an immediate complaint about her new lodgings and was not the warm fuzzy wuzzy widdle kitten you said she was upon dropping her off. A note has been made in her chart. And if you’re aware of anyone with even the minimum amount of experience and training, would you please pass on the word that the office is now short and in need of a kennel technician and receptionist.

Secondly, one must pay extra for anesthesia when the staff must employ the tranquilizer gun.

Thirdly, no more sugar for the cat—no matter how much she gazes longingly at the supersized bag of Sour Patch Kids.

Finally, why don’t we give her a few more hours before you come by to pick her up? Just to be safe.

Why so long? Surely her meds have started to wear off by now, I say.

At the moment we’re just waiting for her to stop hissing and spitting at everybody.

What? I thought you said she’d received anesthesia.

Well, to be honest, we’re not entirely sure that it ever kicked in.

Did you have to remove any teeth?

‘Have to’ is a relative term. We voted and decided that in all likelihood, any tooth that we originally had our eye on is bound to come out sooner or later of its own accord.

So the cat is back home, more pissed off than ever, partly because we’re back to the old tiny teeth brushing routine, and partly because I ran out of her favorite brand of bourbon. But after nearly choking on the bill presented by the vet, I announced she was just going to have to get used to generic.

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Here kitty kitty …



**Gotta Have a Gott**

Last week, Rob and I announced that his sketches will be available toward the end of the year in the form of a 2015 calendar! And our readers would get to be the judges and voters for which doodles they’d like to see selected for each month. We’ll reveal the winners one by one, and come November, If you’ve Gotta have a GOTT, you can place your order. Click here to see the cartoons in competition and to cast your vote.

Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what we all talked about down in the pub (here). And to see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone–click here.

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27 thoughts on “Purrrly Whites

  1. Love it, love it, love it! Especially with all the fun and games of our own dental visits last year.
    Tartar buildup had been mentioned by the vet on previous visits and we’d tried to clean Maggie’s teeth. Like you, it was a two man job, and she wasn’t impressed, keeping her mouth firmly shut thus preventing entry of offending toothbrush. We finally agreed for a professional job and nearly had heart failure when our vet said £350 (the previous year it had only been £150). We phoned around and got varying prices, finally settling on a vet 28 miles away who had a special offer of £85 (extra for any extractions). She ended up losing a front tooth but he didn’t charge us for it as it was loose anyway. He is now our regular vet, and Maggie likes both him and his associate. That makes a difference too!

    • I’d give my left lung to actually see the process. I’d love to have a visual of the cat in a tiny reclining dental chair, bib across her chest, the dentist leaning over her sharply fanged mouth peering in and the cat rolling her eyes as the dentist asks, “So how’s the dog? Giving you a run for your money lately?”

      • Have just got Maggie’s tea and wondered if you have a product called PlaqueOff or similar in the US? It’s a seaweed/natural iodine compound that you sprinkle in their dinner (you don’t need a lot so a small container, with scoop, lasts her about 6 months). I’ve just checked and it’s designed for cats and dogs. Although it doesn’t cure the buildup of tartar, it does hold it at bay (works for Mags anyway). Thought I’d mention it.

        • Holy cow – or holy cat, maybe. What a fortuitous discovery! I had not heard of it, mostly because I’d had never been looking. And this is purely because I always figured the hard liquor the cat lapped up was doing a sufficient job of plucking off the plaque. But now … I am forever in your debt. The cat may or may not end up sending you a thank you card. 😉

  2. I love the first line of this post. It hit home! And I had a chuckle, since we were recently told by the vet that our sixteen-year-old, cancer-stricken cat is a “biter.” Um, only when you’re subjecting her to a forced search of body cavities, Miss Veterinary Technician.

  3. The little sample mascara brushes that cosmetic counters have and will give you for free make excellent kitty tooth brushes! But it’s still a two man job!

  4. You are a brave soul, Shelley! My dear cat passed away a few years ago, but until the day she died, she was known to strike terror into the hearts of vet assistants. (Particularly the one who tried to restrain her while she received a shot. My cat managed to slice the finger of the assistant, who promptly released her, and so the cat was running around the room, howling with a syringe protruding from her back. The assistant shrugged helplessly and said, “I just couldn’t hold her. She started rolling… like an alligator.”) I’m glad your dentist appointment went better than the cat’s! (And did you take that picture of her before or after her appointment? She looks quite disgusted with the world, but maybe, as was the case with my cat, that’s just her natural expression.)

    • I can’t imagine anyone would go into veterinarian school unless they could be assured they would not have to work in a practice where cats were treated. I love cats, and I’m sure the majority of vets do as well, but who in their right mind wishes to go through a near-death experience every time one of their feline friends are dragged into the office?
      And as far as the picture goes, you’re right. It is the cat’s best attempt at a smile. People say we look like twins. 😀

  5. “With different dentists, mind you.”
    That actually made me feel relieved…I guess if someone were to rewrite this article from the point of view of the cat, it’s easy to understand why he got such a foul mood:P

      • That’s the nice thing about cats…they never seem to follow or care for human logic.
        Also, may the gods of every religion shine on you for teaching me the word ‘cantankerous’ (I had to google it)…I will definitely be using that in conversations from now on! Right now I just want to write an angry letter to someone that ends with ‘Cantankerously yours’…;)

          • Wow, guess you’ll won’t be getting a ‘cantankerously yours’ letter from me anytime soon! I don’t know what to say, except that I humbly appreciate the compliment and that if I had been a cat, I would have liked to be yours…(there are many things so wrong with that statement, but I hope you take it in the sentiment I intend;))

            Btw, can I ask how you know my real name? I mean, it’s not like it’s a big secret, but you’re the first one to call me Lennard on WordPress (you are more than welcome to btw, Arend van Nerel is just an anagram of my real name and I only made it up because I was a bit shy when I first started blogging)

            • Well … truth be told, I’ve gotten really chummy with your beaver buddy (did I top your statement for inappropriate? Might have–also unintentionally … 😉 ) And it’s a little known fact that beavers are terrible secret keepers. Regardless, I’m thinking that my next cat will be named Lennard. Or Ned Larn maybe.

              • That damn beaver…I should really keep a better eye on him. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of what my ‘colleagues’ are doing…ah well…

                I never had anyone named after me. I had even lost hope of it ever happening. I think Ned Larn is a kick ass name for a cat!;)

  6. Lol, now that would be a video to see! I’m sorry that your kitty had switch to generic bourbon, especially after the trauma she endured getting her teeth cleaned. And it’s always great fun trying to get a cat into a carrier when you need them too. We tried following a piece of advice regarding cats and carriers. Leave it out with the door open so that they can get familiar with it, toss in some treats and toys so that it has a good association for them but THEY KNOW when it comes time for traveling or a visit to the vet! Gone is the cat who willingly goes into the carrier, replaced by a streaking, furry wild creature akin to the cartoon Tasmanian Devil.

    • Yeah … I’m beginning to think that there’s got to be a better way to get the cat into the carrier apart from lacing her food with hard liquor and crushed Ambien, right? Especially just before she goes in to have a procedure needing anesthesia. Plan B, plan B, I need a plan B.

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