"Spaz Cat won't use her litter box, but don't worry. She poops briquets," Arby warned us while we sipped Anchor Steam beers at a funky tiki bar in San Francisco. It was an unusually sunny Saturday afternoon and the warm light filtered into the darkness through the open door. Every so often, there was a roar of jets flying overhead. A fleet was in town, there was an air show going on and the city was packed.
"And don't worry if she pees during a seizure. We're used to that," added Feather. "Just remember to give her the meds."
At that, Feather gave me a little sheet describing the cats and listing what each one needs. Spaz Cat was only one of them, though the one with epilepsy and needing the most care.
"She's used to taking her phenobarbitol," Feather assured us. "I usually just touch the side of her mouth til she opens up and then slip the pill under her tongue. She's pretty mellow."
"Why wouldn't she be? She's on reds all the time!" laughed Big Dog. "Don't worry. I used to work for a vet when I was a teenager."
"It's time for Spaz Cat's pill," I said.
"You do it."
"I've never given a pill to a cat! I've never given a pill to anyone but myself!! You're the one who worked for the vet!"
"Those were cats that weren't used to taking medication. We forced open the mouth and shoved in the pill with the eraser end of a pencil," Big Dog clarified.
That sounded a bit extreme for poor, mellow Spaz.
"Okay, Spaz. Guess it's going to be me, sweetie," I cooed to her. She merely blinked back with her giant, multi-colored eyes.
At first, I was gentle.
"Open up now...that's it...pill's in... Spaz! Stop spitting it out! There, that wasn't so bad... No!"
Every time I had to pick the pill off the carpet and get it back in her mouth, the pill was less solid and I was less gentle. In the end, I jammed the gooey pill (which I am sure promptly dissolved in her mouth, it was so saliva saturated) and clamped her mouth shut. There was no more pill to spit.
"Bossie won't come in and Huffy's nowhere to be seen," I whined to Big Dog. Feather wanted all her cats inside at night, but I had only seen Bossie outside earlier and she ran away when I called to her.
"Shhhh," he shushed me like he always does when he's engrossed in TV. I glanced at Arby's state-of-the-art 5.1 surround sound HDTV. There was a political discussion going on and BD cared about the cats about as much as he cared about the treasure trove of cat-themed items that turned the house into a Temple of All Things Feline.
Unlike Big Dog, I like cats and, moreover, cats seem to like me. A Bad Dog is actually a pretty Good Cat. We both like doing our own thing, we don't care much about what others think, or want us to do. We enjoy company when we are in the mood, but feel that "alone time" is "quality time." We're independent and not particularly emotionally needy. Thus, I became Keeper of the Cats. Bossie who is known to bite was well-behaved with us (though she showed me her aggressive side when she hissed at one of the neighbor cats in a display I could only interpret as "Stay out, or I'll kill you with my bad breath!") and shy, shy Huffy let me play with her when there was no one else around. But, it was with Spaz that I felt a special bond...because it takes one to know one?