The sun is setting on Memorial Day as I write this. I imagine most people feeling relaxed, rested and reflective after a nice three-day weekend. Not I.
I spent the day agonizing over whether I should take Miss Moneypenny to the animal hospital or wait until my vet’s office opens tomorrow morning. Because when I woke this morning, I discovered that my cat was pacing laps, alternating between peeing blood, licking herself and crying out in pain.
A quick Google search revealed that she likely had some sort of urinary tract issue that – according to the internet – could spiral out of control if left untreated.
I dialed the animal hospital to ask if I should bring her in or if I should hold off and take her to my regular vet on Tuesday. “You can schedule an appointment later this week,” the unhelpful girl at the desk told me.
I called Alan. “What do you think?” I asked, knowing it was unfair of me to pin my cat’s health prognosis on a recovering lawyer.
“Get a second opinion,” he offered.
So I called another animal hospital out in the boonies and reached a more helpful person (and cat owner), who said she would probably be fine if I waited a day, but that if it were her cat, she’d probably run it in.
I was torn. On one hand, the thing that would give me peace of mind would be taking Miss Moneypenny to the animal hospital. But I didn’t want it to turn out like when I took her in for eating the Christmas ribbon, when they looked at her and sent me home instructing me to “keep an eye on her and bring her back if anything changes.”
If I owned a car, this might be a no-brainer. But since I don’t, I have the added complication of figuring out how we will get to and from the vet. And Miss Moneypenny hates being in her carrier, so she is guaranteed to scream the entire time, making it traumatic on both of us.
Should I go? Should I wait? I was truly torn, so I decided to give it a bit of time to see what happened. Good news: Miss Monepenny eventually stopped pacing and took a nap, so I used that opportunity to run to Petco and get some remedy that is supposed to relieve the symptoms of a UTI.
All was well until Miss Moneypenny awoke from her nap and went straight to her litterbox – where she began howling, then pacing, then licking, then howling, then repeat. And repeat some more. Indefinitely.
Since it was looking like it would be a long night for both of us, I decided to bite the bullet and take her to the animal hospital. My driver on the way there was awesome – very understanding and sweet about the fact that he was transporting a cat. He went so far as to call himself a kitty ambulance, though he got a bit uncomfortable when he asked what was wrong and I told him she was peeing blood.
I guess that IS something of conversation stopper.
All was fine at the vet – they gave me two different medicines to get her started on immediately to help with the pain. And while I hadn’t spent my afternoon at a cookout, I’d only spent a few hours at the ER, so I was willing to consider it something of a win…
Until I had to get home. I was so relieved to have the worst behind me that I’d forgotten that the Uber ride is part of the trauma. Without thinking, I summoned a car and hopped into it. As soon as I set the duffel back containing Miss Moneypenny on the backseat, she let out a Volume 20 MEOW.
The Uber driver (named Cynthia) let rip with a blood-curdling scream and almost ran us into a telephone pole. “I’m sorry,” I began, but before I could finish, she interrupted, “What IS that?”
“It’s my cat,” I started to explain. In fact, I usually warn Uber drivers that I have an animal before getting into their car and ask if it’s OK. This time, however – probably because Cynthia had exercised a splendid lack of respect for other motorists and stopped for the pick-up in the middle of the road with a line of impatient cars honking behind her – I’d decided to just jump in for the sake of efficiency.
“Where IS it?” she yelled.
“It’s here – she’s zipped in this cat carrier,” I said, pointing.
“I hate cats,” she yelled. “They scare me. My ex-mother-in-law had cats. They sneaky. They all quiet. Then they just be there. Looking at you.”
“Well,” I offered, “This one isn’t quiet. She won’t sneak up on you.”
Miss Moneypenny hadn’t stopped howling from the second we’d sat down. Just then, as Cynthia turned around to look at us and confirm everything was manageable, Miss Moneypenny’s head came exploding out of the carrier. Cynthia screamed. I grabbed the duffel, somehow managing to halt Miss Moneypenny, who by that point had gotten both front paws out as well. Apparently the vet hadn’t zipped the carrier completely.
“Get that thing back in the bag!!!” Cynthia screamed at me.
I was doing my best, but if you’ve ever tried to force a cat to do something, you know it’s a lesson in stubborn wills. It felt like time stood still as Miss Moneypenny and I fought the containment battle. I finally prevailed, but had clearly lost Cynthia’s trust in the process.
About this time, we almost got hit by a bus because Cynthia pulled out into traffic. “My nerves!” she exclaimed.
“I’m so sorry,” I said. “I don’t want to stress you out. Do you want to drop me off here and I’ll call a different Uber?”
“Naw,” she said. “We almost half-way there now. Just keep it in the bag.”
I assured her I would.
About this time, she started scratching herself wildly – her arms, her legs, her head.
“Are you allergic to cats?” I asked.
“Only when I see ’em,” she responded as she scratched.
Throughout all of this, Miss Moneypenny continued to shriek, making sure that no one forgot there was a cat in the car.
Finally, when we were a block from my place, we hit a red light. “I’ll jump out here,” I offered. “I feel so bad that this has caused you stress – I can take it from here.”
Cynthia didn’t argue. I just saw my door lock flip open. “Thank you so much,” I said, pulling the carrier from the car.
Without a word, Cynthia flipped a U-turn – at a red light, from the right lane – and burned rubber as she left us in her rearview.
You know I felt compelled to give her five stars. Out of guilt. Somehow I don’t think she had the same compulsion.