Let’s start with a list:
That’s pretty much the exhaustive list of things I believe should be expressed.
However, now that I’m the proud owner of a cat rescued from Methatopia, West Virginia, I’ve learned there’s something else that requires expressing: Anal Glands.
That’s right. I didn’t even know that was a THING.
Until one night when I was kicked back in my chair, reading, and Miss Moneypenny emerged from her litterbox. She strode confidently over to me, then sat down and proceeded to pull herself around on the floor using only her front legs, moving in an oddly fluid way, as if she were channeling the ghost of R2D2.
Obviously I had to burn and replace the carpet. But before doing so, I googled, “Cat Dragging Butt.” And because Google knows me, instead of pulling up helpful medical references, the first results displayed animated gifs. Which, admittedly, slayed me. But did nothing to help me diagnose Miss Moneypenny’s malady.
My next query was more fruitful, and was confirmed by my sister, who ALSO just adopted a vocal cat with butt issues. Apparently we’re scat magnets. “Sounds like her anal glands need expressing,” Alicia wrote. She then sent me a how-to video. I gagged and called the vet.
When I arrived at the vet, it was after working hours, so the waiting room was full. I approached the receptionist and tried to be discreet. “I’m hoping there’s a vet tech who can look at my cat,” I said.
Before I could get any further, she said, “What’s her name? Your cat?”
Me: Miss Moneypenny.
Receptionist, loudly: Oh yeah – she’s the one who needs her ANAL GLANDS EXPRESSED, right?
Me, softly: I’m not sure. She’s just started scooting around on the floor a bit.
Receptionist, loudly: It sounds like her ANAL GLANDS. Let me see if I can get a Vet Tech out here to EXPRESS HER ANAL GLANDS.
Me: Um, thanks.
I took a seat, sheltering Miss Moneypenny from the prying eyes of other patients who all seemed to be there for non-embarrassing routine procedures, like teeth cleanings and rabies vaccinations.
A vet tech appeared shortly, and asked a few more questions. The unwitting audience of other pet owners started making the sign of the cross on their chests, praying that they never had to bring their animals in for ANAL GLAND EXPRESSION.
Meanwhile, Miss Moneypenny cowered in her vented duffel bag carrier, growling. I could hardly blame her, especially when the vet tech grabbed the duffel and said to me, “You wait here. She’s going to be very mad at us. Better that you’re not in there…”
The rest of the appointment was uneventful – for me. I don’t even want to know what happened in the back. From the howls, I think it’s safe to surmise that Miss Moneypenny was not a model patient.
Later that night, I chatted my sister.
Me: Good job with the long-distance diagnosis of my cat’s butt.
Alicia: Was it her glands?
Me: Yes. They said it’s common in dogs, but pretty rare in cats. It’s weird that we BOTH just adopted cats with this issue.
Me: Unless this is cats’ version of a gluten allergy? Maybe it’s suddenly trendy?
Alicia: I guess we’re just early adopters.
Me: We should get out ahead of this wave and write a cookbook. PAYDAY!
<–Not to be confused with THIS book, which seems to advocate COOKING cats. I guess we’re not the only trend-setters.