Kitty. Dentist. Me. Scared.

26 Apr

Laugh all you want.  But I am a Noyvous Nelly when it comes to my cat, Don Gato (aka DG), going to his vet for a dental cleaning.

Let me backtrack.  I never had a pet growing up.  My parents (not from this country) were raised in pretty poor circumstances, where animals were not “pets” – they were workers with jobs…guarding property, catching rodents, laying eggs.  You get the point.  So my parents  were never keen on having a dog or cat in a small apartment in the Bronx.

Instead, I had imaginary pets and once dragged a stuffed animal along on a piece of string for “walks” – much to my mother’s (un)amusement.

A few years ago, I decided that I was ready to nurture a living, breathing being that did not have leaves, and was part of the mammal species.  I REALLY wanted a dog, but kept going back and forth on it.  Was it ethical or humane to get a dog and have it locked up in an apartment all day?  I work 9-5, live alone, have no backyard, and am also in school.  Then again, I have a relatively big enough apartment (bigger than the cage a dog is kept in at the pound) and live near the park.

I would search the rescues on the site, petfinder.com (like internet dating, ha!) and read many “profiles”.  A few caught my eye.  I would write, and said pup would be adopted, or I would never hear back. (Yup.  Just like online dating).

Every once in a while, I would check out the cats.  I saw Gulliver’s profile – a tiny kitty that looked out with doleful eyes that melted my slightly skeptical heart.  I wrote, and again, received a reply saying that he was happily in a new home.

And then….I saw Don Gato.  His name alone grabbed my attention.

When I was a kid, my parents used to sing me this song in Spanish about a cat (named Senor Don Gato) that was sitting on a rooftop when he receives a letter from a chic white cat (the niece of a calico cat), asking him if he wants to marry.  The news stuns him so, that he falls off the roof, breaks a bunch of bones, and dies.  As he is being carried to his burial, passing the fish market, the smell of sardines resuscitates Don Gato, and so it is said that cats have 7 lives (I guess that the life expectancy is lower for cats in Spanish-speaking countries when compared to their US counterparts.)

Anyway, my Don Gato’s real life story was equally rough & tumble.  He was living the hard life in an abandoned building in Brooklyn, with a colony of cats.  When he was rescued, he was very sick – he has FIV & herpes  (kitty HIV and herpes, canNOT be transmitted to humans, and kitties with FIV can live long and healthy lives, people!) – and originally the rescuers thought he was feral.

As it turned out, DG was a big old softie, and with some very tender loving care by his foster “parent” Rob, he got stronger and healthier everyday.  He was ready for adoption and looking for a home.

DG was being fostered right by my job, so after work one evening, I stopped by to meet him.  It was truly love at first sight.  He was curious but not clingy.  I would pet him, he would walk away and sit on the window ledge behind me.  Every few minutes or so, a little paw would lightly tap my shoulder for some more petting.

And now, a few years later – I have a happy, healthy and slightly (well, more than just slightly) demanding furry feline sharing my home and heart.

Because of his FIV, I am pretty vigilant about his vet visits.  And when it comes to his dental hygiene, I actually prefer to shell out the big bucks to get annual cleanings.  Because if his gums become infected, it could get really ugly.

However, he does not know this is all for “his own good.”  He cries and struggles when I put him in the carrier, and it BREAKS my heart having to drop him off, knowing that they are going to put him under, and he is going to spend all day  scared and confused – like “WTF?  What did I do to deserve this?”

Luckily, all went well.  Last night I picked him up from the office, and he was no worse for the wear.  (he is a very resilient little guy, I must say!)  He ate, he demanded, he slept.  This AM, he woke me up at 6 to be fed.  Then again to get a treat.

Man, if and (hopefully) when I have kids, I will be well prepared for the medical appointments, shots, and various early morning/late night feedings!

And I will have DG to thank for the training;)

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2 Responses to “Kitty. Dentist. Me. Scared.”

  1. Lotta's ullisar April 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    Nice story 🙂
    It really is tough to leave them at the vet, not being there when you know they will be lost and confused.

    Wonderful to read about ppl who care for rescue cats.

    Thanks for sharing your story!
    Lotta

  2. ifUseekAmy April 26, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Awww, poor Kitty! I love knowing that people rescue (as opposed to buying) their pets. My cats were rescues and are the best kitties ever (one is still with me).

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