by Laurel

A young, male cat lives at our house.  He is the alpha cat, the leader of the pack, the king of his jungle.  Because of his ferocious nature, the three spayed females are forced to live in the house.  He has been known to beat the crap out of the females, even when they were doing nothing more than looking around outside, sniffing the air, and watching the birds.   He likes to keep them trapped under the central air conditioning unit if they happen to be caught outside to demonstrate his dominance and to state that this is his territory.  He still had his balls, thus his nature was to lord it over everyone else.

One day last week this male, a carouser by nature, limped home with bloody wounds to his right leg and left ear.  He looked sad and puny, thin, dirty-looking, and really messed up.  No doubt he had been out and about, doing what all young un-neutered males do, trying to find a date.  For several days he stayed at home to recover, limping from one end of the deck to another, following the sun to absorb its warmth.  On Wednesday, however, I found him lying on the back step with fresh blood dripping everywhere.  Much as I hated to, I decided it was time for a visit to the vet.

Over the years, I calculate that I must have owned around 100 cats.  We have had litter after litter of kittens and I have either given them away, they were eaten by the cruel cars out on the road, or they mysteriously disappeared.  Eventually, I got tired of the mess and the expense, and I decided to get the females spayed and the males neutered.  I had had enough of the heartache of losing all those cats and kittens.  Our backyard is a graveyard for lost pets.  For the past 10 years or so, we have managed to whittle ourselves down to these four cats, all "fixed" except for the male.  They seem to be smarter than the rest because they have managed to outlive the others.

Anyway, to continue the tale of the mangled cat, we finally found the cat carrier out in the garage.  As soon as he saw it, however, he knew he was going for a ride and promptly voiced his displeasure.  Picking him up was scary, but we managed to back him into the cat carrier without getting scratched or bitten, all the while telling old "Tom" what was going to happen to him.  This guy had probably never visited the vet but once or twice before in his lifetime, so in addition to being hurt, he was told he would have to ride in the car to go see someone strange who would probably hurt him.  We hoped our soothing litany would calm him, but no sooner had we gotten settled in the car, we could smell the pungent, pervasive aroma of male urine emanating from the cat carrier.  So, in addition to having to enduring his pitiful cries, we had to smell his nauseous stink while we drove out to the vet.  During this time, we continued to assure him that he would be okay and that the vet would take good care of him.  In fact, we told him, before you know it, you will be as good as new and home where you belonged.

We arrived at the vet's office where several others were already sitting in the waiting room with their dogs and cats.  No doubt old "Tom" was now in serious shock.  After a long wait, our turn finally came.  We were ushered into the examining room and we managed to get the cat out of the carrier.  Old "Tom" looked pathetic beyond belief, but certainly glad to be out of that stinking cat carrier.  The lady vet, whom we had only seen once before, started to examine our guy.  He was really scared but at her request, we agreed to leave him overnight so tests could be run.  I decided that if he had leukemia, I wanted to put him down so he wouldn't suffer.  If he proved negative, I wanted her to treat his wounds so we could bring him back home to recuperate.  The promise was that he would then continue his lordly life in the manner to which he was accustomed.  Lady vet said she would have to anesthetize him to provide wound care since she thought he was kind of a wild cat and I agreed.  We had already experienced his displeasure in the past.

Later that evening, she called the house to say that the leukemia test was negative.  I was happy about that, so I told her to go ahead and "fix him up."  She told me that he would probably be ready to go home later in the afternoon the next day.  Life seemed grand and we were happy.

Came the next afternoon, however, and the sky turned black for us.  We were told that the cat was ready to go home and we headed out to the vet's for the pickup.  After waiting for about 45 minutes in the waiting room, one of the "girls" told us that the cat was still recovering from his surgery and inadvertently let it slip that he had been neutered.  What? we said.  Did you say neutered? we chimed in unison.  I never said to neuter the cat, I said.  My blood pressure rose about 30 points but I was determined that I would handle this situation in a calm, grown-up manner.  Pretty soon I see lady vet coming out of the examining room after finishing with another patient and the "girl" who let slip that our old "Tom" was now de-balled rapidly look lady vet back into another room to tell her the bad news.  Lady vet then slithered back into the waiting room to explain to us that when I said "fix him up" the night before, she literally did just that.  She thought I gave her "carte blanche" permission to do whatever and she took it literally.  (I was told the next day by the man vet that "to fix" in veterinarian terms means to neuter.)  At any rate, no apology to speak of was given, but we were stuck with a $215 vet bill, several medications, and explicit instructions on how to treat him once we got him home.

While still in shock, we loaded up into the car with the now de-balled mewling cat, and all we could think of was, how do you apologize to the cat for wreaking havoc on his physical body after we had promised him he would be okay?  He was now a eunuch in his harem.  He would spend the rest of his days getting fat and lazy, and would never again experience the thrill of female companionship.  We coulda cried.  So, old "Tom" must spend the next week ensconced in the garage until he heals, and then he can be released back out into the wild sans his male ferocity and his hormonal drive for self-preservation.  So instead of being a puss in boots, he will now be a wuss in his own back yard for the rest of his natural life.


How do you apoligize to a cat?
by Tom