The special ops cat assignment!

I had a terrible night’s sleep. I kept waking up worried about the morning. (Do Navy Seals have this problem before a special ops assignment).

There have been cats in my life for 60-ish years. We had them when I was a child. I know how to handle them. I can handle the untouchables, the biters, the people-haters. Cats that will not allow other people near, cuddle up to me.

I am the cat whisperer (sorta).

However….

Hazel at her largest

Hazel at her largest

For the past couple of weeks, my semi-feral cat Hazel has not been friendly. It’s a crap shoot as to whether she will allow me to scratch her. Or touch her (heaven forbid!)

I don’t know why. She’s never been people-friendly but not like this.

Both she and Mollie had their vet visit scheduled this week. I set it for first thing because typically I could pick her up as I put her breakfast down. That was before. She hasn’t allowed me to pick her up at breakfast in weeks.

We have a standoff. I stand next to her dish and she stands 10 feet away waiting for me to leave. She always out-waits me. (Yeah, I’m a weenie!)

I wasn’t sure I’d be able to crate her. I’ve been working on friendly time. She isn’t having any of it.

For a chubby cat, she can move fast. She is like a greased pig if she doesn’t want to do something. She has a sixth sense about things that are going to happen to her.

I had a new idea but I couldn’t test it. Cats are smart. If you try something once, they remember and you can’t do it again. So with my untried technique, I came down to the kitchen.

She was there waiting patiently (sort of) for her breakfast. She wouldn’t let me near her. I was trying not to give off tension vibes. Cats can sense those too. If I’m a wreck they know something is up.

I tried my new technique and lickety split, she was in the carrier. She mewed which alerts the other cats that something is up. (Danger, danger!)

Morgan was intrigued. She’s the silly one-eyed cat who thinks all things revolve around her. She was saying, “Take me! Take me!” (She is the hit of the vet office. She loves it there!)

Running up the steps (without tripping) I entered Mollie’s room. She was on high alert. Not in her usual place, I moved to the bed to pet her. In one swoop I had her in my arms and despite her six-foot wide leg spread (cats do that maneuver when they don’t want to go into a front-loading carrier) she was inside.

Both cats were in the car and I was still shaking. (This was definitely a Starbucks day!)

Hazel at vet: Help me! They are trying to kill me!

Hazel at vet: Help me! They are trying to kill me!

I was excited to show off Hazel’s weight loss. She lost just under 4 pounds. That is huge for a cat. There were high five’s all around. (Of course I took all the credit! Hey, it was my doing. Not everyone can resist the puppy dog eyes that my cat has.)

I was hoping we were done for another year but they both need teeth work. Mollie needs an extraction and Hazel (yes, again) will need a thorough cleaning.

So there will be another day of stealth sneaking around. I’ll work on a new technique.

In the meantime, Morgan is napping in the carrier. She likes to make it smell homey! (What is wrong with that cat?)

Morgan: I'm ready! Take me!

Morgan: I’m ready! Take me! (Special note: This is the secondary carrier and not the nice plushy one that I used for Hazel!)

Special thanks to the beloved husband who listened to my prattle; helped with the carriers; and took pictures!

65 thoughts on “The special ops cat assignment!

  1. Oh Kate I feel your stress, I hate taking any of our cats to the vets, they all hate it. But when my large cat Apple is unwell he is a biter and very strong and I feel exactly like you do. I always breathe a sigh of relief when all the vet visits are done. Glad you had a win once you got them there.

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  2. I enjoyed this piece, being a cat person myself. For me, worse than the crate are the dreaded words, “Give your cat this medicine twice daily.” All cat people know exactly what I’m talking about. I always wonder why it is that all I have to do is wave the dog’s medicine near a piece of meat and he’ll gobble it down with no problem at all.

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    • When I brought Morgan home from the shelter I waited a week to integrate her with the other 3 (I had 4 cats then, yes, I know!). The stool sample results came 2 days later for coccidian and giardia. All 4 cats had to get medicated 3 times a day. I wrote one of my favorite (and true) blogs about this experience here. I know exactly what you mean.

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  3. Kate, you and the cats could become a youtube sensation if you could get your beloved husband to take up a more permanent role as videographer, you’d be able to afford all the Starbucks and massages you’d ever want! I’m really impressed with Hazel’s weight-loss and you should really be commended. I love their different personalities!

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  4. Both our cats are feral. One is inherited and the other just wandered up as a kitten. We can’t pick up either one, but they do walk in the front door with H in the evening and sit patiently while he fixes their food, then out the back door following him to eat. H is not a cat lover but, they know what hand feeds them. I think they have him under their spell! ~Elle

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  5. There’s nothing worse than trying to crate a cat. If my cat Rocky senses something’s up, he hides under the very middle of our bed… for the entire day. I’ve had to cancel vet appointments because I can’t get him out. One sneaky tactic is taking the cat carrier out the day before or even longer. They get used to it and start to relax. Then its “easier” putting him inside. Kind of.

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    • When Jake was young he would do that. We’d have to close the door and bat him out with a broom handle until he had no where to run. It took 2 people and we needed an extra 20 minutes. In his old age he was easy to handle. I put the carriers out close to a week prior. Morgan likes to sleep in them. She spent 5 months at the shelter when she was a few months old and it must have been ok because she never freaks out at a carrier.

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  6. Wait, are you going to give me the blow by blow of the technique? I need it. Today I had to kennel all four for the pest control guy. It was a good day, which is the only reason I am writing here. Sometimes I might as well do a triathlon as kennel the cats.

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    • I put kibble on the cat tower, she’s vulnerable when she climbs up. She can’t jump down fast enough. No magic but it works. Kennel 4 cats? I’d call it a miracle. When one gives the “danger” cry, the rest go into hiding. This group isn’t so bad as Mollie and Hazel are older and slower than they used to be. They were all like greased pigs when they were young. Morgan loves the attention and doesn’t consider getting kenneled a bad thing.

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    • The other cats have their food on the top of a chest of drawers that Hazel can’t jump on. It’s the only way. None of my cats would be good about sharing a carrier. Maybe my carriers are too small.

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  7. Wish I could lose four pounds and keep it off… I need to go on the same diet! Taking more than one cat to the vet at the same time, I don’t think so…

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  8. Glad this vet visit is done, but sorry there will be another. Nobody likes dental work. Hazel should get a treat for the weight loss, maybe catnip. So far Teddy hasn’t lost a pound but he hasn’t gained one either. I think that counts for something.

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  9. They really DO remember the tricks, don’t they? I last took the kitties to the vets for kenneling a few weeks ago. Came home in the middle of the day which took them completely by surprise so I was able to pretty easily swoop them up and pop them in their crates. But now any time I come home in the middle of the day they scatter — like I’m going to take them away again. Smart little creatures, aren’t they? And congrats to Hazel on her weight loss!

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    • They don’t forget for a long time. I have to take the carriers out days in advance because I don’t see them for 24 to 48 hours. They start assuming that the carrier has turned into a new piece of furniture when they whisked off to the vet. My old deceased cat Jake was the worst when he was young. He was so strong that I had a hard time getting him into a front-loading carrier. I had to put him in a pillowcase first. Very stressful for us both.

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    • It’s peculiar to this cat. She does not allow herself to be vulnerable. You can’t corner her because she won’t go in a corner. However…she’s a sucker for food. She will run away when I stand by her dish on the floor but if I put kibble on the cat tower, she’s vulnerable when she climbs up. She can’t jump down fast enough. No magic but it works.

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        • Yes! I have the I-Go-2 soft, zippered carrier on wheels (lifting an 18 lb. cat in the plastic is a back killer). Top loading and zipped up fast. Also they can’t do the leg spread. Easy to get them out too. My vets office loves it. Not surprisingly, all the drama is over. Last night she let me pick her up when I served her dinner. I swear I give off some anxiety she picks up on when a vet trip is coming up.

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  10. While I haven’t had that many cats at one time I fully understand the stealth required to get them in the carrier. So pleased that you handled this one and best of luck on the next trip. Four pounds is wonderful! Good job there!

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  11. Great job on capturing two cats at the same time, and on Hazel’s weight loss!!That’s a lot of pounds to shed, and I bet she feels much better. And, of course, she can probably get away faster now too.

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    • When I looked at the medical record that they gave me, they noted that she is still 1 to 2 pounds overweight. Sigh! They did draw a happy face for the weight loss. She should weight 10 to 12 lbs. tops and she’s at 13 1/2. Still celebrating! The vet was very supportive. She said she rarely sees this kind of success especially with a multiple cat household.

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