"To sleep, perchance to dream-
ay, there's the rub."
Hamlet (III, i, 65-68)
So said the Bard in one of his most famous plays. But this has not been the case in our happy home lately. I suspect The Bard and Mrs. Bard, in that idyllic thatched-roof cottage, did not have high-maintenance cats.
Sisy, age 14, and Fala, age 13, have been having digestive “issues.” Hairballs, that is. Well, at least one of them has hairballs on a fairly regular basis. I can never be truly sure which one it is, because these incidents of vile retching happen in the middle of the night, generally on the floor near the foot of our bed.
So we awaken unhappily from precious REM sleep and by then the nocturnal nausea is mostly over, except for a few laboring hacks. We are back to sleep and the wretched retching is forgotten until morning when the bare foot encounters the warm, furry remnants on the cold, oak floor.
The main suspect in this feline-onious crime is Fala, who like Eliot’s Macavity is always “not there.”. As one can never be sure, both cats get the treatment. Special food exists for the purpose of eliminating hairballs, but that doesn’t work as Sisy needs special food for diabetes and Fala needs special food for prevention of urinary tract infections.
We turn to an over-the-counter remedy, a sticky malt-flavored (so says the label) gel in a tube. Here are the directions: “To help eliminate “hairballs”, feed adult cats and rabbits a one-inch ribbon of This Goo daily until symptoms disappear. Give between meals either by placing on your finger or on the front paw where it can be licked off.” The label also notes “Satisfaction guaranteed.” (My question is “who’s satisfaction – mine—the cat – the rabbit? How did rabbits get involved in this?)
Anyone who has ever lived with a cat (note I did not say “owned” a cat) know that cats won’t do anything you want them to do. Fala figured out after day one that if I approached him in a certain way that I was going to put gooey brown goo all over his paw. I guess he didn’t read the marketing, because he ran the other direction.
Recently I’ve been squeezing an inch-long ribbon from the tube and putting it on my right hand, and casually sitting near Fala on the couch. I just rest my hand near him, and unobtrusively move it closer and closer until it is right under his nose until he smells the fragrant malt flavor and licks it off. This worked a couple of times, I think because he thought it was his idea.
Then Miss Piggy – Sisy, who can hear a can of food being opened from 500 yards – started wanting in on the action. I am sitting on the sofa, trying to be completely nonchalant and uninterested so Fala will come over and take the bait. And out of the bowels of the basement, Sisy who only moves when something tasty is involved – races up the stairs and puts two paws on either side of my hand and begins licking off the slime on my hand. Naturally this drives Fala away.
Last night while attempting to entice Fala into my little melodrama, the phone rang and it was for me. Do I “ungoo” and waste a batch? Or do I sit at my desk and talk on the phone with this glob of guck smeared all over my hand?
At times like this, I just have to stop and say, “Look at yourself, woman. You are a grown-up and you are trying to entice a dumb animal to take his medicine. Just grab him and stuff it down his throat.” Of course we cat-owners know that it is never that easy. Quoth the raven.
Moore, Roger. "To sleep, perchance to dream." Shakespeare Quotes. eNotes Publishing, 2006. eNotes.com. 15 Jun, 2009