Max Discovers His Winter Retreat

By Karen

Being a confirmed kitty of habit, throughout our brutally hot and humid Virginia summer Max has split his time between his Max Cave upstairs or the rocker down in the living room.

Over a year ago, my sister gave me a bed neither of her cats wanted. I’ve left it everywhere but the bathroom: on the Man Cave floor and sofa, on MY bedroom floor and bed, my closet floor, and most recently on the big living room chair that Tony once claimed, but no dice. NOBODY would even give that bed a try.

I don’t get it. It’s super-cushiony, covered with long soft “fur,” and just the right size. NONE of their other beds are this inviting.

But the bed’s prospects did a complete 180 last week after Max and I shared the trauma of his annual vet checkup.

The practice has a brand-new vet fresh out of school, whom they billed as interested in cats. I requested her, thinking she might be more cat-savvy than our usual vet, who’s always struck me as a dog person.

Big mistake. She was not good. At all. Max didn’t need shots, so she just listened to his heart and lungs and said they sounded good. His blood work last year (age 10) was fine, so she said we could skip it.

I asked if she’d checked his ears, and she replied that she saw some stuff and if he’d been bothered by it. I said no, so she left it there. I guess a $55 visit doesn’t cover a couple of Q-tips.

I’d brought a stool sample, which came up “negative” ($42).

Never again with the poop ripoff. Last time I had a cat with a parasite, it was Rex with a tapeworm back in the ‘80s.

I also brought up Max’s teeth, which have never been cleaned. She said he has “some” tartar and the front desk would give me an “estimate,” which is always “worst case,” just so clients aren’t surprised later.

An estimate? Max could use a scaling, he doesn’t need his transmission rebuilt, FFS.

OMG. The “estimate” was a full page describing teeth cleaning as a full-blown, all-day surgical procedure, complete with X-rays.

If all goes well and it’s just scaling: $950.

The estimate also said the vet recommended “2-4 extractions” (what happened to “some tartar”!!??), which would EACH run $200-$300 EXTRA.

So, “worst case” (4 extractions) would be: $2,150.

Oh, and the vet had only one cat, whom she didn’t name or seem particularly fond of.

Then when Max and I staggered out of that den of extortion, my car’s key fob suddenly wouldn’t open the doors, but the locks went crazy, and I spent 10-15 panicked minutes trying to us into the car.

When we finally got home, Max ran straight to MY BEDROOM (where he hasn’t been in many months) and spent the rest of the day on the desk. He was freaked out, too.

I know this is a long lead-in, but later that night after we’d both calmed down…

Max was sitting on the couch with me, and I decided to try one more time and put that fuzzy new bed at the end of the couch.


Here’s an aerial shot I took from the balcony the next morning…

Max’s been hanging out there from morning meditation until after I go to bed. During the night, he goes up to the Man Cave for a poop and a nosh.

Max totally relaxes during evening TV time with me nearby. Here’s his stretch we call Starboard (right side, for landlubbers), one leg…

Starboard, double leg…

Port (left), one leg…

Port, double leg…

Roc and Tony have noticed there’s a hot new ticket in the house, but so far, neither have challenged Max for possession…

“It’s about time those two accept who’s man of THIS house!”

Roc’s even happy to bask in the sunny spot on the floor and let Max have his bed…

“Is it wicked of me to pretend Roc is lying there in a coma?”

With one of my crazy little pillows (that keep cats from scratching the couch back), Max sums it up…

“And a home without cats is no home at all.”

PS: Happy ending to the lock subplot: My sister’s amazingly handy boyfriend fixed the locks with a cheap, simple part as my birthday present!


22 Responses to Max Discovers His Winter Retreat

  1. I long ago gave up doing a yearly visit unless it was time for vaccinations or there was something I was worried about. Hazel passed her annual with flying colors (and no ear cleaning) and a month later died from congestive heart failure and a huge tumor that was pressing on her heart and lungs. She could barely breath. How could the vet have missed all that. I had a similar incidence with Mollie. Unless there is a reason, I won’t take them in. It’s traumatic all the way around and I haven’t been impressed with the services I got. It’s not like anything was caught early. On Gracie’s last visit they recommended a dental. It was over $1K with x-rays. I wondered if they do dental light without x-rays.

  2. Bob says:

    So glad Max has found a new comfy home to snooze in.

  3. catsworking says:

    Kate, it seems your vet should have heard — or FELT — something amiss with Hazel. Holy shit!

    I Googled “cat dental cleaning” and all the numbers that come up are in the $200-400 range, which is in the ballpark of what I’ve paid before. They do use anesthesia.

    Now Tony is due for a checkup and I’m going to skip it unless he needs shots. He’s fine and I don’t need to shell out $55 for some idiot to tell me that.

    While I was sitting in the waiting room, a woman with a tiny dog questioned them charging her $42 for ONE PILL.

    And last year my vet charged me $18 to clip Max’s nails (we skipped that this year), but I heard another cat owner getting charged $25, so that’s up. And last year the visit was $47. This year $55.

    I was pissed last year about the nails because his usual vet FAILED to do a urinalysis, saying Max’s bladder was empty (bullshit, since he only pees once a day and it had been over 12 hours). But the test was part of a $240 “bundle” and couldn’t be broken out. In fact, she said, “Oh, you’d pay WAY MORE if we charged for each test.” BULLSHIT.

    The least she could have done was give him the 1-minute mani-pedi at no charge.

    As I was working on this post, I KNEW I’ve done one before where I was furious with the vet and vowing to switch. I couldn’t find it, and for the life of me can’t remember what happened. So much other shit in the meantime. Do you remember by any chance?

    Regardless, I do need to find someone else. A vet who HASN’T just built a new state-of-the-art extortion palace with a big mortgage on it. (This vet and the previous one I had for decades built buildings and their prices immediately went through their new roofs.)

  4. catsworking says:

    Bob, thanks. Max is snoozing there right now! I wish they made them in people-size. I’d snuggle up in one if the weather ever gets cold.

  5. I hear you. I use two different vets. I call one the Walmart version. Vaccines and simple issues. They can do bloodwork and x-rays but if a cat has an unusual or complicated issue (with no obvious root cause) it’s not good. The other vet is the cadillac version where I take them if they have a real problem. When Morgan broke her leg I took here there (my other vet is closed weekends and you can’t get in fast). Walmart vet said that the gunk in Gus’s ear wasn’t anything to worry about. I needed a backhoe to clean it out each day. Turns out he had a very had yeast infection. Even with meds it took two weeks to stop renting the backhoe. If I take Gracie for a dental, I’ll take her to the Walmart one. They don’t do x-rays and they only service cats so I don’t have to worry that the equipment is too big. Locally we can get vaccines at pet stores and even our local CVS does pet vaccines. I haven’t done a poop test in years. I only do when I get a new pet. My cats don’t go out, don’t have fleas and unless I see something or know they are eating mice, it’s very unlikely they will get anything. I don’t remember any rant from you but I read a lot of pet blogs. Do you have a search feature on your blog that you can use? BTW, nail clipping used to be complimentary with an exam. Last time I had one it was $18 and that was over 10 years ago. Same with a butt clip. It was complimentary, then I was charged. I don’t know how people without much resources care for their pets. Our local shelters and rescues have clinics and I suppose that’s where they go.

  6. catsworking says:

    Kate, thanks for the info. We do have different Walmart-type vets around, like Banfield at PetSmart. I’ve never considered them, but with these clowns clearly ripping people off, it’s worth a look. My former vet used to do nail clips for free. It takes all of a minute if someone holds the cat. I’ve usually done Max and Roc myself. Max would probably still let me, but Roc has gotten very feisty about it. Never tried with Tony, but he’s not the destructive type.

    There’s also a little solo practice about a mile from my house next to my Chinese takeout place, I’ve always meant to check that guy out.

    Ditto on the poop test. Pure moneymaker for the vet on indoor-only cats. Never again. I don’t even believe they do anything with the poop but laugh as they toss it into the trash and say, “Text her it was negative.”

    I did do some searching on the blog for my vet rant but couldn’t find it. I can’t even imagine what it was about, but I KNOW I was pissed at them for something. Could it have been Adele when she was put to sleep? Aside from her death itself, the rest of it was totally botched.

  7. One of those cat things… they only want it on THEIR terms.

  8. Pat says:

    We have that same “Home is where the cat is” pillow, on our couch back! And Max’s following line is Purrrfect, right on the mark!
    That new bed is luxurious! I’m glad Max finally decided he likes the bed, but I’m so sorry it took that unfortunate vet visit to get him to put the bed to use.

  9. catsworking says:

    Pat, I’ve got six little pillows across the back of the couch that I bought many years ago in a pillow phase, most with cat sayings. The pillow you and I have is probably an antique. I also have the couch cushions wrapped in an old orange bed cover (it’s not a quilt or a spread, so I don’t know what you call it).

    They still walk across the couch back, but with the pillows it’s not wide enough for a comfortable stretch and scratch. Otherwise, the top of the couch would be totally shredded.

  10. GAY SULLIVAN says:

    He has BIG paws!!!

    Sent from my iPad


  11. catsworking says:

    Gay, Max’s paws may look big because they’re white and his legs are black, but they’re normal.

    The kitty here who really has ears, tail, and paws a bit too big for his body is Tony. So, far, he hasn’t grown into them. I think if he hadn’t had malnutrition and many medical problems when he was a tiny kitten that may have stunted his growth, he might have been meant to be a very large cat.

    But he seems to enjoy being a feisty little underdog. He takes no crap from anyone.

  12. Glamourmilk says:

    Hey there, hope you and your cats are doing well 🙂
    So this new unauthorised book on Bourdain is coming out soon. It does look like sensationalism but I will read it anyway. For all his own flaws, Argento clearly remains largely at fault:

  13. catsworking says:

    Hi, Glamour! I can’t read the article because I’m out of free reads with the New York Times at the moment, but I’ve got the book on preorder with Amazon. It’s supposed to be out October 11. You just reminded me I need to look around and see if I can contact the author about an interview. Being banned eternally from Twitter is a bit inconvenient because he has tweeted about this book.

  14. Glamourmilk says:

    Here’s a PDF of the article to download:

  15. catsworking says:

    Glamour, THANK YOU!! OMFG this is horrific stuff. I just messaged Charles Leerhsen via Instagram asking for an interview once the book comes out (October 11) and I get a chance to read it. From this article, it appears that he got to the facts we’ve been debating here in circles for years. That is, if, indeed, Ottavia did turn over what I felt to be on his electronics in the end. The excerpts in the article do ring authentic to me and fit what little I’ve been able to learn myself about the situation.

    Sounds as if this may be her (and Nancy’s) way of having the last word with the skank.

  16. bassgirl23 says:

    Just saw the article in the NYT and came here as I knew you’d be on it! I’m torn between wanting to read it but wondering just how accurate it will be given the number of people close to him who wouldn’t talk about it. I think you’re right, if the texts are legit it’s going to make AA look bad. I’ll probably order it just out of sheer curiosity.

    Love the kitty bed. Don’t think mine would use it – although they do love their pillows and will claim any blanket that we leave lying on the couch, if it’s “for cats”, they generally want nothing to do with it. But if it’s ours….it’s fair game.

  17. catsworking says:

    bassgirl, I first tried the bed with one of their fleece blankies in it (so it would stay clean) and they’d have none of it. Max seems to like it furry, so that’s how it goes. Roc loves to dive under any blankie I put down to lie on the bed itself (which we call “r*w d*gging it” around here — words obscured in hopes of not getting deluged with porn spam). But if I put a towel or blanket or piece of clothing on any flat surface, it will instantly become a new cat hangout.

    I have to give GlamourMilk full credit for the NYT article. It probably would have crossed my path at some point, but I didn’t know about it until she alerted me and provided the PDF.

    I’ve had the Bourdain book on preorder since I found out about it. If Ottavia and Nancy did cooperate, I’m puzzled why Chris would be so upset, unless there’s been some falling out there. Also, it was my understanding the Chris had possession of all the electronics, as well as Tony’s ashes. So, unless O shared only what she had on her own phone, I’m wondering how Leerhsen got his mitts on anything else.

  18. feijicha says:

    ok for some reason when I came back to your site it showed your hacking story as the most current one, which I knew not to be true because I had previously read your Max story. Even reloading would not show the updated page. In any event, I came back to tell you to read the People excerpt of the book which has more details than I’ve seen elsewhere, including Eric putting his ear to the wall to see if he could hear anything in Tony’s room.

  19. feijicha says:

    Hit send too soon. The excerpt also states that he was taking large amounts of steroids, growth hormone, and Viagra apparently to try and live up to having a younger girlfriend. Reading this triggered my recollection of all the comments many here and elsewhere had made about the change in his appearance in the last months of his life. Personally it always seemed to me like somehow his head was bigger… I know that sounds weird but really it was like he had a bigger, somehow “meatier” head…. It also claims that he got his sexual needs met with prostitutes when he wasn’t spending time with she who shall not be named who carried on like mad it seems about how she could sleep with whomever she liked, including her ex husband, but she demanded he not ever sleep with his wife and mother of his child (they were not divorced)…. jealous much? And then she had the nerve to accuse him of being possessive and trying to control her life…….EGADS.

  20. catsworking says:

    feijicha, I’ve been getting People mag lately for no reason, but I hadn’t seen this story. Thank you!

    I agree with you that Bourdain’s head DID seem bigger toward the end, but I attributed it to his increasing gauntness everywhere else. (Like Nancy Reagan).

    I’m still not buying the prostitutes. It never seemed he was so desperate for sex that he’d risk STDs and getting mixed up in some hooker sting operation and outed as a john.

    My understanding was that he HAD started getting some therapy in his last months. But I can see the steroids and Viagra, if he was having problems in that department.

    I don’t know. Now that I’ve read this excerpt from the book, it feels a bit fishy to me. I’ll reserve judgment until I see more. I’ve contacted the author via Instagram and through his website, asking for an interview and sending a link to the one I did with Tom Vitale, but haven’t had a reply. He did start following me on Insta so I know he saw my message.

  21. Glamourmilk says:

    It’s actually infuriating that some people on social media have picked up on the idea that Tony was the possessive one. Argento was the possessive one. She didn’t want him to have anything to do with the mother of his daughter, while she was free to sleep with whomever she wanted. She let Tony pay a fortune for her and her children but never gave him any kind of support. She says herself in her book that she wanted him to tell her everything about who he might be with, while he said he didn’t wanna know about her lovers. In other words, she didn’t care about him, she just set him up to fail right from the start by making sure she had info on him she could use against him. I don’t know why she wouldn’t let him be with Ottavia – they had already broken up and she was with another man, wasn’t she?

    As for a big head caused by steroids. I don’t know about that, but it’s possible. When I read about the steroids I actually thought he took it for arthritis but maybe not. I do know he didn’t look well the last year of his life. Clearly hooking up with Argento was an extremely unhealthy decision in all ways you can think of.

  22. catsworking says:

    Glamour, I would describe Bourdain as more obsessive than possessive of the skank. When, like a classic abuser, she cut him off from his wife and daughter, he had only the skank for the home base he needed, and then she refused to give it to him. In fact, FLAUNTED that he couldn’t count on her by being with other men. (Remember another photo of her somewhere in a field, maybe in Africa, holding hands with some guy? If they were holding hands, they were screwing. This was during her Tony time.)

    But this brings us around to what’s basically wrong with HER. Everything’s about power and ego with her. Tony helped her financially, and she repaid him by demeaning and disgracing him because it made her feel power over him. She needed him for the money, but she hated the idea that he might feel he had power over her. He even told about one fight they had where he was gobsmacked when she accused him of being powerful.

    These days the skank is apparently hooking up with some guy 20 years her junior she met doing MMA (jealous of Ottavia much?). So, she’s hit that stage. Bony little bitch who can’t hold a job, smeared all over with wrinkling black tats, reeking of cigarette smoke, thinking some guy nearly half her age is mesmerized by her hotness. Rather than the locker room truth: “Hey, guys, guess who I banged last night? That no-talent actress with the father who makes bad horror movies!”

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