Just Got to Vent About Our Vet(rinarian)

January 14, 2022

By Karen

I won’t name them, but CW cats and this veterinary practice go back to the 1990s (with one prolonged breakup midway until our defection practice began going downhill). We have seen at least two generations of these vets.

They made life hell during the late Cole’s kidney failure, needlessly costing me hundreds of dollars on prescriptions by limiting the sources to their extortionately priced selves (like $5 a pill vs. 30 pills for $10 online) or one pricey online pharmacy they “partner” with (i.e., probably skim a cut from).

I fought the drug price battle until Cole’s last breath, and recall one day driving to their office THREE times because their dumb-as-doorknobs staff was incapable of producing a correct written prescription and refused to fax it anywhere. I had to snail-mail it to my supplier while the clock ticked down on Cole’s waning life. Their blithe obstruction would have made Mitch McConnell proud.

After Cole died, I went full Karen on the practice administrator over their failure to cooperate. But nothing has changed. The pandemic made it worse. Much worse.

Cole’s prescription issues resurfaced with Adele’s subsequent kidney failure battle, although they did allow me to use Sam’s Club, right down the street. Since they knew I could — and would — drive over and raise hell within minutes of any prescription screwup, that went smoother, although it still cost me much more than it should have.

What I’ll never forget about their treatment of Adele was that they were in a new building (the same move that doomed the alternate practice I mentioned in the opening), and it had a special area for euthanasia. On Adele’s last day alive, they told me to call from the parking lot so we could arrive through a private entrance.

I called, and got a recording that they’d gone to lunch and to call back in a few hours.

THEY had set the appointment to kill one of their patients and just FORGOT it?

So, Adele’s last trip was right past the dogs in their damn lobby.

Max, Roc and Tony haven’t had major issues, so our contacts have been mercifully infrequent.

However, the practice does periodically annoy me with their comical mass emails. They call us “Family” and share new policies to inconvenience us from the tone-deaf perspective that our primary concern is the happiness, safety and well-being of their staff. (Examples on request.)

So, yesterday I took Roc in for his annual checkup, this year a mere courtesy call because he’s fine and doesn’t need any shots.

They let me choose sitting out in the parking lot or accompanying him. I chose the latter. I was double-masked; the vet wore only a blue paper mask, like the one I had on under my triple-ply cloth mask.

As their policy dictates, I sat across the exam room while Roc rested calmly, facing away from me, in his carrier on the exam table, which was inexplicably retracted so it only fit the carrier and the scale.

Full length requires too much extra wiping down between patients perhaps?

Turns out their new “procedure” is to dismantle the carrier, which looks like this, with seven fasteners…

Roc is a most congenial cat and has ridden drama-free in this carrier since he was a kitten. I told the vet to tip it slightly and he’d walk right out. She ignored me, mumbling about “an article saying this is better” — because she knows Roc SO well.

Roc, for the first time ever, felt his safe place taken apart by strangers. Think it bothered him?

Well, when I took out the carrier today for the photo, I set it down beside Roc and he bolted. So, thanks a lot, Vet, for Roc’s new carrier phobia.

During his exam, Roc stood like a thoroughbred while the vet and her assistant pawed him from head to toe. The vet said a cat earlier had put up a fuss.

MY cat didn’t. He was a pro. But you treated him like he was a problem.

Bottom line: These few stories I’ve shared just scratch the surface. We need a new vet.

I’m glad I got that off my chest. Ready for some Cats Working Christmas videos? Their big surprises this year (which Tony almost sniffed out prematurely as I was charging them in the bathroom) were Floppy Fish!

Tony and Roc were immediately intrigued (you’ll see Roc’s tail go by when he loses interest)…

Then Tony decided to show Floppy who’s boss while Max looked on…

Roc’s attack strategy is total domination…

Max didn’t quite know what to make of them and seemed more interested in the rest of Christmas (you get to see everyone in their celebratory mess)…

Tony and Roc enjoyed their annual viewing of Video Catnip, and here’s just a snippet. It’s 25 minutes long and they watched it TWICE…

Here’s the gang relaxing after toys, treats, and ‘nip…

BONUS: Tony watched the snow fall in the backyard last week from the Man Cave window…

Have a Crazy, Catty Christmas

December 21, 2012

By Max

This year, we’re getting real. Our Christmas tree didn’t come out of a box in the closet. Karen went out and killed this one. She wanted the house to smell like Christmas.

(Adele footnote: It really came from Home Depot. I saw the receipt.)

(Adele footnote: It really came from Home Depot. I saw the receipt.)

What’s even better, it’s just my size!

Its little branches can hold only a few ornaments, so we dug out the best —our own personal ones, of course — and those of the late Fred and Yul. I’m told those guys loved Christmas.

I helped decorate.

We also hung bells. Lots of bells. Those were NOT my idea.

We also hung bells. Lots of bells. Those were NOT my idea.

(Unfortunately, the camera flash doesn’t let you see how beautiful the tree is all lit up, so here’s another shot.)

Colored lights make it look like a giant cat toy.

Colored lights make it look like a giant cat toy.

Unfortunately, this tree has almost no smell at all. I check it every day.

Sniff… sniff… Nope, must not be Christmas yet.

Sniff… sniff… Nope, must not be Christmas yet.

Karen hung our stockings on the chimney with care, but she still hasn’t found a better alternative to all the stupid buttons on mine. So she let me raid her jewelry box and jazz it up with all her cat bling.

Adele is pea-green with envy.

Adele is pea-green with envy.

Once all the presents were in place, Cole conducted an inspection, found our section, and declared it a ColeZone. He’s taken a special interest in one sweet little parcel wrapped in red tissue paper.

Every Christmas tree needs a guard cat to watch the presents. Cole parks himself on that red one like a mother hen.

Every Christmas tree needs a guard cat to watch the presents. Cole parks himself on that red one like a mother hen.

Adele should go to work for the TSA. I think she must already know what Cole’s red present is.

Who needs a body scanner when you have claws?

Who needs a body scanner when you have claws?

Adele also became suspicious of a green present for our cousin Noel and wasted no time making sure Karen wasn’t trying to smuggle desirable flavors of Fancy Feast out of the house.

Hallelujah! Noel’s getting all our yucky Turkey & Giblets!

Hallelujah! Noel’s getting all our yucky Turkey & Giblets!

Me, I’m more interested in the tree. How often does a cat get a piece of the forest in his own living room? The only thing better would be if Karen invited my squirrel from the deck inside.

Good thing Karen used sturdy boxes, or somebody’d be having a smashed Christmas.

Good thing Karen used sturdy boxes, or somebody’d be having a smashed Christmas.

I’m looking forward to the Cats Working traditions of a special breakfast and playing with whatever Santa Kitty brings us, then settling back with treats and fresh ‘nip to watch Video Catnip.

It’s a wonderful life.

Adele, Cole, Karen, and I hope Santa Kitty is good to you and your kitties and you have holidays you’ll fondly remember.

Christmas Shopping for Your Cat

December 11, 2012

By Max

It’s only my second Christmas, but many kitties leap out of bed eagerly on Christmas morning, only to find all the best stuff under the tree is for the humans. So here are some pointers on how to make your cat happy this Christmas.

First, let’s narrow it down by what NOT to buy…

Collars – Since a collar is the feline equivalent of underwear (except in Adele’s case; her sparkly collars qualify as bling), never let a collar be your cat’s ONLY present. We will accept a collar graciously on condition that something better is coming.

Toys from “off-brand” retailers – Not to knock the great bargains at Dollar Tree, Big Lots, and Ollie’s, but the last thing a cat wants is toys sparsely stuffed with low-grade ‘nip that made their way here on a slow boat from China. And they usually have cheesy little beads or bits of felt we’ll immediately tear off and swallow so you can spend Christmas Day bestowing a fortune on the emergency vet.

Battery-powered toys – If you don’t plan to be around 24/7 to keep them running, don’t bother. Learn from Karen’s mistakes…

At least they have each other.

At least they have each other.

Grooming tools – Would you be thrilled to receive a gift that pulls your fur out? No, I didn’t think so. Cats consider flea combs and Furminators instruments of torture, not presents.

And now to what kitties REALLY want…

Anything on a stick – Toys on a stick are great because they make you play with us. There’s nothing better on Christmas morning than sitting under the tree watching you trying to get us to chase you and our new toy. It’s HILARIOUS! Our stick toys helped Karen run laps and lose that weight.

These are a few of my favorite (stick) things...

These are a few of my favorite (stick) things…

Refillable ‘nip toys – Our toys from Cat Claws with tummies that rip open for fresh ‘nip are an excellent investment because they last forever. Karen estimates gray “Rowdy Rat” is about 25 years old. Here’s how he looked new.

Sneaky Snake is also an antiquel.

Sneaky Snake is also an antique.

Crinkly, sparkly toys – These balls crunch and catch the light (and our attention). They’re perfect for batting practice.

Since most of them end up under the couch, it's good to have spares.

Since most of them end up under the couch, it’s good to have spares.

Beds – Soft, deep, and cozy, please. Even homemade, like this one Adele is demonstrating, we’ll be touched that you cared about our comfort. It’s the thought that counts.

Adele resting after running me out of Karen's office.

Adele resting after running me out of Karen’s office.

One Christmas, Karen thought Adele would LOVE this furry bed/tunnel. WRONG!

One Christmas, Karen thought Adele would LOVE this furry bed/tunnel. WRONG!

Video Catnip – A perennial favorite. It’s light on plot, with birds, squirrels, and chipmunks hanging out on somebody’s deck, but strangely addictive.

We also have The Adventures of Freddy Fish (which I couldn’t find online, so it may be out of print), but since the only fish we ever see is ground up in Fancy Feast®, we can’t relate and give it 12 paws down.

Stuff to scratch – We are cats of simple tastes, and slabs of thick corrugated cardboard (spiked with a fine ‘nip) work for us. Or you can get fancy with carpet-covered posts and perches. (We have 3 of those, too.)

Cole and I hoping Adele won't storm and repossess her perch.

Cole and I hoping Adele won’t storm and repo her perch.

Boxes, gift bags, wrapping paper, and bows – Christmas morning freebies that are some cats’ favorite things EVER. Don’t be too quick to clean up, because your “mess” is our playground.

Karen gave me a personal tree as a test. So far, I'm passing. It's still standing.

Karen gave me a personal tree as a test. So far, I’m passing. It’s still standing.

Christmas P.S. – and a Spooky Mystery

January 6, 2012

By Max

I’m embarrassed to report that, in spite of my big talk, I chickened out and mostly missed my first Christmas. It all started Christmas Eve…

Adele had just settled into the litterbox when she heard a commotion in the driveway. She raced into the bedroom, which caused me and Cole to dive under the bed because Adele’s a homicidal maniac.

For the next 3 hours, the house was full of strange people. OK, 5 more people, but it’s just a little house.

None of us recognized 2 of the voices. Turns out they belonged to Karen’s uncle Richard and his wife, who had driven down from Mass. And Richard kept a big dog in his truck, right in front of our house. No way were we getting anywhere near him.

I almost felt sorry for Adele because when she couldn’t hold it any longer she had to get to the boxes. She bragged later that her “Merry Christmas” to the intruders was to leave her biz uncovered. She’s so spiteful.

Finally, everybody left and Karen came to bed. When all was quiet, I crept up onto the bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I swear I heard the “scritch, scritch, scritch” of Santa Kitty’s claws on the skylights. I would have gone to investigate, but Adele’s eyes were glowing malevolently at me from her bed on the dresser, so I stayed put.

Christmas morning, we chowed down on Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys, then I followed Cole back under the bed to sleep it off. Adele was the only one with any Christmas spirit.

Here’s what was in those big boxes wrapped in brown paper.

What are we supposed to do with this pile of junk?

Adele actually preferred the paper.

If I had some tape (and thumbs), I’d wrap her up and send her back.

Karen’s job was to put it all together.

Adele supervised from a safe distance in case Karen started throwing stuff.

Finally, it was done.

But what is it?

Adele was the first to show a slight interest. After all, besides a tub of ‘nip, a lousy blue jingle ball, and new food bowls (which are like giving a cat underwear), it was the only present we’d gotten.

Ball. Tunnel. Lame.

But then Adele figured out that the tower thing had TREATS inside!

Hmmm... there must be an easier way than pushing them through all these holes…

It didn’t take her long to figure something out.

The classic claw snag. Works every time!

Then Adele was diverted by Video Catnip, a Cats Working Christmas tradition. Adele’s seen it a dozen times, but she says she always finds something new in it.

If only Karen had put a couple of THESE guys under our tree!

Later, when Cole and I decided to check out the tunnel thing, Cole found the treats, too.

Why do they taste better when they seem stolen?

Even though Adele wasn’t crazy about our new toy, she got possessive and wouldn’t let me play with it.

Her eyes are saying, “This tunnel ain’t long enough for both of us, kiddo.”

Since the original configuration didn’t seem to be grabbing us, Karen tried making the tunnel even longer.

This thing could stretch into the kitchen and I STILL wouldn’t get any closer to Adele.

Since it was now taking up too much space, Karen tried one more time. When Adele wasn’t looking, I checked out the new, more compact arrangement.

OK, what happens when the ball hits the end of the tunnel?

We still have presents to open because we haven’t touched what Santa Kitty left in our stockings yet. Karen says we can have them this weekend when things are back to normal.

And now for the mystery…

When Cole came to live here in 2009, after the passing of Fred, Karen took some pictures of Cole on Christmas Eve. She snapped 2 in quick succession that were identical, except the second one had this…

Could it be the spirit of Fred checking out his replacement?

None of the other pictures that night, nor any she has taken in the 2 years since, have had what ghost hunters call “an orb” in them.

Fast-forward to Christmas morning 2011. My first Christmas here, after the passing of Yul. Karen took this picture of me (with a different camera than in 2009) watching Adele play with the new tunnel.

The spirit of Yul sneaking up behind me?

We didn’t see my orb until just now when Karen was helping me put this post together. It really freaked us out.

Other things have happened here since Fred and Yul died. Nothing bad, but we’re pretty sure they’re letting us know they’re still nearby. But that’s another story.

In 24 years in this house, the ONLY time Karen has EVER gotten orbs in photos have been these 2 shots, both of the newest cat on his first Christmas here.

It’s something to think about.

Happy New Year!

All Cats Want for Christmas is Thumbs

December 19, 2011

By Max

Cats Working reader Adele sent us a link (thank you!) to a great British commercial about milk that answers the question: What would cats do if we had thumbs?


I can add a few more:

1. Steal the remote.

We would watch Animal Planet 24/7. Cole tells me we have a Christmas morning tradition of watching Video Catnip while we play with our new toys and stuff ourselves with treats. Can’t wait!

2. Open cans.

Well, DUH!

3. Make a good fist.

The next time Adele (the cat) came after me, I’d deck her!

4. Strike matches.

No, I’m not a pyromaniac. Just sayin… in case we were ever lost in the woods and needed to start a campfire.

5. Replace our hunt-and-peck style with real touch-typing.

Hitting the spacebar is the only thing holding us back, although I would miss the hunting part, which is always fun.

6. Turn on faucets.

Our water bowls don’t replenish themselves, you know.

7. Hold a poop scoop.

On second thought, we shouldn’t take perfectly good jobs away from humans.

7. Write longhand.

Always useful for signing checks and things like the UPS guy’s log when he delivers packages we’re planning to surprise Karen with. (Giving cats Internet access the way she does comes with a certain degree of risk.)

I’m sure you guys can think of plenty of other uses, but I gotta run. Christmas preps are in progress and I don’t want to miss anything!

A Cats Working Christmas

December 21, 2010

By Cole

Can you believe it’s already my SECOND Christmas here? It feels like only yesterday I was a scaredy-cat just beginning to venture downstairs to find out what Christmas with a family is all about.

This year, Karen got a little lazy and put up the smaller tree. It’s only got 5 pieces, so Yul didn’t have to supervise assembly.

This tree still looks plenty big to me!

Our special ornaments got the best spots front and center.

Since space was limited, we decided to decorate the rest of the tree with only black and white cat ornaments — you know, the ones that look like us. Sorry, tabbies!

Now Adele is strutting around, fluffed up with pride, because there are many more white cats on the tree than black. I’ll grudgingly agree that white cats show up better, but black-cat ornaments can have more character…

I wonder how many people hang fish on their trees?

This one is my favorite because it looks almost like me. Notice the white toes…

Come to think of it, it looks like Yul, too!

Adele and I have been inspecting presents, but are resisting the urge to open any, although Adele nibbled some bows in hopes something might just fall open.

Nice not to have Adele yelling at me for a change.

Because he is prone to sniffles, Yul got one of his presents early — a new suede coat lined with fleece. He loves dressing up. He also wants Santa Kitty to bring him a new hot water bottle. His old one recently peed all over Karen’s bed. She was NOT pleased.

Yul's a perfect dog size Medium!

I want a new collar because my yellow one has gotten a little tatty. My fault for not scratching my neck more carefully.

Adele says all she wants for Christmas is for me to go under Karen’s bed and stay there. Fat chance of that!

Even my Teddy and red mousey have gotten into the spirit. I’ve tweeted about them, so you may have wondered what they look like. They like to hang out together in my favorite chair so I’ll always know where to find them…

My two best friends.

Once again, our stockings are hung on the chimney with care — and they already have presents inside from Karen! But we’re waiting for Santa Kitty before we tear into them because Adele tells me he always leaves the freshest ‘nip.

The suspense is killing us, but we don't want to piss off Santa Kitty by peeking.

The weatherman says we could get 6” of snow on Christmas Day, so Karen may get snowed in with us and miss her big Christmas dinner with her parents.

But whatever it does outside, Christmas morning will be wonderful. We’ll get a special breakfast with treats and watch Video Catnip while we play with our presents and get stoned on ‘nip.

I love having a family tradition, and I’m grateful that we are all healthy and together again this year. I hope every shelter kitty finds a home and a family as nice as mine.

We at Cats Working wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas!

We Wish You a Meowy Christmas

December 25, 2008

By Fred, Yul, and Adele

A picture’s worth a thousand words, so take a peek at a Cats Working Christmas…

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care…

Fred worries, "I hope Santa brings enough treats to feed this crowd!"

Fred worries, “I hope Santa brings enough treats to feed this crowd!”

The kitties are nestled all snug on the couch…

"Please make Yul stop treating me like a tube steak."
Adele’s Christmas wish: “Please make Yul stop treating me like a tube steak.”

And Fred plays a snarky Santa…

"Ho, ho, ho, I think I feel a hairball coming up!"

“Silent night, holy night, all my hairballs are juicy and white!”

We wake up eagerly on Christmas morning to a gourmet Fancy Feast® Elegant Medleys® breakfast, then proceed to stuff ourselves with treats, play with new toys (or, preferably, the wrapping, boxes, and bows), hone our claws on virgin scratching posts, then lie back and get stoned on some high-quality ‘nip as we watch Video Catnip – the feline remake of It’s a Wonderful Life.

We and Karen wish you and all the cats in your life a very Meowy Christmas!

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