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Claire Thinking
Sulking Cat

One of my cats has learned to sulk.

She's very good at it too. She stalks away from me, flops down under the dining room table, and then flattens her ears back while narrowing her eyes at me. Sometimes she punctuates the look with a disgusted mrowl.

She first exhibited this tendency when, after trying to digest too much of her own hair, she developed a condition that necessitated a trip to the vet, several IVs and the kitty equivalent of a Brazilian wax. You can imagine the indignity of that on a long-haired cat.

If that wasn't bad enough, lotion had to be applied to the area twice daily and she had to eat fish oil paste to aid in digestion. My cat likes fishy stuff about as much as she likes, er, someone rubbing stuff on her rear. And who can blame her? I wasn't too keen on the whole thing myself - being the one who had to apply said lotion.

You never know how much you love your pet until you have to rub salve over her shaved behind. You want her to get better, and the doctor gave you strict instructions, so you chase her around rubber-gloved with a tube of ointment. You have a mission.

And then there were the pills. Little, chalky ones that I had to break in half (just for the degree of difficulty in getting them down I'm sure) then pry her little mouth open and stuff them down before she got the chance to hack them back up. The glossy pictures in the "how to" section in my cat care book make it look so easy - gently open mouth, insert pill towards back of tongue, then lightly stroke the throat to help it go down.

Sure, it works with the "actor" cat in the picture. Not with my poor sick cat who is squirming like a fire hose at full pressure. I think that the vet gave me extra knowing that the majority of the medicine was going to be spewed back out in a thick, white foam - with accompanying retching noises (some of them mine).

I'm happy to report that she got better and is her old feisty, kitty self. The hairballs have abated through hairball formula cat food and the fur on her tutu has all grown back, but she has retained the sulk.

She uses it to make me feel guilty when I pluck her (repeatedly) out of the kitchen sink when I'm trying to make dinner, or when I shoo her out of the bathroom so that I can have some privacy.

Worse yet are the times when the hairball returns and I have to get out the fishy cat-lax paste and give her a dose. I remind her that it's better than having her butt shaved, but she doesn't see it that way. She stalks off to her hideout under the table and mutters kitty curses at me.

But I know that she will feel better once the paste has done its job. And eventually she'll come out from hiding and climb in my lap and let me kiss her furry little head. She'll purr her thanks and then be off on her next adventure, leaving me feeling a little misty and most likely coated with white kitty hairs.

As I'm brushing off the hair and smiling with relief, I'll hear the soft thud of her landing on the kitchen counter and the tap, tap of her paws in the stainless steel sink.

And so it goes…


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