This probably makes me a bad person, but I frequently run out of sympathy for my cats. It used to be, before kids, that they were the fur children. We didn't dote on them to the point of dressing them up in Victorian outfits and pushing them around in strollers or anything, but we did lavish a good deal of affection on them.
Now, with a seven-year-old boy, a three-year-old diva - I mean girl - and a husband in the house, I tend to frown and scowl at things that generate more clutter and mess. Cats, as feline owners know, create hairbleweed (that's cat-hair tumbleweed) and charming gooey hairball accessories that are occasionally deposited, usually on the few carpeted surfaces of our home.
One of our cats, Buster, was recently diagnosed with diabetes. He's doing fine - he has stabilized and we have our two-needles-a-day routine down pat - but when this first came up I was, I admit, annoyed about the additional chores associated with the cat. Bless his furry buttons and all.
Then there's MacGregor. Ah, MacGregor. This big tabby has long had urinary tract issues which, after great expense and rigmarole, we learned to anticipate and largely prevent. He has been mostly stable, in his own special nutbar way, for a couple of years.
Recently he started barfing. A lot. As I followed his trail around the house and washed mats and comforters, my sympathy was in short supply only because I really, really, really need more laundry in my life. I consulted with the vet and we got a fresh supply of his nice, happy drugs - amitriptylene - (unkay) because - get this - he gets stressed out. When he shows symptoms, we rub a tiny bit on the inside of his ear. He gets all relaxed and happy, takes extra naps and we usually move on with our lives with less barf. This has happened before, but not recently. For a while we even had Valium on hand (kitty doses - nothing to get excited about) to keep him relaxed as needed so he wouldn't have a urinary tract episode.
Through all of this I have said, "What the HECK does a CAT have to be stressed about?" I may have used a stronger word than "heck."
I know, I know. All creatures experience stress for different reasons. In our household new babies and changes in routine (particularly if Mama gets anxious) have been very excellent triggers for MacGregor's stress which, I suppose (sigh) is understandable.
So, naturally, my question is how much amitriptylene should I be rubbing on MY ear?