Monday, February 21, 2011

28 Pokes in the Eye, a Retrospective

Oddly enough, it turns out that cats aren't real happy about being poked in the eye.

You see, a few weeks ago we noticed that my cat's eye was swollen, so we took her in to see the vet. She determined that Dutchess, our cat, had a respiratory infection. The way to fight it off was to give her some brown goop to stimulate her immune system and to put some different brown goop in her eyes to kill the infection there.

Now, nobody likes having medicine jammed onto their eyeball, cats included. But cats are essentially walking food processors, capable at a moment's notice of slicing, dicing and julienning whatever comes into range. So HER discomfort becomes MY discomfort.

Over the course of the two-week treatment regimen, I had to apply medication to her eyes twice a day. The cat and I both learned a lot as those days went by. I got better at putting the medicine in her eyes quickly and gently. She learned new ways to make it harder. It was an ongoing game of one-upsmanship, a game of cat and mouse, but with a 200-pound human in place of the mouse.

At first, I would find her and carry her into the kitchen, where my wife would be waiting with a blanket to wrap her tightly and keep her from moving. She taught me not to simply grasp her with both hands, because that left her back feet free to swipe at me. I still have a two-inch scab on my wrist where she sliced me open.

I taught her how to tell time. She would get to know approximately what time in the evening we tended to dose her, so she'd go hide under one of the kids' beds, as far back in the corner as possible, where we almost couldn't quite reach her. She taught me to grab her firmly by the scruff of the neck and carry her that way, as it rendered her completely immobile, unable to bite or claw me while I carried her to the waiting blanket.

Finally, she taught me that it was possible to swaddle her myself and apply the ointment all alone. This was common on days when my wife left for work before we'd had a chance to administer the medication. It became more routine after the few times I showed up with the angry cat dangling from her neck-skin to find that my wife had found something more interesting to do than wait with the blanket while I fetched the cat.

Twenty-eight times, I found that cat and treated her. Fifty-six separate doses, one in each eye. She growled and hissed. I occasionally bled. We were both deeply relieved when it was over, though she still tends to hide under the bed at night. Some lessons, hard learned, are hard to let go.


  1. The big question...after all the hissing and the cat cured?

    The other question...are you healed?

  2. The cat does indeed appear to be cured (though the Vet suggested this might be something she's just prone to, that will resurface periodically).

    As for me, the scars. Oh, the scars.