The care and feeding of your rabid hyena


Today we took our cat to the vet. What I would really like to type is “Today we took our angry, rabid hyena to the vet” because, yeah, it was kind of like that.

Kandalle (he was named by a child so please don’t ask) is an indoor cat. He came to us eight years ago as a tiny foundling, tucked into Mr. Wonderful’s warm coat on a frigid day. The tip of his tail fell off in our hands the first night (frostbite). That wasn’t gross or anything (yes, it was).

Our daughter fell for him hard, and he for her. They have been inseparable ever since. He is king of her heart — and our house. It is his world. We just live in it.

Being the responsible pet owner type who knows this cat must live to be 100, lest our girl be devastated, I went ahead and made an appointment for a regular veterinary check-up. GirlWonder would need to accompany me because he’s always loved her best and I’m not looking to lose a hand.


Getting him into the kitty carrier was our first big step. Have you ever tried to give a cat a bath? It was like that, but without benefit of warm soapy water to cleanse our wounds. I spent a not-so-good five minutes trying to convince an extremely reluctant cat that, yes, he really did want to go into the plastic box with the cute Scooby-Doo towel.

Have I mentioned he has claws? Big, treacherous bear sized ones.

Then he was boneless kitty. I don’t know how a cat who can turn 13.4 pounds into 50 when he stands on your head in the middle of the night is able to suddenly, and without warning, transform himself into “liquid kitty” when the need arises, but he can. He just went limp.

While this sounds like it would make him more manageable it actually had the opposite effect. Short of folding him origami style I couldn’t get him into the carrier. I couldn’t fathom if he was a double or a tri-fold sort of a cat.


We finally had him stuffed in there and slammed the little wire door shut. I felt like I had just successfully stuffed toothpaste back into the tube. Eager to share his displeasure he began to wail, pitifully. Now GirlWonder was fixing to cry because he was sad.

Twice on the way over I almost pulled over, sure there was a siren behind me. Turns out it was just the wailing of the cat that made me understand, instantly, where the term “caterwauling” came from and why it is used to describe any noise that is ear-bleed levels of unpleasantness.


Upon arrival he provided our veterinarian with a puzzling problem to diagnose. Namely, where did his bones go? He was still doing his impression of “boneless kitty,” curled limply in the corner of the crate refusing to be scooped out.

Fortunately the staff came to assist and he found his spine just in time to launch himself like a coiled spring from the confines of the crate. The veterinary tech, a self-proclaimed “cat lady,” seemed to love him. She was crooning “sweet boy” and “what a love” completely unaware of the clear and present danger.

At one point, without regard for her own personal safety, she leaned close, squeezed his face, and said “oooh those cheeks.” She said he was giving her kisses. We think he was going for her throat.

Batting her away, he went all Ninja Kitty and stalked around the room randomly “rawwrrring” at table legs and a rolling stool that proved menacing. He acted like he was hoping to escape the moment someone opened the exam room door. There were large, menacing dogs back there so we stopped him. We wouldn’t want one of those dogs to get hurt.

He took his shots like a man (it only took two people to hold him) and then gave us a long-suffering look that said “I hate you and you can kill your OWN mice from now on lady.”

Giving him one final pat on the head the veterinarian fled to safety, promising that he would “forgive us eventually.” Easy for her to say. He doesn’t know where she sleeps.

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