Friday, March 19, 2010
Did you know cats in heat (and sometimes female cats in general) are called Queens? Well, consider Lucy dethroned.
We've been meaning to get her spayed for a long time, particularly because her hormonal behavior makes her so unpredictable that she's a danger to herself. We were finally able to make an appointment earlier this week--since it's my spring break, I would be able to keep an eye on her afterwards and make sure she didn't overdo it. A hysterectomy is pretty major surgery, even for a cat.
It was Tuesday morning, we had slept in a little later than we planned, and we rushed around to get everything ready. Just as we were about to walk out the door, I turned to get Lucy. She scampered away. Thinking she was just playing, I tried to chase her around the house back into the living room. She would have none of it. She ran under the bed. Five minutes later, both of us laying on our stomachs, arms reaching beneath the bed, Jay hauled her out, ruffled and disgruntled.
My maternal guilt flared. She knows, I thought. She knows what we're going to do to her. Jay and I ran out to the car--I, clutching Lucy to my chest--so that I could drop him off at school on my way to the clinic where they "fix" pets for a relatively low price. I climbed into the driver's seat, holding Lucy firmly in my lap, as Jay began folding himself into the passenger seat of my compact car. He reached out to close the door. I relaxed my hold on Lucy as I reached to start the car. Lucy, in an impressive feat of athleticism, leaped behind Jay's back and out his still-open door and jetted under the neighboring Toyota.
She would not be coaxed out. She ran from car to car, pausing under each one and gazing out at us with glowing green eyes. She was taunting us. We couldn't catch her, and she knew it. Jay is fast, but even he was powerless to stop her. I ran upstairs and grabbed her favorite toy to chase. She wouldn't even look at it. We had chased her down a line of at least 15 cars for at least 15 minutes. All I kept thinking was, Great. She's going to get herself knocked up on the very morning she's supposed to get fixed. How would that be for irony?
She's never done anything like this to us before. The one time she slipped out the front door, she just sat in the stairwell. So what was going on? Did she somehow know we were taking her to the hated vet (she may very well have sensed my guilt)? Was this her hormones' last-ditch effort at fulfillment? Or was this just a poorly-timed break for freedom and fresh air?
She reached the end of the row of cars and raced into a set of thick bushes bordering the building. We lost her several times in the thick foliage. At long last, we caught a break. She ran out the other side of the bushes onto someone's (thankfully unfenced) patio. Jay somehow vaulted the bushes--quite a feat, even for his long legs--and grabbed the cat from where she was cowering under a small table.
"Don't let her go!" I said. "Make sure she doesn't wiggle free!" But Jay's hands were steady, and his face was grim with determination. He didn't let her go.
We climbed, exhausted, into the car, this time making sure all doors were closed before releasing the cat. She sat, subdued and shaking--from adrenaline or from fear, I'm not sure--in our laps for the rest of the drive. Jay was late to school, and I was late to her appointment.
We picked her up from the clinic later that evening. She was groggy, and I cringed when I saw the large naked patch on her stomach surrounding a not-quite-inch-long incision. She bumped into things as she made her way around the apartment, weaving as she walked, and missed rather spectacularly when she tried to jump up on things. We tried to keep her from moving around too much, but she wouldn't have much to do with me or Jay, and I was afraid she'd never forgive us.
The next morning, after Jay was up, she pushed her way into our bedroom (our door, unfortunately, doesn't latch) and leaped onto the bed. She pranced across the covers and snuggled into my arms, purring.
We stayed like that for awhile, her and I, my "maternal" guilt finally beginning to unclench its fingers.