Scene: Harris household, 5 a.m. The cats are at different windows, staring with wonder at the white stuff that covers the ground. The fish circle lazily in their tank (fish are hard to impress). Husband and wife stand with arms interwoven around upper bodies, speaking in soft whispers as they stare at the fresh new world of winter whiteness.
"Ready?" I ask, and Blair nods. Softly, so as not to disturb the scene of domestic tranquility taking place, we glide over to where Olivia, our tabby, is staring out the window.
"See the snow, baby?" I ask. "Isn't it pretty?" My kitten turns to me with wide eyes filled with wonder. I give Blair the nod. He leaps onto the couch and grabs a startled cat.
"Got 'er!" he yells, quickly followed by, "Wait, no, wait...AAAaugh!!!"
Cat and man flail across the room. "It's time... to... take... your... pill!", Blair gasps as he throws himself on top of what is now a whirling dervish of fur and claws. You can almost hear Olivia's response in her muffled meows: "YOU... CAN'T... MAKE ME!"
My job is to stand by, pill in hand, so that when he does catch her, I can pry open her mouth and stuff the pill to the back of her throat. Neither of us enjoy this process. Plus, I'm feeling terribly guilty this morning as I chopped garlic for last night's dinner and my hands now smell like a vampire hunter's bordello.
"Do you have her?" I ask. Blair pops out from beneath the couch and gives me a dirty look. "Does it look like I have her?" he asks.
We finally manage to subdue her and bring her into the kitchen. I'd read that if you give your cat the pill in the same place each time, they will come to associate being in that place with "pill time" and will quickly learn to cooperate, knowing the quicker they take their medicine, the quicker it will be over. Right. Who writes these advice tips--monkeys on typewriters? Dog lovers? If anything, Olivia revs up her attempts to flee once we reach the kitchen.
"Okay pumpkin," I coo. "Real easy this time. One, two, three and down. Mommy loves you. Mommy would never hurt you. Mommy--"
"Will you just give her the damn pill?" says Blair.
Right. I lean over and open her mouth, just like my vet showed me. I drop the pill in.
"Is it in?" asks Blair.
"It's in," I say, "Wait. I think it's in." I peer inside the throat. "It might be in."
He is struggling to hold Olivia, whose fur becomes eel-like in its slipperiness when she wants to escape. "In or out?" he heaves, trying for a new grip. Too late! She's sensed her chance. She takes a swipe at his arm, leaps over his shoulder, lands on the floor and bounds away.
Blair looks at me. "I'm pretty sure it was in," I say. He goes to the sink to wash his hands. I walk down the hall.
"Are you okay, baby?" I call.
"I'm fine," he responds.
I think it best not to mention that I wasn't talking to him.
Meanwhile, we have another 8 days of cat pills to go. Pray for us.