The last time Podo was projectile vomiting all over my house, I rushed her to the vet, who then poked and prodded, hooked her up to IV’s, ran blood work, and took x-rays ultimately to determine that she had… acid reflux. This diagnosis cost me $500 plus some over-the-counter Pepcid.
So Sunday, when she started the vomiting thing again, I was initially a bit suspect. Fool me once, Podo, shame on you. Fool me twice, and I saw a sign at PetCo for half off all guinea pigs.
But then she started to get whiney, and lethargic, and wobbly when she stood up. So I scooped her up, apologized for everything I had ever said about trading her in for a guinea pig, and called the 24-hour animal hospital.
“Hmm. Vomiting and non-responsive? Seems to be walking gingerly? Tail between legs? If it weren’t for the vomiting, I’d say it could wait, but that could be a sign of an obstructed bowel.”
I tried imagining how I would deal with a cat that needed a tiny colostomy bag, and since I’m not all that keen on cleaning the litter box, let alone an external intestine, I grabbed my credit card and headed for the hospital.
The biggest difference between my regular vet and the 24-hour animal hospital – aside from the 100% price increase – is that none of the animals were at the hospital for routine physicals or teeth cleanings. I tried to block out all the other people by flipping through a photography magazine from 2001 (“Digital SLR’s – Will They Ever Catch On?”), but their tragic tales kept seeping in:
…dog ate ten of my blood pressure pills…
…ruptured anal sac…
…kitten swallowed my sewing needle…
…nothing they can do…
Were there no happy endings here? By the time they finally called me into the exam room to show me Podo’s x-rays, I was more than a little worried. The vet opened up her laptop and I saw an x-ray pop up.
“Oh,” she shook her head, “that is one horrible pelvic fracture.”
She looked confused, then grabbed my arm, “Oh god, no. I’m sorry – that’s not Podo. That’s the dog who just came in – he was hit by a car… I still have to load Podo’s x-ray.”
After calming down, I leaned in close on the steel exam table as she pulled up the x-ray.
“Okay,” she said, “You see this over here?”
I nodded my head silently, bracing myself for the worst.
“That’s poop. And in between? That’s gas.”
I waited for the bad news, “So… what’s this huge dark mass over here?”
“That’s a big ball of gas. Overall she looks totally healthy.”
“So, you’re telling me that my cat has gas.”
“So we’re giving her some fluids right now. I’ll give you a few cans of bland wet food to take home, and then you can go.”
This time, it only cost me $300, so I guess I got off easy. Now, of course, I’m ecstatic that there’s really nothing wrong with Podo, but I just have to wonder why she’s so fragile. When did my cat become a delicate, young, bulimic Princess Di? Where are her cat instincts? Why doesn’t she eat mice, howl on the back fence, and play the fishbone xylophone like normal cats do? Why do I have an image-obsessed vegan cat whose entire diet consists of apples, yogurt, and plastic bags?


author photo
Cats are tough. They have nine lives. If they go to a hospital, it’s because they got into it with that lazy-eyed Rottweiler, or fell from a 10-story building and landed on their feet. It’s not because they have GERD, or irritable bowel syndrome, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Okay, I’ll just say it – why can’t she be more like her brother? Kodo is like Prince William – rough and tumble when he needs to be, strong and handsome, yet gentle enough to let me do his nails. Sure, Kodo has eaten the shoelaces off of at least half of my shoes, along with the fringe from my oriental rug, but you don’t see me rushing him to the ER.
lap cat
what do you think of my manicure?
Maybe I just have a different set of expectations. In my family, there were two rules when it came to food: you eat what you take, and you poop what you eat. So all I’m saying is that if Podo is going to take the entire Jewel-Osco grocery bag, she’d better be prepared to finish it, and if she’s going to finish it, she’d better develop the intestinal fortitude to digest the damn thing.
That’s all I ask, Podo. It’s all I ask.

19 Responses to “ER”

  1. sbukophile Says:

    Not sure if they’re siamese or burmese, but in my experience, both breeds can think they are like royalty. It’s early days with Niobe and Jack, but I think that Niobe might be the princess and Jack can hang with Kodo in his rough and tumbleness. I can also see why you have named yours after ferrets after my first few days with mine–they’re a cross between ferrets and meerkats. Those are great photos by the way! Glad it wasn’t serious for Podo buth ouch on the bill!

  2. Dave2 Says:

    Ahhhh… treasure these moments of pet ownership!
    Sometimes I really miss it. :-(

  3. Tracy Lynn Says:

    As cats, they generally feel that they are supposed to do whatever puts you out the most. Or so it seems to me from my twenty odd years of living with the bastards. They are fortunate in their cuteness, or it would be creamed cat on toast.

  4. kat Says:

    but have you seen the recent pictures of prince william? total uggo.
    that’s all i’m sayin’.

  5. romy Says:

    poor podo !
    and 300 $ for gas?
    i am definitely in the wrong profession.

  6. shari Says:

    OMG! I think it’s the Osco bags. Can’t you go someplace like Target where the bags are specially formulated to be easily digestible? I mean, that’s what a committed and loving pet owner would do. ;)
    I am so sorry HRH Podo had to go to the E.R., but in reality, I’m even MORE sorry that you had to go. Having been to kitty e.r. recently myself, I know it’s a very stressful (and expensive) place. Glad she’s okay.

  7. shari Says:

    P.S. — That is one incredibly beautiful cat. Gawd, what a pretty face she has!

  8. Abigail Says:

    You know, I always wonder about vets. I really think their insistence on the urgency of whatever the issue is because they really do care, not because they want the money. BUT I wonder why I’ve never heard a vet story that involves a quick-and-cheap fix.
    But then again, I have a pug. And a healthy pug is an oxymoron.

  9. jenny Says:

    sbukophile: They’re siamese, and your kitties can hang with them anytime! You’re in for a handful with yours – they’re adorable!
    dave2: Fortunately, it’s all the other moments that make me forget about the hospital visits!
    Tracy Lynn: It’s true, isn’t it? Babies and animals – cute is their one real defense.
    kat: Seriously? Was it a polo accident? He’s ugly now? I’m shocked!
    romy: I sometimes think that as well, until I hear about how vets have to squeeze anal sacs. Gak! Give me my office job anyday…:)
    shari: Well, really, I should just use paper vs. plastic. And thanks for the sentiment – you’re right – going to the cat ER is no fun!
    abigail: Yeah, I can’t think of a time when I got out of the vet for less than a couple hundred. And I’ve heard that about pugs – it’s the eyes, isn’t it?

  10. heather anne Says:

    I rescued my cat, Nala, from the woods behind my office. It cost me $450 in vet bills to bring her home. Some days, when she’s being a brat, I call her Four Fiddy. She straightens right up.
    Also, I can’t look Podo straight in the eyes. It unsettles me.

  11. Jessica Says:

    Thank God I finished reading this post…as soon as I saw the words “fractured pelvis”, I nearly picked up the phone to dial Cat Protective Services on you (sure, we’re friends but I can’t allow innocent kitties to be abused…even those that nearly eat my face off when I pick them up).

  12. sween Says:

    Reminds me of the time the Large One ate two feet of a dangly cat toy. Good times.

  13. jenny Says:

    heather anne: I like it – Four Fiddy! Makes her sound kinda gangsta. And yes, I know what you mean about Podo. She sits like that every morning and stares right in my face until I wake up and feed her. It kind of freaks me out…
    Jess: I can’t believe you almost got my cats hauled off to foster care! And I’m pretty sure it was only Kodo who hissed at you. :)
    sween: Yours do that, too? My male cat – the one who is able to digest the undigestible – ate half of this dangly cat toy, and it was made out of fleece. FLEECE!!! My teeth hurt just thinking of chewing on that!

  14. diane Says:

    Awwww. Podo. I am glad your kitty is okay.
    I have the same issues with my Bastet. She eats freakin’ EVERYTHING. She has chewed up so many plastic bags and I am constantly worried she has a bowel obstruction. One night, she started puking at 11:00 the night before I had to be downtown for a meeting REALLY early. I was half cursing/half crying over her. Then suddenly an hour later she stopped. Poof. All was fine.
    I think she’s just got an eating disorder. She climbs up and sits on the scale all the time–no joke!

  15. Jessica Says:

    Read this post out loud to my husband twenty minutes ago……he’s STILL laughing.
    His favorite line?
    “Play the fishbone xylophone like normal cats do”
    Suffice it to say that he can’t wait to meet you next month.

  16. Roy Says:

    I don’t know if you’re getting funnier or your cats are getting weirder.

  17. karen Says:

    As a cat owner, i totally understand. The cat I had as a teenager once got into the ceiling through a gap in some basement drywall, fell down between a corner and a door jam, and stayed there for 3 days before anyone found her (with the help of a sledgehammer, we got her out…dehydrated and hungry and really needing to pee, but otherwise fine.) Same cat got out once and came up the driveway dragging her hind end, paralyzed from her kitty waist down. An overnight at the ER vet, and she was fine, with no explanation.
    The cat I have now? Sneeze too hard while she’s in the room, and she’ll probably poop out of fear.
    BTW, amazing, beautiful pictures of the cats. What kind of camera are you using (not that it’s the camera and not the lovely cats)? I’m in the market for Digital SLR.

  18. jenny Says:

    diane: okay, the scale thing is hysterical. what’s with all these vain cats?!
    jess: clearly he and i watched the same cartoons growing up… looking forward to hanging out as well! :)
    roy: you have it backwards – my cats are getting funnier, and i’m getting weirder.
    karen: OMG – a sledgehammer? fortunately i’ve not had to cross that line yet! and thanks – i have a canon digital rebel xt, and could not be more in love – it’s soooo great! canon just came out with a new version of the rebel a month or so ago, but haven’t heard any reviews on the new one.

  19. Don Says:

    GAWD you’re hilarious. I’m linking you (again) right now.