Durance Vile, Or, POOP

Mingo returned home last Wednesday. I stuffed him in my back room because the vet asked me to isolate him from the other cats until his stool test results came back. There he received human visitors from his local fan club, graciously accepting homage from the top of the bookcase. I had to put him in the backroom because, karma being what it is, Kevin-the-contractor was reattaching my shower door and replacing a baseboard in the bathroom that very day.

The vet called the next day: Ming had VURRMS, sorry, worms, and he also tested positive for giardia exposure. So he had to be separate from the cats for a week, plus he might be contagious to humans. Fan Club: Wash Your Hands

I moved him back to the bathroom. He’d now come full circle because this was where he lived when he was a tiny kitten, when I bottle-fed him. In the interval, the bathroom has been renovated. He didn’t comment on the tile selection or the new tub which I thought was a bit churlish of him.

For the last week he’s been getting worm medicine and flagyl for the giardia, both liquids squirted down his throat, twice a day. I’ve been very good about clean litter every day, washing MY hands, and keeping everything separate. The vet suggested I bathe him, but I pointed out that the vet + vet assistants had been unable to bathe him and punting this over to me was unfair.

However, because he’d spent time in the back room I had to micro-vacuum the rug (the vet told me to wash it, this woman is far too anal-retentive if you ask me) and wash the floor with ammonia, plus scrubbing the litter boxes with ammonia ditto and refilling them.

I was totally unsurprised that Mingo’s return was labor-intensive and completely disruptive. It’s Ming. This is how he rolls.

He was extremely subdued for 24 hours after he arrived, probably because he’d gotten at least three injections and some pills. Once he recovered, he started eating. And eating.

I’m feeding him six time a day, that’s wet food not counting bowls of dry food. He eats it all. He weighed in at 11 lbs at the vet, and it’s been a week. His coat is looking better and his hip bones aren’t as prominent.

Have I mentioned he’s a big cat? Maine Coons continue to grow for longer than other breeds; Ming’s only two, so he could get quite large and solid before he’s done. I don’t think he’s a purebred, not exactly, but he is more Maine Coon than he is anything else.

Having him in the bathroom was inconvenient, particularly after the first few days, because he kept trying to escape. I developed a technique of sticking the full food bowl through the doorway first, followed by the rest of me, and this would deflect him enough so I could shut the door behind me. Of course, entering to use the bathroom for other purposes was a bit of a scrum.

(Years ago, someone instructed me I should keep cats in my spare bathroom, out of the way. This only works if you have a spare bathroom, and it’s casual comments like this which give middle-class white women such a bad rep.)

Long before I finished the five days of medication plus the worm test and the wait for the results I was ready for Mingo to get out of that bathroom and begin living with the rest of us. My other two cats felt he should either stay in the bathroom permanently or simply disapparate.

Here’s a few shots of Ming in durance vile, with empty food bowl. It is not possible to take a picture of Ming next to a full food bowl.

Next Post: Release the Kraken!



Mingo’s Back, Or, Miracles Are Exhausting

Boulder Creek Veterinary Hospital called at 10:20 this morning. A stray cat had been found (I thought they were looking to place it) and then she said, “We scanned him and found a chip. It’s Mingo.”

I cried. I had hysterics. The worst thing, the absolute worse thing, about Mingo disappearing was the uncertainty. Was he dead, hurt, in pain, trapped, hungry? Was he lost and frightened? Closure is such an overused word, but that’s what I was missing and I couldn’t move on. I’d drive into town and look for him by the side of the road. Somewhere.

He disappeared on June 27, 2018. One year and seven months ago. Surely he was dead, no matter what had happened it was over. And then they called. I found out later they’d recognized him, with disbelief (“Oh, it can’t be. It’s been too long.”), and then there was a bit of competition over who got to call me.

He’d showed up a week ago at a house no more than two miles away, hungry. The nice lady (whose name I didn’t get, sorry, I was in shock), had fed him and enticed him into her garage. When she had a few hours she took him to the vet in case he had a chip.

There he was, skinny, full of fleas and ticks, fur matted, and he’d pooped in the carrier so he smelled horrible. Did he recognized me? I’d have to say No, there wasn’t a Disney moment. But he was calm, with all these strange people, and he accepted being petted, having the worst mats removed, de-ticked, and combed. They’d wanted to bathe him but he tried to go out the window, so we settled for chem wipes and combing.

He got all his shots, wormed, flea med, and there was an awful wait for the feline leukemia test result, which thanks be was negative. Then I took him home.

All I thought, all this morning and through the afternoon, was: This isn’t real. This doesn’t happen. I’d fantasized about just such a call and then it happened. In my experience, it doesn’t. Hollywood moments don’t.

Apparently, they do. I’m incredibly grateful to the nice lady, to the vet’s, to the universe whose mysterious dice roll came up double sixes, and to whoever fed and cared for him for the last nineteen months. He’s in too good condition to have been outside all this time, but we may never know who or where.

He’s still Mingo. He’s in my back bedroom asleep after eating three bowls of cat food and my entire house smells of Male Cat Spray. Who could have done that? (Rhetorical) Squeaky, my elderly black cat, smelled my hand, gave me a horrified look, and hid under the bed all afternoon. Sophie the Tiny Cat has been either under my bedspread or in the closet — she’s not eating. Adjustments are in order all around; the next few days are going to be interesting.

And no, I’m not letting him outside. I’ve already talked to the contractor about building a large catio. This may take a week or more, so I expect a mighty battle with Ming the Merciless for dominance, space, and whatever I happen to have in my hand at any time. Remember, this is a cat who tried to climb into a hot oven.

I’m exhausted. Who knew miracles are so tiring? Where does it say the disciples watched a man walk on water and passed out drunk after talking about it for six hours? After the Buddha reached enlightenment, did he get to take a nap?