Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Trapped in the closet.

I cannot thank all of you enough for your “Get the pill down the dog’s throat and keep it there” suggestions. This confirms my suspicion that my readers are kind, smart and noted for their persistence. It also gives me the pleasure of imagining people throughout the world saying to themselves “Now, where did I put the cat’s pill-shooter?”, and that’s a really nice thought as well. Just so you have the pleasure of closure, I will say that liquid Benadryl makes a marvelous dog hair-styling product and milk products such as cheese and cream cheese make him gassy. A week ago, I didn’t know these things and now I do, and have amended my Benadryl plans accordingly. Contrary to every single parent-teacher conference my mother ever attended, it seems I am capable of learning something. Through trial and error and error and error and trial and a few more errors, I have created a system for getting the dog to take a pill; it involves shoving my hand so far into his digestive system that I very nearly reach excretory system. I then pull out my hand and have a nice long obsessive hand-wash.

Every time I wash my hands, I pass by the hallway closet. If there is such a thing as a warm and welcoming closet, this isn’t it. It’s narrow and tall and, weirdly enough seems to be deeper than the length of the hallway; we assume there is an end to it in the shadowy recesses, but cannot say for certain. I have wondered on occasion if in fact this closet is a portal to a not-terribly-friendly parallel universe. We relegate the large, the ungainly, the off-season and the vacuum cleaner to that closet, on the assumption that if malevolent beings tumble into our world, they will be stunned by a bulk package of toilet paper falling on their head and a winter coat wrapping around their tentacles. It’s dusty and crammed with boxes, some of which are completely unknown to me, which leads me to suspect the boxes have reached sexual maturity and are now mating. The closet is full, with room for nothing more than a single snow glove or possibly an empty legal-size envelope. And yet, every week, the cat insists on going in and then gets stuck in there when I close the door. She then spends a few hours in there, unbeknownst to us.

I’m not sure whether this reflects worse on her or me. She’s not small; shouldn’t I be capable of noticing a football-shaped cat leaping past me as I drag out the vacuum cleaner or a few boxes of Kleenex? Since she does it every week, wouldn’t you think I’d do some cursory pass of the closet before shutting the door? But, readers, I do. I do keep an eye out for her, check to make sure she isn’t rappelling her way up a wool coat or having a contemplative chew on the holiday wrapping paper. Before I shut the door, I scan the closet to ascertain whether she’s in there. Believe me, I look. Hours later, when I’ve gone to the back door for the eighth time to let in the cat I can hear plaintively mewing, it hits me like a bag of snow boots: the closet. I open the door and she comes stomping out, brushing the metaphorical dust off her theoretical shoulders. And while a cat looking indignant is always entertaining, I can’t say as I feel much guilt over her incarceration.

In fact, I’m starting to think she might not be as smart as she appears. Bright shiny eyes and the ability to kill anything less than two feet tall notwithstanding, this is like my friend who kept dating drummers.

After the fifth or sixth time Lulabelle got locked into someplace dark for an entire afternoon, wouldn’t you think she’d develop some neural shortcut which, upon seeing the open closet door, would light up “Move on, nothing to see here”? I am here to say that Consort and Daughter leave other closet doors open all the time. Since this makes me nuts on a par with chewing on tinfoil, I spend a lot of time closing closet doors. Out of habit, I always check inside; am I locking that cat in? Never; all other closets are jejune, obvious, not worthy of attention. Only the magical hallway closet with its total of a quarter-inch of available space and its glorious musty smell must be examined.

And then, shock! The door closes and she is locked in the closet! Who could have possibly foreseen this? Having no camera in there, I’m just guessing, but I think she then reads the back of the magnum bottle of Murphy’s Oil soap, whiffs a few mothballs and passes out for a few hours. Upon awakening, she notices that she’s hungry and commences to be pitiful until I let her out. The last time I released her, on an impulse, I picked her up and turned on the closet light. Together, we stared into the depths. I then put her down and she started to dash off to eat but then she turned and looked into the closet. Something caught her attention and she tried to slide back into its enigmatic depths. I grabbed her round little body and tucked it under my arm while feeling a stab of affectionate pity. She has a brain no larger than your average walnut, I thought, scratching between her ears as I transported her away from the closet. She’s a simple creature who, lacking the gift of the human’s ability to reason, will continue to do the same thing again and again.

In the kitchen, something caught my eye; a half chewed Benadryl on the ground. I felt rather than saw the cat smirk.


Blogger OHN said...

Lets see, so far ours has spent the night in our bedroom closet, barely stirring from the warmth of my sweater shelf, the kitchen pantry where he undoubtedly had his stomach filled with the contents of the bag of food he opened (from the bottom I might add), and his latest cozy spot was in the dryer--good thing I looked before turning it on :)

12:57 PM  
Blogger Sewa Yoleme said...

Forgive me for coming so late to the conversation on pilling methods. I worked in a boarding kennel for years, and we had to pill some amazingly resourceful and picky dogs. If cheese makes your pooch gassy, have you tried liverwurst? It has a strong smell, which masks the faint scent of the Benedryl; it's malleable like Velveeta, so it's easy to work with; and most dogs go gaga over liver. It was the only way my own allergy-ridden dog would take her Benedryl (and occasional antibiotics). You're already miles ahead of the game with a diet that doesn't contain grains.

You're on TCM in three days. Gotta go set up the TiVo.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Kelly @ Love Well said...

Are you quite sure the cat didn't teach the dog to regurgitate the pill? Because I wonder if she isn't playing you.

In fact, she probably spends her time in the hallway closet communing with the creatures from the not-so-terribly-friendly universe, who are training her to take over your household. And next, Los Angeles!

Cats aren't to be trusted, even if their brains are the size of walnuts.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Skerrib said...

Probably the cat trots over the parallel universe, where they were hoping she'd be tripped up by the boxes and coats, and commences to scare the daylights out of everyone to her heart's content, before returning home for dinner.

5:55 PM  
Blogger EGE said...

Maybe she's a VISITOR from the parallel universe -- ever think of that? Maybe she really lives on the other side, and is just here spying and reporting on YOU! Maybe she's just waiting for you to open the door so she can dash in and doff that furry suit, give her tentacles a good wiggle, and commence dishing the dirt. Then they all have a good laugh, she dons the cat costume again, and you -- like a sucker -- let her back into your world.

As far as pilling dogs go, however, I got nuthin'.

3:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

since we have the exact same problem at our house with a brainy-yet-stubborn cat and parallel dimension closet, i imagine that she's always headed to narnia to converse with aslan and try to be a badass.

i believe the vacuum is the teleportation key.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

These comments are so funny. We have three cats, against my will, and they have each developed some repetitive annoying behaviors such as you describe because they are each competing in their own way for our attention. The baby gets all the snuggling from my kids, so the middle child, a formerly feral kitten who hates to snuggle, pulls paper out of my purse and chews it up while the dominant male, upset that he can't go outside and kill things while it's 15 below zero, stalks around acting like he can see ghosts and chase them off with his Vulcan mind-meld powers.

10:53 AM  
Blogger badrhinogillett said...

Our cat went missing for 3 days once. We had gotten to the point of calling animal control and having our microchip papers in hand, preparing to hear about her death.... then, I walked into the spare bedroom.

I needed to get something out of the closet, which I had been in 3 days before and closed. Yup, out came the cat.

2:42 PM  
Blogger cathy said...

I do the pill all the way down the throat with the neurotic male cat. But first I encase him in a beach towel. It is a sight to see! We have cut nails using this same method, I always come out much the worse for the wear! The problem is, I am every bit as stubborn as that cat. The female is another story altogether, I just take her to the vet to begin with. Saves us both a lot of grief.
I know when I'm beat.

I am fairly sure the dog's dragon lives in that closet, or at least sticks its head in there from Honna-Lee on the other side of the closet wall.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Helen Shearer said...

Hi, Quinn. Why not just clear enough space in the closet to fit a self-cleaning litterbox, food and water dishes and a toy or two? You might never have to open the door for her again. Just a thought.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Fishy Busyness said...

This is one reason we don't have cats. Only dogs. Large, geriatric, ill-behaved dogs. But at least they're easy to catch and aren't capable of slinking. Not that the pilling discussion needs to go on any further, but the only way I've found to effectively pill a dog involves lots and lots of slober and slimyness.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Amie said...

I have to point this out:

If one were attempting to read your blog while watching tv, and were to be distracted by George Clooney in a tux (on the tv, but I can dream) while reading this sentence: "this is like my friend who kept dating drummers. After the fifth or sixth time she got locked into someplace dark for an entire afternoon" one might get the wrong idea.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Invader Tim {Current Mission: Seattle} Said...

Salutations, Quinn. Here's a grand notion; have you thought of installing a pet door (or pet flap, or whatever it's called) on the closet door? As for the pills, can't they be ground into powder and mixed in with wet pet food? {Insert shoulder-shrug here...} :>

12:59 PM  
Blogger nestfeathers said...

I just started giving our 11 year old (stubborn) beagle 3 pills twice a day. Small pieces of bread help get the pills down.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Muffy St. Bernard said...

Cat-in-a-closet? Likewise!

At my old place -- where the mirror was on the back of a closet door, meaning that the door often needed to be closed -- the cat would get locked in at least twice a week. She wouldn't even meow; I'd just notice that she'd been absent for a while, open the door, and out she'd run.

It's comforting to know that my otherwise bright cat, like yours, never understood that the closet was a trap. On top of all that the closet was freezing cold and (to a human at least) all-around uncomfortable.

I think it was a passive-aggressive thing: by getting herself trapped she could make me feel guilty.

We've moved now, to a an apartment where the previous tenant sawed cat-sized holes in most of the doors. Her presumed martyrdom is over.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous La BellaDonna said...

I was pleased to note that your other readers had the same reaction I had: that the cat was, in fact, using the closet as its portal, either TO or FROM that other universe. I have one of those idiots, too. In fact, while my Mommy-besotted cat is closet-indifferent, my son-the-psycho-killer is ALSO suspiciously drawn to that very self-same type of closet ... the Downstairs/Front-Hallway Dimensional Portal. My God! They ARE Dimensional Travelers!

Meh, with a dog, I'm of the grind-the-pill-up sisterhood. Cats, now, are different. I wind up gripping them as if they're footballs, and shoving the pill halfway down the dear kitty's throat. In fact, when a friend was trying to get her six-year-old to swallow a pill, I took the pill from her and pilled her daughter as if she was a cat. It was very odd to shove that pill past teeth that weren't sharp. However, it worked just fine.

3:51 PM  

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