The Downward Spiral

Sigh. So young. And so much trouble:

We’re totally getting him into rehab next week. And by “rehab,” I mean “the vet, who will remove his testicles.” Which ought to calm him down a bit.

43 Comments on “The Downward Spiral”

  1. “This week, on Internet Celebrity Pet Rehab…”

    Because, apparently, I don’t have anything to do today. Except that work that I’m actively avoiding.

  2. That makes me miss my first cat. When I had him unmanned, I got a call from the vet’s office telling me that I had to come down there and pick up my cat immediately because he was biting vet techs. Apparently, this is not usual behavior. They didn’t find it as humorous as I did.

  3. It doesn’t calm them down that much. Our tomcat still fights even though he is nutless, leading me to believe that the territorial instinct is genetic, not hormonal. Fortunately for us and our vet bills, he’s pretty good at fighting and we haven’t had to patch him up yet.

  4. I also wanted to note that TempCat (whose real name escapes me at the moment, because I am old and my neurons are tired) seems to have an innate sense of design. He picked a box which complements his natural colouring.

  5. Which ought to calm him down a bit.

    It certainly worked for me. And by “worked” I mean my internet surfing is now exclusively on blogs such as this one.

  6. I feel better knowing that I’m not the only person who leaves empty boxes on the floor so that the cats can have fun with them.

  7. Ha! My cats are age 3 & 4 years old and had already had theirs removed when I got them from the shelter… “calm” is not a word I’d use to describe either one. “Would have that coke box in shreds” is more like it.

  8. John,

    You are clearly a failure as “the next Heinlein”. Judging by his writing, especially in “The Door Into Summer”, RAH would never have even considered getting Zeus’ gear shifted.

    Ah, me, another idol proves to have feet of clay . . . :-)

    With best wishes,
    – Tom –

  9. “I mean ‘the vet, who will remove his testicles.’ Which ought to calm him down a bit.”

    Yeah, good luck with that, John. Neither of my male cats calmed down when snipped. In fact, with the younger one may have gotten more psychotic.

  10. My cat Meathead showed no change after being de-testicled. He still sprayed (not often) and stayed dominant male in the neighborhood. I even caught him tracking a deer once. Only difference was that he was not into kitten production.

  11. Not to scold, but the best reason to sterilize your pet is NOT behaviour modification. It’s to keep the pet (feral or otherwise) population down. Doing it in an attempt, “to calm him down,” just sounds vindictive.

    Just what are you trying to rationalize, Mr Scalvi? Did the cat destroy something of yours, or perhaps startled you? Tell me, how does the cat remind me of your mother, and why do you want to harm her (well this surrogate) in this fashion? Do you have a younger sibling you hate? Is that it, do you wish to go back in time and prevent your younger brother or sister from being born?

    Yours in jest,

  12. This reminds me John….


    1) Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

    2) Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

    3) Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

    4) Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

    5) Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

    6) Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees. Hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.

    7) Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

    8) Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

    9) Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse’s forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

    10) Retrieve cat from neighbor’s shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

    11) Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus jab. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw sweaty, bloodied Tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

    12) Ring fire department to retrieve the @#$%^&* cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from $40.00 foil-wrapped pack.
    13) Tie the little bastard’s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

    14) Consume remainder of Scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on the way home to order new table.

    15) Arrange for SPCA to collect mutant cat from Hell and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.


    1) Wrap it in cheese

    and you want to do WHAT to this cat…..

  13. I’m not sure what behaviors are supposed to change when a cat is unmanned, but nothing changed for my current boy-cat. He’s bizarre and psychotic (and therefore tons of fun), but he was that way before he was snipped, too. He thinks he’s all that, which pisses off the girl-cat, who IS all that.

  14. Harvey the Puca: Holy Moses. What was once a perfect work of art by Cleveland Amory in his Cat Who Came For Christmas series has been transformed into a booze-swilling, mainstream, excessively hyperbolic monster. I realized I’d read the initial words before…up til about number eight (with some mild changes to be sure), and then it all went crazy.

    I hope someone credited the poor man, rest his soul, before they murdered his work.

  15. I like this new definition of “rehab”. Makes all those celebrity tabloid headlines oh-so-much-more interesting. Something to giggle about while waiting in line at the grocery store check-out….

  16. My big fat boy cat came from the rescue organization sans balls. Outside of the brief phase where he attacked my face every morning, he’s never been all that aggressive. Or, really, aggressive at all. He’s terrified of my much more petite but admittedly much bitchier calico. You can pick him up, roll him over onto his back, play with his feet, drum on his belly, he doesn’t care what you do as long as you’re paying attention to him (although he does get a little bitchy if you play with his tail too long).

    I have not had the calico fixed yet–she never goes outside ever, and Spazz is fixed so I’m not worried about her going SPAWN MORE OVERLORDS and taking over my apartment with more small bitchy calicos.

    I have mentioned twice now that Spazz is fixed, right? This doesn’t keep him from TRYING. The poor guy grabs her by the neck and stands there all “…okay, I think I’m doing this right, I guess, but is something else maybe supposed to happen here or something?”

  17. Snipping works best for behavior modification if you catch them young enough that they haven’t started bad behaviors, like spraying. If they’ve already started, snipping ain’t gonna by itself stop them.

    Proactive, not reactive, apparently.

    Dr. Phil

  18. things worked out well for all the cats we’ve had go to rehab!

    Except for the one with the impacted teste, that took some extra effort to remove. Oh he’s still a good cat, very very mellow. Except when you turn your back and you’re not looking then he’ll try to swipe at you, and he occasionally freaks out and attack things that aren’t visible

  19. Anon @ 24: “…and he occasionally freaks out and attack things that aren’t visible.”

    Just because *you* can’t see the invisible things doesn’t mean they’re not there, or not extraordinarily threatening. Be thankful that your cat has your well-being in mind. ;)

  20. When I got Loki, who now lives with my parents, fixed, the vet left the outer scrotal sac intact: so it looked like he still had balls, empty furry balls. Let’s hope that Zeus gets the same consideration.

  21. You know what’s scary, and even a little funny…the clients that I work with who need rehab, some of them would be more likely to go to rehab if it was as simple as snip, snip, rather than changing addictive behavior. So all in all, you’re lucky John. You don’t have to go to family therapy to figure out how you are facilitating Zeus addictive behavior (other than supplying the Coke, you horrible man). Ah, addiction. Funny.

  22. “Coke Addict Cat” would also be a good band name. But I’d like to see you work it into a future novel as a pet for a central character….kind of an inside joke for people who frequent “Whatever”.

    As for me, I’m owned by two dogs (whippets). For dog/cat owners everywhere:


    8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!

    9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!

    9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing !

    10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

    12:00 pm – Lunch! My favorite thing!

    1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing !

    3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

    5:00 pm – Milk bones! My favorite thing!

    7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

    8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite

    11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!


    Day 983 of my captivity.

    My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

    They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

    In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

    Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter” I am.


    There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

    Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow – – but at the top of the stairs.

    I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches.

    The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released – and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

    The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.

    For now…

  23. Crazy kitty eyes.
    Good book, How to live with a calculating cat. by E. Gurney. Not quite a comic book but it is cartoons. A bit vintage but still fun.

  24. We once mentioned having the cat’s other brain removed in front of my daughter. The next afternoon Katie’s kindergarten teacher called to ask regarding her show-and-tell comment about the major surgery her cat was having that day and if he would be okay…

  25. Mr. Scalzi, sir, you maybe mistaking “calm” for “depression”. Consider how you’d feel if, being homeless, your local shelter/soup kitchen castrated you?

    Poor cat.

  26. Methinks poor Zeus has figured out what’s up for the near future. Er, well, perhaps that should be phrased as “what won’t be up any more in the near future”. Unfortunately for the poor little guy I think maybe he’s putting too much faith in the power of the magic Coke-Zero box.

    Either that or he’s channeling Tacphmet, the ancient Egyptian god of cat-nutzes.

  27. My friend is a manager in a call center. She keeps her dog’s testicles in a jar on her desk. She has one of the top teams.

  28. Well, when we had our dog “fixed”, the vet said “she’ll calm down in a year or two”.

    Here we are, fourteen years later, and I think that she has finally “calmed down”.

    Rhodesian Ridgebacks. God’s own exercise machine.

  29. just got a three legged one year old Tom that was eaten by a staffy at 9 weeks old, then left outside to his own devices so I recued him. Had him done as soon as we could last week. We have 5 older neutered females and were hoping that he would calm down with his de-nutting, are you telling me that he wont. He loves the little female next door, and she is quite a flirt and last night encouraged him to go out into the road the play, where he was stuck surrounded by a load of older Toms. We rescued him, his heart pounding and put him onto the darkened bathroom to calm down, then he was alright until dawn. He doesnt call so much now, and is Ok as long as I am with him, but he does get a bit full on if he spends too much time outside, with flirty one year old. He hadnt got to the spraying stage and I dont think with only one hind leg that he ever managed it before. he just wants to play and be friends. Please tell me that he will soon calm down. I dont think he has ever been at such close quarters with other cats before, and it is sweet to watch him.

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