A Trip to the Vet

Ghlaghghee and Zeus went to the vet today, and while it’s probably not accurate to say a good time was had by all, because cats are strangely resistant to calling getting a set of shots a “good time,” nevertheless a necessary time was had by some, namely, the cats. Those of you expecting bloodletting on my part will be disappointed to know that the cats were very well behaved. Hardly anyone’s corneas were clawed off in feline rage.

Zeus, who showed up at our house exactly a year ago today, was in for some booster shots for his various vaccinations. Ghlaghghee, however, was in for another matter entirely. Although she’s been a trooper about it and hasn’t mentioned it on her Twitter page, she’s had an ulcerated lip for a while now, which you can see here in this picture. When we first saw it, we thought she might have been in a scuffle, and waited for it to heal, but when it didn’t it was time to check it out with the vet.

The vet’s prognosis: Feline Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex, which sounds like death, but which is a fancy way of saying “hey, your cat’s got an ulcer.” FEGC ulcers on cat lips are in fact relatively common, and can apparently be treated with a combination of corticosteriods (which Ghlaghghee got a shot of) and antibiotics (which I’ll be jamming down her throat twice daily, thanks for asking). This is a relief because while Ghlaghghee didn’t appear to be in any sort of pain from it, it was still worrying, and I was concerned that we might have to a lipectomy or something. Fortunately not. In other news, cats verifiably have lips, which is a little weird.

The good news is that by and large both cats are healthy, fit and likely to be around for years to come. Which is what you like to hear.

45 Comments on “A Trip to the Vet”

  1. Awww, poor Ghlaghghee. Hope she gets better soon.

    I still liked the name “Temp Cat”, but we had a noname.cat knocking around the house for a while, so my judgement may be errant.

  2. Long life, good health, and cheeseburgers to all your cats!

    Long life, good health, and hotdogs to Kodi.

  3. …Pratchett’s “Unadulterated Cat” was about all I could think of when you mentioned the twice-daily antibiotics.

    “After all, from a purely geometrical view, a cat is just a tube with a door on the end.”

  4. I remember the first time I took my first cat to the vet. Part of the routine was checking her temperature; it was done rectally.

    Surprisely the look on her face when she had her temperature taken that way was the same as I would have had, had I had a rectal thermometer placed in rear by surprise.


  5. Yes, well I didn’t mention it on Twitter because it seemed a bit personal. After the vet made it to third base with the thermometer, however, I suppose privacy is no longer an issue.

    And you are correct, the lip didn’t bother me at all. Certainly not enough to warrant a vet visit. It does make me feel a bit better in that you had to fork out money for the trip. I will remind you of my scorn daily around pill time. *HISS*

  6. One of my cats used to put up with the indignity of the rectal thermometer and just rest his head against my arm, like Charlie Brown leaning against a wall.

    The other, his sister, used to put up a fight and even at 19 had to be restrained in one of those punky cat bags (zips all over the place to allow the vet selective access to head, limbs etc etc one at a time). She would fizz like an angry legless small cushion.

  7. Hmmm. Someone got the short taxi.

    And not TempCat.

    Oh boy. Chang will come unglued.

    (and why does my spellcheck want to change Glaghghee to Slagheap?)

  8. Pill Pockets might be useful if she’s really resistant to the pill-shoving. I’ve gotten really good at pilling one of my cats, but for the other I have to hide it in something tasty.

  9. When we had to give antibiotics to Taz the Cat, we found that Pill Pockets (made by Greenies) were the bee’s knees. You meowlage may vary, but Taz just gobbled them up and didn’t even notice the pill inside. No forcing required. In fact, he got into the cupboard where we were keeping the bag of pill pockets and gobbled them up as well…

    Taz is very good with the rectal thermometer, he just has a slightly shocked look on his face while it’s in there.

  10. Glad to hear the kitties are okay.

    And to comment on the previous post, I thought the refrigerator scene in Crystal Skulls was the funniest thing in the whole movie. I’ve been baffled by folks’ likening it to “jumping the shark”. Lighten up, folkeses.

  11. I agree with the cats, except that rather than being strangely resistant to calling getting a set of shots a “good time,” I find nothing strange about such a stance.

    All power to the resistance!

  12. A good cat-pilling trick is to butter the pill before trying to give it to her. A light buttery coating helps it slide down nicely, and avoids that whole getting stuck in cheek pouch only to be spit out on the rug thing. Your vet may also be able to give you a pet piller. Very handy device – inexpensive and saves your digits from angry punctures.
    Our cats have ESP when it comes to hiding medication in treats or food – they walk up to it, give me THE EYE, shake their paws in disgust, and leave.

  13. One of my cats, (an LC clone) is diabetic. He has become resigned to his twice daily shots of insulin, but still objects to the vet tech taking his blood for testing. I(Luckily, it’s on a quarterly basis)

    I tend to request liquid antibiotics when possible for cats- it’s easier to get liquid rather than pills past the teeth and claws.

  14. Aw. We had a cat that needed antibiotics shoved down her throat twice a day. Poor thing was scared of everybody but my stepmom to begin with. What made matters worse was when both my Dad and stepmother left for a vacation and said that I had to give the cat her drugs twice a day.

    That didn’t go well at all; I had to find her, drag her out of whatever hole she was hiding in, wrap her in a towel, and put an eyedropper in her mouth. No wonder she ran away :(

  15. O Great Scalzi, what a wonderful picture of the Beauteous Ghlaghghee, in spite of this alleged ulceration obtained due to your negligence.

    As for the indignity of being transported in the short bus – why, the Executive Committee of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club chalks it up to Scalzi’s memories of his youth. He did not intend to insult Her (even he is not so foolish) but rather actually thought it was a compliment. Scalzi rode the short bus to school everyday and somehow got the impression it was a stylin’ ride.

    Let us not disabuse him.

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

  16. I fourth the Greenies Pill Pockets, but make sure you get the ones specifically for cats. They are malleable so you just pop the pill in and smoosh them till the pill can’t come out again. My cat, who hates taking meds in any format, ate them up like a treat.

  17. The best cat pilling trick?

    Don’t use pills, get liquid antibiotics and a little needleless syringe, and squirt it on in. You only have to get the tip past their teeth, then it’s home free.

    This I have known for a long time, but found a survival necessity when giving antibiotics to a wild cat we captured and had spayed, who’s the mother of two kittens we took in (now young adult cats). Momma cat antibiotics required leather gloves, jacket, a metalworking face shield, a towel, a forked stick, and still got me scratched and bitten.

    I would not have survived if it weren’t for liquid antibiotics.

  18. What’s wrong with just crushing the pill and smearing the bits on ham, then watching like a hawk to see that the ham’s consumed properly? Always worked for me in the 30-odd years I’ve spent being staff to cats. The whole “Shredded and Bleeding” thing is a fun myth, but mainly a myth.

  19. Dunno about Pill Pockets, I’ve never needed them when it was time for someone here to get pilled. I put them in the crook of my arm with my hand to the back of kittie’s head, my fingers at the corners of their mouth. I press strongly until their mouth opens then follow with a toss of the pill from my free hand into kittie’s mouth aiming at their throat. If the pill is off to one side, Puss will spit it out so I wait for it to be swallowed (or spat, which means it’s lather, rinse, repeat). Then it’s time for some kittie lovin’ followed (usually) by a small treat of some sort. But don’t give ’em a chance to think about it, either!

  20. Mitchell, for or cat’s thyroid med we grind it to powder in the mortar&pestle then mix it into a glop of wet food. Every crumb goes down and licked clean.

  21. It was fun visit (not to mention,”there goes another month and a half where ADM can’t afford to a membership to Anticipation “) for Mr. Soppy yesterday, too. Mystery GI trouble leads to bloodwork. Possible thyroid problems. Very sulky Soppy cat (spent the rest of the day tunneled under the duvet).

    Oy. I’m glad yours are doing well!

  22. Having cats of the geriatric variety (ages 18 and 14, with the 14 year old having both thyroid and diabetic issues) I have some experience with both pilling and shooting cats. The greenies work well, but are expensive. Ive also done the grind and stash meds in fresh tuna fish trick.

  23. My last dog was a large gray Weimaraner named George and he would literally go bonkers at the sound of my veterinarian’s name. At the slightest mention of ‘Dr. Garcia’, he would be insufferable until I loaded him into the truck and took him to see the Doc. Once we were there, he would race up to the door pacing anxiously for someone to let him in. The first thing he would do upon entering is run up to the receptionist’s desk and flop his big paws on it and say hello to her. Then he would make the rounds of unhappy ‘patients’ waiting their turn to see the doctor, giving a big nose to each one as he passed them by. Everyone was amazed that he would be so happy to be at the vet’s office, but that was George being George. He was a happy dog.

    There were other words that couldn’t be used around him without a trip being on the list of things to do, such as ‘pizza’ and ‘beach’. He’s the only animal that I’ve ever known of that liked a trip to the vet.

  24. We got to treat my old cat, Foolishness, for the same type of ulcer. If a good time was had by anyone, he wasn’t living in our apartment. Best of luck, John!

    Every time I see a cat post on your blog, I have the same question: how do you get these casual pictures of your cats? Our cats do all of the same things yours do, but the second we get out the camera, they become profoundly Interested. Our casual cat photos almost always turn into close-up shots of the cat’s nose. It’s not that we don’t love their noses, but it would be great to capture the rest of their bodies on film too.

  25. Mark@23 –

    At least two of my cats carefully picked pill bits off or out of the ham/turkey/tuna when we tried that.

    And one wouldn’t eat it if we crushed the pill completely and mixed it with some tuna.

    Capture and liquid down the throat were the only way. She was otherwise the nicest cat I’ve ever known, but the pill thing was just not happening.

  26. Pill Pockets, let me be the 17th person to recommend them. We have a cat who needs daily thyroid pills; she can eat around a pill encased in cream cheese and tuna, but Pill Pockets work like a charm. I’m not sure she even chews them.


  27. Seeing the cats in their carriers just makes me wonder about a carrier for Kodi …
    (That I am right now listening to the BBC’s reading of an abridgement of Big Charlie seems oddly appropriate given that mental image).

  28. One of “my” ferals has the same problem (except I always Google it as “rodent ulcer” because “eosinophilic” is too hard to spell.

    “Can you bring her back in two weeks so we can give her another cortisone shot?” Yeaaah. Maybe y’all don’t understand the meaning of the word “feral.” Took me a half a year to get her in there in the first place.

    If she relapses, you can also get her on an hypoallergenic food. That’s what I have to do with the ferals since there’s no guarantee I’ll ever catch the same one twice.

  29. It is, of course, too late for this now, but the pharmacy I used to work at would compound cat and dog antibiotics specially so they tasted good to the animals. I believe our most popular flavor was triple-fish!

  30. I’ve been giving the kitster liquid antibiotics all week, and it’s been a struggle. She’s an incredibly affectionate cat, but the minute you try to put anything eye-dropper-like in the vicinity of her mouth, it’s a struggle to the death; she’s managed to bite through three droppers already. And five minutes later she’ll jump in your lap. They are great company, cats, but underneath it all they’re aliens.

  31. I’ve had to give my cat some pills lately because she has a pulmonary edema. 17 years old and still fights back like mad. My advice: Cat malt paste makes the pill stick nicely in her mouth = less scratches and only one try.

    She’s still angry about the trip to the vet though, I’ll be paying for that for a few months…

  32. Yeah, we had to do that to the older girls (Badb and Angelina) just before New Year’s because the city was agitating for a rabies certificate.

    Ange decided I was cheating because I locked her in the bathroom and THEN carried the cat carrier into the locked room before trying to catch her. And slit my left ring finger as I closed the cat carrier…

    I’ve had good luck with pills because just about all of my cats* had a treat that they liked. I’d give them the pill, make sure it went down and then offered the treat. Once they figured out the gig, they agreed to go with it.

    The two most opinionated and hard to pill were: my late, great Melisande Anastasia, a yellow tabby who would do just about anything to get a Pepperidge Farm goldfish cheese cracker. And my current ms. Angelina, who lurves thin-sliced deli turkey — which is a Good Thing when she got an abscess and I had to administer antibiotics because of all my cats, she’s the one most likely to leave a permanent scar.

    *I did have a cat that, while mild and compliant at home, turned into a nasty, vicious beast at the vets. When he got kidney disease, I had to put him to sleep because it would have tortured him AND my vet’s staff.

  33. I’ll have to second the compounding from ytimynona@36. After thyroid disease, my cat came down with high blood pressure (which we found after she became blind by detached retinas). Fish gravy was a great treat for an otherwise picky cat who didn’t like to be pilled. Now, getting her blood pressure checked was a real treat….. My vet used a cuff on the base of the tail, after suitably shaving the hair there.

  34. I’m reminded of what Terry Pratchett once said:

    “Every procedure for getting a cat to take a pill works fine – once.

    Like the Borg, they learn…”

  35. My Daisy got stones in her bladder, which led to an operation only to find out the stones had been cutting her everytime she moved. It also showed that her bladder had fused to the inside of her abdomen and had to be cut away. Even the vet doesn’t know what that’s about. Pills and special food for the rest of her life. Can’t give the pills in tuna (that’s what causes the stones in the 1st place), plus she’s too smart for her own good and spits out the pills. I just wrap her in a towel, pry open her jaws and pop it in while she’s busy growling at me. Then love on her to make sure she doesn’t spit it out. I’ve had her lay there for 15 minutes then get up and out pops the pill.

  36. “My kitten is due to come back from the vet today with a fancy lampshade hat!”

    Ours did that when she was very small. The hat was too big and heavy for her and kept catching the rim on the ground, which caused her to do a faceplow every 4 or 5 steps.