Oatmeal, he of the peeing response to medical intervention, has eye trouble again. It seems like no time at all since he was urinating on every piece of clothing to avoid the eye-drops, and now he wants another round.
As always with cats, trouble comes when you are busy, or after office hours when the call-out charges on the vet are so much higher. This time was Friday evening – I had just got in from two days away, clutching a bag of high-calorie, low-health snacking options to wind down after a busy week. Our poorly cockerel, Wobbly, was very much on the mend, all cats present and correct... except Oatmeal. He was behaving strangely, but as always with cats, they suddenly do that just to confuse people.
I went and said hello anyway, because Oatmeal likes that. Normally, he doesn’t wait for his retarded people to initiate a greeting. He is there, in the way, around your ankles, just exuding hello. A black-hole is a gravitational well that even sucks light in; Oatmeal is a beige-hole, an attention-deficit well that sucks in every scrap of loving and fussing in the immediate vicinity.
Instead, he was huddled, with both eyes shut. In fact, tightly shut, and when we carried him into the lounge, he wailed in response to the brighter light. Cue a call to the vet. A brief debate over the after-hours costs...
So, we had a half-hour drive to the main branch of the vet, which I completed in twenty-five minutes. Not actually unsafe, but my partner who has been known to experience motion sickness, did indicate loudly, several times, that Oatmeal would be much happier if I took the corners more slowly.
Oatmeal hadn’t met this vet before, but he knew the drill. When the door of the carry-cage opens, do not, under any circumstances, step out. If someone unkindly removes the lid, brace for trouble... maybe this one is OK... hasn’t done anything bad... hey leave my tail alone... put my tail down... yikes... not that again... it can’t be sanitary... I have to lick that clean later.
Now that the full veterinary credentials were established, and Oatmeal’s temperature confirmed as normal, it was time to inspect troubled eyes, so Oatmeal tried a new tactic: reverse. Just keep going backwards and never mind the edge of the examination table. And when the ground suddenly angles up, just keep reversing.
In fact, he reversed most of the way up my front, a bit of a tail-to-beard moment. My thoughts were evenly divided: catch him if he goes sideways and that can’t be sanitary, he hasn’t licked it clean yet.
Eventually we found a combination of steadying hands that defeated the reversing strategy, stopped the slo-mo somersaults and let the vet get a good look at Oatmeal’s eyes. Fortunately, this time, there was no obvious infection but clearly something wrong. We were facing the dreaded eye-drops again. After a discussion with the vet, with perhaps excessive emphasis on my issue with wet ankles and an increased usage of the washing machine, we had a treatment strategy – a shot of long-lasting antibiotic that would be excreted through Oatmeal’s tear-ducts to bathe his eyeball in antibiotic as a precaution, and an anti-inflammatory for the pain.
We drove home more sedately, but really, it didn’t seem to make Oatmeal any happier. Although within a few hours the drugs clearly did.
Oatmeal has recovered, but he still has an eye for trouble: carry-cages, towels brandished in a menacing way, or the sort of wet-weather gear that primarily protects ankles from cat pee.