Our girl had her booster shots last month. She has lived with us for a year now – I can’t believe it. Almost 400 days with her in my life. It’s been great.
But shots aren’t great.
I was very, very nervous about getting her vaccines. Why?
1. Last time she had to get a shot for an allergy, we weren’t ‘ready’ yet, and she screamed and bit through my finger. She has never bit anyone in her life, before or since. I was really upset – not because I was hurt, but because I thought she was. She hid under the table. By the time I checked out my finger, she was over it but I was still reeling.
What had happened is that our vet assumed we had been there to give her her very first vaccines. He told Lou to hold her and me to rub her head very, very hard to distract her. I did, but it was an awkward angle, I wasn’t really in the rubbing groove yet, and he just stuck her. After, he asked if she had reacted this way as a kitten, and we said we hadn’t been there. The breeder had done it. Realization dawned on his face. He assumed we knew what to do. He felt very bad and put a note on her file that a vet tech should do the shot next time.
2. We were scheduled for rabies and the 4-in-1 distemper. This is TWO shots. TWO! That means she has time to realize that she doesn’t like it!
3. Rabies and 4-in-1s can cause cats to vomit, be lethargic, not eat, and have seizures. As I started to read about this on the internet, boy, was I worried. Why am I giving my cat a rabies shot when she’s an indoor cat who will never get rabies and the shot could harm her? I read about cats that had tenderness in their legs, where they get the shots. Some that wouldn’t walk. Some developing small tumors.
I was FREAKING. OUT. Add this to the fact that Egyptian Maus are known for medical sensitivities! I started to ask myself why we were doing this, if this was really the law, if I could cancel the appointment. Was there a chance I could lose my beloved and extremely rare pet?
4. I hate vaccines myself. The last one I got, way back before going to college, almost made me pass out instantly. I made it to the waiting room, then slumped in a chair and had to put my head between my legs. My mom is a nurse, and she’s not a fan of vaccines, either. She only took me to get these because the college demanded it.
So, add all these factors together – a human who hates shots, a cat who hates shots, a shot that could harm the cat and seem unnecessary, and a cat that was sensitive to all medical intervention… I only didn’t cancel because Lou, my significant other, said she needed them. I agreed partially. Feline distemper is a terrible disease. You will lose the cat.
I think I just wanted time to think. In a panic, I emailed my breeder at 9 AM with questions. I wanted to know if she had seen any reactions in her Maus or in Wintermuse specifically when she was a kitten. She didn’t get back to me before our 11 AM appointment – because she has a life that isn’t answering questions from hyperworrying kitty moms.
So. We went. We had our third doctor. Every time we go, it’s someone else, which I dislike a little. Actually, our second doctor – a great guy, the one who was there for the shot mishap – came in because he just had to see our girl again. She’s famous at the office due to her rarity. Everyone wants to see her up close. In his case, he really likes her, though. He has a Siamese, a similar breed. When he picked her up, she pressed her paw to his face. She knows how to manipulate humans. 😉
The new doctor was fine. She answered my questions. What we ended up doing by my suggestion was bringing in a vet tech to help. They would roll her in a towel and cover her head, then give her a quick one-two of shots. Lou would be with her.
And I would leave.
Yes, I left. I left my beloved cat to get a shot from two strangers.
Because I was nervous, and if I was nervous, she’d be nervous, and she’d freak out again. I wanted to be there with her for her if she was scared, but if she saw the tension in my body and picked up on it, I could actively make the situation worse. I thought discretion was the better part of valor, so I excused myself from the room and went to wait all the way outside the building. I didn’t want to hear if she ended up yowling again.
Minutes passed, and no one came to get me. I started to get worried.
Finally, someone came. Actually, it had been over for awhile. It went perfectly, in fact. She got her shots with barely a yelp and exhibited model behavior. It took less than a minute. They just hadn’t been able to find me because I was all the way outside!
What. A. Re. Lief.
But what about the side effects?
She slept more than a normal day, but not more than a day when we’ve played with her a lot. No fever. She ate. No vomited. No seizures. Nothing. Lots of sound and fury in my head for exactly nothing. 🙂