47: Laughter Is the Purrfect Medicine

47: Laughter Is the Purrfect Medicine

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat's Life

Laughter Is the Purrfect Medicine

Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects.

~Arnold Glasow

About three weeks ago, I noticed something unusual in our cat’s litter box. Yes, more unusual than the heart-shaped urine clump Jasmine lovingly created for us on Valentine’s Day. And stranger than the time she swallowed the string from a Christmas ornament and made us a new and improved ornament the next day in her box. It was blood. After a wrestling match, the likes of which World Wrestling Entertainment has yet to witness, I managed to shove Jasmine into her carrier and drive her to our veterinarian’s office. The vet told me that Jasmine had an infection. I could handle that. The vet told me that Jasmine needed a change in diet, and that the new food would be much more expensive. My bank account could handle that. The vet told me that I would have to give Jasmine a dropper full of antibiotic liquid twice a day for two weeks.

“Are you nuts?!” I bellowed. “I’d rather hand-feed piranhas.”

The vet thought I was overreacting. He grabbed the office cat. “Here, I’ll demonstrate,” he said condescendingly. The sweet, furry creature lay docile. She willingly opened her mouth when prodded for the demonstration. It seemed to me the vet could have inserted hot pokers into this cat’s eyes and she would have purred. Jasmine, on the other hand, turns into Catzilla if we even try to pick her up for a quick cuddle. How would I ever hold her, open her mouth and insert the required dose of antibiotics? On the drive home from the vet, I prepared for the ordeal. “How hard can it be?” I asked myself out loud. “She’s small. I’m tall. She weighs about twelve pounds. I weigh, um, slightly more than that.” At home, I got hold of Jasmine without losing a limb, but I couldn’t grip her and open her mouth at the same time. I needed two more hands or…

“Sweetheart!” I called my husband. When I told Dan what we needed to do, he looked at me as though I had asked him to jump into a pit of slithering snakes. I assured him this was far worse.

“Okay,” he said. “She needs the medicine to get better. I’ll hold her and you squeeze the antibiotics into her mouth.”

The first morning we tried, Dan held her and I worked furiously to get her to open her mouth. When she tried to bite me, I squirted. A surprising fifty percent of the liquid ended up inside her mouth. The rest spilled on her chin, but she quickly licked it off. Success! We felt as though we had won the Olympic event of Feline Medication Administration, and since Dan and I still had our fingers and hands, we high-fived each other.

The next night, Jasmine used her back paw to scratch Dan’s palm. He bled so much I thought he would need a transfusion. He bandaged his hand and his ego and tried again. He eventually held Jasmine still. This time, I managed to get a surprising eighty percent of the liquid inside her mouth. The other twenty percent fell into the carpet fibers along with crushed Cheerios, a half-eaten raisin and a set of lost Legos. I was feeling confident now. Dan was feeling woozy from lack of blood.

The next morning, Dan donned his business suit. He had an early meeting at the office. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s get this over with. I’m running late.” He grabbed Jasmine with amazing finesse. More sure of my ability, I opened her mouth and squirted the full eye dropper of thick white liquid… all over my husband’s slacks.

Over the next two weeks, my husband’s slacks were well medicated. We, on the other hand, were sick of wrestling with our feisty feline. We reached under every piece of furniture in the house to retrieve her, but unfortunately, the only things we snagged were impressively large dust bunnies. And they looked too robust to need antibiotics. Once, when we held Jasmine securely, she slugged the eyedropper across the room with her front paw. We signed her with the Phillies. We would have given up, but our cat’s health was too important. So we struggled twice each day to get the medicine from the bottle to the inside of Jasmine. We have a few scratches to show for the effort, but mostly a lot of laughs from our attempts. And laughter must be the best medicine because despite our hilarious misses with the medicine dropper, Jasmine got a clean bill of health from the vet. Thank goodness. Because if he had told us that we needed to give Jasmine any more medicine, my husband and I would have ended up in the hospital. The kind with padded walls, barred windows and white jackets.

~Donna Gephart

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