Nobody likes to go to the doctor. Nobody likes to be pocked or prodded or have cold metal instruments inserted into them by people you're not on a first name basis with.
We as people though can be made to understand why it happens. I didn't want to go to the hospital last time I went, but I understood that time spent under the knife while doped out of my brain and wearing a gown strippers find too revealing was a better alternative to have my wisdom teeth and gums rot in my head. Even children, with a little skillful parlance--the kind that talked the Natives out of Manhatta--can be made to understand that however much discomfort they're in now, the nice man with the rectal thermometer will make it all better in the long run.
Animals on the other hand, never seem to find any explanation as to why they must go to the vet satisfactory.
Cats, by far, are the worst for this. Most dogs will merrily follow the master anywhere, tongue hanging out. Dogs love attention, of just about any kind. So what if the weird lady in the pale blue uniform squeezed my testicles prior to removing them last time I was here? She's paying attention to me! Cats on the other hand have no greater natural enemy than the vet. If given a choice, a cat would probably give up its favorite corner of the bed to a smelly old dog rather than face the Vee-eee-tee.
My cat required a trip to the vet just this weekend. She was due for a vaccination, and I wanted to get some sores underneath her chin looked at. Not too long ago she was tested for a particularly nasty cat disease, and came back negative, but I've been on the lookout for anything health wise ever since.
I personally prefer cats over dogs as pets, but I must admit that there is one great advantage dogs have over cats--dogs love to travel. Dogs see an open car door and jump in, tail wagging. Cats on the other hand hate being moved without being in control, and frequently spazz out in cars. This is why you should never transport a cat out of a carrier of some kind. Unless you want the car interior looking like someone stuffed it through a giant paper shredder.
My poor kitty mewed constantly on the way to the vet. Cats are great at making owners feel guilty. Their pitiful little cries sound like "Why are you doing this to me?" Naturally, you can't explain.
Vets offices play havoc on a cat's senses. There are about a thousand different animals scents, and she's only used to her own. Suddenly the cat realises that cat carrier is a good thing, and she doesn't want to be out of it. In fact, by the time the vet showed up to look at my cat, the carrier had to be turned with it door facing down in order to get her out.
Then comes the examination.
I've never met a vet who didn't love animals. Kinda makes sense, really. Still, some animals must really try their patience. Or desensitize them. When the vet began to examine my cat, she wasn't put off by the hissing for a moment.
"Oh yes, vicious kitty," she cooed. It so happened that my cat didn't turn into a buzzsaw and turn her into an attractive Queen Anne armoire, but I really wonder how she knew my cat was just bluffing. Or was only at the point where she issuing a verbal warning. How does she determine a cat who's merely pissed off to one who's thinking "Sigh. Think of all the blood I'm going to have to lick out of my fur"?
The vet told me that my cat has acne. That's a new one on me. I've heard of rabies, distemper, cat leukemia...cat acne? Yep. Excessive oil getting trapped on her skin has led to the creation of the sores. The vet prescribed two kinds of treatments that I'd have to carry on at home. The first was an antiseptic wash. Basically, I take a little bit of this medicated soap, scrub her chin, and rinse. Call it Clearasil for Kitties.
Cats like to wash. They wash themselves constantly. They wash other cats. They let other cats wash them.
Cats however, are very adverse to humans washing them. They're quite racist about it if you ask me. They just will not adjust to the human way of cleaning themselves. It's easier to insert the cat into your VCR than it is a tub of water. Washing my cat's face is not going to be easy.
As hard as that will be, giving her the pills will be worse. Ever try to get a cat to swallow a pill? It's like trying to throw a penny into a golf hole from a passing Harrier. The vet showed me how it's done, but my cat fought it all the way. And it's just me by myself to hold her still and give her the medicine. Since she's on a restricted diet now, I can't even do the clever thing and hide it in some food.
The vet had this little syringe-like device with a rubber tip, called a "Pill Popper." You put the pill inside the tip. A plunger at the other end is then pulled back, into the firing position, as it were. You force the cat's mouth open, and, provided she left you with any fingers to do it, you press the plunger and shoot the pull down her throat.
The vet of course has done this a million times, and so she did it with a flick of her wrist practically. The pill popped neatly down my cat's throat. You should have seen the look on my cat's face. It's not often you can interpret an animal's thought into human terms, but this one left little to the imagination. After my cat had been forced to swallow the tablet, she flashed the vet a look that said, "Ooh, you little bitch. I can't fucking believe what you just did."
The indignities over, the cat is more than happy to get back into the carrier. They understand: I'm at home, I see the carrier = I'm going to some place that's going to suck. I'm at a place that sucks, I see the carrier = I'm going home. Fuckin' A. So the cat gets back into the carrier without a word, and is quiet the whole trip home.
At least, until you're walking up to the door. Then they get impatient. Here's another place where you can interpret those meows: "Whoa, we're home! Open the door, lemme out of here! Hurry up with the goddamn keys!"
The cat is happy to be home, and so are you. It's draining, even if you didn't get neutered. The cat runs around your apartment, overjoyed to be home, though still giving you the eye. "What the hell was that about?" she seems to be saying.
You just wish you could explain the follow up appointment in two weeks.