As most of you know, “Mein Kat” is a sly reference to Mein Kampf, besides being the title of an autobiographical diatribe by one of history’s nastiest politicians, and the German title of a six-part autobiographical novel by Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård, means: my struggle. And that Pumpkin is, that she is.
For the third time since we adopted one another, me voluntarily, she had no choice in the adoption (although she did act very cute when I met her at the foster couple’s apartment—little did I know this was an act), I had to take her to the local veterinary clinic to get her nails clipped. I’d tried doing it myself a few months into our now ten-month association, and only managed to get one nail cut before she turned on me. Then I called a former veterinary assistant to come over and do a house clipping. Five minutes into her visit I was ripping open two bandages while she rinsed her arm under the kitchen tap. She didn’t cut Pumpkin’s nails and she didn’t charge me anything for the abortive visit. So I was on my own. I had to take her to the clinic, which meant getting her into the cat carrier. Now, I have reviewed this soft-sided pet carrier and I actually think it’s quite good for travel, being light, foldable, breathable, and has several securement points for seatbelts. But try getting a reluctant cat into one, single-handed! I might have made a mistake in picking her up while I wore black leather gloves, but I wasn’t going to get scratched. Only–those fangs! Those nails! Leather isn’t protection enough.
I arrived at the clinic blood streaming down both hands, rather put out. “Got any hydrogen peroxide?” was the first thing I said as I put the carrier on the counter. Now, what really gets me is that the previous two times I’ve brought her here after epic battles getting her into the carrier, they’ve taken her in the back, I’ve waited out front maybe five minutes, they bring her back out and each time say “She was no trouble at all!” or “She’s such a darling thing!”
This time I was already in the back, rinsing my wounds, as they opened the carrier. I expected Pumpkin to bolt, but she lay there, albeit with a pair of strong hands holding her, but she didn’t struggle as they took each paw in turn and clipped. The nails that had punctured my skin were torn from the leather, so they had to add some ointment to stop her own bleeding, but other than that, she was fine. Back into the carrier, and home I took her, stopping to let her watch a squirrel and some chickadees feeding on a lawn.
The rest of the day I was angry. Angry at her for wounding me (those punctures are now bluish bruises), angry at myself for having to be so indelicate, so rough, to get her into the carrier. “Use the burrito method next time,” they told me at the clinic. Wrap her tightly in a towel, then drop the burrito, or sausage, into the up-ended carrier. It will be easier if it is one of the hardshell carriers, which I have somewhere. Just heavier to carry her the three blocks to the clinic.
The struggle was forgotten the next day. She jumped onto my chest in the morning, purring and kneading my abdomen, which of course is all about food and making me even more desperate to get up and go to the bathoom. We’re still friends. Just…wary.