Have you ever tried to collect a urine sample from a cat? I mean, because the vet asks you to-- not simply for your own, strange amusement?
Our Cleo (the Wonder Cat-- so named because we wonder about her mental health on a regular basis) has been having some difficulty peeing, of late, and there seems to be some blood in her urine. She's only 6, and otherwise quite healthy and happy, so this is causing us rather a fair amount of alarm.
I called the vet for advice. He says it could be crystals of some kind, irritating her bladder, and he needs a urine sample in order to make a diagnosis. The sample must not be refrigerated (apparently that renders the magic ingredient in cat pee useless or invisible or something...) but should be as fresh as possible. Since Cleo refuses to pee on command, and I can't just take her to the vet and give her a squeeze, like an orange, it's a waiting game...
To that end, he's given me ("given", hell! $6.50 for what looks like a pathetically underweight ounce of stuff and a big, plastic syringe to suck up the urine...) a small, plastic bag containing some non-absorbent cat litter. This material is actually small bits of black plastic; lumpy granules looking like someone's sawed the teeth off a pocket comb and chopped 'em up. Well now, I ask you: What self-respecting cat wouldn't leap at the opportunity to crouch right down in this half-a-cup of strange, space-age detritus and have a hearty pee in it?
Well, Cleo wouldn't, for starters. I've had to isolate her with a bowl of water and this special litter so she'll be encouraged to use it, but things are looking dim. I've put her in the bedroom by herself. She's sniffed at it, crouched and looked at it with alarm, (she looks at everything with alarm; goosiest cat I ever did know...) meowed at it, and backed away from it. "What the hell is this black, crunchy stuff doing in the box where I pee? My entire universe is out of balance, now!"
Her sister, Carmen (The Little Fascist In The Fur Coat), simply cannot abide a closed door, and is turning herself inside out scratching at the outside of the bedroom door and yowling, while Cleo scratches at the inside of the bedroomdoor and yowls, herself. I can only imagine what this all translates to, in the dialect of East Coast Cat...
I'm guessing it's something along the ines of:
"HEY! HEYYY! CLEO'S TRAPPED IN THE BEDROOM! COME AND LET HER OUT BEFORE SHE STARVES!"
and: "I'M NOT PEEING IN THIS STUFF, PAL! YOU'LL BE SQUEEZING IT OUT OF YOUR PILLOW CASE, FIRST! "
Or maybe: "SCRATCH! SCRATCH AND DIG AT THE BOTTOM OF THE DOOR FOR YOUR LIFE!"
and: "WELL, I AM! HELP ME, YOU IDIOT! THESE HARDWOOD FLOORS CAN'T STAND UP TO US FOR LONG! "
Or it could be: "DON'T WORRY, CLEO! I'LL CLAW MY WAY THROUGH THIS FLIMSY WOODEN BARRIER AND SAVE YOU!" and "GOOD IDEA! I'LL SHRIEK ENCOURAGEMENT TO YOU FROM MY SIDE OF THE DOOR!"
Or perhaps just: "IF WE MAKE ENOUGH NOISE, IT'LL FRIGHTEN AWAY THE SCARY, BLACK CRUNCHY STUFF!"
and " GREAT! THEN WE CAN GET BACK TO PATROLLING THE WINDOWSILLS TO KEEP AWAY THE EVIL BIRDS!"
All the while their frantic, little, feline, pantomime version of "The Great Escape" is playing out amidst this cacaphony of blood-curdling shrieks and mournful wails. It'd be more amusing if the sheer decibel level wasn't removing the enamel from my teeth...
A friend is standing by to rush me and my cargo of steaming, fresh, cat urine to the vet's office as soon as humanly possible. I may indulge myself in a Walter Mitty-like fantasy and pretend I'm delivering some rare, emergency serum to a remote, jungle village in order to stave off a hideous plague.
My day would really be complete if a cop stopped us for speeding and spotted the loaded syringe.
"What's this, sir?"
"Uh....it's cat piss, officer."
"Cat piss? Mmm-hmm. Sure. Why would you be carrying a syringe filled with cat piss?"
"Well, it's a long story. You see..."
"I'll need to see some identification, sir."
"No, really! It's cat piss! It's only a few minutes, old, too. You can smell it, if you like..."
"Step out of the vehicle. Now, Sir! Place your hands on the hood of the car, and spread your feet apart..."
It was suggested that I simply board Cleo at the vet's office and allow them to collect a sample from her overnight. Never mind that the price for this is akin to a semester's tuition at a private college. Plus, why ever would I want to deny myself the dazzlingly heady experience of cat urine collecting, and all its attendant drama? HAH! Maybe in your world you have servants or tradespeople for this sort of thing. Here, we keep that pioneering spirit alive, and roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves! Besides, it beats the hell out of daytime T.V.... But then, so does poking yourself in the face with a fork.
I couldn't keep her cooped up all day long, and when the vet's office hours had passed, I let her out. She made a beeline for her regular catbox, and Marsha had the idea of trying to collect a sample by slipping this giant, metal salad spoon underneath her furry little butt while she squatted there.
O.K.-- I ask you: What would YOUR reaction be if someone did this to you? Uh-huh; well, Cleo felt exactly the same way. She shrieked, jumped up indignantly and stalked away. Eventually we just let her pee normally. All day long today we've kept her in the bedroom with the special litter, and she roundly refuses to get anywhere near it. Have you ever seen a cat cross its legs..?