Contrary to a rumor going around, I haven’t begun to think like a cat. If I had, I’d be able to tell you what Daisy has been thinking about me lately.
A month or so ago, I wrote about Daisy’s bladder infection. Our vet had prescribed antibiotics, which meant I had to get two pills a day into her, somehow. The kitty treats that I bought (which I might have created in my own kitchen with fresher ingredients) only worked to conceal her medicine for the first two times.
On the third try, Daisy gave me a perplexed look and refused the tasty goody wrapped around her pill.
“Why are you giving me all these treats?” I imagined her thinking. “What are you up to?” She wrinkled an eyebrow at me, (did you know cats have eyebrows?) turned her tail in my face, and made a swift retreat under the bed.
I had no choice but to initiate Plan B.
I should mention that the job of Pill Dispenser is primarily mine – I didn’t want my son to be clawed in the process of helping to get Daisy’s medicine in her. (I was also concerned that he might teach her a trick or two about hiding the pill in her cheek and spitting it out in the bathroom wastebasket, because that’s how he avoided broccoli when he was younger – sorry, you’ve been outed, sweetie.)
No, I needed an imperturbable partner.
Having minored in psychology while getting his teaching degree, Mike and his psychology lab partner had had great success in training a pigeon to respond to not just one, but two signals. To the first musical theme, “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer, the pigeon would twirl around several times before it got fed. When the music stopped, the pigeon would also stop.
The second song was a slow tune recorded by the Grateful Dead, to which the pigeon would sway back and forth in order to earn its reward. (No one knows what happened to the pigeon after the experiment was over, but I like to think that there’s an ancient pigeon in Cortland, NY, even today, who has made a small fortune in bread crumbs by dancing for a living.)
I knew that if my husband could modify a pigeon’s behavior a few decades ago, he would be a more than adequate partner in my current cause. We tried to hold Daisy in a towel, but we were more tense than she was, adding to her stress.
The next pill I gave to her all by myself, and it went quickly if not smoothly.
But the effects of the medicine on her system began to show. She started vomiting on Day 7 of the 10-day treatment, and after talking to the vet, we discontinued the antibiotic. We’re now on Day 2 of another antibiotic, and we’ll see. I’m reading articles on the Internet that relate to this situation, and I’ll share the details with you in the near future.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to think like a cat.