This annual event has taken on a somewhat legendary status complete with war stories and survival bragging rights. It begins with a search for cat kennels which we have dutifully packed away in a storage shelter outside. The trick is to remember which shelter and then to excavate the cages and remove the mouse droppings.
Once the cages are located and brought inside to be cleaned, previously bored cats become hyper-vigilant. THEY KNOW WHAT'S COMING. For those cats unlucky enough not to have moved quickly, this means going directly into the cages. For the cat who is a grizzled vet (no pun intended), there is a hasty retreat upstairs. Quick question: how many people does it take to coax a cat from under a bed and then get it inside a cage? Answer: at least two, but reinforcements are always welcome.
Now all three of our cats are inside their cages and meowing in unison. They are NOT amused.
The dogs are next. Our black Lab Charley actually loves to go to the vet's to socialize. Cody, on the other hand, hates going there and is already looking very worried.
The dogs are on their leashes now, and we've spread an old blanket on the back seat of the car. Two cat carriers are perched there, and the dogs jump in too. My wife sits in the front passenger seat, and I balance the remaining cage on her lap. After a brief discussion with Cody as to who will actually drive the vehicle, he moves to the back again while I take over the driver's seat. The cats start meowing in tandem, and a pungent odor alerts us to the fact that one of them has found a new way to express his or her displeasure.
We're off now, and my wife is serving as navigator because I can't see past Cody's head. When we finally get to the vet's, we're already exhausted. We shuffle them all inside. Charley has meanwhile changed from his usually sleepy self to being a whirling dervish, and he requires two hands on the leash to keep him from sacking the office.
Two hours and $900 later, it's finally over for another year. All of our guys are well, although Sammy the cat has gained three pounds instead of losing the six extra from last year. The vet will call us later with details of a DIET, which will no doubt involve exorbitantly-priced cat food and will probably not lead to weight loss.
Oh well, at least we have another whole year before we have to do this all over again. . .