"Good news!" I crowed jubilantly into the phone. "Emily pooped!"
How did I come to this? One of the reasons I've given for not having kids just yet is that I don't want to be intimately involved with the excretory functions of anyone but myself. But sooner or later, as a pet owner, you're gonna have to go there. It's just part of mammal stewardship, I guess.
Last week, the digestive tracts for our cats were at cross-purposes. Emily was all bound up, while Mojo's bowels were liquid fire. Mojo's condition was totally my fault; canteloupe is his absolute favorite food, but I still shouldn't have fed him so much of it for so many days in a row. After a trip to the vet that surely took years off the lives of everyone involved, Mojo was on the mend, but Emily was still bottlenecked.
After she got particularly lethargic night and day, J (bless him) took Emily back to the vet, where she was X-rayed. Sure enough, there was a logjam in Emily's canal. The doctor gave J some possible remedies for both ends of the problem: Cat Lax and...
We figured the enema would be the nuclear option and hoped the Cat Lax would work sufficient magic to make the enema unnecessary. J discovered that Emily liked the taste of Cat Lax, and fed her a whopping serving of it. So by the time I got home Friday, I could deliver the news I never thought I'd rejoice over: that a cat had crapped.
Later that night, I called my best friend Felicia and told her about our adventures in kitty colon health, including the possibility of enema administration, which Fe was sure would turn out to be a disaster. "She's gonna hate you forever if you put that up her ass!" she exclaimed at the very moment her fiance entered the room. A hurried explanation followed.
Over the next two days, we monitored Emily's output with a diligence that unnerved even us. Suddenly, all those caricatures of new parents discussing diaper contents made a horrible kind of sense. Trust me, if you're ever mortified by the fact that you have ludicrous nicknames for your pets, wait until you're massaging the belly of the pet in question, cooing, "I'm gonna push that poop right out! Yes!"
Finally, by Sunday evening, we couldn't deny the inevitable: we'd have to give our geriatric girl cat an enema. The vet had marked the nozzle to indicate how far in it should go, and when J and I did some calculations about how far a comparative device would have to go into us, we both began apologizing profusely to Emily.
We took all the textiles out of the guest bathroom. We brought the covered litterbox into it. I got the camera; J got the cat. We locked the door. We kept apologizing. I held, J inserted...
Having re-read this tale many times over the years, I was expecting something out of The Exorcist. Instead, Emily gave us an accusatory look, paced around a couple of times, and then, a miracle happened!
Oh, and it was impressive, I'll tell you that much. She went once more a few minutes later, and we figured that was probably all we'd get out of her that evening. She threw up a couple of times, but we figured it was from the stress of the whole locked-bathroom-held-in-place-involuntary-enema thing. She seems to be back to normal (such as it is with her), but we're gonna keep her on Cat Lax until we know we're out of the woods.
[The X-ray also found a "mass" in Emily's chest. Since we've never had her X-rayed, we're not sure how long it's been there or how fast it's grown. It's not in her heart or lungs, it's just kind of in the neighborhood. J suggested that perhaps that's the source of Emily's antisocial behavior ("Maybe they found the hate!"). We'll start her on little kitty steroids soon. She should have a few good years left in her.]