Saturday, December 14, 2013

Setbacks for No-Grudge Smudge

So I have good news and bad news concerning Smudge.

The good news is that she's been started on the process of exiting the country, which includes her rabies shot at the vet, as well as a microchip implanted under her skin, something China insists on for pets leaving the country.

Why, you ask, would all pets be required to have a microchip? I don't have an answer, but I can say it does play into the general paranoia all expats have here. If I hear her start to buzz or talk into her "sleeve," I'm going to be concerned.

Especially since she now seems to be a card-carrying red book holder. The vet gave me her little red book, which shows all her immunizations and vaccinations, and proves that she's not going to be leaving the country with an infectious disease.

But we also got some bad news.
Smudge apparently has kidney disease, which explains her fascination with drinking out of the toilet. The condition is irreversible, and will eventually kill her. What we don't know is when that might happen. The vet suggested that I could take a series of steps to keep her hydrated and make her comfortable, things like giving her a subcutaneous injection for additional hydration.

For those of you who know Smudge, you can stop laughing now at the image of me chasing her around our Beijing apartment with a needle. In addition to what is virtually impossible, I'm not sure I want Smudge's last months (if that's what they are) connected to the idea in her head of me as the one sticking a needle under her skin.

But my friend Danielle, who came with me to the vet the other day, dubbed her No-Grudge Smudge after that experience. Did Smudge blame me for chasing her around the apartment, shoving her into her cat carrier, driving her through Beijing, and then forcing her to huddle on a cold metal examination table while two vets attempted to take her blood pressure by putting a teeny tiny blood pressure cuff on her leg, and then on her tail? No, she did not.

I would like to think, like Danielle, that it's because she holds no grudges. But the truth is that she's not smart enough to make the causal connection between bad stuff that happens to her, and me, her Number One Human. That, of course, argues for the possibility of me actually being able to inject her down the line. Maybe I could wear a mask?

In any event, we're taking it one day at a time, which is what we do anyway here in China. For the moment, Smudge seems delighted with her little catnip mouse that I got her at the vet, my lap for sitting, and the treats I give her every time I go into the kitchen.

Santa is going to bring her a cat water fountain, so that she can have more drinking options. Whether she'll be terrified by it or enjoy the extra drinking is an open question.

Overall, except for a few moments where I felt sorry for myself and even sorrier for Smudge, I think we're okay. And in a few days, I'll be back in the land of Christmas decorations that are not purple. Now those are some tidings of comfort and joy. 

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