Life was going along quite nicely now that Mama had figured out my name. I had lots of yummy, tasty food — much better than anything I’d ever eaten at the Shelter, that’s for sure! There were huge sun puddles to bask in, and I’d found a good friend in my new brother Thomas.
Then, one evening, Mama brought a portable kitty prison into the house. I didn’t think much of it, because I knew I was never going to leave my new home. Sure, I’d heard Mama talking on that funny box she holds up to her ear sometimes, and she did mention my name. But it didn’t occur to me that the talking-box conversation and the kitty prison were related in any way — until Mama swept me off my feet and put me inside the tiny jail cell again.
What are you doing, Mama? I cried. Why did you put me in here?
“It’s okay, Dahlia,” she said. “We’re just going to the vet, that’s all.”
What’s a vet? I wondered. Does that mean she’s going to take me back to the Shelter? Maybe she’s not happy that I’m a girl kitty after all.
I clawed at the bars of my cage with every ounce of strength I could muster, all the while uttering despairing cries. Thomas tried to comfort me, but I was inconsolable.
Mama picked up my box and told Siouxsie and Thomas to be good. As she shut the door behind her, I begged the goddess Bastet to intercede on my behalf. How could you have blessed me with such a wonderful new family, only to let that awful human tear me away from my home? Where’s the justice?
Once Mama put me in the car, I started crying all over again. Why? Whyyyyyyyy? I wailed.
“You’re such a good, brave kitty,” Mama told me, snaking her fingers between the bars of my cage to give me a little rub on the head.
By the time the car stopped and Mama brought me inside, I was almost hoarse from all my yelling. “I’ve got Dahlia here for her checkup,” she said to the human on the other side of the reception desk.
The lady peered in at me and I cried at her, too. Then she laughed at me and made some comment about how cute I was!
A few minutes later, we were inside a tiny room that smelled like disinfectant and scared cats. Mama opened the door of my prison and another lady swooped me up and put me on a wobbly little shelf. “Two pounds, one ounce,” the lady said and scribbled something on a piece of paper. Well, let me tell you, once she let me go I flew into the darkest corner I could find. After she left, I determined that there was no imminent danger, so I took a stroll around the perimeter of the room and jumped up on a chair. I caught a glimpse of something on the other side of the window and hopped onto the windowsill. Wow, I thought, this is almost as pretty as my … my home?
Is it still my home?
“Oh, Dahlia,” Mama reassured me, “you’ll always be a member of my family, don’t you worry about that.”
With those words, I settled into her lap with a sighing purr and started to relax.
Then I perked up my ears at a soft rattling and a knock. A small, blonde-haired human quickly let herself in and closed the door behind her. “So, this is your new kitty?” she asked.
“Hi, Sarah,” Mama replied as she set me on the exam table. “Yes, this is Dahlia. Formerly known as a male cat named Blackie. But she showed me her bottom the other day and I was like, ‘Hey, that’s an innie, not an outie!'”
Sarah stroked me gently and lifted my tail. “Yup, you’re right. That’s a girl kitty, all right.”
I was just starting to relax into Sarah’s loving attention when she put a giant cold disc on my chest. I tried to pull away, but Mama held me in place. “Her little ticker sounds good,” Sarah said as she examined my ears (with some awful scratchy-sounding thing) and made my mouth open up so she could see my teeth.
“Hmm,” Sarah said. “Her paperwork says she’s 12 weeks old, but her teeth say she’s more like 4 or 5 months old.”
“Wow. So not only did they get the boy-girl thing wrong, they got her age wrong too?” Mama asked. “I guess I’d better hurry up and get her spayed.”
“I don’t think you have to rush,” Sarah said. “She’s still so small, I doubt she could even sustain a heat at this point. Besides, I’d like her to weigh at least three pounds before she’s spayed.”
Sarah ran a comb through my fur and poked at my belly, then she gave me a stroke on the head and told me how good I was. I thought everything was over until … well, I was just minding my own business, enjoying Mama’s loving, gentle hands stroking my ears, when suddenly Sarah lifted up my tail again.
Hey! I cried. Get that thing out of my butt!
Mama held me more tightly.
I’m serious! Don’t make me turn around and bite you!
Finally Sarah removed the humiliating probe, and I thought all was well.
“You know,” Sarah said. “Maybe considering the ‘mistaken identity’ issue, we ought to re-test her for FIV and leukemia. Just to be on the safe side.”
Mama gave her consent, and Sarah whisked me out of the room into The Back Of The Clinic. There, she and another lady held me down, stretched out my foreleg, and made a piece of my beautiful fur go away. I squirmed and struggled, but they wouldn’t let go. Then they tied a piece of rubber around my leg and plunged a huge needle into me!
Ow! Ow! Ow! OOOOOOOWWWW! I cried.
“Good kitty,” Sarah said. I struggled harder.
OOOOW! OOOW! AAAAAAAAAHHHHH! I screamed. MAAAAAAAAMAAAAA! HEEELP MEEEEE! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWW!
Then I saw red stuff going into the bottle on the end of the needle and my head spun. The non-Sarah lady loosened her grip on me. My vision cleared again, and with every ounce of energy I could muster, I swatted her really hard. With my claws out! Ha!
Finally the lady took me back to the room where Mama was waiting for me. I ran into her arms and buried myself in the warmth of her sweater. Oh, Maaaammaaaa, I cried as I trembled. Why did you let them do that to me?
“It’s OK, sweetie,” Mama said. “You’re fine. What a good, brave girl you are.”
Gradually my shivering abated as Mama petted me and reassured me.
About half a nap later, the door opened again. It was Horrible Sarah. “Good news. She’s fine and healthy: Negative for both FIV and leukemia.”“That’s a relief,” Mama said. “So, back in a couple of weeks for the leukemia booster?”
“Yes, and let’s check her weight too, so we can see how she’s growing. Have a great day. And you too, Dahlia.”
Mama opened the door to my carrier and I ran inside as fast as my paws would carry me. I never thought I’d be happy to get into my portable prison!
I was rewarded for the horrible suffering inflicted on me, though: I got to spend the whole day at the office with Mama!