MONDAY morning and it was the time of year that I dread and Ozzy and Woody, our two rescued felines, positively hate.
It was the day for their annual booster shots. Not that they have any awareness of dates, but as soon as they catch a glimpse of the pet carrier being carted in, they do a 0-60 that makes the Jaguar F Type look pedestrian as they dash for their hidey-holes.
When they were young it was a relatively easy task to coax them into the carrier together, but as time passed they wised up to the fact that this contraption meant a trip to a strange smelling building peopled by stranger smelling humans intent on stabbing them in the neck with a vicious looking spike.
So we gave up trying to take them together because invariably as we opened the door to push cat number two inside, cat number one would explode out and disappear for the next three hours, necessitating a phone call to the vet to make a fresh appointment.
We tried bringing the basket in to the house several days in advance just to get them used to seeing the darn thing there. And it worked, but only once, because stupid they are not.
Now we make two separate appointments and go for the full-on approach.
This entails me whistling nonchalantly then making a quick grab and bundling one of the little dears into the carrier before he knows what’s happening. Looks good on paper, but in practice it has one serious flaw.
Out go all four legs splayed across the door of the carrier, clinging on for dear life like a cartoon cat and shrieking disapproval. Twenty minutes later and bloodied, I arrive at the vets with Ozzy silently pressing himself into the rear of the carrier.
His philosophy seems to be: ‘If I can’t see them, they can’t see me’. Now the situation is reversed because just you try getting him out.
But eventually we do, then with the poor little bloke trembling and desperately snuggling into me he takes his medicine, after which of course he leaps back into the carrier like it’s the most desirable place on Earth.
I take him home, have a quick mug of desperately needed tea liberally laced with brandy, then repeat the whole process with Woody who the Princess has thoughtfully isolated in the galeria.
It’s a bit easier this time, but whereas Ozzy lapses into silence after capture, Woody is intent on giving it large vocally and breaks into the cat’s version of ‘The Ball of Inverness’, all twenty eight mucky verses.
If the vet’s office was any further away, this would have me leaping from a moving vehicle in desperation, but as it is, on entering the waiting room Woody’s vocal talents have the dogs howling; a hamster going toes up, and the charming receptionist handing in her resignation. But that’s all behind us now, at least for another year. The boys are sprawled on the back of the sofa – their favourite place – like tree leopards, and seem to have forgiven me. The tin of red salmon probably helped.