Fat Cats & Vaccinations

Yesterday I had a day off to do those things I don’t get time to do when I am at work all day.

First errand of the day was to go to the doctor’s surgery to get my annual flu vaccination. This is offered to me free of charge every year because having asthma puts me in a ‘high risk’ category. I normally get a letter in early October asking me to make an appointment at the flu clinic. I hadn’t had a letter so I rang the surgery, asking if flu jabs were available yet.

“We’ve sent out the letter”, the reception told me. I explained that I hadn’t had a letter. “Do you normally get a flu jab?” she asked. I replied that I did, suppressing the urge to add that I wouldn’t be phoning otherwise.

“Then you’ll get a letter,” the receptionist went on.

“I haven’t had a letter,” I explained again. “Can I just make an appointment now?”

She took my name and went off to check my records and some time later came back and said, “you have asthma. That means you can get the flu jab.” I think my doctor ought to start offering a higher salary when he advertises receptionist jobs.

But I did get my appointment, and when I turned up to see the nurse, she also offered me a vaccination against pneumonia. In the other arm.

I had also arranged an appointment to take my cats off to have their annual boosters later that day. My cats are big, fat, lazy things, as I’ve mentioned before. And they now know what the cat carrier means. They will let me pick them up without objection, but when I try to put them in the carrier, they do the old – ‘rigid paws clutching either side of opening’ trick.

With both cats eventually locked in the carrier, I heaved said carrier out to the car. And I do mean ‘heaved’. I’ve always put both cats in one carrier – I figure it’s less traumatic for them that way. But they are now far too heavy for this. I think I’m going to have to invest in another carrier, and carry one in each hand. It might actually balance me out a bit and be easier to carry.

The vet’s surgery isn’t far away, but parking anywhere near the surgery is always hit-and-miss. Yesterday it was a ‘miss’. In fact the traffic was a bit of a nightmare. I had to park around the block, meaning I had to lug the carrier quite a long way before arriving at the vet’s surgery.

Once the carrier is deposited on the vet’s table, getting the cats out of it so the vet can look at them is another ordeal. Before now I’ve resorted to tipping the thing upside down and waiting for one or both cats to fall out.

“Your cats are adorable, but they are both far too fat,” the young vet said cheerfully. She was lovely, but she looked about sixteen.

I explained that with my cats being half pedigree, and getting old, they aren’t too interested these days in doing much apart from lying about sleeping. Not that I blame them for that. I quite fancy that sort of life myself. But I do have to acknowledge the fact I have two fat cats. The vet suggested I merely give them less food. Not being very active, they don’t need to eat much. Of course, I’m not sure I can explain this to them.

In spite of their protests, the cats are not remotely traumatised by their vaccinations. I, on the other hand, have two extremely stiff arms, where each needle went in and pierced muscle that was probably already tense, because I hate needles. I suspect the strain on the arm muscles of having to lug two overweight cats half a mile down the road right after the piercing trauma did not help this situation.

I think the lesson learned in this little adventure is not to arrange a trip to the vets after I’ve had my own vaccinations. It’s going to be another couple of days before I can move my arms again.

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