I realised this particular Saturday afternoon was not going to go as planned when my cat leaped on my bed and peed blood all over the duvet.
I am unsure if there is an official record for the time required to get a cat into its carrier, gather up the medical history for said pet and hail a cab on the main road outside, but I would like to present my time as 10 minutes.
This award winning act was actually only possible because I knew both the location of the veterinary practice and had all of Tallis's medical notes happily situated on my desk. Both of these were due to a failed visit to the practice the previous Monday, where we had arrived to find the surgery closed for the holiday weekend.
There is some truth in saying experiences are never wasted, though I wasn't expecting the pay back to be quite so soon.
While in the taxi, my mind was in a whirl of panic. The first problem consisted of mulling over 14423563 ways I could have caused this terrible, clearly mortally fatal, condition in my beloved kitty cat. The second was how I was going to explain any of these to the Japanese-speaking vet.
It was true that for the last few weeks, Tallis and I had been having a certain .... discussion.... about her litter box. I had switched her standard tray with clumping cat litter for a new type which drained the urine through to an absorbent pad below the main compartment, leaving faeces on the non-clumping pellets above.
It was the latest in cat hygiene.
Tallis thought it sucked.
The result was her whizzing around the apartment in high agitation every time nature's demands came calling. Negotiations followed, including stuffing her 'accidents' into the new box, stuffing a mix of the old and new litter into the new box and (finally) stuffing the cat into the new box.
While the duration of a couple of weeks had produced an agreement whereby everyone decided to give the new litter box a chance and a renewed political understanding this was not a democratic household, I couldn't help but fret my insistence had caused my cat's bladder to burst like an overripe pomegranate.
Then there had been the time, one month back, where I had temporarily taken in two cats for a friend of mine. Since Tallis has a sworn blood vendetta against each and every one of her kind, perhaps it was this act that caused her to literally explode with fury.
And of course, there had been our failed trip to the vet's the previous Monday. Maybe Tallis had accumulated a terrible airborne virus while on the subway that had been devouring her insides like a ravenous cat-carnivorous maggot for the past week?
All this resulted in the language barrier being overcome by sheer panic. So agitated was I by the time we reached the veterinary practice, that the words just tumbled out of my mouth with zero regard for grammatical decency. Tallis --perhaps feeling that this would be yet another wasted trip unless she acted-- helped by producing a few drops of red urine on the cream carrier liner.
The result was a cat ultrasound.
This procedure involves a cone being wrapped around the cat's head (protection against collateral damage), said cat then being stretched out on her back, gel being rubbed on her tummy followed by the ultrasound probe.
I don't think prolonged descriptions regarding the popularity of this course of action with Tallis are necessary. It is sufficient to say my cat is not large, there were 3 adults involved and the vet still had to end his inspection early.
Fortunately, even this shortened examination was enough to confirm the diagnosis as feline cystitis: a bladder infection that turns out to be immensely common in female cats. The vet gave her an injection of antibiotics and 7 days of medication to be taken as a tablet each morning.
It turns out my cat can detect a tablet even if its buried in half a can of tuna.
Or wet cat food.
Three different types of wet cat food.
She also notices if you scoop her up and stuff it down her throat, but there is something wholesomely honest in its favour.
Mercifully, Tallis either has the shortest memory on the planet, is easily bribable or maybe suffers from Stockholm Syndrome since she returned to her usual, purry, cystitis-free self in short order.
In other news, the laundromat near my apartment block had machines capable of washing a queen sized duvet.