Friday, November 16, 2018

No Cone of Shame for Cats

One of my favorite movies, Up, has a scene involving the "Cone of Shame".  When the main dog character, Dug, does something wrong, the other dogs make him wear it, and he feels terrible.  Dug is such a people pleaser, a good boy, that he can't bear to disappoint anyone.  The Cone is actually the plastic cone that the vet puts on dogs to keep them from fussing with their stitches after surgery.  It's necessary for good healing, although the dogs don't like it.  It smells funny, and it makes moving around difficult.  It also provides many amusing moments for dog owners, and occasionally a viral video for the internet. 

Cats are not people pleasers.  This is part of the reason why we adore them.  When a cat does something wrong, they don't cower and act chastised.  It's not their nature.  Cats do not exhibit the behavior we consider to be shame.  They feel that they've groveled enough just allowing us to exist, and we had better not forget it.  

Cats sometimes come home from the vet wearing a cone.  Our cat Bella, who was just spayed this week, came home wearing a cone.  The vet tech told us that she needed to wear the cone for 7 days.   We were to keep Bella quiet and still, while she was recovering from surgery, the vet said.  No jumping.  No running. No late night cheeseburgers. 

We intended to follow the doctor's orders. We brought our precious cargo into the house, and opened the crate door.  Maisy, our lab mix, was curious about the new smells coming from the crate, and leaned in to investigate.  Bella stumbled out, still groggy from the anesthesia. The sight of a huge black dog, even one she knew, had her running,  The cone gave Bella a lean to starboard, and her feet were carrying her in the opposite direction from where she wanted to go.  Bella was still groggy, and did not even seem to be aware of the cone around her neck. So we let her sit on her perch, once she got up there, and Bella fell asleep with the cone supporting her head.  Once she woke up, she realized that there was something around her neck that was just, NOT.

Not supposed to be there.  Not supposed to exist.   Not allowed.  No way.  Nope.

The battle was on.  Bella growled, an unearthly sound for such a tiny cat.   Maisy and the other two cats found places to watch the show.  Then there was some running about, lots of jumping and leaping, and So. Much. Noise.  She was too fast to catch, even for Zane, who will be the only one in the family to survive the zombie apocalypse.  Bella was as determined as a year old cat who just got spayed can be.  All we could do was follow her around the house in procession as she ran amok. Before our eyes, the string that was keeping the cone around her neck was gone, and nobody had any idea where, or when, it had disappeared. While we were processing that information,  Bella rounded a corner and the cone was...gone.  Problem solved.  She skidded to a stop, glared at us, and began grooming her paws.  We all waited for another hubbub to occur.

She was quiet and still the rest of the night. 





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