Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I Swear, This Has Nothing To Do With The Previous Post.

So, an update on Mickey the kitten... He actually has gotten a bit mellower since being neutered, at least as far as perpetrating actual acts of violence on the other cats goes, but that doesn't change the fact that two out of three cats in this household hate him and that the current situation is really pretty stressful for all concerned. Even if he is somewhat better, I still don't quite trust them all together when I'm alone, and I'm not finding it much easier to imagine them getting to the point where I can. At this point, my desire to keep him here and try to make it all work is based more on the fact that he's cute and I like him and I don't want to let him go than on any kind of realism. And, you know, better to make decisions based on what's good for the cats than on that kind of selfish reaction.

So, I've called my mother. She's going to give him a good home, free of other cats. I'm sure that will be better for him, especially as she's not working these days and can thus give him lots of attention. She's also aware of the possibility that he may have health issues somewhere down the road, and is capable of dealing with that. She's coming out next week and will take him back with her. Awww. I'm gonna miss him, but at least I can go and visit him sometimes. (Heck, that may be my mother's ulterior motive: giving me an incentive to visit her more often!)

One somewhat upsetting footnote to this: Mom will be taking him back to California with her by car -- something like a 12-hour trip -- and asked me to call the vet to see about getting something to keep him calm on the journey. So I did, and their receptionist told me, no problem, I could just come in and pick up some homeopathic drops that would "calm the cat down." Homeopathic drops. In other words, magic water. Aargh. I made an appointment to take him in so he can be prescribed some actual drugs instead, but I gotta say, I actually feel pretty shaken by that. I love my vets. They've been very, very good to me. But something like this kind of undermines my faith in their overall medical competence. And now I have the choice of living with that niggling worry or ending a years-long and generally satisfying relationship in what would be, for me, a somewhat painful and embarrassing way. And here I only just brought myself to make one difficult cat-related decision. Fucking homeopathy.


  1. Heck I might even visit her more

  2. Hee! It'll definitely be more fun with a kitty. :)

  3. Hmm, if I believe dictionary.com, Mickey would be getting drugs.

    homeopathy - the method of treating disease by drugs, given in minute doses, that would produce in a healthy person symptoms similar to those of the disease (opposed to allopathy).

    allopathy - the method of treating disease by the use of agents that produce effects different from those of the disease treated (opposed to homeopathy).

    Maybe I need to take Dick Martin's advice from Laugh In and, "Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's."

  4. Yes, homeopathy isn't just magic water. It's magic water that, were the substances in it not so ridiculously dilute, would be potentially poisonous. Sign me up!

    In all honesty, while I agree that homeopathy is largely a crock, it can be shown to have a placebo effect, which can be particularly strong, often more so than any actual drugs.

    Just, y'know, not usually in cats.

    I guess it depends on what the receptionist actually meant when she said "homeopathy" -- she might just be genuinely confused with "all natural" or some such terms -- or how easily you think your mother can convince Mickey of the placebo effect.

    Either way, sorry you won't be able to keep him there after all, but glad he's getting a good home.

  5. Captain C: Dictionary.com is misleading in this case. In a couple of respects, actually, but the main one is that in homeopathy they dilute the mixture until, statistically, not one single molecule of the original drug remains. The water is believed to magically "remember" what drugs it originally contained, even though there's no physical way it could do so. Which is just as well, as the substances they use don't actually treat the conditions they use them for and (as Fred says) are often harmful.

    If you're interested in a somewhat amusing demonstration of the fact that homeopathic remedies are, literally, nothing but water, you might want to check out the 10:23 Challenge, in which large numbers of people took massive "overdoses" of homeopathic substances with no effect.

    Fred: Anything at all can have a placebo effect, though. It's pretty much the exact same thing as waving some rattles over the cat and chanting. And, yeah, not very effective on cats, although it might help convince the humans in his vicinity that he's calmer than he might otherwise be. Assuming they're not aware what a huge crock the stuff is.

    I did ask her to confirm that she really meant "homeopathic" and she said yes. It's possible she was mistaken, but I kind of doubt it. Certainly whatever she was offering me, it wasn't anything you need a prescription for, which I believe would be the case for anything with real sedative properties. At least they've never suggested giving him homeopathy as actual medicine, which offers me some shred of comfort.

  6. Well, there may be legal and ethical reasons why they don't want to prescribe actual sedatives without an appointment. Maybe they don't believe in the efficaciousness of homeopathy -- or at least the office doesn't -- but figure enough people will, so no harm. Maybe they don't want to just give out prescription drugs without an examination. Without actually discussing it with the veterinarian, it would be tough to say.

    And yeah, for any placebo effect, Mickey would have to a) want to be sedated, and b) believe the "drugs" you're giving him would do that. And while he sounds like a smart enough cat, I think that's probably asking way too much.

  7. There are perfectly good reasons not to prescribe drugs without an appointment. In which case, they should have just told me that I needed to make an appointment.

    And I know that prescribing placebos and telling patients that they're medicine is considered unethical by the medical community, at least for human patients, even though the placebo effect can be of some use. I would like to think the veterinary community would agree. In any case, yeah, if I want to know the vets' actual take on the subject, I will have to ask them when I see them.

    I can actually see the placebo effect in this case working not on Mickey, but on the humans in the car with him listening to the poor thing crying the entire way and convincing themselves it's less annoying and distressing than it otherwise would have been. But not very damn much. There are reasons why I'm in favor of the idea of tranquilizing the animal. He does not do well in the car.

  8. I once sat next to a woman who had her cat in a carrying crate under the seat on a plane. The cat was yowling and hissing and lashing out, and she said that she had given it a sedative. It made me wonder, "Yow! What would the cat be acting like if it weren't sedated?"

  9. See? She probably gave it the homeopathy drops. :)

  10. My 2 cents: try the meds out on him BEFORE the trip. I've a friend whose cat that was given the sedatives and they had the OPPOSITE effect. Apparently it happens to the odd cat. It was a looooong drive with a crazy cat.
    Mine need it to drive...makes them all drooly and murmery instead of screamy and panicky. THey FREAK out in any kind of travel...even when sedated. The 3 hour drive when I moved was the longest drive ever...

  11. Meep! I really hope that's not true of him! I know human kids sometimes have that kind of weird reverse drug effect. I did when I was young. (They said it was ADD. Eventually I grew out of it.)

  12. There's a difference between ADD and ADHD and there is a difference between ADHD and hyperactivity without the disorder.

  13. Nobody ever seemed to be particularly clear on the definitions with me. Then again, I think they were different back then, anyway.

  14. Betty, my dog Simon (a Tibetan Spaniel mix) is terrified by thunderstorms. So, my vet's office recommended Rescue Remedy drops. (I never really determined whether it actually worked on him because I had trouble getting him to take it.) It's supposed to be "all-natural" -- but as far as I can tell it's made of flowers and alcohol. You can take a look at it at rescueremedy dot com. I'm just curious whether it's the same thing your vet's office suggested.

    Glad to hear Mickey's getting a new home. My daughter's cat is adorable, and sweet in his own way, but it's sooooo much more peaceful here since he moved out with my daughter.

    --Sue, who is also a card-carrying and (quietly)militant Introvert

  15. Somebody else suggested it was probably Rescue Remedy they offer, too, so I looked it up. There seem to be tons of sites out there selling the stuff and touting how great it is, and lots of people saying "Hey, I took this stuff and now I feel calmer!" but when I found actual background on where the "remedy" comes from -- things like this and this, I just have to boggle at how something so completely crackpot gets to be so widely accepted without any actual proof. Especially as I believe at least one website said the veterinary version doesn't even necessarily have any alcohol!

    Anyway. Most of yesterday Mickey was being very good and I was walking around thinking how I did not want to let him go... And then this morning, I had to break up a cat fight before I'd finished my first cup of coffee, and now have a bleeding scratch on my wrist, so I'm back to "Come on Mom, and take this animal so I can have some peace!" :)

    Also, introverts unite!