Friday, July 14, 2017

Not Quite Finished with Giardia

I am done bathing cats. It was traumatic for both of them, yowling, clawing, and eventually submitting to the injustice of being totally wet and worse, being foamed with perfumed and medicated shampoo. The second time, Nick helped me manage. You need four hands to wash a cat, maybe five. Plus, Nick is very good at calming cats.

Giardia treatment required one bath at the beginning and one at the end. So we washed the cats twice within a week. In the interim, I coaxed two cats to eat wet cat food covered in medicine they didn't like for six days. I washed the covers of three dog beds, bedding for three people, throw pillows, blankets, and two cat beds the cats seldom use. I sterilized two litter boxes twice. I put dog and cat dishes into the dishwasher daily for six days. I disinfected a cat tree and unwashable foam pads for three dog beds. I got going with the bleach and ended up sterilizing my sinks and countertops just in case. The cats don't jump up there when I'm looking, but what about when I'm not home? I never did steam clean my floors. I know I should have. I was just tired. I would have been tired simply bathing the cats. Even the cats were tired after we bathed the cats.

I don't believe in giving cats a bath unless there's a specific reason. This was specific enough. Giardia, a parasite, living in their intestines, eating their food, making them feel sick, taking control of their bodies like aliens. I felt sick to my stomach just thinking about it. I've washed my hands about a thousand times in the past six days. I used a whole bottle of bleach. I went through a half bottle of perfumed medicated cat shampoo. I washed and bleached five towels that might have been infected after cat baths, twice. Except for the floors, I was thorough.

After the second baths, I began to relax a bit. The cats had finally eaten all of their medicine. Nick and I decided to bring both cats outside on leashes to dry on our partially completed deck where they could lie in the sun. Nick said it would be nice for them to dry their fur in the sun. He was right.

Blitz was sure he didn't want to go outside. I didn't want to argue with him, but Nick kept saying he'd like it once he felt the heat. Blitz clung to me around my neck as I carried him out after we got Seth and Teddy set up outside. Poor baby Blitz. Being outside must have been traumatic when he was a tiny kitten. Feral cats don't have it easy.  Feral kittens probably learn that death is so near, so casual. I could feel all that in Blitz's grip.

I sat down on a chair with him still clinging to me. Nick tied his leash to the barbecue. I began to lean back, to look up at trees swaying against blue sky, to listen to birds singing. Then, Blitz relaxed a little and slid down to my lap. We sat. Nick sat at the rough edge of the deck and let his legs swing back and forth between the joists. Then, Blitz looked at Seth on one side and Teddy on the other and Nick on a third side. Each of them was enjoying the light, the heat on the recycled plastic boards, and birdsong. The deck is three-quarters complete. There was enough room for us to sit together and stretch out a little.

Finally, Blitz jumped off my lap, squatted flat for a moment, looked from Seth to Teddy to Nick, then he rolled onto his back. He stretched his paws out and let the gentle heat soak into his damp fur. Summer weather is nice in the Pacific Northwest, but don't move here unless you enjoy ten months of continuous rain. Personally, I love the rain. It's getting a bit dry here for my tastes.

Still, it was a good day to wash cats. And even better news was that both cats were cleared of giardia. That was my reward for cleaning the litter box five times on the last day of their medication, then digging around when a cat finally pooped. It was my reward for scavenging turds the size of marbles so that lab people at the vet's office could look for alien creatures under a microscope.

I try not to think about parasites in intestinal tracts. I try. The cats are clear. They're clean. All our bedding is clean. Their dishes are clean. Nearly everything is clean.

But I'm not quite done with the whole thing. After a talk about issues with my roiling gut, my doctor recommended that I get tested for giardia. She didn't even tell me it was psychosomatic, all that thinking about parasites making me sick to my stomach. She just stood there and handed me a kit.

Joy of joys. Now, I have to poop in a cup and bring it to the lab.

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment