I have three cats. Amalthea (Malthy, Miss Priss, Missy) is named after a character in the book/animated movie “The Last Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle. She’s about 18, fluffy and beautiful and light as a feather. She’s a picky eater, prone to unexpected urps and frequent hairballs, and she’s had so many bladder infections that she’s on a permanent low maintenance dose of antibiotics.
Then there’s Rugen (Ru, GoodRu Wilson, Rubbit, Rugenomics, the Rugenator), named after the six-fingered man in the book/movie “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman (or S. Morganstern). Ru has an extra toe on each foot, so it seemed appropriate. Another picky eater, he’ll turn up his nose at canned cat food but scarf down Kashi cereal and corn chips like crazy. He’s the most skittish cat, flying three feet in the air if you move your feet when he walks past your chair (hence “Rubbit”).
Finally, we have Ru’s sister, Buttercup (Boocup, Sissy, Baby Girl), named after another character in the Princess Bride because of the extra toe thing (my cat has two extra toes on each front foot, and one extra on each back). Buttercup can – and does – eat anything, with the odd exception of most meat. The little garbage gut routinely cleans up Malthy’s canned food plate, licks the crumbs from the wrapper of my Kashi bars, eats any dry cat food we put down, licks the milk from the cereal bowl if we don’t snatch it away fast enough – she’s even reached out a paw and snagged food right out from under my nose. She isn’t fat, but she’s a solid, compact little thing.
The babycat in danger today was Buttercup. She loves plastic grocery bags, and will lick and lick and lick them endlessly. I sometimes twist and tie them into a ball with a tail, and she loves to knock them off the edge of the counter and chase them around. I know the bags are dangerous to pets if they’re swallowed, but she’s never done that – until today. I heard her chewing on a bag and got up to investigate, only to find that she’s chewed off almost an entire handle. The plastic bags will compact in their digestive systems and can block their intestines, potentially leading to death. I scooped her up and took her to the bathroom for an application of hydrogen peroxide. If you have cats or dogs, you want to have a medicine dropper and peroxide on hand in case you need to induce vomiting. The problem is, they don’t like the taste, so you have to force it into them. Buttercup REALLY doesn’t like the taste, so it was a real challenge. I believe this cat has only vomited once before in the three years we’ve had her, and her surprise and disgust when it happened was comical to witness. She really fought the urge to vomit with the peroxide, and it took an hour, and nearly 5 teaspoons to make it happen. (Actually it was probably more like 10 teaspoons, but I ended up wearing half of it.) I was getting really worried near the end because she wouldn’t vomit, and I was afraid that the peroxide was going to damage her, or react with the bag to create something toxic, or some even more terrifying event that my overactive imagination could conjure. When she finally did I was really glad that I’d decided to do it, because she urped a huge chunk of plastic. Crisis averted, and she even still loves me.