Snickers made his first trip to the vet yesterday since I adopted him eighteen months ago. I hadn’t planned for it to be so long before he was taken in for an exam. It is simply that this bold, young wanna-be-predator has proven to be a scaredy-cat when new humans are introduced to his environment.
Much to my dismay, it took over a year for Snickers and Max, the male, Main Coon in the house, to warm up to each other. There are still growls and hisses between the two of them but lately there have been playful jabs and swats shared between the two. Sadly, Snickers and Marley mostly tolerate each other though when given the chance, Marley takes cover and hides.
Cats are on thing. Unknown humans have been a completely different story. I have given up the practice of picking him up and trying to provide comfort when friends or family have come to visit. Every single attempt has resulted in claws shredding my arms before I could get close enough for him to experience a soft touch of somebody else’s hand. He will have nothing to do with that.
Still, it seemed past time for me to take him in for an exam so yesterday, after forcibly putting Snickers into the carrier I made the 20 minute drive to the Veterinarian. I told his story to the veterinary assistant and tried to instill in her sufficient caution to keep her and the vet from getting injured too badly – though as I did I realize they probably see plenty of scared and unruly pets. Satisfied that she had taken my warnings seriously, the next thing that happened completely shocked me.
The assistant gently and cautiously put her hands under and around Snicker and lifted him from the carrier that sat beside me with the top detached. There was no hiss, no meows, no resistance whatsoever! She set in on the scale – the same scale on which in the past I have had to hold both Max and Marley still long enough to get an accurate weight. Snickers? He laid down on the scale as if it were his throne.
After recording his weight (10.1 lbs), then came the thermometer. As his tail was lifted, I put my hands on his shoulders and prepared for the fury of claws that was sure to come. He didn’t blink.
When the vet came in, she had been advised of my concerns and moved slowly while talking continuously though she acknowledge she had lowered her voice and tried to control the animation in her communication which apparently she had been told is sometimes over the top. I was barely able to get a word in but as Snickers calmly let her examine him as she spoke that was good enough. I don’t think he even noticed that she also gave him two injections.
Unlike the start of this trip, he walked without resistance back into the carrier and rode quietly back home and ran gleefully from the garage back into the kitchen just in time for me to feed the three of them.
We have have all been told at one time or another to embrace our fears, to not be afraid of change or new experiences. Often, the fear itself is the worst part. The associated anxiety builds upon itself and can bring on panic….all self-created and self-inflicted.
It would be dishonest of me to say that I’ve not struggled with similar anxieties in the last few years. Time gradually brings down the walls of fear if we simply submit and let it happen but sometimes we can surprise ourselves by taking the leap.