The cat has ringworm. Rather, the vet suspects he has ringworm but has to culture the hair follicles for 7 – 14 days before she can tell us definitively. In the meantime we have to wash his face twice daily with antibacterial / antifungal wipes and repeatedly wash our hands, although “if we haven’t caught it by now it’s likely we won’t .” Cue repeated checking for itchy red circles on the children’s skin.
Aden and I were more traumatized by the scolding we received for the cat’s behavior than by his diagnosis. The cat had quite an attitude at the vet, baring his teeth, hissing and trying to bite when his face was inspected and his nails cut. Dr. Y raised her eyebrows at the length of Rex’s nails and lectured us on the need to trim them every two weeks. I decided to be an attentive, studious pet owner rather than stomping my foot and responding defensively that we weren’t told about the nail-trimming routine. While the vet showed us how to ease into the four-paw process, Aden edged closer to me and looked up at me for reassurance. I couldn’t tell if she were worried about the vet or the thought that I would go Rambo on being lectured and storm out with pet and daughter in tow.
On the drive home, while Rex miaowed piteously from his carrier until his voice went hoarse, Aden confessed her relief that at least we didn’t do “everything” wrong. My confidence returned as I reflected on the fact that I’ve kept three kids alive and well for thirteen years so surely I can master a cat. After he was sprung from his cage in the safety of the living room, he sat staring at us with his mouth open, an amazement so profound that all we could do was laugh. The laughter alone makes him worth it.