Dear Vet Office,
I have a confession to make.
My cat ripped a chunk out of your ceiling.
You might not have noticed it, but if you look straight up in Treatment Room #3, you’ll see a paw-sized piece of ceiling tile is missing. I’m sharing this story so that ceiling tiles everywhere may be protected from feline destruction.
We took Furball to your office for a visit, and normally this would be rather uneventful. We’ve taken him to your clinic at least a half dozen times, all without incident. However, this visit was admittedly not like the others.
You see, two days earlier, Furball had a midnight run to the emergency vet clinic. We were having some work done in our apartment and had authorized the maintenance men to enter the unit while we were away. While we said it was okay to enter the apartment, we didn’t say it was okay to put the cat in a room, close the door, and leave him there — and especially not the room with the plants in it.
When my husband arrived home late in the evening, he knew something was wrong when Furball failed to appear. After a few minutes of searching, my husband heard a faint pathetic mewing. He opened the door to the spare bedroom and discovered Furball inside. He also discovered that Furball had eaten several houseplants.
I was out of town when I received my husband’s urgent phone call. The utmost question in our minds was whether the plants were toxic for the cat. We didn’t know how long he’d been locked in the room. We didn’t know when he had ingested the plants, and we didn’t know if the plants were poisonous. We decided it was better to be safe than sorry. My husband would take Furball to the emergency vet clinic immediately.
He packed Furball up in the carrier and took him to the clinic. Poor Furball.
At the vet’s, Furball was fed charcoal tablets to clear toxins out of his system. Fortunately, the plants we had were only mildly toxic, but we got rid of them the next day. When Furball returned home, he left black charcoal smudges whenever he rubbed his cheek against the wall.
With this backstory, I’m sure you can appreciate that Furball was justifiably in a state of angst when we took him to your office for a follow-up visit. I share these details with you so that you may find it in your heart to forgive Furball for his demolition of your vet clinic.
When we arrived at your office, we were directed to Treatment Room #3. Furball was reluctant to come out of his carrier. After much coaxing, Furball stepped gingerly onto the examination table.
As we waited, Furball kept searching for an escape route. His sad little face kept looking up, his eyes round and wide, pupils dilated, as he paced the table.
Furball looked up at the skylight. Then he got that crazy look in his eyes that he gets when he’s about to jump on the kitchen counter in search of tuna. Before we could react, Furball leapt straight up in the air. His destination: the skylight to freedom.
A black blur flew past our heads. With feline dexterity, Furball deftly used the top edge of a picture frame to launch himself even higher. Pawing frantically at whatever he could grab onto, he punched straight through a ceiling tile and hung suspended by one paw.
For one full second, the cat defied gravity.
THUD! Then he came crashing down onto the floor below. THWACK! The cat’s fall was echoed by a chunk of ceiling tile landing in the middle of the examination table. A sprinkling of tile dust followed.
My husband and I looked at each other in shock. We checked to see if Furball was OK. Aside from looking a bit embarrassed, the cat was fine. Furball feigned nonchalance as if his spectacular crash was on purpose.
We heard voices outside of the room and without a word, my husband and I quickly concealed the evidence. The chunk of ceiling tile was tossed in the trash. The dust was brushed off the examination table. The crooked picture frame was set straight. When the vet technician came into the room, we acted like nothing had happened.
The next time I took Furball to your clinic, I sheepishly mentioned the hole in the ceiling and admitted that it was my cat who had done it. The technician glanced up and merely shrugged. I took the shrug to be an absolution of guilt and never mentioned the incident again until today.
I’m sharing our story so that ceiling tiles everywhere can be properly protected from wanton feline destruction. If you’ve got a skylight, place your picture frames far away from it. And if you’re reading this article and your vet has a skylight, take a look up the next time you visit. If you see a chunk of ceiling tile missing, you’ll know what happened.
One more thing, too: If you have plants, make sure they’re safe for your cats.