Last week I took my cat, Siouxsie, to the vet for a routine dental cleaning. I didn’t think there’d be all that much to it: simply a removal of the tartar from her teeth. The vet did tell me there was a chance she’d have to have some teeth extracted, but she wouldn’t know until she removed the tartar and looked for any problems.
Well, apparently Siouxsie did have some problems, because she came home with three fewer teeth in her mouth — and a big load of buprenorphine to kill the pain. The vet tech told me Siouxsie would be acting "a little groggy" and might have "that stoned face" for a few days.
I’ve had cats come home from the vet while they were still recovering from sedatives, and they’re generally a bit loopy, so that’s what I expected. I knew buprenorphine is an opiate, but I guess I thought its potency level was more like codeine than morphine.
I quickly found out otherwise when I put Siouxsie’s carrier on the floor of my bedroom and let her out. She leaned against the side of the carrier as she gingerly placed one paw in front of the other. She staggered around on the carpet, walked a few steps, and then almost fell over.
I put her on my bed, thinking that she’d probably curl up and go to sleep.
Nope. She jumped off the bed with all the grace of a falling rock. Then she shuffled off toward the living room, weaving as she went.
"Siouxsie," I said. "Be careful, sweetie."
She refused to stop her exploration, despite the fact that she could barely walk.
I just about freaked out when she tried to jump on the counter and failed miserably. She landed on the floor on her side; then, in classic cat style, she stood up, shook herself, and sat down for a quick self-grooming.
"I meant to do that," she expressed, with all the seriousness of a cat who can barely find her paw with her mouth.
"Siouxsie!" I said. "Be careful! You’re gonna hurt yourself! Why don’t you just come over here and lie down on the couch."
Of course, she’d have none of that. In her mind, her inability to walk or see straight meant that now was the perfect time to climb all the way to the top of the cat tower.
"Oh, crap," I said as I watched her make the leap to the first shelf, but she made it okay. She scaled the next level, and the next, while I looked on with my heart in my throat. I knew it would be more dangerous to try and remove her while she was in the process of climbing than it would to let her climb. Finally she reached the Top Cat perch, more than six feet off the ground.
"Whoooooooa," I could almost hear her saying as her head swayed back and forth.
I watched her as she staggered around in three circles and curled up in a ball.
And then promptly passed out.
With her tongue sticking out.
"Poor, stoned kitty," I said, trying not to laugh.
I obviously couldn’t resist taking a few pictures, though.
Siouxsie stayed there, almost comatose, with her head hanging over the edge of her perch and her tongue sticking out.
When suppertime came, it was clear that the worst of her buzz had worn off. She hopped down from shelf to shelf, almost as gracefully as usual, and then ate with her usual enthusiasm.
The lesson here: There’s just about nothing more hilarious — and pathetic — than a stoned cat.
What kind of silly things have your cats done when they came home from the vet with a good buzz on? Share them in the comments.
(And I hope it goes without saying that it’s never okay to get your cat stoned. But just in case it doesn’t: It’s never, ever okay to get your cat stoned!)
Photos by JaneA Kelley