The Cat That Couldn’t


by, Jerry Jansen

Let me tell you about our cat, Toddy, which is short for Mary Todd Lincoln, in keeping with my avocation about everything Lincoln. She is now almost 16 years old, about 80 in human years. She is prim and proper, fastidious about her personal hygiene, and would be mortified if she even dropped some residual cat litter on the carpet after her toilette.

She eats special geriatric food from the vet with no complaint, and up until last month, never deigned to eat the various cat treats we presented to her over the years. We kept trying and then unexpectedly, she began to scarf up the 10-12 morsels we tempted her with. These “healthy and high fiber” cat treats, are given to her perennially for Christmas by my brother, Jeff.  Amazed as we were at her change of heart, we continued to “treat” her (she is SUCH a good cat, after all) daily for a week or so.

One day, my wife Diana, doing one of her duties of changing the litter, (hey, I do other things), noticed the lack of solid deposits in Toddy’s box.

“I think Toddy is constipated,” said my ER nurse/spouse. I captured Toddy (much to her displeasure), and Diana palpated her abdomen but found no distension or other symptoms.

“I think we need to get some sort of laxative for her,” offered Diana.

“Do we have to?” I asked. “Can’t we wait a day or two and see what comes out?”

“This could be dangerous and she could have an obstruction!” Diana protested.

Not wanting to be responsible for the death of my beloved Toddy, I headed with Diana to Walmart® to find some sort of laxative…. for cats.

“I know,” Diana offered, “she needs a suppository”

I hesitated a moment, envisioning all that might entail.

It wasn’t good.

And I knew I would have to be involved. “How would that work?” I asked plaintively.

“It would loosen her up a bit, make it easier for her to go.”

Diana went to the pharmacy and eventually found an infant suppository. For good measure, she also picked up an enema kit.

Once home, I lured Toddy to my lap and then Diana, rubber gloved and ready, did her nursey thing and inserted the clear liquidy object where the sun don’t shine.

Toddy was not amused.

About 20 seconds in, I saw a look on her feline face I didn’t know she could make. Wide eyes, lips pulled back, and as Diana squirted in the last of whatever it was, Toddy, lost her lady-like personality and literally bit the hand that feeds her. My hand, she bit me. Three puncture wounds on my right hand, that left Diana mumbling, “Augmentin, Augmentin, Augmentin,” which I later found out, was not a voodoo chant but an antibiotic, used to treat cat bites that become infected.

Toddy, suppository in hand, or rather in behind, ran to hide in a corner looking something close to feral. We’d inflicted the ultimate insult for a spinster cat.

“It should work within 15-30 minutes, ” Diana claimed.

Going back to our reading, we patiently waited for the spirit to move Toddy, hoping she would head toward the litter box. Our thoughts of our veterinary prowess were disturbed by a knock on the door. Our realtor, who’d sold us our home, was outside with a cute, older couple.

“Can I show these people your floor plan?” she asked.

Not wanting to discuss the myriad of reasons why not, I said, “Sure, come on in. The house is a little messy right now.” Isn’t that always the line?

“No problem,” she said, as she marched in with the prospective buyers. They removed their shoes in the entry and she proceeded to show them the living room, the bedrooms and then out to the screen porch. I nervously looked for Toddy and found her sitting on the carpet at the far end of the porch, still not wanting to get too close to any human. I think she now had some trust issues.

The couple began to look around the screen porch, when all of a sudden the man let out a scream, well, a whimper at least, as he hotfooted in his socks, looking behind him, horrified.

“Hey, it worked!” I yelled to Diana, as I noticed the very large pile of cat droppings by the door.

The man looked at me, strangely puzzled, (similar to Toddy’s earlier visage) as he lifted his foot showcasing brown matter on his white sock. Diana came to the porch, saw the excrement (having lamented I am sure, that she could not make it to the litter in time).

“Oh great, that should do it,” Diana said, as if no brown-footed strangers were present.

The man and his wife were starting to slowly sidle to the door, when we realized we had better explain.

“Our cat is 16 years old,” Diana began, “And constipated this morning.”

The man smiled (or as close to he could get to a smile), and asked if he could have a paper towel. Diana quickly provided one. I thought I should add a little more detail and proceeded to explain.

“We gave her an infant suppository about 20 minutes ago; didn’t know it would work this fast, heh, heh.  She is usually perfect about the litter; must have been a little urgent,” I said.

“Oh yes, urgent”, the man’s wife managed to speak.

“I am so sorry,” Diana offered. “Can I wash your sock?”

The man turned down the laundry offer and three headed for the door, thanking us as they left. They watched their every step, probably praying to make it to their shoes with clean feet. In stocking feet, they climbed back into Mary Ann’s golf cart and roared off.

“Well, that’ll teach ’em for coming unannounced” I said, a little embarrassed.

“I suppose if they buy a house here in our resort, we’ll forever be known as the cat poop people.”

Thanks a lot, Jeff.



Despite his successful career as a Wisconsin police chief, Jerry’s always been a frustrated writer and a hopeful stand-up comic. Now retired with his wife, Diana, an ER nurse, living in Arizona, Jerry writes for pleasure. Someday, he may publish his novel, Diary of a Fat Man: A Weight Loss Quest.  But cake and ice cream get in the way.

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