Monday, 14 January 2008

The dismal failure of the Flying Nun collar

Not three hours ago I returned from the vet with a loudly yowling cat and a significantly lightened wallet. The vet had fitted the cat, who has a nasty patch of eczema on the back of his neck which he persists in scratching till it’s raw and oozing (sorry), with one of those Flying Nun collars – a piece of stiff plastic that juts out all around the animal’s face and prevents it from causing further damage to a sore spot.

The cat, whose name is Evan, has just waltzed in from outside, without the collar.

I watched the vet fit the collar (which is actually called a Buster Clic Collar but I prefer my name for it). I watched him thread a piece of elastic bandage through the neckpiece, put it around Evan’s neck, then tie it in three knots, which he pulled tight before snipping off the end pieces. I watched him check that the collar wasn’t so tight that Evan would have trouble breathing, and wasn’t so loose that he could slip out of it.

Evan was, needless to say, very much less than pleased with his new headgear. When I released him from the cat basket, he made his eyes go all big and wild and stared at me accusingly for about 20 seconds, before turning his back on me and leaping elegantly for the window, intending to streak through the burglar bars and away, as usual. Instead, thanks to the artificially increased circumference of his head courtesy of the Flying Nun collar, he just bounced off the bars and landed in an untidy heap on the floor.

I’m sorry, but I laughed. (I have an embarrassingly unsophisticated sense of humour and there seems to be nothing I can do about it. There’s a scene in a recent movie, Mr Woodcock, in which a perfectly pleasant young man is hurled bodily off a treadmill and into a pile of dumb-bells. I laughed so hard at it that I wet my pants and had to leave the cinema.)

Evan was terribly upset with me. He tried to do what cats do when humans laugh at them – elaborately lick their bottoms – but was stymied by the Flying Nun collar. So he just licked the inside of collar instead, pretending that that was what he’d intended to do all along, which really cracked me up.

Clearly deciding that absence was the better part of valour, Evan made a relatively dignified exit through the (wide-open) back door and disappeared into the wilds of the garden.

And now he’s back. But the collar isn’t.

I don’t care enough about the damned collar to go out and search for it, and anyway, if Evan hates it so much that he managed to get it off against all odds, I’m not going to be the one to put it back on him. But the eczema is a real problem, and even as I type, he’s sitting in obvious ecstasy at my feet, scratching himself into a frenzy.

Any cat lovers out there with a solution?

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1 comment:

meggie said...

No tips but what a cunning cat he is!!