I knelt next to the bed and peered under it. A grumpy Ben peered back.
"C'mon out, big guy," I said.
Ben stared at me. What was I, nuts? There were ninjas out there! And that awful little black cat that was worse than a ninja! Don't be fooled. The pudge and the falling off things was just a clever ploy to lull us all into complacency. That cat was a monster.
"She's downstairs," I said.
Ben sniffed. That was what she wanted me to think.
"I'll protect you," I said.
Oh, please. Ben has lived with me for two and a half years, and is quite aware that I couldn't fend off an injured pancake. Me, protect him. Did I have any idea how many ninjas he had kept out of the bathroom? It would have been like the shower scene from Psycho, only totally silent and with less cross-dressing.
No, and that was final. It wasn't safe out there. If I had any sense, I'd be under the bed with him. He'd make room. I could sleep with the shoes.
I went and got a can of cheap canned tuna.
"C'mon, Ben. I have gooshy food!"
Oh, well, why didn't I say so in the first place?
I did my towel-bearing-death-from-above move, shoved him into a carrier, then gave him the gooshy food to finish off, which mitigated a lot of his annoyance. Other cats showed up to stare through the bars of the carrier with envy. Sure, Ben got gooshy food. And his own bedroom. With bars. Mom always loved him best.
Once at the vet, Ben was a different cat. No evil little black cat! At worst there might be a few ninjas. He could handle that. Vet ninjas were all getting into the drug cabinet and probably whacked out of Clavamox and ear drops anyway.
A tech came over and cooed at him through the bars--"What a handsome boy! Look at that coat!"
Ben preened. Yes. He was handsome. Fierce, too. Had he mentioned that he ate ninjas?
"Well, he seems alert," said the vet, as Ben prowled the exam room looking for the enemy. "Let me check his mouth..."
Ben did not approve of having his mouth pried open. He flailed, to litle result. Hmm. Generally he could handle vets. He was particularly proud of the one vet that required two techs built like gorillas to get him pinned. That had been a good day, even if he'd ultimately had a thermometer shoved somewhere unspeakable.
Perhaps this vet was related to the little black cat.
Anyway, the end result is that Ben is having a serious herpes flare-up, and now gets pumped full of antibiotic twice a day. There's a Feliway diffuser in the bedroom--the vet said it works sometimes, and there's not much else we can do until the herpes is under control, since he may need steroid shots and she'd rather not start him on major mood-altering meds until it's all cleared up. Ben does Not Approve of having goop shot down his throat twice a day, and shrieks like a banshee whenever I do it, but he's acting perkier already--I can lure him downstairs with gooshy food, and he came up on the bed for snuggling this morning. So that's something.
After all, the sooner Ben is back on the job, the sooner the ninjas will stop leaving little piles of shuriken in the back of the cupboards.
*Feliway is a plug-in phermone diffuser thing that's supposed to make the room smell like mellow happy cat and soothe the beasties.