The Night of the Windy Cat

I sit here, bleary-eyed, but thankful.

The small golden eyed cat is sitting on the sofa opposite me, the family familiar, jet-black, glossy coated, perfectly poised. He has passed kittenhood now, and is baffling us all: is this as large as Clive will grow? ask the children; and we shake our heads and say, children, we will just have to wait and see.

This morning, he occasionally looks unaccountably surprised, in his perch on the sofa. But it passes.

Yesterday was hectic beyond belief. It fled by in a blur of football matches, dinner preparation, chauffeuring to the station and small boy’s parties. I spent ear-splitting hours at the local soft play centre and hosted a party tea. There was no time to open my laptop, few seconds even to consider the next move.

But on these very busy days there are always motifs which appear throughout in the memory. Β One was a small black cat riding the crest of the wave of bustle in this hectic household: being cradled and crooned over by my besotted daughter, or one of the lads with the group of ten-year old boys; here, agitating the dog, there, attempting to drink tea from mugs hastily removed.

“Bond,” I Β told him at intervals, “cats don’t drink tea.”

He looked sceptical.

As we turned in for the night I checked the two deserted upper bedrooms. Maddie’s armchair had been toppled during the day’s action, but the cat was curled up, unperturbed, near the headrest on an available horizontal plane.

We woke at midnight to hear a low grumble from Macaulay the dog. Bond was having one of his mad moments and he had chosen to bunk down with his favourite playmate: except that Macaulay was partial to his own space at sleepytime. Bond does not read Mac’s signals well. He is not fluent in doggy language, or if he is, he does not care.

I scooped him out and admonished him.

Twenty minutes later I drifted back to consciousness with the indefinable feeling that something was wrong.

And there at the foot of the bed, my little cat was lying stretched out in spasm, breathing shallowly, clearly in distress.

On went the light and I scooped the small frame. At increasingly close intervals, something would make him start, wild-eyed. He was alarmed, and his neck would become stiff and his mouth freeze open.

We were terrified. We had no idea what we should do: so we speed dialled the vets.

We blurted out his symptoms in undisguised panic. He’s had flea preventative in the last 24 hours, we stammered. And…and he has a liking for tea. He helps himself to it when the tea is cold and unguarded. He may have sampled from a mug or two.

At that the vet could not keep the amusement out of her voice. No, she said, the tea would not cause the symptoms, not the flea preventative. And as we talked on, we realised the cat had begun to calm.

We decided to wait it out.

As we sat in the small hours with a wild-eyed would-be bolting cat between us, we heard the first clue as to what was bothering Clive: his gut was gurgling like an industrial washing machine.

Hold on, I said. I’ll massage his tummy.

It was like smoothing out bubbles in sticky-back plastic. As I kneaded, the air within began with protesting whines and cavernous rumbles to make its way towards the emergency exit.

Half an hour later, the cat was calm, His breathing was normal. He jumped from the bed to inspect a catnip mouse.

We heaved a sigh of relief.

Clive Bond had a most ungentlemanly problem: a large amount of trapped wind.

Nothing that a skilled cat masseuse can’t handle.


58 thoughts on “The Night of the Windy Cat

  1. Am sure he’s fine by now, and only you will be the worse for lack of sleep. Just like having another toddler when the pets are ill. Maybe you can sneak in a catnap πŸ™‚ this afternoon.

  2. I would have been hysterical and on the phone…poor Clive. What wonderful cat parents you are. I will tuck this away in the home remedy cat file, just in case…

  3. Nothing is worse than an ill pet who can’t tell you what’s going on. Over the years I have tried to learn when to rush to our animal emergency center ($175 a visit) or wait until morning when our vet is available. Somehow I never really sleep well when I am waiting it out. I must say we have never had trouble with flatulence! Our cats seem to dispense it quite well, especially when someone is around to “enjoy” it.

  4. Only you could make milking the tummy of a flatulent cat sound so poetic. Thanks for a Sunday morning smile and laugh ( which I can do now that I know Clive Bond is okay.)

  5. This reminded me of the Madeline story . . . when Madeline had an attack of appendicitis in the middle of the night. And the sisters came in to turn on the light.

    Which causes me to wonder: Do cats have an appendix?

    Glad that the cat masseuse knew what to do to alleviate Clive’s distress.

  6. Add that new skill to your resumΓ©, Kate! Fabulous outcome, of course, but I can completely understand the panic! Poor Bond…he’d been into something, don’t you think? He’s the proverbial curious one, so hopefully he can think back to what he ate and avoid it next time! Sounds to me like you need a rest–not likely, I’m sure, but you still probably could use one! πŸ™‚

  7. Oh, my what a night! Poor Bond. Poor Shrewsdays. I can only imagine the panic felt when he was in a spasm as bed’s end. I’m glad this all turned out to be just a bit of gas, Kate. Sleep well this night.

  8. Poor Clive Bond! It’s awful when any of your babies is in distress, whether it’s a human or fur baby. So glad he’s feeling better and that it wasn’t anything serious. Good thinking about massaging his tummy. Also, I find it very amusing that he likes tea.

  9. I’m glad to know that Bond, Clive Bond, is okay. It wouldn’t do to have the UK’s top secret agent indisposed with gas.
    Of course, now I’m reminded of Roger Moore playing Bond in Live and Let Die (I think) and he finds that a bad guy has put a deadly snake in his bathroom.
    He takes his super-duper can of hair spray, flicks a switch, and flames out the snake. Not sure what that has to do with flatulence.

  10. Poor kitty. Glad the problem turned out to be so benign. Now I’m wondering if this might be why my cat suddenly leaps out of a sound sleep, hissing and spitting. Not that I’m dismissing the possibility of bad dreams.

  11. Dear Kate, I’ve lived with one or more cats since 1972–so forty years–and never, ever, have I heard that wind could be trapped within a cat’s belly. This amazes me. How do you think it happened? Did he eat something too quickly? Or run and then gulp air? I’m amazed that you rubbed his belly and helped him so. You are such a quick study! Peace.

  12. I find cats somewhat mysterious, aloof & beyond the general understanding of us dogs. I do not like the sharp needles they have in their paws instead of claws. While cats are our mortal enemies I am glad that your Clive Bond was Ok

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