The Cat Who Thinks She’s a Dog

…A Cautionary Tail…


I love cats. Always have, always will. Why?

  • They don’t talk.
  • They don’t have political views.
  • They don’t talk about politics.
  • They don’t talk.

I consider their personalities sort of like mine: introverted, opinionated, always critical of others — but in that endearing, almost imperceptibly smug way.

slide1I also equally adore dogs, so please, no hate mail.

Many cats have owned me over the years.  As a kid, my first cat was Fluffy (aka Lint), then Cujo (aka The Old Man), followed by my fat orange tabby, Conan O’Brien (that I once regrettably used as a crampon), and now we are graced with Miss Maggie the Magnificent’s presence.

And apparently, she’s a dog.

Me: You are not a dog.

Maggie: Ruff.

Me: You are not a dog.

Maggie: Arf.

Me: You are not a dog!

Maggie: Bow wow?


Maggie [blank stare]: D’oh! [licks own ass, tries to eat an invisible bug, farts]

Me: Hmm….maybe you are a dog…

So our 8-month-old puppy almost died last week. Not to bring this post down from the previous high of an ass-licking farting cat, but yeah it’s true. She suddenly projectile vomited out of the blue. (I suppose that’s really the only way one can projectile vomit as there’s usually not much of a warning.)

I was the only one home when it happened. She let out this sound only dying cats make. I immediately flipped out and started sobbing. I’m known for being emotional. I’m ridiculously sensitive to other’s pain and suffering. I feel it as if it were my own. And pets? To me, they are pretty much the only pure goodness that’s left in this godforsaken world.

I started crying when we brought her to the vet and didn’t stop crying until about 3 days later.

“It’s just a cat!” you sneer. I weep for your soul.

To make an excruciatingly long story short, she was hooked up to an IV due to being severely dehydrated and lethargic. Blood tests ruled out pancreatitis and kidney disease (rare for a kitten).

Yet she was clearly dying. Her ears were cold as ice and she wasn’t responding to my touch or voice or the flood of tears falling onto her face. They did X-rays and saw something “suspicious” in her stomach, but they weren’t sure. It looked like her intestine was bunching up “like a curtain on a curtain rod,” the vet suggested.

They couldn’t immediately do exploratory surgery because it seemed her organs were rapidly shutting down and the stress might put her over the edge and kill her. We put her in an emergency clinic overnight and I cried some more.

Finally, the next morning she was brighter and I had to make the decision to do surgery. There was a chance they would find nothing. I told them to do it as soon as possible. The very idea that I might have to tell my kids she died (the world’s sweetest kitten!) just about killed me.

There was something special about Maggie. When we saw her at the animal shelter she was sitting with another kitten. The other kitten spent his time clawing at her and sitting on her head. She just calmly sat there, all sweetness and light. I said, “That’s the cat. She’s the one.” You just know these things. It’s fate. All my pets came from the pound and all of them were the most loving gentle souls. (Except for Fluffy. We referred to him as Psycho Cat.)

From the minute Maggie got sick, I had this feeling she ate something bad. She was always getting into things. It’s like having a hyper toddler in the house all over again. Maybe it was a little piece of string? My son has tiny elastic bands on his braces that are constantly breaking and popping off, maybe she ate one of those? The vet did the surgery and called me when it was over.

“She’s doing great,” said the vet. “We found something.”

And boy howdy, did they find something. When we arrived, the vet held up a Ziploc bag filled with this large mass of string, carpet, ribbon, yarn, and a plastic straw. Yes, she had swallowed almost half of a straw. Part of it was inside her intestine and the glob of string was blocking the pylorus region. We were lucky the straw didn’t perforate her intestine and lead to sepsis.

Apparently, she had spent the better part of her young life eating things she shouldn’t eat. Such as her scratching post, the living room rug, the feathers and ribbons from a cat toy…a straw.

As we were checking out at the vet, the receptionist said, “Oh, you’ve got the foreign body removal cat! Don’t feel bad — we just surgically removed a wire hanger out of a dog last week!”

A man behind us in line said, “And my dog once had a rope yanked from his stomach! I think he also ate half a shoe once!”

For some reason, their cheerfulness when describing possible future foreign body horrors didn’t make me feel any better.

I’m beyond thrilled to say Maggie is 99% healed. I think her image as a cool cat might never recover, though. But she wears that Cone of Shame with doofus dog pride.




56 thoughts on “The Cat Who Thinks She’s a Dog

  1. I imagine the tears you shed over your dying hybrid were quickly replaced by tears over the bills. These emergencies NEVER happen during normal business hours.

    I’m sure she learned her lesson. She’ll never eat anything inappropriate again. At least not until she gets out of the cone of silence.

    1. Sooooo true. The one time our dog was in dire need of medical attention (a couple months ago) was a little after 1 on a Saturday afternoon, when both the vet and my husband had left a little earlier. Guess who had to wrangle our 90-pound dog into the back of the car by herself? Then pay for treatment and the exorbitant one-hour-after-hours rates? Worth every penny, of course, but Jeez Louise!

      1. It literally seemed like every few minutes they were putting a huge bill in front of my face. She totaled well over two thousand buckaroos for three days medical attention. Money we did not have lying around (I spent it all on wine)

  2. We got a 3 y/o smooth coat blue merle collie back in 2003 or 4. She had no sooner come in th door, after we’d driven for hours and hours to pick her up, when she tore apart and ingested a tennis-ball sized part of a dog toy. We looked everywhere for that stupid thing to no avail, so after living here for all of 2 minutes, we took Em down to meet her new primary care vet and an xray showed the ball-thingy. What a way to meet-and-greet! She passed away last April on my birthday at 13. I think it was just the new home because she never would even play with toys at all after that!
    Good luck with your “puppy”.

    1. I had a Collie mix growing up named Princess. She was my best friend and I still miss her dearly. I don’t recall her eating much, other than the tinsel off the Christmas tree. Maybe a rubber band here and there. I guess we were lucky.

  3. OMG, maybe Maggie really IS a dog. The weirdest thing any of my cats have ever eaten is tinsel (off the Christmas tree), which passes out the other end as “sparkle poop” that just keeps coming and coming. My dog, on the other hand, sinks his chompers into anything and everything and probably has a tumor inside him that resembles a garbage dump. Here is a link to a post I wrote about it last year, enjoy! 🙂

  4. I’m so delighted that Maggie the Wonder Cat/Dog is feeling better. But if you truly loved her you would immediately remove all carpet, clothing and other edible stringy items from your home. I’m sure you’ll look great wearing Saran Wrap.

    Happy Weekend, Miss Darla-pants!

    1. Oh, and we’re off to see the vet tomorrow to have Maggie’s staples removed. I’ll be sure to ask her how in the hell we can prevent this from happening again. Maybe get rid of EVERYTHING IN THE HOUSE?

  5. Once upon a time, we went to a work holiday party where there was an oh-so-fun “white elephant” gift exchange. A co-worker had wrapped a festive package containing the X-ray of her dog, Spode’s, digestive tract, showing he’d had ingested a pair of pantyhose. What a gift! Spode’s story also had a happy ending.

      1. I can hear the editor of Pets and Their Palaces magazine now. “Her sense of style shows that she’s got guts.” Can you imagine such a publication? Like Architectural Digest for pets! Ha!

  6. What a terrifying thing to have happen. I’m so glad you had a happy ending. Maggie looks so sweet. And thank you for reminding me why I don’t want to deal with a puppy (or a dog for that matter) right now. My husband is allergic to cats, so I can’t have one. But having guinea pigs are just right. Minimal maintenance, and we still have a small furry body to snuggle. Although Gilbert likes to bite, so he doesn’t get much loving. Just food. Winslow is our mellow, snuggly one. I fell in love with him from the first time I held him at our local pet store. He was a total impulse buy.

      1. I always give them my carrot ends and peels when I cook, so now they squeal when they hear me chopping and cutting in the kitchen. Or with the crinkle of plastic bags- sounds like their hay bag. We love them.

  7. And I thought I was the only one with obscenely expensive domestic mutt shelter cats. One of mine has a hole in her ear and a kink in her tail, but we’ve spent thousands of dollars on her…fixing her broken leg and then fees for moving them internationally when we moved from Seoul then to the US then to China. I’m a firm believer that when you adopt an animal that it’s a commitment you make for their life. I’m glad to have our pets, but I have to confess that I had no idea how much money I’d be spending on them.

  8. My, that is quite a scare, how did the X-ray not show all those things? I am now very very thankful that our cat is very picky about what she swallows, hope she’ll stick to her very good habit! I am good your “puppy” is fine now, love how she posed on those pictures 🙂

    1. They took 2 X-rays and showed them both to me. All we could make out was this strange little cluster of tiny circular shapes in her stomach. Certainly nothing that resembled half a plastic straw, though.

  9. What we do not do for our pets. ll I can say is, thank goodness they actually found something. A 2,000 straw that will go down in history. My sister once paid 500 at an ER for her son who was doubled over in pain. That is now known as the 500 fart.
    I will be referring to Maggie as “Cash” from this day forward. This name will also come in handy if some day she decides to join a gang or drop a rap. She is a beauty, with or without the cone.

    1. My husband started referring to her as “Money” at the vet. We had to transport her back and forth to the emergency clinic overnight for three days. All totaled, I think it was over 2,000. They told us the staple removal would be free. I felt like saying, “It’d better be, or I’ll take them out myself!”

  10. Oh wow! Glad Maggie’s okay!
    My Lucy-cat is also part dog (ie. loves to follow me everywhere), but her many shenanigans do not include eating strange objects. That I know of.

    1. Exactly–that you know of. I had never seen Maggie actually eat anything but her food. Little did we know, at night she would start snacking on every thread in the house. My vet thinks normally she would have just eliminated all that junk naturally, but the straw most likely blocked it.
      Maggie also plays fetch, follows me around the house, and stands guard by the door, just like a dog.

  11. Oh my goodness! That sounds so scary. I would have been a puddle on the floor of the vet’s office.

    Reggie once ate a knee sock. Whole. The vet said to call if he stopped eating or seemed lethargic. It sat in his stomach for 8 (that’s not a typo) days. Luckily he didn’t need surgery, but I’ll spare you the details about how the sock reappeared. Suffice it to say that no one would be wearing that sock ever again. And all that time he never missed a meal.

    I’m glad Maggie the cat/dog is on the mend!

    1. I think I remember a comedian once said how his dog would eat rubber bands, which would come in handy once he pooped them out. He’d just pick up the poop and fling it over the fence using the rubber band. I’ve always heard of dogs eating strange things, just never a cat. Figures our Maggie would be special.

  12. I love cats for the same reasons you love cats. I just never saw it articulated so succinctly and clearly. Dogs = loud boors. Cats = quiet dignity. Glad she’s okay.

    Maggie the Cat is a literary reference, right? You did that on purpose. Clever.

    I like the Buddha stature in the corner. What? You don’t think people check out the furnishings?

    1. Yep, I love dogs and used to have one…but I think the older I get, the less I could handle a dog jumping all over and slobbering on me. Plus, you can’t leave a dog home for long. Cats are much more self-sufficient.

      And yeah….that WAS a literary reference! Good job spotting that! [quickly types “what is Maggie the cat literary reference?” into google search]

          1. It was on TCM Sunday and I know it’s great cinema, and hubba-hubba Newman, and Taylor never looked better, but I find it depressing. So I changed the channel.

  13. Our cat, who has markings resembling your kitty, chews on everything. Plastic and metal seem to be most attractive to her. She follows me everywhere and cannot nap unless she is within whisker range of me. We must pay special attention to strings, sewing thread, yarn, twist-ties from bread wrappers, plastic rings from milk or juice bottles, rubber bands, hair ties…yet, if I leave me dinner plate unattended, the cat, Sienna Willow, will only sniff it. She will not taste.

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