After my kittens’ initial appointments with the vet, the vet tech told me I should come back in two months to get them spayed/neutered.
“You don’t need to make an appointment today,” she said. “Just call us in September and we’ll get you in.”
I should have realized RIGHT THEN AND THERE that I needed to make that appointment for September while I was still standing there in the vet clinic. Because anytime someone says to me, “You don’t have to do XYZ right now, just do it in a couple months,” I REALLY should do it immediately. Because I’m not someone who will just file that crap in my head and remember it. I will forget–especially when it’s the beginning of the school year. The beginning of the school year leaves many of us teachers in a stupor of brain overload.
September came and went.
Fall break began. One night I was lying in bed, trying to sleep, and settle down the one thousand random thoughts in my head. One of those random thoughts was that I was trying to remember how old the cats were. I suddenly began to think back to what the vet tech had said about spaying/neutering them at a certain age.
Oh dear God. How old were they?
Once I figured out how old they were, I immediately slipped into my, “Let’s worry to the point where you HAVE to research it and figure out your next step before getting any sleep,” train of thought. I began googling “cats in heat” and things of that nature. (Some not so pretty pictures came up.) I hadn’t observed whether or not the female had been in heat. Suddenly it occurred to me, though, that if she HAD been in heat, her brother may have already “taken care of it.” I mean, he’s literally RIGHT there with her all the time. Oh crap.
This prompted me to google something to the effect of “are the offspring of incestuous, sibling cats born with physical deformities or mental handicaps?”
I found out that they sometimes WERE indeed born with both a host of mental and physical “issues.”
Sleeping was out of the question that night. I was contemplating that my incestuous cats were probably pregnant with deformed kittens and it was ALL MY FAULT. God and PETA would never forgive me.
I called the vet first thing in the morning. I explained all the thoughts running through my head, and asked if they could give the female cat an ultrasound. They said ultrasounds are not available until much later on in the pregnancy, and that there was no way of knowing whether or not she was pregnant, other than to cut her belly open. And if they were going to cut her belly open, they might as well take out her uterus at the same time, they said.
I felt horrible about all of this. They convinced me to come in for the neutering/spaying as soon as possible. I took them in at the next available appointment. I told them I did NOT want to know if she was pregnant with deformed kittens. I didn’t want to know anything about anything. Especially deformed kittens. And mentally impaired kittens.
I know some people will read this and believe I am irresponsible. Was it irresponsible of me to forget to get their appointment in? Yes. Did I learn a lesson from this? Yes. I learned that I should have spayed that kitty as soon as possible….like right when she came out of womb or something.
I was talking on the phone the other day with someone who said (not in reference to this story about my cats, but something completely different), “Well, you should never have said XYZ to that person. It probably made that person anxious. Think before you speak.”
And I wanted to say, “Well thank you Mr. High and Mighty. That was really helpful of you to start a sentence with the clause, ‘you should never have,’ because in case you didn’t know, I really dislike that clause.” Seriously, how is that EVER helpful to tell someone what he should never have done? It’s already happened. There is no time machine. Just a one way ticket into the future.
So while I won’t make this particular mistake again, I will still make mistakes. If that saying is true that you learn from your mistakes, then that means I am going to be a freaking genius, since I’ve made a gajillion already.