Disheveled Theologian: The cone of shame
Bob Barker would be proud of us. We turned our cat, Percy, into a eunuch.
Poor kitty. She had no idea what was coming her way. One minute she’s innocently rolling around on the floor, chasing an intangible red laser dot, and the next she’s being shoved into a cat carrier and hauled off to the veterinarian for the shock of her life.
Adding to her indignity, she came home wearing a cone of shame, which gave me an insatiable desire to watch the movie, “Up”. So I watched it and, of course, I cried, because that’s what “Up” does to a person.
All in all, it was a depressing kind of day for pretty much everyone in our house.
The next day, I was fine. Percy, however, was depressed for almost two weeks.
She couldn’t jump around. She bumped into walls. She had a hard time eating and drinking, and her best pal, Zephyr, growled at her every time she came near him.
To top it off, she couldn’t groom herself. Her favorite pastime, denied. So she took to licking her cone instead.
The good thing for us, her loving family, was that she desperately wanted — nay, needed — to be held. Every time you’d sit down, she’d come up to you, bobbing along in her silly cone, and look at you with her sad kitty eyes. She didn’t meow — she rarely spoke for those 13 days — she just looked. And if, heaven forbid, you had to get up off the couch while you were holding her, and you carefully removed her from your lap and set her beside you — like if you were putting on your shoes — she’d climb right back into your lap and settle down again.
“You got me into this,” she said, “so now you’re paying the consequences.”
They were pretty nice consequences for us. Not so much for her.
When it finally came time to bring her back to the vet to have her staples removed, my son Ian and I were the ones home who had the privilege of inserting her back into her handy dandy cat carrier.
First, we tried bending the cone and shoving her in. We tried this several times to no avail. It was as if all of the energy she’d been saving up over the past 13 days had been recalled in some super-feline surge of vitality and she fought as if the devil himself were waiting for her inside that pale blue box.
Next, we tried removing the cone. It was worth a try.
Finally, covered in a thick layer of cat fur and undeniably scratched, I shut her in the bathroom and we reconvened our planning committee. Ian went to the garage and retrieved the larger cat carrier. The cat carrier that is actually a dog carrier and which is embarrassing to haul into the veterinarian’s office, given the diminutive size of the cat. The cat carrier that is impossible to balance when you carry it because the tiny cat inside of the carrier just rolls around in all the vast acreage of said carrier.
We opened the bars of her new jail. I retrieved her from the bathroom, making false promises that everything would be OK. Ian stood at the ready and, quick as a wink, I put her into the box and the iron bars clanged shut behind her.
I handed her over to the vet while she was still in the box, knowing that it would be they who had to win the next Battle of the Box and not I. They, of course, are experts so the battle isn’t much of a battle, but I’m still sporting scabs from my battle, so I was glad to leave them to it.
Now, back home and free of the cone of shame, Percy is back to her usual self. I can put on my shoes without hindrance. She meows again and Zephyr ignores her and life is back to normal.
As I contemplate an appropriate scripture to accompany this story, I can’t help but laugh. Deep theology this is not, but, well, it does connect. Everything in life, my friends, brings us back to God. Everything.
“Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others – and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.’” Matthew 19:11,12 NIV
Gretchen O’Donnell is a freelance writer who lives in Worthington with her husband and three children. She has a master’s degree from Bethel Seminary and enjoys writing about the things she sees and applying theological truths to everyday situations. Her column, The Disheveled Theologian, is published weekly. Her email is email@example.com.