Master Quyloc

Unless you’ve read the personal blurb at the end of the books in my fantasy series, The Devastation Wars, you don’t know that we have a cat named Quyloc (KWY-lock). He is named after a fairly cranky character in the series and, by some coincidence, he is cranky too. He’s also old. Just over 16 in fact, which is a lot in cat years I’m sure, though I don’t exactly know how many.

I bring Quyloc up because I took him to the vet today. (Not that there’s anything wrong with him beyond old age and the general arrogance typical to many members of his species. Though he has only one eye and a pronounced limp, he still hunts and has at least two rodents and a bird to his credit this year already.) No, I took him in because we are nearing our annual pilgrimage to Salida, CO, where we used to live.

Since we’re going for two months, Quyloc must accompany us. And Quyloc hates riding in the car. Put Quyloc in a car and he begins this steady, mournful yowl quite unlike any noise a cat should be able to make. Like a small child, Quyloc is able to keep up this horrible noise literally forever. Forever. I’m not kidding about this. It’s a noise that pierces my brain in a most unpleasant way. Scratch that. Unpleasant isn’t powerful enough. Maddening. That’s it.

Put it this way. If I have to listen to that noise for the 12 hours it takes to get to Salida from Tucson, one of us is going to have a new home at a rest area in New Mexico. Again, I’m not kidding about this.

Which is why we went to the vet. Quyloc needs his meds. It’s the only way we can do this trip we’ve done so many times together.

So there we are at the vet. Quyloc yowled the five minutes on the way there and my nerves were already suffering.

What a sweet cat, the young vet assistant there said.

Sure he is, I replied. Just so long as he gets everything his way.

Oh, I’m sure it’s not that bad. See? He loves being petted.

Just know that if you stop before he’s ready, he’ll bite you. Also, if he wants you to start again and you don’t immediately comply, he’ll scratch you.

I could see she didn’t believe me.

Health problems? Any vomiting?

Only when he feels like making us suffer, I said. Seriously, our house is tile everywhere. Everywhere! There’s like a tiny bit of carpet in a couple of places, including the stairs and our bedroom. So where does he throw up? On the stairs. Or in our bedroom. It’s another way he has of letting us know who stands where in this relationship.

She laughed again. She really had no idea. Do you have any other pets? she asked.

It’s Quyloc’s house. He doesn’t allow them. (My son, Daniel, actually has two guinea pigs and a hamster, but Quyloc has decided they don’t count. It’s dogs and other cats he really hates. Maybe turtles too. We had one last year but it disappeared from its outside pen. Could it have been the cat? No one will ever know.)

What do you feed him?

Whatever he wants. I told you, it’s Quyloc’s house.

She laughed and went to get the vet, who said that, due to his age, we would try Xanax on him first, see if it kept him calm enough that he wouldn’t need the harder drugs.

After we got home I looked at the meds. There’s only five in the bottle and they’re small. The thought occurred to me that maybe I should take them and sleep in the back of the car. Let the cat drive. (He is 16, after all.) But then I thought it might set a bad example for the kids. Probably illegal too.

PS I wanted to add a photo, but Quyloc would not agree to one. Perhaps later.

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