Bazel and the Plastic Bag

I wasn’t going to blog about this, but Zoom suggested it would be a public service to cat owners and I realized she was right. Bazel’s story must be told.

We came home late Saturday afternoon with some shopping. As we’re putting the shopping away, our cat, Bazel was playing in the bags, like he usually does. One of them was a small plastic bag. When I left the room for a moment he somehow got one handle of the plastic bag wrapped around his middle.

Suddenly, he came tearing out of the room at breakneck speed, sheer terror permeating every fibre of his little kitty being -eyes wide, ears flattened, plastic bag flapping.

He raced twice around the living room, bouncing off walls and furniture, knocking over a lamp, smacking his head on stuff, tipping over a table. I finally managed to grab him and get the bag off him.

But too late. He’d managed to break off all the claws on his back paws in his desperate attempt to survive the plastic bag attack. Two of those claws were broken off right at the flesh; the others half-way down the quick. And ya, there was a fair bit of blood.

He still hasn’t recovered completely from the mental trauma of the incident. He hasn’t said a word in almost five days and he’s usually a very, very vocal chatty cat. Also, he suddenly wants to be cuddled all the time and he never allowed any cuddling before.

I didn’t know how bad the broken claws were until a day later when I noticed they were getting infected, so I took him the vet. They cleaned up the wounds. They poked him a bit and then took him away to the back room for the next three hours.

They gave poor Bazel a shot of antibiotics, some pain killers and a head cone. And I was $230 poorer. And I have to bring him back next week to have the paws checked.


Having his claws ripped off like that is the human equivalent of having your fingernails pulled out. It’s not like getting  a cat surgically de-clawed. That’s the human equivalent of having your finger cut off at the first knuckle. So Bazel’s claws will grow back they tell me.

Meanwhile, he has to wear the head cone for two weeks so he won’t lick the paws. He had a nice small one first, but turns out he’s leggy and bendy enough to still lick his paws with it on. So I had to go back and get him a bigger one.

The vet got all huffy and didn’t want to sell me a bigger cone without me bringing the cat in for a proper fitting. I pointed out that they’d had him in yesterday and had their chance to fit him properly and blew it. Also, they only had one other sized cone, so I don’t know what the huff was all about.

Anyway, the cone is totally disorienting for him because he can’t hear properly; he can’t balance himself right without his whiskers guiding him; he keeps banging the cone into stuff.  And it’s very unpleasant when he tries to rub up against my bare legs in the morning.

I take the cone off him so he can eat, but I have to sit by and watch so he doesn’t sneak in a paw lick. And I’ve rigged up a water bowl so he can drink during the day with the cone on.

I know there is a humorous element to all this… cats aren’t very bright… and there’s the cone and everything… BUT, from what the vet told me and what I’ve heard elsewhere since this happened, there are apparently many, many cat-plastic bag related incidents every year.

Cats love to play with and chew on these bags, but sometimes they swallow and choke on chunks of plastic. Like Bazel, cats often manage to get themselves caught in the handles and it always freaks them out. The lucky ones are just mentally traumatized for a while – hiding out, not eating, hissing at everyone. Others have violent diarrhea or vomiting for days and sometimes weeks afterward. Others do all sorts of physical damage to themselves.

I mean, who knew getting tangled up in a plastic bag could frighten them so badly? Not me. I don’t know if the same thing happens to dogs? I assume they’re not as skittish. Still, it’s probably best to keep these lethal things away from all pets.

If anyone has any other tips on seemingly innocuous things (i.e.: head cones) that could freak cats out and/or make them crazy and/or harm them please let me know. Thank you.

big cone

And yes, we do get HBO on this thing.


If you have a moment, check out my new Anonymous Rants page (see tab at top of page). The other day a commenter was bemoaning the fact that  she couldn’t blog about her coworkers on her blog and I suggested that she send me her coworker rant and I’d post it here. I also invited anyone else who felt the need to rant anonymously to email me their rants at Someone did.

Evolution in the Workplace

Over the last couple of weeks a lot of the bloggers I read seem to have written about issues related to people in their workplace. Maybe it’s because we’re all back from summer vacation and in the full swing of work again that there is a renewed focus on work frustrations.

Work relationships are funny. Because we’re grown-ups, (for the most part) and because we know that we’re going to have to work 8 hours a day with a certain group of people for maybe years and years and years, somewhere deep within our  sub/unconscious we decide that we are going to get along with these people.

I think it’s some sort of modern-day survival instinct that allows us to shut off our usual like/dislike radar when we’re at work. Because you can’t afford to let your personal feelings get too engaged in your work relationships. You can’t afford to feud with someone you are forced to sit next to day in and day out. And you really can’t afford to get too intimate with  someone you are forced to sit next to day in and day out either.

So, humans have evolved a peculiar compartment in their psyche especially for work relationships. All the usual stuff that attracts you to or repels you from people is muted and you adopt a generic work face. So now you can work together in relative harmony; laugh at stuff together none of you would laugh at outside of work;  bitch endlessly about stuff about which you couldn’t give a crap once you’re away from the office.

And it works. Yes, some people will always irritate you and there are people you enjoy working with more than others, but you have no real emotional life invested in any of these relationships. It’s nice so we can complain about our families and friends at work and gripe about people at work to our friends and families knowing the two will never meet – at least not in any sustained, bonding kind of way.

But we do get to know our work-mates pretty well within a certain context. We probably spend more waking time with them than we do with anyone else. We can often talk to workmates about stuff we can’t talk to anyone else about – stuff we don’t often get such a captive audience for. They get to hear all the minutae of our lives – how the commute was, what we had for breakfast, how the kids pissed us off that morning, the crazy thing the spouse did,  how your pantyhose is binding, why your head is aching more this afternoon than it was this morning, what should you make for supper?

We share meals with workmates, celebrate holidays and special occasions with them, drink with them (occasionally…rarely, really…ha), travel with them if work demands it, laugh with them, cry with them, etc., etc. – but for all that they really only occupy a very small, and often superficial place in our heads. Because if we get laid off  or retire or get promoted or move on to a new job or new town, we’re gone from their lives.

We take a lot of things into consideration when thinking about a new job, but the people we work with are usually far from the top of that list. We can’t afford to let them be any more important. Yes, we’re sad not to be working with them anymore and we keep in touch, furiously –  for the first few weeks. And then we move on. And 99% of the time, we never see or hear from them again. At least that’s been my experience.

I find the whole human work relationship adaptation thing strange, don’t you?