Feeling better

I’m still feeling down about Captain being gone. There’s a cardboard box that he used to sit in all the time — it’s bittersweet to look at it and see his scratch marks still in there. He used to scratch the base before lying down in it, you see. Whiskey doesn’t use it at all.

I’ll eventually have to throw out the cardboard box. I can’t bring myself to just yet.

Goodbye to Captain

Almost two years ago, around the third week of August, I adopted a second cat, Captain. He was four years old back then, I was his fourth home, and he had been at the shelter for about a year.

He died this week, and I feel so, so down.

I came home from work today and I still found myself looking for Captain to come running after Whiskey, to greet me at the door. Of course, only Whiskey was here this time.

Such a cuddly cat. “Aggressively friendly” was how the shelter described him. Accurate.

On Wednesday evening, after I got home from work, I noticed that he was lying down and breathing heavily. I got him to the nearby vet at about 5 pm. They took an X-ray and showed me that the bronchi were showing up as whitish instead of a healthy dark color, meaning that he wasn’t taking in enough oxygen. Pulmonary edema was the diagnosis. Lung or heart failure or both. Perhaps by the stomatitis/stinky breath/dental problems he had, that had never really seemed to go away, even after scaling and numerous rounds of medication.

Because the nearby vet was closing at 8:30 pm, they called me in at 7 pm and had me move him to a 24-hour vet about fifteen minutes away. I suspected it was bad when the vet asked me to sit down by the oxygen incubator with him for a while. They called me to come back at 2 am and he had just died before I arrived. They had tried CPR and he was attached to all these machines in their operating room. It was quite horrible to see, actually.

The vet on duty was very sympathetic, looked very sad, and bowed a lot. He actually looked like he was on the point of crying. While I was looking at him, I found myself trying to figure out if it was real or a practiced facial expression. I decided that it leaned strongly towards genuine. Even in such a lousy time, I was really impressed by this, and really grateful too. Surely dying animals are a routine process for them — weekly, daily, several times daily. I never, not even once, felt like I was being put through a routine by someone who had other, more important things to do. That was wonderful. I will never forget that.

Yesterday was a miserable process of cancelling travel plans for him. I had made plans to take him with China with me, and the flight is two weeks from now. I’m still going, but now I only have Whiskey with me.

Oddly enough, on the last night I had with him, I happened to sleep on the sofa instead of in my bedroom. Captain and I had a nice cuddle while sleeping. I’m glad I ended up sleeping on the sofa.

I don’t believe in an afterlife. I strongly believe that we are here, and then we’re gone. But if there is one, I hope all my pets will be waiting there for me. If they’re not, then I’m not going.

Microchip implant

I went to the vet today – twice – to get a microchip implanted in each of my two cats. There was no way I could carry both, so, two trips! There’s a vet right next to my apartment, but the closest vet that does microchips is quite some distance away. Far away enough for a walk to be annoying, close enough that a taxi would seem silly.

The microchip was 35,000 won. And I have two cats, so my total was 70,000 won. I’m glad that’s over with!

And then, to register the microchips. I looked through the list of companies supported by petmicrochiplookup.org. And of all the free registries, I liked foundanimals.org the most, much more professional. Unfortunately, it only supports American phone numbers and addresses. I’m a perpetual expat that needs to be able to input non-American phone numbers and addresses. My cats are now registered at freepetchipregistry.com

In other news, South Korea is currently playing against Sweden in their first game (I think) of this World Cup round. I’m going to follow the game by analyzing the amount of yelling I hear coming from outside my window. I have to say, 9 pm games are much better than the previous World Cup’s 6 am games or something like that.

Cat teeth scaling

Captain – my second cat – has been having awfully smelly breath for a while now. When I first adopted him from the shelter, he was already full-grown, had lived in several places, and already had a teeth plaque problem. The vet said a scaling wasn’t necessary just yet. Anyway, this week I decided that alright, let’s get this stinky breath FIXED. A different vet at the same clinic agreed that yes, it was time for a scaling, and also some periodontal disease meds.

I showed up at my reservation time of 11:30 am, and Captain went off for his blood draw. I stayed at the clinic for about 15 minutes, waiting for the bloodwork to be done. Everything was a go, except for the creatinine levels, which was at 1.9, when the recommended range was 0.8-1.8. Not too high, so it’s fine. But I’m going to have to figure out how to get him to drink more water. I’ve already been mixing in lots of water in his wet food? Ugh, I don’t know. So I signed the authorization papers for anesthesia and scaling (this was surprisingly in English, perfect English!), and was told to come pick him up anytime after 5 pm.

The process is much cheaper than in the US. It cost me 77,000 won for the actual scaling. And 55,000 won for the bloodwork.

Earlier that day, I had just gotten a vaccination for myself. 170,000 won! A bit of a pricey day for both the human and one of her animals.

Window mesh replacement


Thanks for nothing, Whiskey. Whiskey has a habit of scratching at the window screen, and I had patched those up with 500 won premade patches, but this was going beyond the beyonds. Off I went to Gmarket to buy replacement parts. Not bad, it only cost me around 15,000 won for the screen and various other tools for the job.

I ordered on Friday morning, and a long thin box, similar to a poster box, arrived on Saturday morning. I love Korea’s delivery speed.

To prepare, I skimmed through an instructional YouTube video.



Pushing the new gasket in, with the special tool. I had waffled about buying a special tool just for this, but I’m glad I did. It was only 1,400 won, anyway. I swear, sometimes I’m stingy about the silliest things.



All done, kind of. It took me another hour or so to cut off the extra screen with a stationery knife.

My weekend from hell


In addition to nursing a cold and sore throat this weekend:

On Friday, I flushed the toilet, stood up, washed my hands, and Whiskey jumped right into the toilet bowl. He freaked out, I couldn’t catch him, and of course he and his toilet water paws ran all over the apartment before I could get hold of him. Out came the kitten shampoo!! The next morning, I found a hairball on the floor. Ugh.

Today, AGAIN!! As soon as I stood up from peeing, he jumped on the toilet and slipped in. This time, I was fast enough, and grabbed him immediately. Back into the shower.

And it wasn’t over… just a couple hours earlier, I guess he was sitting to pee, and it turned out that he also took a dump. Without changing his seating position. And OF COURSE with ultra soft poo. (SERIOUSLY what did I do? IS KARMA REAL!?) So his butt was fully smudged with poo. Back into the shower. And of course, I found traces of poo on a blanket … luckily, it was a shitty blanket that I use to keep dust off my suitcases. (Now literally shitty!)

Hopefully that’s the end of all the kitty trauma.

Vaccinations, Round 2

I brought Whiskey in for his second round of vaccinations. 24,000 원, just like the previous visit. I still have the 20% mystery discount, yay!

It is either:

a) Foreigner discount?

b) Because I picked up a street cat?

c) Decoy discount that everyone gets, so they feel like they’re getting a good deal.

Also, he’s 위스키 on the vet paperwork! Written the same way as the standard Korean spelling for the alcohol! I thought it was cool. (Lets be real, the vet staff probably thinks I’m a crazy foreigner who named her cat after a bottle of booze.)

I got a different vet this time. He checked Whiskey, balls and all, and changed his status from “Unknown” to “Neutered Male”. Success! My customer disloyalty goes unnoticed!! Woo!