Friday, June 15, 2012

Pini Gets a Boo-Boo, Bigtime

Shalom, chaverim! It's been a hectic week here on Aliyah Street in Nahariya, and I have to say I'm glad to see the end of it--if only because today is the start of Shabbat, and that means REST. The week's adventures started last Saturday, when Pini, one of our kittens, decided to sneak himself into a very dangerous situation. We were getting ready to go to the beach, and realized we'd put our beach towels into storage inside a folding bed in the guestroom. Israel has these strange sorts of single beds which partially fold up, similar to a lounge chair. Underneath, they also have storage areas, which are accessed by lifting up the mattress, either from the head of the bed or from the foot of it. This makes it easy to use the piece of furniture as a kind of daybed or recliner, but it's also easy to convert it into a proper sleeping bed when visitors come. And believe me, Israelis love to have plenty of visitors. The more the merrier, in fact.

Anyway, Pini did not announce the fact that he decided to snoop in the storage area where Elul had found the towels, so when Elul dropped the mattress back into place...bam! He heard Pini scream and lifted the mattress back up right away, but the damage was done. Pini seemed to go into a kind of shock, and was very lethargic and out of it for most of the day. Although he could walk and there were no cuts or obviously broken bones, we began to worry that perhaps he'd received some kind of internal injury. Thus began the search for a vet who would see an animal not only on an emergency basis, but on an emergency-on-Shabbat basis. No easy feat!

We started by calling two of our dear friends, a couple who live in a kibbutz down the road and who also just happen to have five cats of their own. Fortunately, the lady of the couple was a native Israeli who was kind enough to do the tedious legwork of calling around to different vets until she could find one who would agree to see Pini. Thankfully, she finally found a wonderful veterinarian in Shavei Tzion, a little place on the sea between Nahariya and Acco. We took a cab to the vet's, who examined Pini thoroughly and concluded that he'd most likely been hit in the chest by the bed, and probably had some bruised, but not broken, ribs. He put Pini on an IV-drip, gave him some pain medicine, and offered to keep him there overnight for observation--for free!

The final bill ended up only being 468 NIS, or about $125 USD. For that kind of care back in Boca Raton...oy! It would have been a lot more. Eye-wateringly lots more, in fact. This vet was really a great guy. When he examined Pini, he said "you know, if I just wanted to make money off you, I'd recommend that he be x-rayed immediately. But honestly, I don't think he needs it right now. Also, if you want to leave him here overnight, you can do so without charge. It'll be easier for you and easier for him. Just come pick him up tomorrow evening. If he's not better tomorrow morning, I'll call you and suggest that he have an x-ray, but if you don't hear from me, assume everything's fine."

And it was. After fainting from sticker shock over the price of a round-trip taxi ride between Nahariya and Shavei Tzion (60 NIS, or about $17 USD), we decided to ride our bicycles to return to the vet's office the next day. And since my bike was the only one with a rack on the back, I got to do the honors of riding Pini home in his grand plastic chariot. Incidentally, despite my loud and unhelpfully skeptical remarks, Elul did an extremely good job of strapping the cat-carrier to the back of the bike with a ball of twine--the twine I usually use for the purposes of tying up roasting chickens. After some initial complaining, Pini adjusted well to this new way of moving around in the world, and even stuck out a paw to greet some friends we met along the promenade.

Pini made a rapid recovery, and by the next day he was back to his usual Hulk Hogan-esque "rasslin'" with Dudu. However, fast-forward to yesterday, when we woke up to find Pini once again in poor form, this time limping from some unknown cause. He took it easy all day, trying in vain to get Dudu to leave him in peace, but eventually seemed to feel better and walked normally again. Now he's just avoiding playing with Dudu too enthusiastically. They say cats have nine lives, and Pini seems to be spending his like a drunken feline sailor.

By the way, if you enjoy using Facebook for stupid timewasting purposes (as I do), and if you'd like to become Facebook friends with Pini, Dudu, or both, send a friend request to "Pini Gitlin" or "Dudu Gitlin," and watch the cyber fur fly between them. Who knew how much sibling rivalry went on between cats until Facebook arrived? Let me tell you, Dudu talks a lot of smack!

Finally, in a "life meets art meets life" kind of moment, here's a picture of Pini and Dudu watching themselves in their own video as smaller kittens.*  It seems to be their favorite show, those little egotists!

Shabbat shalom!

*If you can't see the picture, go directly to my blog at And if you haven't seen "The Pini and Dudu Show" video on YouTube, here's the link:

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