GETTING your cat to urinate on command is one of life's great challenges.
Right up there with teaching them to fetch.
No matter how many times you drag her off the bed, or off someone's lap, or where ever it might be she's curled up for the day, to the kitty litter tray in the garage - stiff and extended like a tree branch - she just won't co-operate.
Ironic, given how regularly she will go in the garage when not observed, unrestrained by notions (and motions) of where and when (preferably in the kitty litter tray, ideally when you're not in the garage).
The fact she'd been dragged there during the day, and not night as normal, probably had her thinking, "this does not compute".
It possibly didn't make it any clearer when I got down on all fours and gave what I thought was a reasonably passable imitation of a human going to the toilet in a kitty litter tray.
Our cat refused to dignify such bizarre behaviour with a response.
Bizarre behaviour was her domain.
Instead, she went over to the back door and meowed to be let out.
Leaving us amateur cat psychologists to Dr Dolittle about how little do our cat had done.
She'd had some sort of urge.
But not the one we were after.
And with that she went back to the hard toil of being a cat, on the comfiest sofa in the house. Engrossed in big zzzzzzzs.
We, meanwhile, refused to let acting ridiculous come between our cat's health and us.
Attempts at making sounds of running water beside her as she dozed resulted in giving her the impression we were phzzttttt-ing her, and the ears went back.
Dr Google Vet suggested squeezing the bladder.
But given she's an older cat, we weren't comfortable with what might come out of where, unless we were wearing raincoats.
So we waited for nature to come calling.
And we knew that could get ugly.
Our cat had proved that the other day at the vet when, after a good lot of calling, she demonstrated on many levels, not the least olfactorily, that nature had arrived.
In her cage. In spades. Betta getta spade.
Requiring all humans in the room to don gas masks and think nice thoughts about what it truly means to be at one with nature. Or rather, at twos.
What we had there was a failure to communicate.
She had been in her cage, desperate to relieve herself, while we humans had been outside her cage desperate to relieve ourselves too.
About what was wrong with her.
We'd been poring over a computer readout of her kidney functions.
She'd been poring over another type of bodily function with an altogether different readout.
It'd be enough to give anyone the poos.
And on this occasion, it did.
The computer readout told us we needed our cat to do a wee so we could find out about her poos.
Sounds complicated, I know, but in technical terms, it meant we needed our cat to do da biz in order for our vet to do their biz. But instead our cat did the wrong biz. And it was high viz.
So high in fact, a blind person could have seen it.
And so we headed off home with a test tube and syringe intent on gathering up that sample.
The things you do for love eh?
It had all started when we dropped our cat off for a stint of boarding.
We were heading up the coast for a landmark family gathering focused primarily around a celebratory lunch.
The cat had been passed over to the vet with a remark that she was off her food and could you please have a look.
Cue expensive, I mean extensive, I mean both, tests.
The results of which would be relayed by phone during that landmark family lunch.
Not that I knew that at the time, but it's always the way.
Between mouthfuls of wagyu burger, as it turned out.
Amid the din of conviviality I digested the vet's report, which sounded a bit like the Bee Gees hit song, How Deep Is Your Love?
Of course, loving my cat nearly as deeply as my lunch, I wanted to get off the phone.
And therefore, I quietly green-lighted every blood test suggested.
Those results came back about an hour later, during dessert, triggering a bit of curiosity from assembled family members as to whether I was having an affair with a call-centre employee.
After explaining the situation, the question was bandied around by family members: what price a companion animal.
A perennial question not worth answering if you can't bear big numbers.
Lucky our cat hadn't been present.
Let's just say you do what you have to do.
Unless you're our cat.
Which is still yet to do what we need it to do in order to find out why it's been doing what it's done.
But we're getting there.