Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Truth in labeling

Truth in labeling

Those little pictures and all those small print numbers on a ball band or tag are there to tell you something about the contents. The fiber composition, how many yards or meters, what size needle the yarn was designed to work on and how many rows and stitches per inch you should get if you use the specified needles. Right! So what's the big deal? The label doesn't tell you about what it will be like to work with the yarn. Is it going to split easily? Will it felt or pill? Will it reach out and grab every little snag or burr or hang nail you have? You have to find out all that stuff by actually using the yarn.

My cat, Patrick, has been having some problem with hair balls. I thought hair balls were something that a cat would just throw up and then be done with it. Apparently that isn't the whole story. Putting this as delicately as possible, food was going in but nothing was coming out. So, Lisa told me to get some Cat-Lax. I didn't know there was anything like this on the market. I had considered giving him some milk of magnesia but was afraid it would be too much for him.

I went to PetsMart to get some Cat-Lax. They don't have it but they do have lots of alternatives, similar ingredients, similar claims of efficaciousness. I read all the labels on each product. They all told me that I should just squeeze out about an inch of the stuff and give it to my cat either on a spoon or on my finger. Failing that, the labels said, I should just rub it on his paws and he'll lick it off. Sounds simple enough.

What the label doesn't tell you is that your cat is going to freak when you rub that stuff on his paws. (I tried the spoon and my finger but Patrick was having none of that. He won't even eat his favorite treats from my hand.) It took about five seconds for Patrick to realize that something was on his paws. He was off and running, trying to shake whatever it was off his paws. Up and down all the chairs, in and out and under all the tables and china cupboards. He's hyperventilating like crazy and all his fur is falling out. He finally comes to a stop under the bed. He refuses to come out. I feel terrible.

Several hours later Patrick has indeed licked all the gel off of his paws. He's still a little sulky and is giving me some really hurt and betrayed looks. But the stuff is very effective. If I didn't know better I'd think a German shepherd had been using the litter box. I'm supposed to dose him again today and tomorrow. I just don't know if I can put him through that again. I think I'll go get some of those kibble type treats. They are supposed to do the same thing. I'm a little worried that the label isn't telling me everything.

I did almost finish the funky black shawl. Maybe four more rows and then some fringe.

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