With a tenuous apology for re-working an old favourite, the following instruction guide never fails to amuse me - because it's just so very true....
How to Give a Pill to a Cat and to a Dog....
Starting with the ever-so slightly more difficult cat, you need to:
1. Pick up the cat and cradle it like a baby. Place your left forefinger and thumb either side of the cat's mouth and gently apply pressure while holding the pill in your right hand. As the cat opens its mouth, pop the pill inside. Allow the cat to close its mouth and swallow.
2. Retrieve the pill from the floor and the cat from behind the sofa. Cradle the cat in your opposite arm and repeat the process.
3. Retrieve the cat from the spare bedroom and throw away the soggy pill.
4. Take a new pill from its foil wrap, cradle the cat again but now holding the rear paws tightly with your left hand. Force its jaws open and push the pill to the back of its mouth with your forefinger. Hold its mouth shut for a count of twenty.
5. Retrieve pill from fish tank and cat from top of wardrobe. Call other half indoors from the garden.
6. Kneel on floor with cat firmly wedged between knees, holding front and rear paws. Ignore the tiger-impressions from the cat. Get other half to hold its head firmly with one hand while forcing a wooden ruler into its mouth. Drop the pill down the ruler and rub the cat's throat rapidly.
7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail and get another pill from its foil wrap.Make note to buy new ruler and curtains. Carefully sweep shattered porcelain figures from the fireplace and set aside for later gluing.
8. Wrap cat in large towel and get other half to lie on it with its head just visible from below their armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force the cat's mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.
9. Check the label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink several pints of water to remove taste. Apply band-aid to other half's forearm and remove blood from carpet with soap and cold water.
10. Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed and get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.
11. Fetch screwdriver from toolbox and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check medical records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw t-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.
12. Ring fire brigade to retrieve cat from across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into your fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.
13 Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed, pry cat's mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour pint of water down throat to wash pill down.
14. Get other half to drive you to A&E, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call at furniture store on way home to order new table. Arrange for RSPCA to collect cat and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.
And for the dog -
1. Wrap it in bacon. Throw it in the air.