When Humbly Ann was but a wee lass in high school she asked if we could get a kitten. I said no. I had been saying no since my kids were very small because I don’t like cats – I’m a dog person. She asked again and told me a girl at school had a cat with a litter but the mama cat had died and they REALLY needed to find homes for the kittens and the kitten WOULD DIE if I didn’t help out. I said I was sorry but no – no cat. I went to pick her up one day and she walked up to the car, holding out her hand in which was the tiniest little kitten and she said, “Look Mom – look how cute she is. Please, Please, Please can we keep her? We can give her back if it doesn’t work out” and I caved.
I’m sure I have a picture of this tiny kitten somewhere. You could easily fit her in the palm of your hand. Heck, even I could fit her in the palm of MY hand it’s quite small. When we took her to the vet to get shots they sent her home because she was wasn’t old enough yet – she was only about a month old. Of course I wanted to send her back but you can probably figure out how that went.
To her credit, 2 weeks later Humbly took the kitten and walked 3/4 of a mile to the vets and using her own money got the cat vaccinated and checked. I was impressed and the cat was officially hers. Until she went to college and got all fickle and got a different cat and then the cat was mine. Every attempt to give her back has been rebuffed, possibly because this adorable kitten grew up to be fatty McFatster – the cat who looked like she ate a football. Not so cute. She also turned into one of those cats that jumps on your lap, purrs deeply and then bites your hand while you’re petting her. Not cute at all and not the obvious choice as the object of my affection.
So please tell me how it’s come to pass that me, “not a cat person” who never wanted this beast is now holding her like a baby, force feeding her and ending up looking like the mother of a toddler who has just learned the joy and magic of using a spoon? I coo to her using that voice we reserve for infants and the deeply mentally infirm, “come on kitty – yum yum! Eat this widdle puddy – IT’S YUMMY! And it will make you strong!” as the cat tries to claw out my eyeballs and run under the bed. How ever did that happen?
I thought it was grief. The cat and the dog were best buddies and snuggle mates. The dog would try desperately to get the cat to play with her and the cat would act offended and indifferent, turning away from the dog with the obvious, “*yawn* – you REALLY think I’m going to run around and let you chase me? Puleez.”
The cat was forever trying to steal the dog’s food and really seemed to enjoy the game of sneaking up to eat it before the dog ran over growling and sent her away. This cat would wake everyone up in the house every morning yowling for food – even if there was food in her bowl. And then, slowly she changed. No more yowling, no more eating her cat food. In desperation I started feeing her meat, fish, cream of chicken soup – anything just PLEASE EAT, KITTY – PLEASE!!!
It got to the point where she wouldn’t eat meat or fish or canned food or dry food or anything I tried to give her. She visibly lost weight. Finally there was no denying that the cat had quit eating and was sick so I took her to the vet who said she had jaundice. You can see it, too – her eyeballs are yellow. And then it hit me – could it be? I knew she missed the dog but I wasn’t ready for this:
Of course the vet wanted to do blood work, an x-ray, an ultra-sound, give IV fluids, yada yada. I turned her down on the x-rays and ultrasound and just went with the blood work and fluids. And the really expensive cat food. $300 later we were out the door.
Yesterday I got the results of the $205 blood work and lo and behold – the cat’s got a liver problem. I’m not sure how spending all that money helped with the diagnosis when you can see the jaundice with the naked eye. Never mind. I’m just glad I finally understand what’s happening to the beer that I keep swearing should still be in the fridge. Who would have guessed that upon the death of my dog my cat would turn in to Toonces and I would turn into a crazy old cat lady? I really never saw that coming.
Of course the cat isn’t really an alcoholic – she is sick. It’s just my luck that my cat would get liver disease right after I lost the dog. I agreed to the antibiotics and the appetite stimulating pills but turned the vet down on bags of fluid and syringes and needles – no way. I am doing what I can to get 100 ccs of fluid in her a day orally and get her to eat. I’m hoping the antibiotics work and if they don’t then the cat will either transcend this illness or she won’t. I may be a crazy old cat lady but I’m not that crazy. There will be no x-rays, no ultrasound and no surgery.