Hi Everyone! It’s hard to believe I’ve come to the end of my school break. As I said in my last post, my blog plans for this break changed drastically based on the current events of the past few weeks. I’d planned to spend the break posting updates and stories from the past quarter; given the seriousness and and momentum of our nation’s move toward socio-political change, I felt that my original ideas were best left for another time. That being said, I think that it can be good to step away from serious topics for a few moments to de-stress.
So keeping that in mind, I’ve decided to post one vignette from break before I go back to school. It’s not meant to detract from the significance of current events but rather to provide some uplifting entertainment for anyone who’d like a quick break.
“Great,” I wiped my nose with my hand. “I think she just went on my leg.”
“What? Are you sure?” Ivan’s eyes darted sideways even though he was driving. A tear slid down his cheek.
I shifted the blue vinyl pet carrier on my lap. Sure enough, there was a large stain on my right leg. It was moist, and it expanded as I tilted the carrier. “I thought this thing was supposed to be leak proof.”
“Well she probably hasn’t gone for, like, a day now,” Ivan sniffed. “Man. I’ve got to get myself together before we get there.”
That morning was to be Miss Daisy Mae’s last. Our beloved fur baby had been sick for a few weeks, prompting me to break my family’s rule of thumb: “Cats heal themselves.” We attribute this rule to Gi, my grandmother and a chronic cat owner. Gi has always been right, at least when it came to minor ailments. (I’m excluding parasites and serious injuries.) Given enough rest and TLC, our cats have pulled through and lived to ripe old ages. So far, my aunt’s cat Cilla holds the record at seventeen years old.
But not poor Miss Daisy. At barely three years old she was crying, eschewing the litterbox, and ignoring to the ministrations of her owners and baby sister Zelda. Off we toted her to The Vet. Five days of oral antibiotics later and…she was worse. Given that the more specialized treatments The Vet suggested over the phone were (literally) above Ivan’s pay grade, a trip to Cat Heaven seemed like the only merciful solution.
Ivan and I both burst into tears after I hung up the phone that morning. This might seem reasonable to all you pet lovers, but Ivan only burst into tears a couple of times in the initial days following my accident, and I have yet to see him cry about it since I woke up from my coma. He took the news about Daisy extremely hard, to say the least. We both did. She’s rescued us from ourselves countless times since we adopted my “therapy” kitten in 2017. My TBI causes separation anxiety as well as difficulty adjusting to any kind of change, and Daisy was there for me when Ivan started working full time. She’s still there for me when he works after school or on weekends. She sits with me during seizures and sleeps with me while I rest afterward. As for Ivan, suffice it to say he was NOT a cat person when Daisy arrived as a furry bundle of energy. But lonely nights when I was in the hospital and tense evenings studying for school soon convinced him just how much he needed a “cat buddy” for his own mental stability. I sometimes suspect she cuddles with him more than with me.
All that to say, neither of us could imagine life without our Daisy, but neither could we imagine life with her in her current wailing, litterbox-free condition. And so we wrestled her into her blue carrier (the fact that we were sobbing probably impeded the process unnecessarily), and began our ominous drive to The Vet.
“She’s getting worse, not better,” I tried to enunciate through my mask. I hoped the large, pungent stain on my leg would prove my point.
“Well, the tests on Monday were very unusual, and if she’s not responding to the antibiotics we could try…” He began listing the dreaded Unaffordable Treatments. I’d hoped it wouldn’t come to that. Some irrational part of me had hoped he’d intuit our plight and offer a ticket to Cat Heaven right away. But no. Now we would have to shout our tragic request through our masks and the six feet of requisite distance. I looked at Ivan.
“You see, that sounds too expensive,” he countered. Smart, I thought. I hadn’t considered easing The Vet into it. “Do you have anything else?”
Thankfully Ivan didn’t crack.
“Well, we could put her on a special diet and an anti-inflammatory for a couple of weeks and just see what happens.” At least The Vet didn’t sound accusatory. I raised my eyebrows at Ivan, hoping he’d get my drift.
“Okay, I guess we can try that. But how long before it would work?” Yes! Dragging this out isn’t very merciful either.
“I’d say give it at least seven days. Then we could do more tests or the…”
“We’ll take to food and the anti-inflammatory.” I was proud of Ivan for holding his own, especially with Cat Heaven lurking just around the corner.
We were mostly silent on the ride home, but we were dry-eyed. The air was putrid now that the heat had ripened the stains on my leg and in the carrier. Neither of us complained about it, though. Daisy was also in that carrier. I glanced at the food and pills in the back seat. She might be on a ticking clock, but at least she was still in the carrier. “Well,” Ivan said finally. “I guess we should pray that the food and medicine work.”
It’s ten days later and Daisy is nowhere near Cat Heaven. Her “budget treatment” didn’t work overnight, but she stopped crying on Day Two and made friends with the litterbox on Day Three. She’s also back to wrestling her sister, which is a plus for everyone involved. Daisy obviously needs physical activity but we desperately need someone to remind Zelda that she doesn’t rule the world. It’s amazing how quickly a kitten’s ego balloons when she goes unchallenged.
Daisy might not have healed herself per Gi’s mantra, but she is on the road to healing nonetheless. We hope she has many healthy years ahead of her before joining the family Feline Hall of Fame.