Our sick cat: she got better

A while ago, I wrote a post about the day every pet owner dreads, the day your pet leaves you. I was thinking of our 18-year-old female cat, Marlo, who has had inoperable cancer for quite a while. Nothing we can go about it. Then suddenly, she got worse. No apparent pain, just a near total collapse. I’ll spare you the graphic details.

She became thin as a ghost. Could hardly walk. Slept a lot. We had meds to ease pain, but she didn’t have any. So the meds relaxed her, something she needed when she got hyper

We weren’t ready for her to go. One is never ready. When her condition got out of hand, we talked about putting her down, something we’re generally opposed to doing, yet decided perhaps we’d take her to the vet the following day. But then we didn’t.

And she got better. Started eating again. Drinking more water. Walking without staggering. Eyes bright and focused. We were stunned. Once false move, and we’d jinx it, we thought. And yet, for reasons we may never know, she’s moving well (and fast, too), dozing in one lap or another while we’re watching TV, and hanging out at her familiar places throughout the house.

She’s really hungry. I’m not surprised. She needs to put on weight.

So, what happened?

I don’t have a clue. A random prayer, perhaps. Or maybe she just changed her mind, figuring she had a lot of mischief left to cause. Yes, that’s probably what happened.

–Malcolm

If you have pets, you know this day will come

There is no way to prepare for “this day,” the day that arrives after weeks of declining health, when other than love there”s nothing you can do except keep your pet comforable until the end.

Marlo liked sleeping in a pile of shoes.

We’ve been down this road before with four earlier cats, Needles, BK, OK, and Duncan. Now Marlo is ill and fading fast. Along with Katy and Duncan, she came into our lives (was adopted from a vet) in 2002. She’s had incurable cancer for the last six months or so and goes hour to hour now on what can be described, I guess, as home hospice care.

We still call Marlo and Katy “the kitties.” They know us well, which means they know what they can get away with and that we still care for them when they get away with it. This is the third house they’ve lived in with us. They know where all the hidey holes are–and so do we. They hate moving and then dislike getting uused to new places. But then within weeks, it’s as though they’ve always lived wherever we’re living at the moment.

I always dread the sadness and helplessness of “this day.” I know I will never be the same again. And yet, it’s worth all the companionship and love that precedes it. The kitties seem more accepting of it than we are. Right now, Marlo is asleep behind the wastebacket here in my office. We have water here for her and she drinks a lot of it. She hasn’t eaten for a few days: not interested in that.

We will miss her.

Malcolm 

As a cat person, I’ve had plenty of help writing the series of novels that began with “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”

Something’s trying to get in the house

Before going to bed, my wife and I watch old noir films from Turner Classic Movies hosted by Eddie Muller who brings us the scariest, nastiest movies from the genre. Last night we were watching a movie about a woman who sees a murder but can’t get the cops to believe her.

During the screaming part of the movie, my wife says, something is fiddling with the front door. We put the movie on pause and looked outside, and there’s nothing there.

“Probably the wind or one of the killers who escaped from the slammer earlier tonight,” I say.

“Right,” she says, and we go back to the movie. Then the tapping starts up again. She glances down the hall and sees a kitty head peering in the windows in the top half of the front door.  He must be hanging on by his claws.

We go to the porch again and see that it’s the black and white kitty that’s adopted us and he is very aggrieved that his food bowl is empty.

Frankly, we think tapping on our door whenever he’s hungry is an example of a cat getting too pushy. But, we feed him anyway. Otherwise, we won’t be able to hear the movie. We know giving in to his demands will serve as a reward, so he’ll probably do it again on our next dark and stormy night.

If you have cats, you know what I’m talking about.

Malcolm

Dumping cats out in the country

If you live in the country, you know there’s a low-life kind of person who decides s/he is tired of her pet and figures the best thing to do is drive out in the country and throw it out the window.  We hope that the healthy black and white house cat that showed up on our front porch wandered away from his house and that the owner is looking for him.

In spite of the myth that everyone in the country is hoping for a young barn cat,  those who throw cats out the window know the odds are the cat isn’t going to live. Many get run over. Others are attacked by dogs, coyotes, and hawks. Or go hungry because they grew up in a warm house and are used to Purina Cat Chow and 9Lives rather than hunting for field mice.

If we were “cat people” in between cats, we’d let this one in the house because it’s too darned cold out there for an indoor cat. But, we have too elderly female cats and don’t think introducing a young male cat into the household is safe; plus, it might have fleas, and one of our cats is allergic to flea medications. So we took a large carton and made a door in the end of it and filled it with towels. The cat seems to like it. We’ve also been putting out food.

Since my wife grew up on this property and has people on her Facebook profile who’ve been around here forever, she posted a picture of the cat, saying she figured it was lost or needed a new home. So far, no response. She’ll do that again after the holidays. We hope an owner shows up and tells us they’ve been looking for the cat for weeks but never thought it would wander this far from the house.

That’s what we want. We’re keeping our fingers crossed (figuratively speaking). It’s healthy, clean, and appears to have been well cared for. If it were my cat, I’d be driving 24/7 until I found it.

Malcolm

Since all four novels in my Florida Folk Magic Series feature a cat, it’s easy to tell that I’m a cat person.

Mixed scents in the kitchen–and cat gravity

When I woke up this morning, the house smelled like the apple pie Lesa baked last night.

A little later, after I added the aroma of Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits, Lesa began making herself a small frying pan of scrambled eggs while I was peeling carrots and potatoes for a slow cooker pot roast so that it will be ready at 5 p.m. Meanwhile, the house was darker than usual due to the monsoon outside.

Whenever we watch a House Hunters show on HGTV, people are always looking for kitchens large enough for the couple to both be preparing food at the same time. We seldom do that. But we were this morning–with an odd combination of foods.

Now, at 2:30 p.m., the entire house smells like pot roast or, if I open the front door, of rain.  This is the kind of day when, other than the cooking, it’s nice to be inside with nothing specific to do. I realized that I’ve been on the edge of burnout, so other than checking e-mail and Ffacebook, I’ve been propped up in my easy chair reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night. Now there’s a grim book, but easier to read than Victor Hugo.

Both Lesa and I see this as a high, cat-gravity kind of day, the kind of day when ramped up gravity brought into a household by a cat makes it hard for humans to stay awake and accomplish anything.

If you have multiple cats in your house, you’ve probably noticed that if any of them are in your lap, you don’t feel like leaving the chair; or that if they’re asleep, you’re likely to fall asleep before the end of your favorite TV show; or that when gravity is light, you feel like you’ve had too much coffee or forgot to take your Xanax.

The multiple aromas of food in the house interact with cat gravity to reduce a human’s ability to give a rat’s ass about anything, including loose rats in the house. I suppose dogs have gravity, too, but it seems to be less heavy. That might be a myth, but today, I don’t care because I’m weighed down by the sheer gravity of the things surrounding me.

Malcolm

Cats enjoying a pile of shoes

There must be hundreds of Facebook graphics showing cats enjoying empty boxes. Our cats certainly do. In fact, if we put anything on the floor from a towel to a receipt from the pharmacy, they’ll lie on top of it.

We’ve been in this house for a little over four years. Since my office is the first room inside the front door, I tend to take off my shoes and leave them next to my desk. They’re probably four or five pairs of shoes, including flip-flops and slippers, there most of the time.

Several months ago our calico cat, Katy, inadvertently lay down in a gap between some of the pairs. When our grey and white cat, Marlo, noticed that, she started hanging out amongst the shoes. Now, Marlo is there almost 24/7 and Katy is there at least half the time.

We’ve had these cats for quite a while and by now we should be used to their habits. But this is a new one. While they move the shoes around to make room for themselves and use the softer ones as pillows, they don’t tear them up or carry them around.

Living with cats is always an adventure.

–Malcolm

So, y’all like cat posts, do you?

Well.

I didn’t expect so many people to stop by and read about Katy’s view of my reading books in bed. I’m glad you did.

Katy with one of my novels. This picture got a million responses on Facebook (naturally).

I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, I’m on Facebook where I notice that for every story about the end of the world that gets one or two reactions, there are a hundred cat pictures and posts that have hundreds of responses and shares. Why should WordPress be any different?

Sometimes I think all that cat action is due to the fact that people are still trying to figure out cats, some wondering why they can’t be more like dogs, some wondering why they don’t seem grateful for anything we do for them, and how it is that they understand the word “no” but don’t pay much attention to it.

The cats in the bed routine got started when we moved into this house. The cats (we had three at the time) didn’t like it any more than they liked the three-hour car ride over here from the old house. They started out in the master bedroom. When my wife and I went to bed, the cats all got in the bed. They stayed in the bed for a couple of days or so before they finally ventured out and discovered there was more to their new digs than a single room.

Our two remaining cats don’t have run of the bedroom 24/7, but they expect to be allowed in there every night at bedtime. Prior to bedtime, they’re usually asleep on the living room furniture while my wife and I are watching highly cultural shows on TV (NCIS, FBI, Grey’s Anatomy). So, basically, we have to wake the cats up when it’s time to go to bed. They’re asleep again before we are.

When people ask me where I live, I tell them I live in a cat house. My wife is used to my saying that, but I suspect she thinks it would be better if I stopped saying that. We’ve had cats since before we were married: Needles, OK, BK, Duncan, Marlo, and Katy. The cat house comment is really quite true <g>.

We’ve talked about getting a kitten, but I’m worried about what Kary and Marlo will think about that. When they arrived in our old house, they took a dim view of our elderly orange kitty (OK), so unless we get a huge, Maine Coon Cat, I worry that things won’t go smoothly. Of course, daily life in a cat house doesn’t go smoothly, so how much worse could it be?

Malcolm