When you're crying your eyes out in the vet's office at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night over the possibility of having to bring home a dead cat in a box and the thought of having to soothe the two little girls who are madly in love with their kitty.... the kitty that has slept on their bunk bed every night for the past 9 years...
you have a moment of absolute clarity about 2 things:
1. You realize that you deeply, completely, totally LOVE your cat despite the fact that buying cat paraphernalia; i.e. food, litter, and treats, makes you mortified of the damage it could do to your reputation. Crazy cat lady, anyone?
2. It makes you realize that the love you have for your feline will make you do crazy, outlandish things, like pay a gazillion dollars to keep you from having to bring home a dead cat in a box.
So I did what no sensible, hardened rancher would do. I told the vet, "Whatever it takes to save her... just do it." And then I handed over my debit card and forfeited my plans for a haircut, Christmas presents, and my children's college educations.
Then, through my blubbering tears, and running mascara, the vet said, " You look like you need a hug."
And she gave me one.
And you know what? I accepted it.
I accepted that hug because I didn't know what else to do with all those feelings I had never discovered about my love for a ...a cat. I accepted it because I wanted everything to be alright for Miss Kitty, and I accepted it because cat lovers need extra affection. Ironically, this neediness is exactly the reason I never wanted to love a cat. It's so weird and unbecoming of a rancher who has a keen awareness of the circle of life. Things are born, things die. That's that. But cat lovers don't get the circle of life. Cat lovers think the world revolves around their dumb cats.
I'm not a cat lover, alright?!? I love my cat, but I'm not a cat lover. There's a difference.
My love for my cat made me shell out the money that night at 11:30 pm under extreme duress and tears.
And now our cat is still alive and fighting for her nine lives.
What started all of this madness and opened the floodgates of unexplained feelings of love for a mere feline?
Well, last weekend our cat got into another cat fight while out on mouse patrol. She got beat up so badly that we took her into the vet on the weekend and payed the after-hours charges to make sure her paw wasn't fractured. The vet did x-rays and after determining that the foot wasn't broke, she cleaned up the many bite wounds and sent her home with an antibiotic shot.
Five days later, things seemed to be better, and the cat was actually coming out of hiding to socialize with the family. Then, at bedtime on Saturday night, she was laying on the couch and the kids went to scratch her belly. When she rolled over, there was a massive, gaping hole in her abdomen that exposed what looked like her intestines. The hole was oozing puss, and deep enough for golf balls to fit into it. The fight the week before had resulted in a puncture wound that created a massive abscess, unbeknownst to us.
That night in the vet's office they did blood work to see if the cat was going to die of sepsis and to see if we should just put her down if there was a puncture wound to her intestines. And I cried at the thought of it.
But the blood work came back good.
And the darkness lifted, and a glimmer of hope arrived on the scene.
And we were determined to fight this thing; this uphill battle to heal a giant crater of a hole from the inside out.
And the cat...intuitively knowing that we were there to help her, was a model patient; never biting or clawing during the long procedure that lay ahead of her. They cleaned, they scrubbed, they packed with gauze soaked in salty saline. Then they sewed, and wrapped, and gave shots to her.
If she were a child, I'd give her a gold star sticker and a cherry lollipop for bravery.
We have to go in nearly every day for bandage changes and check-ups, and if our prayers are answered and our toes are crossed, and the wound has healed enough, and healthy tissue is growing, then they might be able to do surgery and sew up the gaping hole next week and put a drain in it.
In the meantime, I'm ever so vigilant to keep my cat at a maximum level of comfort. I even give her pills twice a day.
Have you ever given a cat a pill?
It's not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.
But I know she appreciates the love because she comes and sits in my lap and extends her paws and her chin out for rubbing. She purrs in return for light scratching. She even does this weird kneading thing with the blankets that kind of creeps me out a little. But I accept that she's showing affection and so I don't kick her off my bed.
And as long as she behaves, I don't put the cone of shame on her. So far, she hasn't touched her bandage. She knows the cone of shame will be the wrath she has to face if she dares to touch the bandage.
She's a special cat. She's worth the money, and the effort, and the hassle. I hope she fights this and comes through, and that one day we can laugh about spending hundreds of dollars on a free cat.
I know there are many more important things to pray about in this world, but if God knows when a sparrow falls, then surely he cares about a cat. So if you would see fit to say a tiny little prayer for our kitty who's still not out of the woods with this mess, I'd be so very thankful.