Sick Cat 

Every morning has it rituals, even if your life, like mine, is in a kind of disorder. One of my morning rituals is to take a little walk on the back walkway, which would essentially be a porch in any other home, but as this home is a confabulation of lower class architectural styles, it defies easy categorization. It is a brief walk, but comforting for its familiarity. Over there, for example, is the same barn, same little fence, same stand of trees, etc. Some people have their morning coffee; I have this little walk.

However, it was during Saturday morning's walk that my eyes fell on a cat that looked like it had crawled out from underneathe a rock. Its fur had lost its luster, its eyes had a rheumy non-focus, and its walk had the deliberate uncertainty of creature trying very hard not to fall over. I had seen this cat during the past week, and even then, I noted it looked like it was ill. Yet, this particular morning was something else altogether. The cat appeared to be deteriorating quickly. When another cat, an animal that, if it were human, could easily be described as a real jerk, lunged at the sick cat in the opening move of an attack, the ill cat did not react. It continued its sad walk towards the food bowl in the backyard with the singular focus of someone who is very ill. The attacking cat was confused for the non-reaction and sat suddenly still trying to puzzle the situation out for itself.

I had earlier debated about whether or not the sick cat needed to visit the vet. The thing that held me back was the cost. As a poor person, my money might be better spent on food and healthcare for myself rather than the cat. I had hoped my attention, a fresh can of cat food, and some rest would be all the cat needed to recover. However, looking at the cat that morning removed all doubt. This cat was dying, and I couldn't face myself if I ignored her plight. It seemed immoral to not help out.

I knew there was a strong chance that if I took her to the vet that morning, the vet might tell me that she was dying and there was nothing he could do for her, and oh by the way, that will be fifty bucks. However, if there was a chance he could lessen her pain, then it was worth a shot.

I scooped the animal up and put her in my car. I could not find the cat carrier for the life of me, and as this was Saturday, if waited any longer, the vet would close and I would have to wait a weekend that the cat may not have. The drive further convinced me that I was making the right choice. If this cat were healthy, she would have climbed all around the cab of the car, on the dashboard, into the back seat, probably even in my lap or by the pedals at my feet. As it was, she curled up in a little ball in the passenger's seat and lay there for the entire trip.

Her biggest reaction during all of this was in the lobby of the vet's office, where a dog the size of a pony happily barked at us. The cat, using claws sharpened from frequent outdoor use of course, tried desperately to climb out of my arms and onto the safe space on my shoulders directly behind my head. The dog owner, taking note of my painful problem, fortunately directed his son to take the dog outside so the cat could calm down. Once the dog was outside, she settled down into my lap as we waited our turn for the vet to call us into the examining room.

The visit with the vet was brief enough. He confirmed her dire condition to me, and while he was not ready to diagnose her without having blood work done first, he gave her a shot and some fluids before sending her home with me. She has another visit with the vet on Monday morning. All of twenty minutes later, I was $170 dollars poorer.

Fortunately, for the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday, the cat seems to be doing better. She is still very skinny, but her appetite seems to be returning, and she has been drinking plenty of water, something I hadn't noticed her doing before. Tomorrow will be part two of the sick cat saga that at some point I might document here in this blog.

Even though it is still possible that I will have spent over 200 dollars on a cat that will die anyway, I think, at least for the benefit of my conscience, I did the right thing. The animal was suffering and it was in my power to do something about it. The cat has a nice personality and is way too young to be dying of so-called natural causes. And, someday, I hope to have enough money in my bank account to not have to worry about whether I can afford to do the right thing. Apparently, one of the lessons in life is that doing the right thing is not always in our control.

14 September 2009
Comments: Post a Comment