Catastrophe Avoided

My cat may be Christian. Or a Rastafarian.

Having been a ‘dog person’ for most of my life, co-habitating with a cat is a relatively new experience for me. Huey Newton, the gigantic orange cat that came to live with me a few years ago is pretty agreeable, easy to care for, and very affectionate… It’s been easy – sort of like caring for a mobile, entertaining, affectionate and fur-covered plant.

With limited experience around cats, i don’t always read the cues properly. Last weekend, even with my cat-egorical deafness, it was apparent that something was wrong.

He wasn’t in bed with me and the large brown dog on Friday morning. He hadn’t eaten his food. Usually, if i stand near his feeding station atop the washing machine in the laundry room, he will come running for breakfast and head scritches, but he was nowhere to be found.

i had to go looking for him — again, very much out of the ordinary. He wasn’t in his usual haunts in the downstairs guest room, or on top of the billiards table. After a 30 minute scavenger hunt, i eventually located him under my desk upstairs – looking a bit out of sorts. i was relieved, since i half-expected that he’d crawled into the walls to die.

Giving him extra attention that night, i convinced myself that he was terribly sick. Even with the blizzard conditions on Saturday morning, i hunted him down and loaded him into the cat carrier for a trip to the vet.

One thing i learned about cats? They don’t particularly care for riding in the car. Huey howled inconsolably, while i navigated the snow-covered streets. Needing to keep both hands on the wheel, i really couldn’t do much to console him. i’d pointed the ‘open’ door of the carrier toward me so he could at least keep visual contact, but that didn’t seem to help.

Talking to him. Trying to calm his kitty nerves. “It’s ok, Huey! We’ll get you checked out! Doc will know what to do! Want to get you feeling better!”

Turns out, i really don’t know what to say to a cat. i ran out of patter after a few minutes, and found myself repeating these calming platitudes. What DO you say to a sick cat?

i gave up, and took to singing.

Starting in my wheelhouse, i hit the show tunes. Rogers and Hammerstein, Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lloyd Webber*. He continued to howl. Decided to switch it up and go with a little country. Patsy Cline and Hank Williams, Sr. had no effect on the poor bastard.

i drove past a church sporting a sign reading “Jesus Loves You”. Letting the stream-of-consciousness loose, i launched a song from my childhood…

“Jesus loves me, this I know! For the Bible tells me so…”

Silence from the passenger seat.

“Little ones to him belong! They are weak but he is strong.”

My cat was quiet. i checked to make sure he hadn’t died.

The light turned green, and i briefly spun my wheels. With my attention refocused on the task at hand, i lost lock on the lyrics. The next song that popped into my head was a song i’d been working on with my guitar teacher. “Don’t let the sun catch you cryin’…”

Vociferous complaints from my cranky passenger.

Well. There’s a data point. Might need to consider removing that one from my set list…

i chatted with him a bit, asking after his preferences. “C’mon, Huey! It’s going to be ok, li’l fella!”

Figuring that with the cold weather and snowstorm, perhaps the islands were calling…

“No kitty, No cry…”, taking some situational license from Mr. Bob Marley.

And once again, i was greeted with quiet from the peanut gallery. Finished up the song just as i pulled into the parking lot.

The vet was pretty efficient in diagnosing him with a serious, and systemic, tooth/gum infection. Even though he’s only about 4 years old, some cats are prone to this.

Jacked him up on fluids and antibiotics, ran some bloodwork, and scheduled a dental extraction for the following Tuesday. Nine teeth gone, and a groggy, but happy, kitty came home with me that night.

My cat may be Christian. Or a Rastafarian. Based on his taste in music? It could go either way…


*Note: Nothing from “Cats”. i hate that musical…

30 thoughts on “Catastrophe Avoided

  1. I always figured your animals would be Rastafarian, or at least pastafarian (ramen). The Christan part surprises me. Glad he’s feeling better. And gets more soft food I bet. (They do scare the living daylights out of us when they get sick, don’t they.)

    • Mr. Pickles is probably a secular humanist. i like to think Huey is a recovered Rastafarian. That bit with the “jesus loves me song” was a little bit freaky… perhaps even freakier that i remembered all the words! Very glad he got better – it was pretty scary. Poor li’l critter….

  2. This raises all kinds of awkward questions. If your cat is Christian, then it’s conceivable that every time he loses one of his nine lives, he might go to a different afterlife, depending on his behaviour up until that point.

    • cats are sort of assholes, so i’m a little worried about this thought. i think this might be even more complicated if he were Buddhist. i mean, is he ‘done’ at cat? or is he just starting?

  3. So…singing church-y stuff might do the trick? That lets me out! I might scrape up a little Marley if pressed…
    But I am very glad the vet pulled the ace.Not to mention the teeth!

    • i suppose i could have kept repeating the patter, rather than sing to him, but i really started to feel like an eeejit. of course, singing alone in the car doesn’t cause me any concern whatsoever!

    • His teeth were pulled Tuesday and he was back to eating his crunchy kibbles that night. Had a party on Friday night, and he was out socializing more than ever! i think he’s feeling pretty good now! i feel bad that i didn’t know he was hurting….

  4. Cats can be sooo inscrutable. You did good, though, in taking him to the vet’s when you realized something wasn’t quite right. We had to take our outdoor male cat, Roadie, in because I noticed he was having trouble peeing. Turned out it was just in the nick of time because he was “blocked” and things can go desperately downhill in a hurry. After a couple of nights there (and somewhere in the vicinity of two-hundred+ dollars later) he was back home. He’s on a special urinary health cat food now but we suspect he cadges treats from a neighbor, whom we’ve dubbed his Sugar Momma. But what can ya do? We love the big lug. Glad Huey’s on the mend!

    • My cat has certainly demonstrated stoicism! i know that when they start to have trouble with the urinary tract, they can get seriously ill very quickly – have had friends deal with that, so perhaps that’s why i got a little freaked! And yes, i also made a car payment for my veterinarian – but totally worth it to have him back to his old self again!

      (not sure why this went to ‘moderation’ – just found you there!)

    • That photo was taken before the surgery — and he was feeling very out of sorts then. After the stress of caring for a sick animal – one that can’t tell me what’s wrong – and dealing with my aging pup, i have been swearing that i won’t have more animals in the future. But the prospect of life without them is a bit unpleasant. i really do adore the little critters…

  5. To summon a cat (or a dog, for that matter) make loud, obvious noises with his food packet. If they don’t come running instantly, something’s up.

    After that tooth extraction, kitty is going to be singing Hasa Diga Eebowai which translates to…um…oh, never mind.

    @ looby: I’m in 100% agreement. Cats make life better. Bukowski wrote some great poetry about their quiet dignity. Yes…Bukowski wrote cat poems.

    • My dog is only excitable when i open the cheese drawer in the fridge. He doesn’t get people food, and has been pretty good about not begging – although i suspect some of my friends of feeding him, since they get the relentless dog stares while eating! Quite amazing to see how quickly the cat recovered from the surgery. i thought i’d be feeding him soft, smelly food for the rest of the week, but he was learning to crunch kibble with his stitches still in! The vet said he’d figure it out, and she was right!

  6. Poor Huey. Cats don’t like cars. I have driven a howling cat from San Francsico to Seattle and back. My sympathies go out to you.

    My blog post today is a book review of a book of poems “written by cats” I should send it to you. If you read it you will understand a lot about the feline mind.

    I glad that you acted quickly. Cats can die from things like that.

    • i suspect i’ve got a lot more to learn about my little feline buddy… i’ve had friends do the cross country trip with cats in the car. i think i’d drug them! i’ll look for the cat poetry – getting inside that little brain a bit probably wouldn’t hurt!

    • i think i just e-mailed you at your gmail account! agree that we need to connect up – just in case i get up that way, or you accidentally find yourself in the middle of ohio!

      LOVE the Goldieblox! They’re on the right track, i think! They’ve been out of stock whenever i tried to buy kids, though! Hope to send some to a friend teaching science overseas! they’d be perfect for that!

  7. I think it was the book, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” where the dog was the protagonist. He was quick to assert that, “all I have are my gestures”, so I take that to heart when my deaf kitty sits and looks at her dirty litter box. Who’s trained now, eh?

    • “all I have are my gestures” – yes. yes, yes, yes… we have to learn to read them. it’s a dance. a complicated dance. i’ve learned to read dogs in general, and my own dogs in particular. i need to read cats – in general, and particular. i’m learning…

  8. You know i’m all about the pussy cats, i have four since Nick Disaster talked someone into getting another one, that Nick can be quite persuasive you know, their teeth can be a major pain in the ass but it’s good to hear that Huey is on the mend…

    • He is definitely feeling better – more social when my friends are visiting, and more cuddly… i find myself checking out his gums, though…. and worrying about what’s next. cats are a bit of a mystery…

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