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…

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