Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Good Life, With Cats

As I was saying, I talked to my friend Will Briarwood the other day. He was giving me the latest on his cats…

“We took the old girl to the vet a week-and-a-half ago, and we took the boys in the next day.”


“Well, we have good news for now, and we have pretty good news, and we have some good and some not good.”


“The big guy, who has had two cancer surgeries, he got a clean bill of health. The vet said if he can stay healthy for another few months, then we can worry less about recurrence.”

That does sound good.

“For now. After his first surgery, he got two more tumors about five or six months later. So we will keep checking him. I feel bad sometimes, when I go to pet him, and I hesitate because I’m worried about finding another lump.”

I think I read somewhere that cats can, in some way, sense that you are worrying about them. So it is important to keep a positive attitude, to avoid stressing your cat. And yourself.

“I try, but it’s hard. Anyway, the big guy also lost about a pound in the last three months. I told the vet it was probably because the little guy eats special food, and we put it up on the kitchen counter where the big guy can’t get it. So the big guy is eating less than he used to.”

Was the vet concerned about the weight loss?

“Yeah, but I think that’s one of those things that always catches their attention. A weight loss, or a weight gain, those are numbers that are easy to notice. He said another pound might be a concern, if it’s too sudden.”

And how is the little guy?

“He got the pretty good news. He’s all healed after his surgery two months ago. The vet was a bit concerned about the concentration of his urine – we have to get him to eat more of his moist food. Or try adding water to his dry food.”

And how is the old girl?

“Let me take a deep breath here… the vet had us increase her prednisone, which brought her appetite back, which is good, but she’s still coughing, which is not good, and she’s also slightly anemic, which is not good, and we are giving her iron supplements, which we worry could make her constipated. But her kidney functions were good, and she acts normal, meaning that she’s not hiding, and she’s not lethargic, which is good.”

And let’s not forget the queen.

“She’s sixteen years old – we figure she’s about eighty-one in human years – and she also got a clean bill of health last month.”

And how are you and Mary doing with all this?

“It’s a strain. Emotionally and financially. I would be lost – and so would the cats – without Mary.”

You know, you have complained to me that you are the one who is always paying the vet bills, and the pet store bills, and cleaning the catboxes, and…

“Yeah, I know. But she loves those cats so much, and they love her so much – that connection is so important for their health.”

You have given those cats good lives, Will.

“And they have given us a good life.”

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