Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chats du jour: Sick kitty

Laverne in her normal noisiness. Here, she was Stuck! stuck!

Usually, Laverne is my puppy cat: she follows me around all day, demanding attention, crying if she doesn't get it. Her usual routine is this:

7:00 a.m. until I finally surrender: Cry at the kitchen door from the basement where she has been locked since about 4:00 a.m. until I get out of bed and feed her

After I feed her: Cry until I put her harness on, take her outside, and attach her to the clothesline so she can hunt

Ten minutes after I have put her out: Cry to come in

Once she is in: Cry until I pet her, stand between me and the computer until I pet her, sit on my lap until I pet her - you get the picture.

3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.: Cry and sit between me and whatever I am doing until I feed her

After she eats: Cry until I put her outside

What she did yesterday:

Hid under the thick wool movie-watching blanket on the sofa downstairs
Kept her mouth shut

It was really nice. The house was so quiet. It was like a normal house. There was no crying. There was no headbutting. There was nothing between me and the computer screen or my book or on the counter while I was trying to cook or in the sink or trying to bite the pears in the fruit bowl.

It was a cat-free existence. Wow. How nice.

And then I looked at the clock. It was 5:15.

5:15 and nobody had bothered me.

I got a little worried. I went looking for Laverne. She was still in the basement. Under the blanket. Quiet.

The last time Laverne missed a meal we called the vet right away and were told to bring her in ASAP. The vet gave her a shot, saying she had probably picked up a bug from being outside.

This time, I was not so eager to spend $109 on a vet's visit.

Still, I was concerned. SH would be very unhappy if we were reduced to a one late cat and one live cat family, as he is very attached to the cats and indeed often finds his only consolation in a cat break in the afternoon.

I had an appointment to take the cats for their shots two days hence, so if she were still odd then, I would mention it to Dr Z.

An old photo of Shirley at the vet.

I went back upstairs and saw Shirley staring at me accusingly. She glanced at the clock, then looked at me, shooting daggers with her eyes.

"It's 5:18, beeyotch," she said, "and suppertime is at 5:00." She took one last drag on her cigarette, which she keeps finding even though we keep putting them in new hiding places - that cat can find things for sure, pulled it out of her mouth, and tossed it to the side. Then she blew a smoke ring into the air and meowed.

Shirley is not the talker in this house. SH, Laverne and I never shut up, but Shirley just keeps her mouth shut and listens. If she wants something, she lets Laverne do the talking. Laverne is the designated talker for both of them. For Shirley to meow, the situation was indeed serious.

She narrowed her eyes at me. "Meowing is not even my job," she hissed. "I am not supposed to have to remind you about mealtime. I'm filing a grievance with my rep."

I rolled my eyes - is everyone in my house a political activist? - and fed her. The sound of the food hitting the bowl brought Laverne bounding up the stairs immediately.

She ate, but returned to her little cave in the blanket. SH was worried. I was worried. But not worried enough to call the vet.

"I think it's something she ate outside," I told him. Last time, SH thought I acted too quickly. I would not make that mistake this time.

Laverne stayed in her cave. Normally in the evening, after the cats chase their toys for a little while, they come into the bedroom to hang out with me. Shirley scratches the chair by the door - one of the chairs from my grandmother's house - then jumps onto the chair and from there, onto the dresser, where she preens in front of the mirror for a little while before calculating the distance to the bed and making a long jump.

Laverne comes straight to me and places herself in the position most inconvenient for my book reading.

Not so this evening. Shirley came into the room, but then went into the basement, sat by Laverne, and yowled. Laverne needed her. I went down to check and Laverne was fine, just standoffish.

No dead cats. No dead cats. is my new mantra, but what do you do when you think your cat just has a stomachache from indiscriminate outside eating?

I finally went to bed sans Laverne. SH was still up, as he had a conference call with some Indian engineers. At 1:30 a.m., I awoke to powder my nose. SH heard me from his office, where he was finishing up his call. He came downstairs and nagged me about the clothes that were still on the clothesline, which I had done on purpose and certainly did not want to discuss at that hour. Then has asked about Laverne.

No Laverne in here, I told him. I just wanted to go back to sleep. Didn't want to talk about laundry and the leaving of outside overnight. Didn't want to talk about a maybe sick cat whose sickness was actually making my life more pleasant. Didn't want to talk about anything. Wanted to sleep.

He disappeared. Returned three minutes later with a cat. Tossed the cat on the bed. It was Laverne. (But you knew that, even without the foreshadowing just because you have powers of deduction and reason and knew it was extremely unlikely that he would get another non-Laverne or Shirley cat in the middle of the night.)

She trotted over to me, rubbed my nose, curled up next to me, and purred so loudly I couldn't get back to sleep, then kept climbing over me to find the most comfortable position. For her, that is. Not for me.

SH threw the cats out a few hours later. At 7:00 a.m., I heard Laverne crying for her breakfast. She's back to normal. Oh joy.

1 comment:

smalltownmom said...

Oh my, I have sympathy. Our Homer wants breakfast at pre-dawn. Will claw on certain door or meow until he gets it. If I sleep (i.e. don't sleep) next to snoring husband, I don't hear cat. If I sleep where I can actually sleep, I hear cat. No win scenario.