…A Cautionary Tail…
I love cats. Always have, always will. Why?
- They don’t talk.
- They don’t have political views.
- They don’t talk about politics.
- They don’t talk.
I consider their personalities sort of like mine: introverted, opinionated, always critical of others — but in that endearing, almost imperceptibly smug way.
I also equally adore dogs, so please, no hate mail.
Many cats have owned me over the years. As a kid, my first cat was Fluffy (aka Lint), then Cujo (aka The Old Man), followed by my fat orange tabby, Conan O’Brien (that I once regrettably used as a crampon), and now we are graced with Miss Maggie the Magnificent’s presence.
And apparently, she’s a dog.
Me: You are not a dog.
Me: You are not a dog.
Me: You are not a dog!
Maggie: Bow wow?
Me: YOU ARE NOT A DOG!
Maggie [blank stare]: D’oh! [licks own ass, tries to eat an invisible bug, farts]
Me: Hmm….maybe you are a dog…
So our 8-month-old puppy almost died last week. Not to bring this post down from the previous high of an ass-licking farting cat, but yeah it’s true. She suddenly projectile vomited out of the blue. (I suppose that’s really the only way one can projectile vomit as there’s usually not much of a warning.)
I was the only one home when it happened. She let out this sound only dying cats make. I immediately flipped out and started sobbing. I’m known for being emotional. I’m ridiculously sensitive to other’s pain and suffering. I feel it as if it were my own. And pets? To me, they are pretty much the only pure goodness that’s left in this godforsaken world.
I started crying when we brought her to the vet and didn’t stop crying until about 3 days later.
“It’s just a cat!” you sneer. I weep for your soul.
To make an excruciatingly long story short, she was hooked up to an IV due to being severely dehydrated and lethargic. Blood tests ruled out pancreatitis and kidney disease (rare for a kitten).
Yet she was clearly dying. Her ears were cold as ice and she wasn’t responding to my touch or voice or the flood of tears falling onto her face. They did X-rays and saw something “suspicious” in her stomach, but they weren’t sure. It looked like her intestine was bunching up “like a curtain on a curtain rod,” the vet suggested.
They couldn’t immediately do exploratory surgery because it seemed her organs were rapidly shutting down and the stress might put her over the edge and kill her. We put her in an emergency clinic overnight and I cried some more.
Finally, the next morning she was brighter and I had to make the decision to do surgery. There was a chance they would find nothing. I told them to do it as soon as possible. The very idea that I might have to tell my kids she died (the world’s sweetest kitten!) just about killed me.
There was something special about Maggie. When we saw her at the animal shelter she was sitting with another kitten. The other kitten spent his time clawing at her and sitting on her head. She just calmly sat there, all sweetness and light. I said, “That’s the cat. She’s the one.” You just know these things. It’s fate. All my pets came from the pound and all of them were the most loving gentle souls. (Except for Fluffy. We referred to him as Psycho Cat.)
From the minute Maggie got sick, I had this feeling she ate something bad. She was always getting into things. It’s like having a hyper toddler in the house all over again. Maybe it was a little piece of string? My son has tiny elastic bands on his braces that are constantly breaking and popping off, maybe she ate one of those? The vet did the surgery and called me when it was over.
“She’s doing great,” said the vet. “We found something.”
And boy howdy, did they find something. When we arrived, the vet held up a Ziploc bag filled with this large mass of string, carpet, ribbon, yarn, and a plastic straw. Yes, she had swallowed almost half of a straw. Part of it was inside her intestine and the glob of string was blocking the pylorus region. We were lucky the straw didn’t perforate her intestine and lead to sepsis.
Apparently, she had spent the better part of her young life eating things she shouldn’t eat. Such as her scratching post, the living room rug, the feathers and ribbons from a cat toy…a straw.
As we were checking out at the vet, the receptionist said, “Oh, you’ve got the foreign body removal cat! Don’t feel bad — we just surgically removed a wire hanger out of a dog last week!”
A man behind us in line said, “And my dog once had a rope yanked from his stomach! I think he also ate half a shoe once!”
For some reason, their cheerfulness when describing possible future foreign body horrors didn’t make me feel any better.
I’m beyond thrilled to say Maggie is 99% healed. I think her image as a cool cat might never recover, though. But she wears that Cone of Shame with doofus dog pride.