Oct 16, 2003

Have faith!

Finally, the day had come where I just had to take my cat, Sammy, to the vet's. She didn't act like anything was wrong, really, but her breath had started to stink. I had the day off and a good friend of mine was willing to chauffeur us, so a little after 9 am, we were at the vet's.

I talked to the vet about my cat's reaction to the anasthesia. My cat reacts badly. She wakes up so slowly from it and is psychologically really ill from it as long as it's in her body. The vet gave her a new type and a wake-up shot. Sammy had a cyst at the side of her mouth; no big deal – just needs to be drained every so often. She had her teeth cleaned, and she had ear mites, quickly handled, and medication given to me to give her. So nothing unusual or serious.

When I got Sammy home and let her out of her carrier, she instantly started moving around, even though she didn't have much control over her hind legs. Every time she tried to navigate a door jamb, she'd lose her balance. But she kept pacing, back and forth, back and forth. Later in the afternoon, she was ravenous, and I let her eat. She still didn't settle down. In the evening, she seemed to lose steam. In fact, she lost so much steam, I was afraid she was actually getting ill from the anasthesia.

I didn't sleep well last night. This morning I found that she hadn't made it to her litter box, so I cleaned up wet and solid in the spare room. When I finally located her, I had to admit, she had found a place where she was camouflaged: Between her cat post, clad in tan and brown, and the tan wall and brown legs of my sofa; her own colors are tan and brown (actually, cream and blue). I left for work at 8 am, and came home during my lunch break at 11 to check up on her. She was in the exact same spot.

Through all this, hardly a sound from her. When I tried to touch her this morning, she protested very weakly. At lunch, she seemed a bit more responsive to my entering the room, but that was it. I had a hard time concentrating at work, and my stomach happily reacting instantly to all my stress (better than a laxative!). The message from the vet was not encouraging; Sammy was not having a typical reaction to that particular combination of anasthesia/wake-up drug, and that combination was chosen because she's an old cat.

Now, I have to tell you something: Neither Sammy nor I enjoy going to the vet's. What we really hate is the waking-up process. Sammy can read my mind, so earlier attempts to get her to the vet's have resulted in her instantly running to hide the moment I come home from work – me having focused on the task at hand on my way home. So Tuesday I took a walk around the pond where I live, trying to talk to her telepathically (I've read that this can be done), explaining to her what we were going to do, why it had to be done, and that I understood her reluctance. I promised I would stay with her as much as I could, and that I would ask for an alternative, if possible. I felt I got a response from her. In fact, she never acted at all like anything was up; I had also prayed to God to guide us and make this as easy as possible on both her and me. Wednesday morning, I was able to "ambush" her and get her into her carrier without any hassle at all. A first! At that very moment, my friend had arrived and was waiting for me in his car. I was feeling very blessed. At the vet's, it turned out that I should have made an appointment for visits before noon, but they had plenty of openings for me, so no problem. And there was an animal dentist there that day, too! Talk about everything going smoothly!

But I forgot God was looking after us, when I saw how ill Sammy was from the anasthesia. I just couldn't calm down, find peace of mind. Today I shuffled my angel cards, looking for peace. My angel cards are like miniature playing cards, each with a little childish drawing of angels in some situation or other and a related text (they are "Angel Power" cards, published in Switzerland). I carry them in my purse. I shuffled them, asking for information about my cat. The first said the angels were taking care of us. Nice. Later in the day, as my stomach acted up again, based on what the vet had said about having to come back with the cat if she didn't wake up more, I got a card saying that we are to learn while we live. I took that in the worst way, meaning I was to learn something because I was alive but my cat...

My friend came back to be my chauffeur again. We had dinner at the employee cafeteria at my office (I finally decided to eat first), then went to my home. There, I found that Sammy had managed to use her litter box – and she was now in the corner by the balcony door (where the warm radiator pipes run under the floor). She was lying in a "meatloaf" position* , as she had earlier, and still didn't seem able to get her eyes open. I really didn't know what to do, but I didn't feel that horsing around with her in her current condition (stuffing her into her carrier, taking her to the vet's) was a good idea.
"Meatloafing": based on a drawing by B. Kliban, showing a black cat lying at rest with head somewhat lower than back and paws tucked in under the body; the drawing was mistaken by some to be a meatloaf

I talked to my friend and then asked him if we couldn't take a walk around the pond. I needed to do something, but didn't want to let my chauffeur go right away. We had a lovely walk around the pond, seeing some oddities we couldn't figure out: Two crows with some white feathers and what was, for all intents and purposes, a female mallard but whose overall coloring was much paler that a mallard's. She too had some white feathers.

Back at my place, I checked on Sammy one more time. She was still "meatloafing" by the balcony door. I decided to take a chance. This part was somewhat familiar, after all, from earlier "wake ups" after a vet visit.

I sent my friend home, and went to visit Grandma. Not much conversation today, but I stayed a bit, reading one of her magazines. Then I bought some cat food and more magazines for myself. As I left the store, heading for home, my stomach suddenly felt completely and utterly calm. All the stress, the agitation, was gone. I didn't quite trust that calm, though, still willing to believe the worst.

I should have had faith, though. When I got home, Sammy was in the couch! In her favorite spot! She was in the meatloaf position and her eyes were more open. I came over and scritched her head. She didn't like it, but tolerated it. I know she can't stand being touched while that anasthesia is still in her, but I told her, I just had to touch her. I talked to her about the situation. I said that we were constantly learning every time she got drugged at the vets. "We live and learn," I said – and suddenly I realized what the card "we are to learn while we live" meant! It meant that Sammy and I were going to have this experience again, and that meant she was going to be all right! I was so relieved, I cried.

And now, a good half hour since I started to write this blog entry, Sammy has curled up in a normal sleeping position for a cat, like the C in "cat", nose to tail. And that is one of the most peaceful sights in the world. My stomach and I are starting to feel normal again.

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