I walked into the cafeteria as Rafael was in the middle of a story. I missed the valuable first part, but what I did hear had me in tears, and then, chuckling.
What I heard was, “We were in the hospital late last night and she was on dialysis…and the doctor said that she wouldn’t live through the night.”
He was distraught, so I asked if his mom was OK. He looked at me quizzically and said: “Sure, she’s fine. I was talking about my cat.”
I smiled inwardly. Cat, I thought. How could anyone get broken up over a cat?
A few months, later one of my client’s cat had a litter of kittens and they offered me the runt she had just been weaned off her mother.
She was this thin charcoal gray, black-and- white tabby with these beautiful green eyes and a very long tail.
I was holding her in my arms at the time, so I made a hasty decision and said yes. Mind you, I never had a pet before except for my stuffed green rabbit and a starfish that I found at Orchard Beach.
I took her home and set up a bed for her and a makeshift litter box, etc. I didn’t think that was enough, so I ran out to the store and picked up some “cat”aphernalia.
The next morning I woke and could hardly breathe. I had red eyes and my throat was swollen and I had chills and a fever. It
felt like the flu.
I called my doctor and described my symptoms and told him that I just received a kitten. He diagnosed me as having “Cat Scratch Fever” which, I said, I thought was just a song.
He said, yes, John they did make it into a song but something about a kitten’s scratch is worse than an adult cat because they have bacteria and dander in their claws. I thought perhaps I could wash the kitten but that could harm the cat at her young age.
He did offer me a few alternatives though:
- Get rid of the cat. Seemed like a good idea. Kitten makes me sick, find the kitty a new home.
- Get shots. Sounded simple enough as I was going to be taking her to the vet in a few weeks anyway. I asked my doctor ifthe shots would hurt the kitten because she is kind of small and scrawny. He said, no, John, the shots are for you. Oh well. Then let me revisit option No. 1 or is there a third
- Keep the cat and eventually build up an immunity. So the wait-and-see option seemed to be the one that worked. In the time trying to locate an appropriate home for the kitten, I finally built up an immunity and ended up keeping her.
Kitty finally was named “Smokey” and she was mine. A few weeks later I took her to the vet for shots and to be fixed.
I understood Rafael’s pain and anguish when she came out of surgery and was sluggish and had that funnel around her head.
Although it was a normal procedure, I welled up and realized that I was now a cat owner and I wanted the very best for her.