So, if you are NOT an animal lover, specifically cats you may wish to skip this post. On the other hand if you can see that love...as a power, as a positive force of change that connects us to other humans, or to animals, (in whatever form brings you love and joy whether it's rats, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, pot bellied pigs, dogs, cats, snakes, and etc.) there may be a common thread of love that can connect even those who do NOT enjoy animals as pets.
Katty was teeny, tiny, a young kitten, about 5 or 6 months old. My Mama fed all the stray cats in the neighborhood. She didn't invite the cats into her home but fed them twice a day on her back porch every day.
Katty was dying, it was obvious. She couldn't stand up. She dragged herself around the back porch to get water and food, and then just stayed on that concrete porch. I was visiting Mama. My Papa had passed away and she was trying to learn a "New normal." I had our two beautiful daughters with me.
My husband was an animal rescuer. Somehow they would ALWAYS find him, and he couldn't just let them go away, he had to care for them. Fortunately, I also loved and still love animals...even if I'm allergic to them. I refuse to let my body determine what I will and won't love in this life (except for guinea pigs, or other rodents. I'm REALLY allergic to them, and I'm not crazy about them, so sorry any of you who love them).
Our daughters came to me with tears in their eyes. Mommy, we'll give you our vacation money if you take the kitty to the vet." This was money they had worked hard to earn over several months. They had earned the money by doing household chores. The money was supposed to be for them to buy whatever they wanted on our trip.
I could simply not turn down their loving offer and feel good about being a Mom. So...we kenneled the little kitty, and took her off to the vet. Kenneling a wild cat is usually a task that could cause death as an end result. Feral cats are not fond of being picked up, let alone stuffed into a cage. It was obvious how sick this kitten was. She didn't offer any resistance to the whole procedure.
The vet explained that this little kitten had been in a terrible fight. She had developed an abcess in her front right leg. The abcess had spread infection into her entire tiny little body. He gave me antibiotics in liquid form to administer to this tiny feline form.
I persuaded my Mom to let me keep the kitten in her bathroom. So we made a bed for her out of a cardboard box and an old towel, and a litter box with a trash liner. I couldn't leave her outside because after she started to feel better she'd take off. I couldn't catch her to give the medicine then she'd wind up sick or sicker again.
The first night I had to use the restroom about 3 a.m. This was the house where I had lived for years as a teenager. I knew the rooms, furniture, everything was familiar. It was a cozy, small, house and I did not want to wake up my Mom or our Daughters. I walked into the bathroom in the dark, completely forgetting that there was a cat in there. Imagine my surprise when I was greeted by the sound of intense, musical purring. May I just explain that feral felines do NOT purr when around humans...EVER! Every single human that used that restroom was greeted by the same amazing purr!
The other amazing thing is that she would let me give her the antibiotics with no resistance. She would simply suck it down like it was something delicious. She never scratched me, or bit me, not once. Somehow it felt as though she knew that we were trying to help her.
We were flying home, and we couldn't afford to pay the fee to fly Katty home with us. Fortunately, my sister came to visit the following week and brought Katty Kaliko (name given the kitty by our girls) with her. Katty joined our family which included 4 human beings, and 2 cats. She was never fond of other cats but she was immediately in love with my husband.
The one issue with Katty was inappropriate urination. She could and often was an "emotional urinator." The human part of our family went on a trip for 2 weeks at one point. When we came home Katty jumped up on the bed. Looking us straight in the face she urinated...right there...on our bed. Oh the attitude came through so clearly, "Leave me for two weeks? That's is NOT OK!" We had someone coming in every other day, feeding, watering, and cleaning their litter box. That was still not ok with Katty!
Katty usually sleeps close to my head. When I awaken in the night, with a headache, or a bad dream, I reach over and scratch Katty. This has been especially important since the death of my sweetheart husband. Her purr is instantaneous, and there is a musical quality to the sound. The only sound I've ever heard that comes close to Katty's miraculous purr was the Tribbles on Star Trek. Honestly, if Tribble's were actual creatures I would think that Katty was born of a cat, Persian Mama, and a Tribble Father.
Katty is 16 now. That is equivalent to about 80 to 90 years old for a human. I fear she may have had a small stroke. Her front end and her back end walk in different patterns. She still gets herself up my high bed (I try to help her and she gets really mad at me), and up and down the stairs. She still purrs like a Tribble whenever I pet her (she especially loves to have her chin scratched).
The point of this post is this. Katty has been a whole lot of work for me. I've fed, groomed, watered, and cleaned up after this tiny creature for 16 years. (She weighs about 3 pounds, but since she's part Persian she looks bigger). There have been times when I wanted to give her away....to anyone that would take her please! Remember that whole inappropriate urination thing? That never went away, no matter what behavioral actions I took with her.
Yet, how do I decide...which is more important? The joys of having Katty Kaliko, her beautiful purr and comfort in the night, against her needs as a vulnerable creature, feeding, cleaning, watering, cleaning the cat box, and cleaning up after her when she urinates in the wrong place.
In life at least in my life I have often run up against that idea...animals, peoples, or life experiences that had both the good AND the bad involved in them. It's ever so different when it's a vulnerable creature that depends on you. Having a dog or cat is pretty much like having a two year old that NEVER becomes an adult...and that in and of itself is both good and bad.
I always thought I'd be kind of relieved when Katty finally graduated to the next realm. I mean Hello...did I mention that whole inappropriate urination thing? Yet I find as she starts to slide into immortality that I'm more sad than relieved. Katty gave me far more than I gave her. Here's hoping that she does what she has done all of her fuzzy little life, and beats the odds. She could live to 20...I hope!