The Cat: Still with Two Eyeballs

You may know this already, but for those who don’t, I am the servant of a small British Blue Shorthaired Cat.
The Cat is very old. She is 18. This means she can vote but she doesn’t want to because she is an anarchist. She sometimes suffers from Hollow Legs which is a rare condition only curable by inhaling four packets of dinner and whatever she can steal from my plate. She is very fond of Marmite and of porridge, but only the latter if it has syrup on. She also likes cheese. She does not like Poultry flavoured dinners or the special Cat crunchies designed to clean her teeth.
Her favourite games are The Stair Game (sitting half way up the stairs and taking a swipe at the unsuspecting who pass below), The String Game (chasing a piece of string in circles until so dizzy she falls over) and The Faerie Game (leaping up walls after the reflections from peoples’ watches).
When not playing or eating, she enjoys sitting beneath the bird table with her mouth open, telling the squirrels off through the glass and going to sleep in the middle of a piece of furniture to prevent anybody else using it.

Over the last few years she has gradually begun to show the signs of old age. One of the symptoms was the paralysis of the cornea in her right eye, rendering it blind. Since then, the eyeball has gradually begun to swell and it is now at the point where it must be removed to prevent perforation and an infection to the brain.
Unfortunately, due to her age and her kidneys, it is not clear as to whether she can survive an anaesthetic.

This morning we took her to the Vet, Four Under Nine.
There are many wretched feelings in the world and one of the most wretched is the one caused by denying a Cat her breakfast, shoving her in a box and leaving her in a strange place with lots of other animals she takes an instant dislike to.
The eyeball couldn’t be removed today. Four Under Nine ran a blood test and decided that giving her lots of fluids over the next few days would improve her kidney functions, increase her chances and shorten the recovery time. Hopefully he will be able to do it on Wednesday.

This is one of the things I didn’t consider would happen. I thought I would be returning home either weeping quietly at the loss of my cat or else deeply relieved and laughing at her upside-down lampshade accessory. I didn’t prepare myself for leaving her there.

I keep thinking of her all alone in a strange place, meowing to be let out and nobody coming. I keep picturing her miserably hunched up in the corner of a cage, wondering what she did wrong to be abandoned by us.
Obviously this is the point at which my logic kicks in and reminds me that she is, after all, just a cat. She doesn’t have the acute emotions of a human being and anyway, she is probably being made a huge fuss of and milking Four Under Nine for every scrap of affection he can give. She is probably going to come home and turn her nose up at every delicacy I place before her and give me a look which very clearly says “When I was at Four Under Nine’s…”

Her absence has left me with a huge, gaping hole in my life. I hadn’t realised quite how much mental space she takes up. Every time I walk past the sitting room door I have to open it to check she isn’t on the other side attempting to open it with the power of her mind alone. When I finish this, I will go into the sitting room where I will not have to remove her from the sofa. She will not be stretched out in front of the fire. Her tongue will not flash in and out of her mouth as she dreams of mushroom soup. She will not wake me in the early hours demanding to be fed. She is just… not here.

That’s the problem with animals. People can take care of themselves. Except for when you are dealing with somebody very small, you can never consider yourself to be wholly responsible for somebody else. You are always responsible for an animal. You have to do the best for them but you can never be entirely confident that they understand.

I hope I will be able to go and visit her tomorrow, check she is doing alright and that the Veterinary Nurses aren’t the vindictive, power crazed lunatics Human nurses tend to be.

Until then, I miss her.

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