For everyone else, click away for what I like to call, "What up with the fuzzy ones." Actually, I don't like to call it that at all. I just couldn't think of anything else, and I have to get to bed. Still... kitties!
I’m a doting kitty owner.
That should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has ever read my LJ. I’m not sure if it’s just that I am a to-the-core animal lover, or if it’s that I’m 792 years old and unlikely to ever have children and have therefore transferred all my affections to critters. Probably the former, but it’s still worth taking the latter into account.
In the past, I may have overreacted to kitty ailments. When we were living in Hawthorne, Jilly developed strange bumps around her neck, which turned out to be (ultimately benign) cysts that required surgical removal and several weeks of an Elizabethan Collar.*
There was an instance where Esme’s
Then there was Zinda, who developed an eye irritation that I fussed wasn’t quite right, and which turned out to be the first outward symptom of the FIP that would eat away at her from the inside out.**
Let's not forget Handsome Tom’s malaise following his snippity-snip, which might have just been post-surgery exhaustion but ended up requiring a round of antibiotics and his own personal air conditioner in the ‘gym’ building he’d claimed as his own.
So. A few months back, Isabeau went deaf. It was probably a gradual process, but one that came to a head when we noticed she wasn’t coming out at feeding times. We’ve gotten ‘round that by waving her food dish in front of her face. Sure, she gets in her Closet of Solitude and cries a bit until one of us comes and pets her to let her know that yes, we’re here. And yes, she lives in a sort of happy oblivion regarding Handsome Tom and his lurkish, stalky ways... until he sneaks right up to her since she can’t hear him. But is wasn’t so bad... until, a few days ago, I noticed she was lowering her right ear to her head. Eh, thought I, maybe she’s got an itch. Then, yesterday, I notice she’d a bit of crud about that ear.
Well bugger, thought I. Clearly I’m sod-all at this taking care of kitties thing.
Dr Awesome Vet was able to see her today (and yes, I gave up my own doctor’s appointment to take her in). Looks like she scratched her own ear with a back claw and gave herself an infection. Trouble is, we’re not sure how bad the infection is, or what sort of bacteria are at work. She’s got a culture going for testing, and in the meanwhile I get to dose her with topical antibiotics twice a day for the next week.
Isabeau was a dream at the vet’s office. At first, she curled up on the exam table with her wee head stuck into my jacket, but she relaxed enough that by the time we were done, she wanted belly skritches. And even though she’s lost a bit of weight, it’s not as severe as I’d thought. She’s an old lady by kitty standards - just a few months shy of fifteen - but her skin and coat are in great shape, as are her eyes and teeth and gums.***
But here’s where the fretting starts. What if this was a problem long in coming? Did this cause her deafness? Was this the one time I should have been hyper-worrisome?
I’ll get the bacterial results in a few days; they’ve got to grow the culture then kill the culture, or something like that. Sounds terribly exciting, if no little bit worrisome. Is this not the start of a classic sci fi horror story?
In the meanwhile, I’ve got an old lady cat who needs some care. I’m sure she’ll thank me for dribbling cold antibiotic ointment into her ear, then mushing it in for good measure. Surely she knows that means, “I love you.”
And when she cries in her Closet of Solitude for someone to come and pet her and tell her it's okay even though she can't hear the words or the intent, it's her way of telling us she knows we are there for her, and that she loves us, too.
*upon further reflection, I suspect this particular cat clinic not only hoodwinked us as to the seriousness of the problem, but also removed her collar too early, resulting in a reopened incision, another expensive visit to the clinic AND another six weeks of Jilly’s Collar Misery.
**this is one instance where, even now, I beat myself up for not having noticed it sooner. Never mind that there’s no way I could have seen it. Never mind that Zee’s disease was incurable. Still feel as if I failed her.
***residual bit of awful: I feel as if the countdown has started. She’s an old lady cat now, as is her sister Jilly. I’m going to keep them as healthy as I possibly can, but the stupid march of time is on. And even worse than that? I had a moment of looking forward to NOT having our closets giving over to kitties of hidingness, to a normal litter box situation. Yep. I am a terrible person.