But I Like Having Cats

I have awakened within the gates of allergy hell.

My eyes are bloodshot, itchy, and swollen so much that I feel the need to yell, “Cut ’em, Micky, cut ’em!”

My nose is a set of one way streets,  one side police barricaded preventing the flow of anything in or out; the other side allowing only backing traffic.  This will only lead to frustration for my family, fellow students and coworkers, who will eventually give me the sideways glance that screams out the parent’s rallying cry, “Go blow your nose.”  Wish I could people, wish I could.

My head echoes like a cough in a cathedral then fills up with sand absorbing every sound as a dull thud behind my eyes.

My voice is a combination of Brenda Vaccaro and Fran Drescher – deep, rough and nasal.  I could make a good living doing 900 calls this morning.

I really have no right to complain.  I do this to myself.  On the allergen skin test, with a scale of 0 to plus 4, I register, oh, about an 8 when it comes to cats.  I have four cats.

Cats have been part of my life for over 40 years; Midnight, Pete, Clyde, Oscar, Max, Janie, JB (Janie’s Brother), Sully, Quinn, Shai, Boaz, Winnie, Pooh and now Ruthie, who by the way still refuses to acknowledge her given name.  Perhaps we should have gone with Zelda, but I digress.

The allergies are a fairly recent development and by recent I mean in the last 15 years.  The allergists have told me that allergies can take years to develop and have slow onset or what seems to be an overnight thing.  One day you’re sitting down with a plate of shrimp doing fine, the next day your kitten walks in the room and BAM! you start sneezing your head off.  Go figure.

I have in the past submitted to weekly allergy shots.  I made it almost a year’s time on a four year plan.  Since it wasn’t a life or death type of thing, it just became too inconvenient.  When I first began the regime, the allergist’s office was literally around the corner from my home then they moved to Western Podduck, 25 miles and upwards of 40 minutes away.  Their magic elixir just wasn’t worth it to me at the time.

It’s beginning to regain it’s value.

Sniff, sniff.

Suckers or how we just ended up with a three-legged cat

We’ve always maintained special relationships with our various vet’s offices over the years.  They have provide excellent medical services for our menagerie of pets and we have been gullible enough to take the oddities that show up in their offices.

Shit Dog came from a vet’s office, as did our late, neurotic lab/dachshund Elisheva.

Our latest addition to the family came through the modern marketing marvel, FaceBook.

Pictures had been posted on Thursday or Friday of this week of a kitten that had been brought in to our vet that week.  I tend to be a curmudgeon toward pictures of cute animals, but something about this one caught my eye even though I didn’t look that closely.  I didn’t even read the captions.

We found out later that a good samaritan turned her in to the vet’s office after finding the injured, three month old in the street.  The samaritan couldn’t keep the kitten due to some unusual living circumstances, but managed to scrape together some funds to help pay for the surgery the little girl would require.  I think that is the definition of samaritan, isn’t it?

We weren’t looking for an addition, we have three cats and Shit Dog still.  Opportunities had come up before, but I just didn’t want to take on yet another animal.  We lost our cat Shai a couple of years ago, Elisheva this year and our cat Boaz and Shit Dog are on the short list now.  It’s tough to think new when the old are in such shape and the younger two are a bit onery (Southern for slightly ill-tempered).

But on Saturday when Bashert asked if I had seen the photo, I caved.  I said let’s go ahead and call to see if she’s been placed yet.  In our house that means we’ve adopted another one.

What I didn’t realize is that the surgery that the kitten had gone through was to remove her right front leg.  She suffered extensive nerve damage to the leg through what we hope was accidental means.  While Bashert was talking to the receptionist, I took another look at the three photos posted.  Sure enough, the poor thing had lost her leg all the way up, including her shoulder.  At that point any doubt was gone.  Suckers through and through.  She would be ours.

We went straight over to the vet’s to meet her.

On the way over we were already bouncing names around.

The tech brought her in a room for us to visit.  Bashert and I instructed Yoda to sit quietly and let her come to us.  Given that sitting still is a challenge as yet unmet by Yoda, we didn’t know how it was going to work.

Hesitant only at first, the little girl dove right into our hands, purring and insisting we give her love.  She didn’t flinch or run from Yoda’s excited vibrations.  She leapt up to the seat next to Bashert and cuddled into her lap.  She claimed us.

I was surprised when they said we could take her home that day.  The stitches looked ominous to me and she was still on twice daily pain meds.  I worried that in her fresh post surgery state, she wouldn’t be in any shape to be introduced to our resident beasts.

There was no need to worry.  This little girl can hold her own.  Our three full grown cats, 14 and 9 years old respectively, are walking on egg shells.  There’s been lots of hissy fits, but mostly they are avoiding each other.  I give them about two weeks and they will build up a tolerance for each other, that or split the house into their respective territories.  They’ll work it out.

Shit Dog has made his business to get close, but I think only because this is the only other animal in the house that is smaller than he – we have large cats.

We took about two hours last night to come up with a suitable name, at least the one we will call her according to T.S. Eliot.  We narrowed it down to four possibilities and then had Yoda pull one of those out of a hat.  We thought that an equitable solution since we all had our favorites of the four.

Her name is Ruthie.

Resilient, faithful, kind and good, friend and companion to Naomi, wife to Boaz and great-grandmother to King David.  I think the hat chose wisely.

Welcome to the menagerie Ruthie.




You Know Who

Winnie the couch potato

Fat Pooh