Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ramses Cat

I have a list a mile long this week that I have barely touched, and while I am usually good at procrastinating on my own, I do have a fun-list of things to do after the must-be-done variety. Instead, I've spent much of the last two days at the vets office or on the phone with them.

Ramses, a lovely wild and fierce but amorous grey cat with yellow-green eyes adopted us shortly after we moved into this house 13 years ago. He keeps our garden relatively rabbit and squinney-free, usually comes home when we whistle, and asks to go out instead of using the litterbox. He just finished a 2 week course of antibiotics to take care of a tooth infection, and was obviously feeling much better. Then all of a sudden he was hiding, not eating or drinking, his breath was back to nasty and instead of his already age-slowed loping up & down stairs he was climbing them one paw at a time and having trouble trying to figure out how to climb down off the couch.

Even now with all the time at the vet we still aren't clear exactly what is going on. His organs are being squished to one side by a thing (a growth? extra fat deposit?) so the vet can't even see some of his organs to see why the blood work is off. He really needs a dental which involves anesthesia so he can eat* and we can't risk that until we figure out what is going on. So tomorrow or Friday he will have an ultrasound so we can figure out how to treat him. This morning he shied away (Don't Touch!) when I rubbed his right side where everything is squished, but the left I could pet. Yesterday while Mira & I cuddled up to read books Ramses sat on my lap and snuggled, half the time looking straight into my eyes. Not his fierce let-me-go-or-I'll-Scratch-I'm-done-cuddling-and-want-to-go-outside look, nor his I-AM-going-to-sit-on-you-as-close-to-your-face-as-I-can-get-and-cuddle-and/or-sleep-on-you-while-you-pet-me-devil-with-whatever-you-were-trying-to-do look. Just a look of - I'm not sure what's going on and I don't feel well but I'm glad you're here. Made me want to cry.

He has a pretty good life - all the wild game he can catch, food and fresh water inside when he doesn't want to hunt, AC to sleep in during the summer days, a warm bed to sleep in all winter, with servants/ahem, us to let him outside and back in when he wants to do his business. And five people who love and pet him and give him catnip.

Once he went on walkabout for 6 weeks - just up and disappeared one weekend, right after I left for a business trip. I worried that perhaps he had gotten locked in my trunk and was still there at the airport, because you know, when a self-sufficient cat who has the best of two worlds goes missing - what else could have happened? Nevermind I would probably have heard him meowing to get out. I returned, he didn't. We called shelters, neighbors, vets offices. No one had seen him alive or otherwise. We eventually thought perhaps he had gone off to the woods to leave this world, with a slight hope that maybe he been taken.

The cat-napping theory was not really likely as he runs away from the street when he hears a car and he can be pretty fierce with his claws. Once he attacked a large dog that had wandered into our yard - swatted it right on the nose. The dog ran away. Once he killed a raccoon. But at least with that hope we knew he might find his way back to us. Being an outdoor kitty, he only used the litterbox when there was a blizzard going on and he had decided the snow was too deep - and that only after he had looked out all three doors of the house. Really. As I mentioned above, he asks to go out when he needs to do his business, and if no one is home he waits or on the rare desperate occasion uses the despised box. But if someone did try to keep him inside when he wanted out? Well, their house was going to smell bad pretty darn fast, so there was our hope he could 'escape' or be given away and find his way back. After 6 weeks with the November weather turning cold, well, we assumed the worst. Had THE talk about cats & heaven with Natasha who was maybe 3 at the time. Then one Saturday morning we were making breakfast in the kitchen and heard a plaintive meow. There he was - several pounds lighter and dirty and scruffy - sitting on the kitchen windowsill, asking to be let in. We never did find out what happened and eventually decided he had just needed to see the world.

I really, really hope this isn't the end of his adventures.
* he is eating now, a lovely high calorie-fat-protein soft chicken fish oil poultry liver cat food concoction that brings all the cats running and require no chewing. Don't think were starving him.

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