Look, I get it. I write too much about cats. Even I think so.

If I could change three or four things about the last eight months, one of them would be fewer cat tales, The thing is, I don’t really even like cats. I am firmly in Camp Dog. I like a pet that will poop outside, beyond my view. While I appreciate the pet that prefers indoor shitters, maybe try the one with actual plumbing. A pet that forces me to chase after it with a poop scoop? Pass. 

When my husband and I began down the road to marriage, he was very clear that he would have his children full-time. In turn, I was very clear that I would have dogs full-time. His reaction was a bit … odd … in that, he indicated that it … wasn’t the same … thing.

I mean, yes, of course, now I see that. 

But am I kicking myself that cats never came into those non-negotiables? Yes. Why? Cats take way more work than advertised. They are listed as “independent,” “aloof” and “self-sufficient.” I wasn’t aware that those were applicable synonyms for “needy,” “demanding,” and “owner-reliant.” 

It currently takes us an hour to get through our morning cat duties as we have an addition to our cat concierge service. 

For comparison, it used to take us no minutes because our cats were all easy and self-sufficient. It seems that each time we lose a cat, one of our others becomes more demanding. 

Shortly after Coalbolt died, we learned that Gunterboy was a raging diabetic. This caused our “no minutes” to switch to “thirty minutes” as he required specific meal times to coincide with his insulin shots. That doesn’t sound like much until you are chasing around a newly rejuvenated twenty-two-pound cat with a needle. That doesn’t sound like much until you realize that all you wanted to do was wake up, grab some coffee, and head out for the day … except, oh right, diabetic cat.

The whole process? Repeated at bedtime. Repeated just after we “put away” our basement cat, Savanah Banana Cakes because, frankly, she’s a little beeyatch when left to roam free. Clarification on “put away”: This cat has a basement suite all to herself for the overnight hours. And, yes, letting Savanah Banana Cakes out of her quarters each morning follows the Gunter diabetic dance, assuming we remember. 

“Thirty minutes” switched to “an hour” this week when our littlest cat, Pickles had a traumatic accident. This came just months after we had rehomed a fourth cat that had rehomed himself to our home months prior to that. Yes, we play Whisker Down the Lane in our neighborhood. Rehoming Benny meant bringing our cat population back down to a more manageable three except now all three require various levels of care twice daily (and for Pickles, nearly every hour in between). 

Pickles? The details of her accident? We have no idea. She missed her curfew last Saturday night only to show up early Sunday morning (4:00 am) with very serious issues involving (we thought) both back legs. 

As with children, pets only have very serious issues in the dark of night or on weekends or, for a full Yahtzee, both. 

Thankfully, we had some kitty pain-pills on hand and were able to be first in at our town’s (brand new, thank you six-pound-baby-Jesus) emergency vet at 8:00 am. Before you call Cat Protective Services … yes, we did try to find a 4:00 am option with no luck. We spent that four hours preparing for the inevitable – that her back end was very broken and that we were going to have to say goodbye to yet another beloved pet before we were ready. 

Okay, fine. Yes, I do like cats. And I love Pickles. Knowing that I was not a fan of cats, she  immediately sought a path to changing that. Well, maybe not immediately. It took several years and the purchase of endless “this will make your cat nicer” items. 

We did not have to say goodbye to Pickles, though we did have to say goodbye to one of her back legs. We cannot say enough about the BetterPet Emergency or Hanover Green Veterinary Clinics. There aren’t enough words. While I will decline any future emergent, traumatic situations with an animal again, I will never forget both teams handled Pickles and, well, us.

The bulk of their Sundays were devoted to preparing for emergency surgery on Monday morning. This meant taking time from probably their only day off that week, moving other pre-scheduled patients around (and you know how friendly folks are when that happens), and talking us off many ledges. 

Today is Day Seven with our new TriPawd. It has been a nearly full-time job keeping her comfortable, including changing bedding, keeping her hydrated and fed, administering medicines, and (now), praying for that first post-surgical poop to arrive before the enema deadline. Yes, we now sit hoping for that Miralax to do its work while praying that it is not WE who have to give the enema. 

Both veterinary teams were quite adamant that off all legs to lose, a back one was ideal for a little kitty. They assured us that her life will once again be full and joyful (actually that would be a change – she’s kind of a monster). One even suggested that she’d forget all about that fourth leg eventually.

I do not believe that at all. 

Pickles will not only remember that fourth leg but also haunt whomever or whatever did this to her in both this life and the next. 

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