The Sick Kitty
by C. Meton
“My kitty won’t play,” Janie said.
“Maybe she’s just tired,” her mom replied. She looked at the cat and noticed that its fur was ruffled compared to its usual, well-groomed appearance. The cat was sitting on its stomach under a bush, slightly out of reach, watching, but not responding to Janie or her mom.
“She was eating grass and then she crawled under the bush and she won’t come out.”
“Come on, Twixie,” Janie’s mom coaxed. ”Would you like a treat?”
“Go get her treats, honey. She’ll come out for a treat. She loves those.”
Janie ran into the house and got the bag of cat treats. ”Here, mom,” she shouted as she ran back from the house.
Janie’s mom took the treat bag and opened it, being careful to rattle the bag as she did so. The sound of the treat bag being opened usually brought the cat running, but this time the cat remained under the bush.
“Don’t you want a treat, sweetie?” Janie’s mom held out a few kernels of the treat in the palm of her hand, but she was unable to reach far enough into the bush to get close to the cat.
The cat did not move.
“Can we take her to the vet, mom?”
“Let’s wait and see if she gets better on her own. If she’s just tired, she’ll come around in a few hours.”
“If she isn’t just tired, can we take her?”
“If she isn’t just tired, then we’ll take her to the vet tomorrow.”
“OK.” Janie sat on the grass near the bush and stared at the cat. The cat stared back, but her eyes were partially closed as if she were in pain.
Later that day, Janie was able to coax the cat out from its spot under the bush. She brought the cat inside for the night. ”Here’s your supper, Twixie,” Janie said as she spooned the contents of a can of tuna onto a small plate. She placed the plate in the spot where the cat usually ate.
The cat walked to the plate, sniffed the tuna, looked frustrated as if she were hungry but afraid to eat, and then walked into the living room and crawled up onto the couch to her favorite spot. Usually, she jumped up there, but she had been lethargic all day and seemed to have no energy now either.
Morning came and Janie ran to find Twixie. ”Twixie! Where are you?” Twixie was not in her usual napping spot. Janie searched the house until she found the cat, which was hiding in a secluded part of the house. Her fur was matted and she seemed not to be her usual self.
“Mom, Twixie is still sick,” Janie called out.
Janie’s mom came and looked at the cat. ”She does seem to be not feeling well. I’ll call the vet.” She went into the den and picked up the phone. ”Let’s see, where is that vet’s phone number?” She put the phone down and started looking through a drawer in the desk.
Janie sat by the cat and stroked its fur. ”That’s OK, Twixie. We’ll take you to the doctor and get you feeling better.” Janie heard her mother in the other room talking on the phone.
“Is that the soonest you have open? Well, OK, that’ll have to do. Tomorrow at 9:15 a. m. Thank you. Goodbye.”
Janie’s mom came into the room where Janie sat with the cat. As she passed a window, a flash of light from something in the back yard caught her eye. She couldn’t see it well enough to make out what it was. I’ll look later, she thought, and dismissed it. She turned to Janie and said,”We can’t take her until tomorrow morning. That’s the earliest appointment they have open. Just watch her and if she gets worse, we’ll take her to an emergency vet clinic.””OK.” Janie sat with the cat.
The next morning, the cat still would not eat, and it was inactive and subdued. They put her in her carrying cage and drove to the vet.
“Well, she’s been subdued for a couple of days and she has been eating grass, but she has no appetite other than that. And she’s been crawling into secluded places and just sitting still for hours at a time,” Janie’s mom explained to the veterinary doctor.
“OK, let’s have a look at her,” the vet replied. He picked her up and sat her on a scale to weigh her. Then he felt her tummy and looked inside her mouth and stuck a thermometer into her behind. ”Hmmm. No fever. Maybe she just ate something that didn’t agree with her. I don’t see any sign of infection or poisoning. I’ll take a blood sample and see if anything shows up in her blood.”
The doctor took the kitty to another room and Janie and her mom waited in the examination room for a few minutes. Presently, the doctor returned with Twixie.
“OK, the nurse is running some tests now. It will take a few minutes to get the results and then I will be back and let you know what we find out.” The doctor left the exam room.
Janie held Twixie and looked at her mom expectantly.
“We’ll just have to wait, honey. When they find out what’s wrong, they’ll tell us.”
A tear was welling up in Janie’s eye. Her mother also felt a pang in her heart. They both loved this cat dearly. Janie’s mom stood up and started reading the various posters that were on the walls of the exam room. Janie sat still, holding the cat.
“She’s not purring or anything,” Janie said.
“Well, she doesn’t feel good.”
Janie’s tears were flowing now, but she wasn’t crying audibly. ”It’s OK, Twixie, we’ll get you all fixed up.”
Janie’s mom fought back tears. ”That’s right, sweetie. We’ll take good care of you,” she said, gently stroking the fur on the cat’s head. The cat looked up at her, but did not make a sound.
After about ten more minutes, the doctor returned. ”There was nothing in her blood that we could see. Her white blood cell count is normal and there are no signs of infection that we could detect. She may have picked up a virus of some kind, but we have no way of determining that without seeing more symptoms. We’ll just have to send her home and have you watch to see if anything further develops. If she gets worse or doesn’t improve by tomorrow afternoon, call us or bring her back. We will not charge you for the follow-up visit.”
“OK. Thanks, doctor,” Janie’s mom said. Tears were welling up in her eyes now. The thought of losing this pet was more than she wanted to endure.
They took Twixie home and she improved by the next evening on her own.
A few days went by and Twixie became her old self again. Happy that she was feeling better, Janie let her outside again to play.
The next day, Twixie was sick again. The symptoms were all the same: lethargic, unkempt fur, crawling into a secluded spot to hide, no appetite, chewing on grass, and so forth. They took her back to the vet and waited to be squeezed in between two, other appointments.
“All the tests were again negative. No fever, nothing shows up in the blood, and no outward signs of anything being wrong. Perhaps she is getting depressed,” the doctor said.
“Depressed?” Janie’s mother had heard of depression in animals, but she could not understand why their cat would be depressed. ”But she’s usually a very happy cat.”
“There is one more thing we can try,” the doctor suggested. ”We can pump her stomach and see if she ate something that is poisoning her, but I doubt that she has been poisoned because nothing shows up in her blood.”
“Well, we have to get her feeling well,” Janie’s mom said. ”Go ahead.”
“It won’t hurt, will it?” Janie asked.
“No. We’ll be very gentle. We can put her to sleep to do it if we have to.”
“No, don’t put her to sleep!”
“Honey, they don’t mean it that way. They mean an anesthetic, so she won’t be conscious that they’re doing it. Right, doctor?”
“That’s right. But we’d have to keep her over night because of the anesthesia.”
“OK. Let’s do it.”
Janie and her mom said good bye to Twixie and went home. Twixie stayed at the vet’s office over night. ”She’ll be scared,” Janie said during the ride home.
“They’ll take good care of her,” Janie’s mom replied.
The next day, they went to pick up Twixie.
“Everything was normal,” the doctor explained. ”There was nothing unusual in her stomach other than some green fur. Does she have any toys that have green fur on them?”
“No, none that I know of.”
“Well, it appears that she got into something that had green-dyed fur and she ate some of the fur.”
“I can’t imagine where she could have gotten it.”
“Me either,” Janie added. ”All her fur toys are white or brown. They’re toy mice.”
“Yes,” her mom said,”and those toys are made of natural, rabbit’s fur.”
“That’s all we found in her stomach. Just that green fur.”
“So she basically just had fur balls.”
“That’s about it. But wherever she got the fur, it was dyed green. She should be OK now.”
Twixie was alert and eager to go home with Janie and her mom. They paid their bill and took Twixie home.
When they arrived at home, Janie took Twixie into the house and let her out of her carrying cage. ”There you go, Twixie.” The cat came out of the cage and brushed against Janie’s leg. ”I’m going outside to play, Mom,” Janie said as she opened the sliding, glass door that led to the patio. Twixie ran outside as soon as the door was opened.
“OK, honey.” Her mom looked out the door and noticed the thing that had caught her eye earlier. ”Janie, what’s that under the bushes over there?”
Janie looked where her mother was pointing and ran to the spot. ”It’s a giant Frisbee,” she shouted. ”It’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen!” It was about a foot and a half in diameter. She tugged on it to drag it out from under the bushes, but it was heavier than it looked.
“Toss it over the fence into Johnny’s yard. It’s probably his.”
“OK, Mom.” She tried to lift it, but it was too heavy and it flipped over. Janie noticed a doorway on the bottom that was large enough for a mouse to crawl through. ”Mom, I don’t think it’s a Frisbee,” she yelled.
“What is it, then?” Her mom came out of the house to look for herself.
“I don’t know.” Janie noticed a small creature under the bushes. It was about the size of a mouse and had long, green fur, but it was definitely not a mouse. ”Look, Mom!”
Her mom looked and saw the creature, which appeared to have been dead for a few days. ”What...” Her voice faded. She stared at it for a moment. It looked like a fuzzy, tiny humanoid. ”What...” And again, she was at a loss for words. ”Don’t touch it, honey.”
Twixie ran under the bushes and came out with another one in her mouth and dropped it on the lawn. This one had been partially eaten.
Copyright © 2005 by C. Meton