Sunday, December 18, 2005
Oscar Part 2: It Matters More than I Thought
I stared at the paperwork through tear-welled eyes...I had been fine until I needed to make decisions: blood tests, a catheter so medication could be administered more quickly in an emergency, “this test is required if he’s over seven, but he’s only 4 and-a-half so it’s your choice,” biopsy back in a week, emergency phone number.... If I were the parent of an actual child I’d have been a wreck.
Oscar was a kitty when he found my parents four years ago in October. He came home with me about 2 weeks later. All he’d had to do was show his face and big eyes through the weeds at the opening of a culvert. I’m such a sucker.
He became Oscar immediately: easy going snuggler, playful, somewhat blind. It took awhile to figure-out that last one. I thought it odd that he’d ignore kibble at his feet, yet would chase one skittering across the floor. I’d never seen a cat stumble over a pillow on the floor, but he did and then continued on his way as if it happened all the time it happens all the time. He rousted-out a nest of bunnies and chased one zig-zag across the backyard -- the Wild Kingdom right in my backyard! I was fascinated. Until he caught it here's the deal: if you make him drop it then YOU have to deal with the half-dead bunny. I think everything finally clicked the day he leapt toward the bed and totally missed it, landed four-footed back on the floor, cocked his head, then trotted off.
He’s got established pathways around furniture, his whiskers are about half the length of those on a typical cat because they get so much use, he rarely runs, he often taps a paw ahead of himself before taking a step forward through a clothing-strewn room, he won’t jump on anything taller than a sofa. The vet confirmed that his eyes have no defined blood vessels. He sees movement, but not much else.
Studies show that a pet is a calming presence (1, 2, 3), but Oscar also amazes and amuses, which is probably why I find myself more attached to him than I’ve been to others. That full realization hit as I sat at the vet’s signing paperwork for a lump removal. I imagined him suddenly gone, and I about lost it. If it turns out he’s got kitty cancer, I’ll have time to get myself ready. I just wasn’t ready on Friday.