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R is for Reprieve

Posted Jul 23 2008 7:21am

By the time I went downstairs after I’d written and posted my last message, Whit had eaten all the food in his dish. But then the next morning when I went down to the basement to clean his litterbox, I discovered that he’d vomited what looked like all he’d eaten. Because the food he’d vomited was the first I’d offered him that contained actual chunks of fish or meat (which I thought was a step up), I then made an emergency run to the store to pick up some more of the less expensive, store brand pudding stuff.

I find it interesting that my professional prejudice still sneaks through when I think or write about that “stuff” I view as manna from cat heaven when Whit eats it and doesn’t vomit or have diarrhea. Have I been brain-washed or am I just an ungrateful wretch?

Later when I went into the livingroom, I discovered a half-eaten vole on the floor and now everything is up for grabs again. Maybe Whit vomited because of his rodent meal, not the food. Why did I just toss the vomit instead of looking at it carefully. What kind of owner am I? But, wait, he’s feeling well enough to hunt successfully again! I cleaned up the remaining half of the vole and pacified the troops of probabilities pacing in my mind with the neutral: let’s see what happens when he’s back on the other food for a few days.

I’d been more than a day on the new diet and no more vomit, but some soft stool. Is that because of the food or the vole? Or something else? What else could it be?

Well, yesterday I hastily cut down some stalks of rudbeckia, a lovely, large plant with daisy-like flowers called Prairie sun. The stalks were so heavy with flowers that they got pounded down by the severe storm last weekend. I brought the stalks into the house and quickly cut off some of the flowers to take to friend, leaving the rest of them on the kitchen counter. When I returned about 15 minutes later, one of the stalks was on the floor and there was chewed greenery and flower petals on the floor. The canine responsible for pulling the stalk off the counter– it had to be BeeBee–and her henchdogs didn’t even have the decency to spit out the evidence before I walked in. Instead, they cheerfully greeted me with slobbery petals and leaves hanging out of their mouths.

I cleaned everything up, but never thought to look in Ollie’s crate which sits besides Bee’s downstairs. Bee has always had a habit of taking treasured objects into her crate for further study, but to my knowledge Ollie never did.

Because of that, I don’t know who dragged the flower into Ollie’s crate. All I know is that somewhere along the line I started making sure Ollie’s crate door was open at night so that Whit could get in it if he wanted. My thinking was that, if I decided to take him in for a work-up or something else, he’d be more comfortable in it. When he started doing exactly that, I was pleased.

Until I noticed those petals in the back of it yesterday evening.

Did he get into those petals, too? Are they the cause of the soft stool?

I recently read a recipe for gin-soaked raisins, supposedly a good treatment for arthritis. It’s another gross, humid day with forecasts for rain today and tomorrow that could add up to 8″ in some areas before it’s all over. My knees aren’t really bugging me, but when all the damn questions about Whit attack me, the idea of gin-soaked raisin bran is not without its appeal.

Instead, I’m off to fix a cup of tea and sip it while looking at the stunning constellation of Prairie Suns on my kitchen table, hastily picked lest one of the coming storms batter them into the ground, too.

Whit sleeps in Ollie’s petal-free crate. He purrs. I ache for a magic wand. For all the animals. And for me.

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