Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holding On

A week ago last Friday, my husband mistakenly let Potter—the elusive cat—out. Consequently, Potter spent a week and a day outside again, but I grabbed him on Saturday. I was more prepared for the grab this time.

Since the weather was mostly rainy last week, Potter camped out on the settee on the front porch. He had a blanket to curl up in, and he could hide in the nearby boxwoods. I left food in the garage.

Whenever I visited the porch, Potter shot off the settee and hid under the bushes. I’d sit on the edge of the porch and talk to him. He’d answer. I brought him treats. He’d come out of his little nest to eat them. Sometimes he’d let me pet him.

Last Tuesday while he munched one of the expensive little cat crunchies he likes so much, I made a grab for him. Luckily I was wearing two sweatshirts, so he couldn’t claw me. I held on, one hand gripping the loose skin on the back of his neck, the other around his hind legs so he couldn’t kick. I’d forgotten to unlock the front door, so I had to carry him the long way. Potter screamed bloody murder, but I held on from the porch, down the sidewalk into the garage and all the way to the back door.

I had to let go of his legs to open the door. Seizing the opportunity, he squirmed loose and took off. I started over with visits and treats.

Saturday, I knew I’d have to grab him since colder weather was coming. This time I was prepared to hold onto him: I made sure the front door was open. I went out with he treats, he dived for the boxwoods, I talked to him, he came out, I petted him—the usual drill. Then I made the grab. This time I held on a little tighter. Potter fought the good fight, but we made it though the door together.

Potter lounges in the sun. He was inside when the temps dropped to the teens.

For a couple of weeks, my old mare Cupcake hadn’t been chewing her food well. Eating took her a long time. She used to wolf down her pellets in a few gulps. But lately, she wouldn’t come when called, was eating hay continually, and was dropping weight. Something was wrong, but I couldn’t figure what.

On Friday, my farrier noticed that Cupcake’s face was swollen on one side. Not a big swelling, but you could see it if you knew to look. She held her tongue to one side, too, as if she were taking pressure off that side of her mouth. I called the vet, but the office was closed until Monday. Meanwhile, I watered her pellets until they were of gruel-like consistency. She ate a little better, but I had to hand-feed her what stuck to the sides of her bucket. She couldn’t get it by herself.

Monday evening, the vet came. My old mare—the one I saw take her first step more than 27 years ago—has either had a stroke or else she has a tumor. Part of her face has atrophied; she’s deaf in one ear. But she still has her eyesight and she can move well.

The vet gave her an antibiotic—in case she had some infection—and some steroids. He left steroid powder for me to give her over the first week. If it’s a stroke, she should get about 50% better by spring. If it’s a tumor, she won’t get better. She probably won’t be here by spring.

Some things you can’t hold onto. And you prepare for that, too.

Cupcake (right) grazes in the front pasture today, where the grass is still green.



Blogger Claudia Condiff said...

Our animals are so important to us.They are always there when we need to talk.I hate that Cupcake is in her last years, as is my Mom. I hate that I am headed there at such a high rate of speed, hate that I am losing friends and glad to be gaining some new ones.
Happy Potter is in out of the cold, but I can't help wondering why he goes out and won't come in on his own? Lets hope Cupcake has another spring of green grass, and to hell with it if she founders on it. I ate a large hot fudge sundae with my Mom the other day. We enjoyed it tremendously even though we are both overweight. Last years are for splurging...

9:33 PM  
Blogger Amy Tate said...

My heart breaks for you. I had my gelding for 30 years. He was my best friend. I hope and pray that she gets better, and that we have a mild winter for her sake. Give her a kiss from me.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Aw, poor Cupcake. But she's so lucky to have you and to have spent all those years with you. I think I told you that Minnie probably has a tumor in her head. She's somewhere in her mid-twenties. Not the same symptoms as Cupcake though.

I hope Cupcake is getting better. Please keep me posted and let me know if you need any help.

9:52 PM  

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