On Thursday night I opened my studio door for ventilation while I worked on a new painting. A siamese cat I’d seen around the Front Street Warehouses walked into my studio. She was incredibly skinny and puss oozed from her eyes. Her nose was caked with something, she wheezed raggedly as she breathed, and she smelled foul. An incredibly skittish thing, she hid under the steps to the loft in my space.
I kept her in my studio that night then took her to the vet on Friday. The first thing we did was check for a chip. There was none. She had a massive sinus infection and her eyes were so infected that I thought perhaps I was wrong about her pedigree because they were red like an albino cat’s would be. The vet asked me what I wanted to do, so I told her to do whatever she needed to in order to make the cat better.
They did an exam and tests. She’s around five years old. They think she’s been on the street for about six months. She’s dehydrated and badly underweight. Eyes and sinuses infected to the degree that she cannot smell or see very well. That attributed to her skittishness because people were big hulking shadows she couldn’t see well nor identify the scent of. She had worms, fleas, and earmites. On the plus side she is feline leukemia and HIV negative so they felt she could recover with antibiotics.
Long story short, a big vet bill and a bag of antibiotics later, I have a very sick cat.
Administering her the antibiotics by mouth and the antibiotic cream to her eyes twice a day, every day, has been a real treat for both of us so far. We’ll be on that routine for at least the next week. I thought for sure she’d end up hating me since twice a day I hold her down and put nasty stuff in her mouth and eyes. I tried to give her space since she’s so afraid of everything and so pathetically sick. I slept on a chair in the studio to keep an eye on her without getting to close and got a kink in my neck for my efforts. My plan was to get her patched up then give her to someone who’d take care of her.
However, she’s getting stronger every day and last night she jumped up on my lap and purred, head bumping me and insisting on being petted. She was like an entirely different creature. It was kind of amazing. I didn’t think I’d want a cat again. It’s quite an obligation to bring something into your life that depends on you. I didn’t want to be tied down by another living thing.
As I watched her curl up and fall asleep in my lap last night I wondered where she had come from, who had owned her, and why she had ended up in such a bad state. I wondered if she’d been mistreated and had run away. Or maybe she simply hadn’t wanted to be tied down either. Petting that emaciated body, feeling her bones against my palm, listening to her ragged purr, a distant memory stirred “Never love a wild thing”.
Ah. Too late.
I named the cat.
Tags: cat, life, studio