The Perfect 10

We got the official word today: William weighs nearly 19 pounds. To my sorrow, the veterinarian said he’s not overweight–he’s just enormous.

Español: Rudolf Nureyev, gran bailarín ruso, h...
Español: Rudolf Nureyev, gran bailarín ruso, haciendo un “Entrechat l´air” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sorry because I had hoped she would put him on a diet, reduce him by two or three pounds, and thus save me several visits to the massage therapist. Lugging his carrier from house to car and from car to receptionist’s desk has more than once resulted in parts of my sacroiliac going AWOL.

Quasimodo
Quasimodo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It happens every time we board them: We stuff the cats into their crates. David carries Ernest; I carry William. Four hours later, changing planes in Atlanta (or Charlotte or Chicago or Houston or New York City or Seattle), David hoofs it down the concourse like a cross between Rudolph Nureyev and Roger Bannister, and I limp along twenty yards behind, Quasimodo dragging a carry-on.

And since William has been pronounced a perfect 10, so I will continue.

When I left him at the vet’s this morning, I wasn’t convinced he was  healthy. He’d had a minor tummy problem, one the Internet had assured us was probably nothing to worry about. But when it’s your kid, or your cat, you worry anyway, at least a little.

The doctor, however, agreed with the Internet. The cause of his ailment isn’t clear, but it falls under the heading of “Sometimes Cats Do That.” We hauled him home. He’s happy to be back with Ernest and has said he might someday forgive me.

We also hauled antibiotic (1/4 tablet, twice daily, use a syringe to keep fingers out of danger), oral paste (1 dose twice daily, wait 30 minutes after administering antibiotic, just push it through his teeth), and a week’s worth of dry and canned catfood (gastroenteric). Both cats will eat the food. There’s no way we can separate them at dinner time, which lasts 24 hours.

William was a gentleman while in the examining room, which is more than I can say for him at the beginning of the expedition. He squalled from door to door and kept up the screeching even after being deposited in the vet’s reception room next to a pit bull awaiting vaccination. When Ernest sees a dog, he clams up and concentrates on making himself invisible. William says All Places Are Alike to Him, and if the dog objects to his caterwauling, he can just get over it. That’s the same message he gave me when I tried to shush him.

The vet asked one question that still hangs between David and me, unanswered: “Has William been under any stress?”

We discussed it over dinner at the Magnolia. David has been under stress. Ernest has been under stress (Ernest has an overly active fight-or-flight response). I have been under such stress that I couldn’t even put a meal on the table this evening.

But stress and William don’t move in the same circles.

Except once. Less than a week after William became part of our family, Ernest developed a severe gastrointestinal upset and had to stay at the hospital. The next morning, William stopped eating (unheard of), ran a high fever, and became lethargic. He lay unmoving in my lap. Almost catatonic, no pun intended. I raced him to the vet. She checked him out and then put him in the cage with Ernest.

Six hours later, when I called for an update, William’s temperature was normal and he was “eating like a horse.” All better. He just needed his brother.

But for the past three years, William has been serene. He’s not reactive. At times I wonder whether he even has reflexes.

Only two stimuli energize him: his partner in crime, and his toys.

At present, William lies across the room from me, his back turned. He knows he’s supposed to swallow 1/4 tablet before bedtime. He remembers I’m going to push oral paste through his teeth. He knows he’s nowhere near critical condition. He knows I know it.

He’s waiting me out, hoping I lose my nerve.

Frankly, my dear, his plan is working. I’m going to bed.

And as for the inevitable showdown, I’ll think about it tomorrow.

*****

Note: I shan’t really continue lugging William to the kennel. In future, I have dibs on Ernest. He weighs in at 16 pounds.

I do miss my petite lady cats.

*****

Image of Rudolph Nureyev vy hugocambiasso.com.ar (hugocambiasso.com.ar) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons