Sunday, March 3, 2013
Two weeks ago, our cat Josie got very sick. She had a 105-degree temperature. She wouldn’t eat. All she wanted to do was sleep. We thought she was going to die, but it turned out she just had a bad urinary tract infection. We gave her antibiotics and fed her a special diet of kitten milk and kitten food and high-calorie gel and . . . and (surprisingly, amazingly) she got better!
It was very satisfying nursing Josie. She was the nicest patient. She just sat in my lap and purred as I read Drifting into Darien. Josie has never been anything but nice to me. She thinks I’m great, though I’m not too great. When she’s well, she likes to follow me around. She likes to lie on the couch with me, and she doesn’t mind if I hug her like a teddy bear. We watch shows like CSI and The Mentalist and we always fall asleep in the middle. Anyway, that is our simple life.
And I’m so glad that we can keep going, doing our dumb little things, that we've been given more time. Josie is such a gentle cat. She likes to sit and gaze, her head slightly cocked. At such moments she seems to be puzzling over the world and its curious ways, thinking deep philosophical thoughts. When she purrs, it sounds like cooing; she sounds like a dove. She has fur that’s very soft, like a bunny’s, and funny loose skin that makes me think of a flying squirrel’s cape.
Josie’s almost 13. Rob and I rescued her and her sister, Foxy, when we were still living in Atlanta; we found them in a vacant lot in a rundown section of town. They were really wild and crazy when we first met them in the vacant lot. I remember we walked to a nearby convenience store and got them a can of sardines, and they were so ravenous. They were going nuts for the sardines—Foxy and Josie and their tiny brother, Timmy (Timmy was later adopted by Rob’s friend Dan). They were grabbing sardines with their teeth and running away with them, but then Foxy got confused and mistook her brother’s foot for a sardine. She tried to run away with Timmy’s foot, and he was crying and protesting in his tiny way, and falling down. They were all so little, so bewildered, so new to the world.
I remember our first year with Foxy and Josie, how pleased it made me feel to keep them safe, to baby them. I would think about that mean, cold, ugly vacant lot where they had lived before and be so glad that they were now snug in the house, happily climbing my lace curtains. It still makes me feel good to take care of them. I like feeding them and brushing them. I don’t think happiness comes from having fun; I think it comes from being responsible for another living creature.