Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Cat

Soon after we got married, I started begging JD for a cat. The cat I had for 9 years had recently disappeared (I got word she is in the Great White North hunting caribou) so I was feeling the need for a new furbaby.

After a few months, I finally convinced him and we picked out a black kitten. The caregiver at the shelter told us that black cats get adopted last because so many people are superstitious and afraid of them. He was the oldest kitten there and had been there the longest. We had to help this kitty.
Heathcliff Ferdinand came home in a cardboard box at the end of June. He was scraggly and awkward with a face only a mother could love. We bathed him and showed him his new digs. He was perfect.....for about 2 hours. Then he had explosive diarrhea on JD's laptop. The honeymoon was over.

JD wanted to get rid of him right away, this was not what we had in mind when we wanted to add to our family. I begged and pleaded for the chance to get him checked out at the vet. Surely it was something in his system that could be cured instead of a behavioral issue.

The vet ran every test, treated him for every possible worm/intestinal bacteria and nothing worked. Heathcliff never pooped on the computer again, but his litter box was a nightmare. We had to get up with him every time he needed to go and quickly lift him out so his paws wouldn't get "soiled." The diarrhea never got better (think milkshake consistency, only with poo).
JD and I lived in constant fear that we would come home to a house that was covered in poo. It was taking an emotional toll on us. We debated on keeping him but realized it would be nearly impossible to find someone who wanted a gastrointestinally challenged black cat.

The vet finally diagnosed him with chronic feline juvenile diarrhea (are you dying yet?). Seriously. He was perfectly healthy, very playful and incredibly affectionate. But, he had the runs. The vet said he would eventually grow out of it. For 9 months, we escorted our cat to the litter box at all hours of the day and night. We had to feed him $40 a bag special gastrointestinal sensitive food and see the vet pretty frequently. It was a very trying time in our young marriage (and on our wallet).

And then one day, he pooped a hard poop. It was as if the heavens opened up and angels were singing (I sure was). I took a picture and text messaged it to the vet (a picture of the cat, not the poo) saying "I make hard poop!" We were so proud of our boy. He was finally better and now we could begin our lives as a happy, normal family. And we were. I mean, we weren't the type of pet owners that dressed our cat up in holiday outfits or anything......
Okay maybe we were. But he was our baby. He completed our little family..... And then I got pregnant.

I cried a lot when I first found out I was expecting. It was partly hormones and mostly fear of not being ready. When I stopped crying and started being happy, everyone told me that as soon as that baby arrived I would forget about "the cat."

Blaspheme. I could never forget about my boy. I secretly wondered how I would ever love a baby as much as I loved my furbaby. The entire pregnancy, I held Heathcliff and rocked him in the nursery (JD caught me and told me to cut it out and to stop being weird). He was going to have a baby sister and I just knew he would be mommy's good helper.
Well, I had Beatrice and at first Heathcliff was very curious of this noisy new housemate. His curiosity soon grew to contempt and it wasn't long before he grew depressed. He lost weight, his fur was falling out, and he acted pitiful. As a new mom exhausted and a little depressed myself, taking care of another thing was the last thing on my mind. JD spent as much time as he could with him, but once he went back to work the cat was neglected yet again.

His depression turned into weird behavior. He tried to lay on Beatrice while I nursed, he would howl when I held her, and he would try to climb walls. Weird yes, unbearable no. Until he pooped on my bed. That is the day my boy became "the cat."

Please click to enlarge and see the cat's expression
I went a little ballistic because A) it's my bed and B) I had so many other things to deal with. We had been down the poo road with this cat before when he couldn't help it and I was not about to do it again because he was mad about the baby.

More crying ensued and numerous calls were placed to adoption shelters, but no one wanted an adult male black cat with litter box issues. We were stuck with him. A very helpful rescue shelter called me and gave me great tips on altering his behavior. I tried them with a bitter attitude (because I now hated the cat), never thinking they would work. But alas, he began gaining weight and his fur became shiny again. The bad behavior stopped. The cat was rehabilitated.

I now have a love/hate relationship with the cat. I don't really hate him, but I don't trust him. He still tries to lay on Beatrice every now and then, but she is so wiggly he doesn't try for long. He mostly wants to be apart of whatever we are doing. He lays on the blanket with us for bedtime stories, he brings his ball on the play mat, and he sits on the arm of the chair while I nurse. His new hangout is behind the curtains in the nursery. It is kind of cute.
Beatrice loves him and I guess as long as he is gentle with her, we can't ask for anything more. However I have a feeling this will be our last cat. He is officially Worst Case Scenario Cat and we are in no hurry to prove him wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Aww, the cat and Beatrice together is so cute! When they start really interacting and the cat goes to Beatrice for attention, you'll be so happy you have him. Poopy butt and all. :) Stopping by from TRDC.