Posted by Dirck on 5 January, 2016
I had meant, contemplating the week ahead from the mellow perch of New Year’s Day, to stop in yesterday with a little bit of whimsy, but two things prevented me:
- The usual heap of metaphoric wet laundry The Regular Job offers at the start of a month;
- Lack of whimsicality in my mood, brought on by events arising on 2 January.
We have, as I think I have mentioned, a number of cats milling about the place. One of them…
…had a cough for a while, and some Christmassy largesse from my father (who is quite inconsistent in his pronouncements) meant that we could take her into the vet without forgoing meals. It was, we suspected, asthma, which would mean an ongoing expense and likely reduction in meal sizes, but as my wife has asthma and knows the apprehension it induces in the sufferer we were willing to have that diagnosis delivered to us.
The seeker of silver linings would say at this point that we are saved from that ongoing expense. The diagnosis was not asthma, but of a multitude of tumours which were pressing against the lungs. Rather than go home with a prescription, we went home without a cat, because treatment was essentially impossible and far beyond our means.
This stung just that little extra bit, because of the four cats we ended last year with, Augusta was without doubt the best-natured and -behaved of the bunch. No illicit shredding of things, no wrathful gnawing on the hands that feed, and the expression of unwelcome fluids was purely hairball-related, extremely infrequent, and usually on the impermeable kitchen floor. She enjoyed cuddles more than the others, and was arguably the most decorative. If you were to pull a Sophie’s choice on me as of this time last week, demand that I select one cat to remain in the house while the others were taken, I (almost certainly) would have singled her out. The unfairness of life is once more underscored and rubricated.
Long-time readers of this screed will no doubt be experiencing a little déjà vu now, and with good cause. In the course of documenting these slices of my life, I’ve mentioned the passing of three other cats, all from similar maladies (the completist ghoul may look here, here, and somewhat inconclusively here). The last of those was almost certainly harbouring the disease by the time he came into the house, but even leaving Sam the Foundling out of the mix, that’s troublesome. I should look into how much it costs to have one’s house checked for radon, the radioactive substance no house is entirely certain to be without. Failing that– does anyone know if cats are uncommonly tumour-prone, an inversion of the legend regarding sharks?
On the matter of legends concerning animals, I’d like to explode the myth of cats are solitary, aloof and unconcerned. The three remaining beasts spent much of yesterday lamenting Augusta’s absence. I’m sure some would accuse me of anthropomorphization, but watching them seeking about the house and pausing occasionally to make noises far more chilling than the “Get off my tail, you lump!” occasionally heard in past is hard to otherwise attribute. They certainly don’t understand the explanations.
Having got all that off my chest, I will appear tomorrow with the mostly-complete item I’d intended to run out into the light– it’s mostly complete because I’ve been working on it for the better part of a year. How’s that for a teaser?