Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tempting Fate with a Miracle, an Angel, and a Patchwork Quilt


We have four cats living with us. How did this happen?! Let's see:

When my daughter was 9 months old, I adopted two kittens that my hairdresser's daughter rescued from "behind the DMV." They had posted a sign in the shop that read, "Free to good home, orange tabby and sibling." Somehow, I knew they were my cats before I even met them.

I gave them to my husband as a "SURPRISE" for Father's Day. He was not amused. We named them Seven and Nelix after characters from Star Trek: Voyager.

They became a loving and integral part of our family. Nelix had some behavior and health issues his whole life. But we adapted, and he mellowed with age. When he was 13, he suddenly and traumatically died of acute kidney failure while I was distracted by an unsettling issue at church. No matter how many experts told me he would have died despite earlier care, I still felt awful. Thankfully, St. Francis of Assisi helped me through the worst of it, as I wrote about here.

Seven is our 16-year old, geriatric hyperthyroid Miracle Cat with small bowel disease. Here is a photo I took a few days ago. To me she seems regal and Spinx-like. I wonder sometimes if I see what the objective viewer would see because of the love factor. My daughter, who administers Seven's meds twice daily, has read articles with tips to help you see your elderly cat with clear eyes so you can catch problems earlier, AND reassure yourself that all is well. More on Seven after the other intros.


A few years ago, my daughter asked me to help her sew a patchwork quilt. I said we had nowhere to set it up and she didn't have time with all her activities anyway. 

And then, when my son was getting ready to leave for college, she asked, "Can we set up to sew a patchwork quilt in his room?"

I said, "How 'bout instead we adopt a couple of kittens and name them Patchwork and Quilt? She agreed.


I wanted them to fill some of the space left by my son's growingupness, and I felt we needed back-up cats, for when Seven, you know. These two add so much rambunctiousness and joy to this house!

And then about six months ago a stray cat showed up in the backyard. "Don't feed her!" And yet, she was literally starving. I came home from a class one night and my daughter, my husband, and all three cats on the screened-in back porch said, "Listen to her pitiful meow, we HAVE TO feed her."

"Okay, quick. Feed her." I knew the moment that bowl of dry food went out there, she was ours. I said, "Welp, we're probably entertaining an angel unaware (Hebrews 13:2). Or, maybe it's Professor Mcgonagall stuck inside a transfiguration spell." We named her Minerva.

She wouldn't let us anywhere near her, but she enjoyed hanging out on the deck as close to the cats on the screen-in porch as possible. One rainy day, she accepted my invitation to enter the porch for breakfast, and then she *ahem* accepted my husband's oven-mittened invitation to be shoved into a cat carrier. Our veterinarian determined she was about 4-years-old and had been spayed and ear clipped on behalf of someone taking care of a feral colony. We believe their habitat was destroyed due to a big strip mall construction job up the road.

I mean, this cat is feral. She lives in our garage. I sit about a foot away while she eats breakfast and dinner. The other cats and she get along fine, but she still won't let me touch her. And so it goes . . .


Mostly, my other cats spend a lot of their time in my way. I mean, look at Quilt's face. He's totally saying, "Oh, yeah. I know you were in the middle of folding these. That's why I'm here."


When this happens, I know I've spent too long away from my writing.


When this happens, my writing goes really well.


Ah. Yummy cat energy.



Back to Seven Miracle Cat Ross and tempting fate. Seven almost died about two years ago on November 11. She had gradually stopped eating and had become dehydrated by the time I got her to the veterinarian. They didn't know what was wrong with her, but they kept her over night to administer IV antibiotics and liquids.  

I was so sure we were going to have to make the terrible decision the next morning to put her down. I asked my Facebook friends to pray and I prayed and worried. And as I was standing in line to check in the next morning at Port City Animal Hospital, Dr. Moore came out with the paperwork for another patient, looked up at me and announced to the whole office, "Seven ate breakfast!"

That's when I added Miracle Cat to her name. Dr. Moore, with the free consultation assistance from a specialist in Texas, determined she had small bowel disease and we proceeded accordingly. At this point, Seven is on thyroid medicine, a steroid for her tummy, and high blood pressure medicine which helps keep her from becoming hyper with that racing heart thing, and also assists with keeping her kidney functioning optimally. She's also on a prescription cat food that became available just a little while before her diagnosis.

I think it was about 8 months ago that we learned that the thyroid medicine wasn't working anymore. Her numbers were horrible and at her age, there was nothing we could do. (Invasive radiation treatment just wasn't going to happen.) The specialist advised us to increase the dosage of thyroid medicine a little bit anyway (but not too much or it will affect the kidneys) because even if it's not working fully, it might be working enoughly.

Since that time, we've increased the dosage twice and after the last time, she's acting normal and has put on weight!

She's a miracle. But I haven't talked about her much because I didn't want to tempt fate. You know, when you do that thing when you say how happy you are about a certain condition and then, boom, the badness happens. 

Okay, first of all I learned that the definition of tempting fate is more like not wearing a bike helmet or fastening your seat belt. It has to do with preparing properly for a dangerous situation.

The way I was applying it to my miracle cat was stupidstition, a lovely word invented by my dad.

I should be shouting from the roof top, thanking the Lord for our miracle cat, not hiding out hoping the Fates don't notice us and say, "Oh, yeah, we let that one go on to long." People might think, well, she brought that on herself by talking about it. Really?! I'm smacking my head.

Look, Seven is going to die whether I talk about her miracle or not. I'm going die. You're going to die. We're all going to die. Some day. It's okay to talk about it. I mean, be careful, wear your bike helmets, fasten your seat belts, store your guns safely and all that. But, good and bad are inevitable and it's okay to talk about both.

Pretend I'm standing on my roof:

THANK YOU, GOD, FOR OUR MIRACLE CAT! Thank you, Port City Animal Hospital for taking such golden care of Seven! Thank you, Julia, for your faithful medicine administration! Thank you, Richard and Chris, for coming to our house those times to do healing prayers for Seven! Thank you, Facebook family and Saints and Recipe readers, for praying for Seven!

Seven's comfortable life is a joint effort and my appreciation is larger even than the words I just wrote. She's sleeping here between my keyboard and the computer screen. I think that means she's grateful, too.

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