Help! My Cat Is Dying

Today started out in hysterics. And not the funny kind.

I thought my cat was dying. She had what I call the “death gait” walk going on.  I had seen it three times before in pets – twice in two of Vera’s poodles (okay, when she came to live with me and brought Cassie with her, Cassie was partly mine and eventually all mine) and in my dearly beloved Miss Priss.  (Miss Priss’s ashes are in a little gold urn by her picture on the TV stand and where I end up going, she goes with me.)

My present day cat, Salem, was walking funny and shaking. She is 16 so I don’t expect to have her forever, but last night she was zipping through the house like a kitten on a catnip tear.  So I was immediately – well, like I said.  Hysterical.

I seem to deal better with people dying than I do pets. When I was little, my parents banned “Lassie” from my TV approved programming because I would cry – hysterically – whenever Lassie got hurt and seemed imperiled.  If you think I am making this up: think again.

It is a wonder my son loves animals as much as he does, because when I look back on it, movies with animals in them were not a staple when he was growing up. We saw many other kinds of kid’s movies and almost every action movie ever made from the mid-80 through mid-90’s – but not animal pictures.  It was me.  I can’t handle them.

So, after giving Salem her tuna juice because she was meowing so loud and I figured if she were dying, at least she would die happy, I called the vet. They asked how long it would take me to get her there.  I told them as fast as I could get my clothes on and brush my teeth and hair.  It was 10 am.  “We’ll see you at 11 then,” the vet tech said.  We walked into the vet office at 10:30 (you’re right, I did not bathe or wash my face.  It’s 4:05 pm and I still haven’t.)

After testing the dilation of her pupils, listening to her heart and lungs, watching her walk and drawing blood for testing, the vet sent me and Salem back to the waiting room. I had stopped crying.  I had passing encounters with two people from Church who came and went with their pets.  We waited.

Salem’s blood work was – absolutely normal. Her cholesterol was a little high but she had just had that tuna juice.  The vet tech went through a bunch of possibilities.  Due to her age (did I say she is 16?), she could be starting some neurological deficit.  Because of her age, it made no sense to run an EEG because there is nothing to be done if so.  It could be her heart.  I could have opted for an EKG and heart X-ray, but even if something was wrong again, given her age, blood pressure medicines might actually do worse harm.  So I opted not for her to have those at this time.  It’s more possible she had a blood sugar drop.  I took the nutritional supplement in gel form they gave me, packed her back into the car after apologizing profusely for my hysterics, drove through McDonald’s for pancakes and came home.

I offered Salem a lick of the nutritional supplement on my finger. She sniffed it, tested it with a dainty lick and then literally trotted off.  She has been perfectly normal the rest of the day.

For any lawyers among you, can I sue my cat for the $265 she cost me and get damages for emotional distress?

Please, no one turn on an old “Lassie” re-run right now. Cosmically, I will feel it and I will cry.





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