Last Tuesday, I headed to my closet to hunt for something clean to wear, which can be a laborious task. There, my cat slept on his side, not moving. Strange. He never slept in there. Hmm, perhaps he was cold. Then I looked at his eyes. Open halfway, sunken in, the eyes had a certain pained, almost evil tint. I’ve seen this animal look before. Exactly four times.
See, I worked with horses for fifteen years. Once, I saw this look in the eyes of a fancy show jumper, a gelding who died ten minutes after I called the vet. The second time I saw that look, it was in the eyes of a mare. While riding her, she reared up, flipped over backwards, and landed inches away from me. She should’ve landed on top of me. It was purely a miracle. The third time I saw that look, it was in the eyes of a pony who almost died from foundering. He was never the same again. The fourth, I saw that look in the eyes of a pony who died after hours of struggling with colic. The look says this: something’s got me bad, bad, and I may give in to it. I haven’t decided yet.
I threw my cat in his cage, rushing him to the ER. Sure enough, he was deathly ill. It was as stressful as having a friend in the hospital. When I took him home, he was too weak to move, even to use the litter box. Both paws shaved from IVs, and his neck shaved for some unknown reason, he pissed all over the apartment, unable to walk. So I took him to my vet, where he spent the night again. He’s only four years old.
The next day, he was better. The vet mumbled some complex med language she thought I didn’t understand, but I did. The cat’s eyes had returned to their natural state, a state of purity, goodness, life. I knew my boy was gonna make it.
I heard some people say, “I can’t believe you’re spending all that money to save a cat.” People think that since I was a horse trainer, I’m some kind of animal nut. Not so. Actually, years of working with them has hardened me. I’ve helped put horses down. My horse’s leg was shattered in a field in a freak accident, and he had to be put down. I’ve seen horses die in their stalls. I’ve had to call someone to pick up bodies. The whole bodies were too stiff and large to fit through stall doors. You can imagine the rest.
So I’ve seen some gruesome animal injuries and deaths. But this cat had never been sick. True, I spent oodles of money I don’t have. But when it comes to saving my closest buddy’s life, I say, fuck money. It’d be different if he were in chronic pain. Then I might have to make some decisions. But all around me, people were suggesting that I was a fanatic for saving my cat. I had the flu two weeks ago. I wonder if those same people would put me down.
I’m grateful he can sit on my shoulder while I write again. The way I figure, call me a fanatic, but he deserved every cent I spent. Moral of the story: I trust my instincts.