Sunday, March 6, 2016

Bear Is . . . Bear . . . In All His Glory

There are days as a kitty mom that I feel completely incompetent; I wrote an entire post about this subject in When Loving Your Cat Leaves You Feeling Woefully Inadequate. However, never does a mom feel more incompetent, inept, and ineffectual than when her baby is sick, in pain, struggling, or otherwise not himself and there's absolutely nothing she can do to "fix" it.

I've previously discussed Bear's dental issues in Watch Out For The Teeth!; to summarize them, he was born with a predisposition to dental problems/inflammation. He lost his first tooth within the first few years of his life, and even with brushing his teeth every day since, he's still lost a number of teeth. Last week, the vet finally extracted a molar that I'd been highly suspicious of for quite a while. When Bear had his tumor removed a year ago (described in Too Close to a Nightmare I Couldn't Handle), in the preceding examination, I showed the vet the molar and he said he didn't think it was a problem, but he promised to look closer while Bear was under anesthesia to remove the tumor. As it turned out, the vet removed three times the amount of surrounding tissue as he was expecting after he saw the tumor - because he wanted as wide a margin as possible if it turned out to be malignant (luckily, it was not). With so much time spent on removing the tumor and surrounding tissue, he didn't have enough time to remove the molar, though, sure enough, Bear was developing a pocket underneath the tooth which meant it would need to be removed eventually.

Because the pocket was there a year ago and it was bad enough to extract the tooth at that time, the vet and I assumed this year's extraction would be relatively easy, even though a cat's molars are "three-pronged" in terms of roots. In Bear's case, one root wasn't even attached to the surrounding tissue, however, the other two required a bit of surgery to free. The aftermath of the extraction was actually worse than the removal of the tumor, when Bear was left with a six inch incision down his back. You can read about the conversations Bear and I had in relation to his tooth extraction in "Conversations" With Bear Cat: Part 18 (I've also added them at the very bottom of this post for convenience). By the time Bear got home from the vet, because Bear hadn't eaten since the night before, he was starving, but confused by the pain when he tried to eat. Compared to the after effects of his surgery to remove the tumor, this time, he was also more unsteady and had problems getting in the litter box or even licking himself . . . he staggered all over the place until early the next morning. But even with these difficulties, it became clear to me early on, that Bear was, WITHOUT A DOUBT the cat I'd dropped off at the vet that morning. I can't help wondering if I could visually tell the difference between Bear and another cat if there was a mix-up at the vet. I'd like to think I could, what with his whitish bib, gorgeous green eyes, specific pattern of missing teeth, acne, long body, and his penchant for over-grooming his belly. 

Bear in all his green-eyed and white-bibbed glory.

Lucky for me, even with the pain and anesthesia, Bear was still Bear . . . just a bit more wobbly and unsure of himself. So to share the aspects of his personality that I can't help but love and admire . . . especially because they shine through even when Bear's not at his best . . .

How I KNOW I got the right cat:  

*** Even though Bear can snuggle with Momma on the floor, his first choice is her desk chair . . . which requires him to jump, though he's not supposed to.
Because Bear was still woozy from the anesthesia, the vet recommended trying to keep him from jumping for a while. Because of this (and his stubbornness in not allowing help), I made a blanket nest on the floor for us to cuddle . . . where he could come and go without needing to jump. This seemed especially smart after he tried to get in the litter box and managed a pretty audacious face plant instead. After he had his noms (being starved since he hadn't had food in almost 24 hours), he came to look at my blanket nest where I was waiting, and then decided to jump on my desk chair instead of cuddling with me (I don't think that was his preference really . . . I think it was more to prove he's his own cat and that I can have all the expectations I want as long as I realize he'll do what he wants). If you haven't yet read about our desk chair battles (where he uses my turned back for 10 seconds to claim my desk chair and very angrily and haughtily refuses to move or even share), you can find them described in Chair + Towel + Cat = Tons of Pictures.

Bear takes possession of Momma's desk chair (from Chair + Towel + Cat = Tons of Pictures).

Unfortunately for him, on the day of the extraction, he didn't quite make the jump onto the chair the first time; he didn't get more than a few inches off the ground. But being Bear, he didn't let that stop him and he tried again. And failed. So I picked him up and set him in the chair, only for him to get mad at my help and jump down, only to jump back up again. That's Bear: if he can't do it himself, he doesn't want it. And even when he finally did manage the jump into the chair by himself, since I'd put him up there once (as if giving him "permission"), he decided he didn't really want to be in the chair anyway and jumped back down. Giving Bear "permission" to do anything pretty much ensures he'll have no interest in whatever it is, especially if the whole point of doing it in the first place is only to irritate me. For example, there was a period when the toaster was plugged in that he enjoyed sticking his paw in the toaster, JUST to get me up and running, because he always checked more than once just to make sure I was watching. After a particular incident where he got his paw stuck, I unplugged the toaster . . . and all of his future approaches to the toaster didn't cause me to get up and run, so he quit doing it. 

*** Bear wants what he can't have and will go to extraordinary lengths to get it. Also, Bear's belly rules everything. 
Ordinarily, Bear has a habit of declaring that kibble is not "real" food, and instead begs for more wet food, which he gets a bit of every day as a treat. Being that he had a large tooth removed, and stitches to cover the pretty big hole where the tooth used to be, the vet said he shouldn't have dry food for a few days unless I moistened it first. Because the procedure was more complicated than we expected, I hadn't planned on restricting Bear from dry food, so the bowl was sitting out when he got home. After setting down a plate of wet food, I quickly snatched up the bowl of dry food. And Bear then ignored the wet food in favor of following me and begging for the bowl of dry food. Given that he could barely walk, and more staggered down the hall, his following me at all was quite an accomplishment. After his temper tantrum and ignoring of the wet food, I let him have a bit of dry food . . . and even though that turned out to be disastrous (and I'm assuming painful), he refused to let his dry food bowl go. I was afraid to set it up, out of his reach, because I knew he'd try to jump for it, so I pulled a quick one as I set out another plate of wet food and stashed the dry food in the microwave. And then he had problems settling down in our blanket nest because he kept getting up to search for his dry food bowl. And even though it took him a REALLY long time to eat, he stuck with it for at least an hour, going between all the plates of wet food I set out. Here I made another mistake; with the different plates of wet food out and with the difficulty he had with eating (it looked more like he was pushing it around on the plate), he ate a lot more than I realized and it all came back up within an hour. But did he let that stop him? No. I took away the plates of wet food for an hour or so, so his tummy would settle a bit more from the anesthesia; after that, and after settling down for that time to get a nap, he was back at it and things went much better for our intrepid eater.  Also? With frequent wet food meals for the next week, Bear excelled at loudly meowing for his assumed next meal . . . every time Momma went in the kitchen, THERE'S BEAR, meowing and carrying on . . . so that EVERYONE knows it's Bear's food time, even when it's not.

*** Bear has his . . . quirks, like just hanging out in the pantry, for NO reason.
With all of Momma's running around to make Bear comfortable and give him food he'd eat, I left the pantry open. On one of Bear's patrols for his dry food bowl, he noticed the door to the pantry slightly ajar and went inside and sat . . . just hanging out. This is the cat that can't be closed into or out of a room, hates boxes and his carrier . . . and generally just really dislikes any small space (unless he's cuddling with his Momma); his reaction to any of these is a Grade A Temper Tantrum. And no, trying to wait it out changes absolutely nothing. He'll go on for hours until you give in. But for some odd reason, he likes to sit in the pantry. When he first started doing this I accidentally closed him in there a few times because he's so quiet and the practice so weird . . . and I didn't hear a peep - once for a few hours - until I called him and I got a little meow in response. On the night of his tooth extraction, I wondered where he went (and okay, I was really worried he might hurt himself if I didn't monitor him closely), opened the door to the pantry to see if he was in there . . . and VOILA! Not only was he just hanging out in there - but I got a super annoyed and angry look for disturbing his, well, whatever he does when he's hanging out in the pantry. I have no clue. Why does he sit in there in the first place, especially with his peccadilloes about small spaces? And why would he choose to sit in there when I had a perfectly comfy blanket nest on the floor? And despite his discomfort and pain and general "out-of-it-ness?" Yes, the cat sitting in the pantry for no reason, tells me without a shadow of a doubt, that the strange cat is in fact Bear Cat.

*** Bear is his own cat. 
Because Bear wasn't supposed to jump and I built a blanket nest on the floor for both of us, I took the furnishings off the cat tree to make it more comfortable on the floor. So what does Bear do? Ignore his cat bed and blankets on the floor and go to his cat tree. I had my back turned and turned back around to find him on the highest perch, looking really p!$$ed off that the furnishings had been removed from the cat tree. And this was his second expedition on the cat tree that night. The first time, I saw it and I ran over to help him by putting him on the next highest perch . . . but OH, NO! He doesn't require HELP! He jumped ALL THE WAY back down and then jumped ALL THE WAY back up to the top perch BY HIMSELF. For the rest of the night, EVERY SINGLE TIME I had my back turned, he went to hop around his cat tree, giving me near heart attacks. In retrospect, that's probably the EXACT reason he did it. Attention. Because despite how crummy Bear felt, he needed to prove he's his own cat and needed to prove he doesn't "need" his Momma.
Bear on the top perch of his cat tree after Momma relented and moved his cat bed back to the cat tree from the blanket nest on the floor (notice one perch is still empty of its extra furnishing).

*** Bear does not accept help. He can do it himself! 
Besides Bear having to jump back down his cat tree when Momma tried to help him up, he also refused help in the litter box. One of the first things he did when he got home was go to the litter box. He tried to climb in, but instead tripped and ended up with a face plant. So I picked him up and set him gently in the litter box, only to watch him climb out and back in again because OBVIOUSLY he can do it himself! Because he seemed so unsteady, Momma tried to hold him up so he didn't pee on himself - but that assistance was not accepted either . . . something he regretted a few hours later when he noticed he had dried pee on his butt.

*** Bear must be well groomed at all times. 
For the first couple hours, Bear didn't have the coordination to groom himself . . . and when he attempted to, he either fell over because he lost his balance, or missed the mark of his grooming by so much, he was licking the air. So when he noticed dried pee on his butt a couple hours after the litter box debacle, he was SCANDALIZED and frantically cleaned himself like there was a toxic substance on his behind. Why didn't Momma clean it for him before? As you can probably figure out by now, Bear does not accept that kind of assistance and I was afraid he'd hurt himself fighting me. Besides, what harm is done with a little pee? Absolutely none. Which meant that I'd choose to fight my battles elsewhere.

*** Bear's middle name is Cuddles. And his job title is "Momma's shadow." 
Just like when he's feeling well, you'll almost always find Bear near his Momma. I remember after Bear had the tumor removed, the vet told me to close Bear in a quiet, dark room by himself; that's when my Momma instincts kicked in and I realized Bear would actually take more comfort in being snuggled to me (since it's just me, our home in generally quiet anyway). Like what I did then, after Bear's tooth extraction, I built a blanket nest on the floor so he wouldn't have to jump to snuggle with me - and so that he could come and go as he pleases. Just like his stubbornness with everything else, I have to let him come to me. If I try to set him on the couch with me or in the blanket nest, he'll leave JUST to prove that he doesn't have to do what I want. This is another reason for the blanket nest on the floor - I can wait for him - without worrying that he'll hurt himself, while jumping, to get to me. At first, he was very restless and got up every five minutes or so to look for his dry food bowl. But finally, he settled in next to me, with his chin on my upper arm, my arms wrapped around him, and him pulled tightly to me. To help him settle in, I also pet him and hummed, hoping it would simulate purring to relax him. Most cats wouldn't like being held so closely in a human's arms - but that is one heart-melting thing about Bear - he'll snuggle in to me that way even when he's not feeling crummy. I've also heard that when cats don't feel well, they'll go off on their own and try to hide; Kitty was like this. I assume that's also why the vet recommended I close Bear in a room by himself. But Bear derives comfort from being close to me and having the reassurance that I'm here. Even after he was feeling better and wanted his space, he still checked in with me every so often to get a few ear rubs and reassure himself that I was here. 

*** Bear determines when and whether Momma sleeps.
This is how it ALWAYS works and this situation was no exception.
Night 1: 
Momma spent the ENTIRE night awake because her beloved cat was having his teeth cleaned the next day so he couldn't have food overnight. He usually free feeds so he definitely missed his food bowl. Every time I laid down, he used my body as a trampoline. But I couldn't get up and do anything either because he was so ticked off he was stealing and destroying stuff to get my attention. Did I mention I love him dearly though?
Night 2: 
I considered it possible one of us might not survive the night . . . between his jumps that he wasn't ready for, that I couldn't stop (one second with my back turned) and the close to heart attack I had each time I turned around to find him, say at the TOP of his cat tree, survival wasn't guaranteed . . . for either of us. I rued the day I scoffed at my parents when they said, "I hope you have a kid JUST like you someday. Then you'll see!" An ENTIRE night of keeping the cat from hurting himself . . . with only a short reprieve in exchange for tuna.
The morning after Night 2 (when Momma tried to sleep because Bear seemed steady enough to not constantly be watched):
MK: Bear! Can't I sleep without you being weird?
BC: So I can answer that question, define weird.
MK: You're spying on me from over the edge at the bottom of the bed!
BC: If you didn't want me to watch you, why'd you put the chair here?
MK: Because my bed is pretty high off the ground and I was worried you wouldn't be able to jump up here after your tooth extraction . . . and I didn't want you to think you were alone or that I was out of your reach. So I brought the chair in to make the jump more manageable for you.
BC: I'm a master jumper.
MK: Bear, you couldn't even get in the litter box without a face plant.
BC: That was HOURS ago!
MK: Yes, but you're still just a bit unsteady.
BC: You stayed up with me all night. And we cuddled in the blanket nest on the floor.
MK: Yes. So you didn't have to jump. But you're back to being more yourself and wanting your space. And I went two nights without sleep so I'm tired.
BC: What are you doing?
MK: Trying to sleep! But you flattened on the seat of the chair and you raising your head slowly to peek at me over the bottom of the bed before going back down is FREAKING ME OUT!
BC: Well, abstruse-ze-mom!
MK: I don't know much French, but I think you meant, "Excusez-moi."
BC: What's French? I was pointing out that you make no sense.
{Pause}
MK: ARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGG! Stop SPYING on me!
BC: HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!
MK: If you don't stop, I'm going to go get my camera. That's just about the only thing that stops you in your tracks.
BC: Well, if there was a problem, why didn't you just SAY so! I swear! You humans expect us cats to read your clearly inferior minds! AS IF!
MK: So you care that it bothers me?
BC: Yes. That's the intended reaction. I'm satisfied.
{Pause}
BC: HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!
MK: THAT'S IT! That chair is going back where it belongs!
BC: Just TRY to move me. I DARE YOU!
{Pause}
BC: HEY! PUT ME DOWN! Put me down, RIGHT NOW! This is against the Geneva Cat Convention! Against all conceptions of decency! Offends good sense! I'VE BEEN SCREWED! You're a mean TYRANT! Everything always has to be YOUR WAY!
{Pause}
BC: Never mind.

Curious about, but can't quite picture, what Bear's doing? Here's a funny video that pretty much covers it . . . only Bear's ears are straight up instead of slightly lowered to each side . . . NOT my video or my cat, but it at least gives you an idea of what he looked like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIN9j3rW-Io.

Our set up (before Momma removed the chair because Bear was using the chair to spy on her when she was in bed) . . .


I admit it, I admit it. I'm HORRIBLE with other living things' pain. I JUST CAN'T. My poor vet had no idea what to say when I replied to his description of what he'd done to Bear in human terms so that I'd see it wasn't a big deal, that it's another whole world of issues when the pain is being suffered by the cat that means everything to me, has changed everything for me, has made me a better person. And Bear is my baby, and a Momma's boy (though he won't admit it), so even when all the wonderful facets of his personality are shining through, I'm still going to worry and check that he's breathing for no other reason than because I love him and want to do the best I can for him. The good news now is that Bear is 100% back to being himself . . . including stalking me around the house for wet food he thinks he should be allowed more often . . . and including using Momma's sleeping times as a guarantee of a captive audience. That's Bear, in all his magnificent glory . . . and I love him more than I thought possible when I adopted him nine and a half years ago. Every day the journey of Bear Cat continues . . . slowly unfolding and expanding . . . and making Momma feel fortunate she's allowed to be along for the ride.


Bear and Momma's series of conversations relating to Bear's tooth extraction (from "Conversations" With Bear Cat: Part 18):

On Bear's molar - part 1 {the night before}:
BC: Momma? MOMMA?!?!?!
{Pause}
BC: MooooooooooooooommmMMMA! WHERE'S MY FOOD BOWL? I'm STARVING!!!!!
BC: The dishwasher isn't running . . . we have TONS of kibble . . . WHERE'S MY FOOD?!?! Why are you STARVING me????
MK: Beeeeeeeear! Momma's trying to sleep!
BC: You're STARVING me! Where's my food bowl? Where's my mat?!?!
MK: Why don't you snuggle?
BC: No! I want food! I'm going to climb all over you and use your head as a trampoline until you give me food!
{Pause}
BC: I'm DYING! DYING! Let me sing you the song of my people! Of starving kitties everywhere! Cruel humans! Cruel, cruel humans. Mistreated! Misunderstood! SCREWED!
MK: Beeeeeear! I can't give you food. And I need to sleep since I have to get up early.
BC: Is this related to my carrier being out of the closet? You took it out a few days ago. Don't think I didn't notice!
{Pause}
BC: {GASP} You're taking me in!
MK: Oh, Bear.
BC: First, they'll steal my beautiful plumage! Then they'll prepare my succulent loins for your consumption! TRAITOR! How much are you paying them for this atrocity?!?! I thought you LOVED me! Your life will be cold and empty without me!
MK: Yes. My life WOULD be cold and empty without you. Hopefully, it won't be any time soon.
BC: I WANT FOOD!!! Just tell me . . . what horrors do you have in mind for this cute, little, innocent kitty cat?
MK: I'm not going to get any sleep tonight, am I?
BC: You'll sleep when I eat!
MK: {groaning} I KNEW this was going to happen! This is going to be a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG night.
BC: MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMA! WHERE'S MY FOOD?
{Pause}
BC: Where's my food?
{Pause}
BC: I'm hungry! FEED ME!
{Pause}
BC: I'm DYING! FEED me!
{Pause}
BC: HIIIIIIIIIIIII! Don't forget to feed me!
. . . . {and on and on, ALL night. Bear doesn't sleep . . . and neither does Momma . . . and while she'd like to catch up on things, that doesn't happen either because Bear keeps stealing or destroying things to get Momma's attention for food . . . he's just a relentlessly stubborn (but much beloved) pain-in-the-ass. Unfortunately, in this case, where he's having his teeth cleaned in the morning and isn't supposed to have food after 8PM, Momma can't capitulate and end the tyranny. But she also doesn't want to tell him WHY he can't have food because he has a few hiding spots she has no clue about . . . just that he vanishes into thin air . . . and she has no doubt he'll take refuge immediately if she gives even a HINT of what's to come. Battle of wills. Momma 3; Bear 9,376. And as a ps . . . Bear not sleeping is 100% accurate . . . he didn't sleep between 8PM and 6AM when Momma took him in . . . and he followed her everywhere, with his nose in everything . . . because he is, well, Bear . . . }


On Bear's molar - part 2 {picking Bear up from the vet}:
MK: Hi, Bear. Did you have a bad day?
BC: What do you think? I haven't eaten since eight pm last night, I have a hole AND stitches where my vicious molar used to be, I REALLY need to use the litter box, and I see six of you! Like ONE of you isn't bad enough!
MK: I'm sorry. I'll get you home as quickly as possible.
BC: You ABANDONED me here! ABANDONED! What if you hadn't come back?
MK: I ALWAYS come back, Bear. The vet tech told me you were very sweet and she fell in love with you when you tried to cuddle up to her. {sigh} Like ALL women! My . . .
{Pause}
BC: MoooooommmMMA! You promised! You promised you wouldn't call me . . .
MK: My Bug. I love you so much. I missed you today! Every time I turned around and you weren't there, I almost cried.
BC: Oh, no! This is embarrassing! You PROMISED! NOT in public!
MK: {sniffling just a tad . . . moist eyes . . . surely allergies} I LOVE YOU so much, Bug.
BC: Ah, man! Two at the same time! You promised! At least you haven't . . .
MK: {leaning over to plant a kiss on Bear's nose} I love you, Bug.
BC: OF COURSE YOU WOULD! Because this day couldn't POSSIBLY get worse . . . until my Momma shows up and makes a scene! We TALKED about this! You never cry at any other time! You never get weepy about anything else but me! I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE! All these people watching . . . they'll think I'm not a virile, ferocious male cat . . . they'll think I'm a MOMMA'S BOY!
{Pause}
MK: You're not?
BC: RATS! NOT in PUBLIC!!!
{Pause}
BC: {slightly firmer} I'm NOT a Momma's boy! I don't even know this woman! Oy! It must be the pain medication! I bet I've been talking to myself and this mirage of an ANNOYING woman isn't even real!
{Pause}
BC: No, NO! Don't cry MORE! We're leaving! I DEMAND YOU TAKE ME TO THE CAR RIGHT NOW! NO, don't tell the doctor AGAIN, how grateful you are to him! You've already thanked him PROFUSELY eight times! Grab hold of yourself! I hope he doesn't remember what cat got crammed in this carrier! It'll ruin EVERYTHING! I DEMAND A LAWYER! Or some OTHER kind of representation! NOW! NO! I demand to be taken to the CAR now! THEN, I want representation!
{Pause}
BC: HEY! You're not lugging around a bag of rocks in this carrier!
MK: Ummm, Bear? The carrier is still on the table, I haven't picked it up yet.
BC: PAIN MEDICATION! Ooooooooooh! Rainbows! UNICORNS! HEY, sexxxy!
MK: {whispering} Bear, that's the vet.
BC: You say that like it's a bad thing!
{Pause}
BC: RATS!
MK: {whispering} No, the OTHER one, Meow McQuacky-Pants. He just walked past in the hall.
BC: RATS! I wish to use my right to remain silent! Oh. But only after I say, PAIN MEDICATION! Whoo!

Did you miss the story of Meow McQuacky-Pants, the vet Bear dislikes more than all the other vets in the world combined? You can find the story here: Meow McQuacky-Pants & Bear's Food Time.


Where did the name "Bug," come from? It's short for Love Bug and a term of endearment. Apparently I shortened the name without realizing it and now it's become a habit.


On Bear's molar - part 3 {the aftermath}:
BC: Heeeee-y where are you going with my food bowl?
MK: The vet said you shouldn't have your dry food for a couple days unless I soak it first.
BC: BUT THAT'S MY FOOD BOWL! I'm starving! I haven't eaten in a . . . . err . . . MONTH!
MK: Bear, it's been about 20 hours.
BC: I KNEW IT! I'm dying! An ENTIRE MONTH without food!
MK: I put down a plate of wet food RIGHT in front of you - tuna and shrimp. You'd rather have wet food, right? You get three days of all wet food!
BC: I'm so weak, I keep walking in to the wall!
MK: No, your balance issues are remnants of the anesthesia.
BC: But I want my dry food! NOW!
MK: How about I add some of your chicken treats to the tuna and shrimp?
{Momma runs to the kitchen for the treats}
BC: Put my dry food bowl back!
MK: Bear, the vet said . . .
BC: I DON'T CARE! I want my dry food!
{Momma puts the bowl down and watches as Bear struggles with the dry food. Being dumb, it takes her a few face plants to figure out that he isn't falling asleep into his bowl, he's rearing back when the dry food touches his stitches and meanwhile accidentally digging food out of the bowl with his face. Then she picks the bowl up and cleans up the kibble all over the floor, meanwhile castigating herself for KNOWING better and giving in to kitty temper tantrums anyway. Another example of the cat suffering from the human's incompetence}.
BC: HEY! I want that! I WANT MY DRY FOOD!
MK: No. You have a bunch of wet food and treats.
BC: But I want DRY food! I'm not eating this wet food! It's not real food!
{Momma runs to dump some kibble on a plate and soak it with water}
MK: Here . . . here's some dry food moistened with water.
BC: It's SOGGY! I don't want SOGGY kibble!
MK: {almost in tears} How about I open the can with salmon and tuna?
BC: I want my food bowl with DRY KIBBLE in it!
{Momma runs to open another can on yet another plate}
MK: Bear, you always say kibble isn't real food! You have one plate of tuna and shrimp with chicken treats and moistened kibble . . . or here's a plate of salmon and tuna. I know you're starving!
{Silence . . . then Bear grudgingly eats a bit from the salmon and tuna, then goes to the plate with tuna and shrimp and has a bit . . . back and forth . . . struggling to adjust to eating with the wound in his mouth . . . and pawing at his face every so often}
{Now, Momma IS crying . . . because he's clearly struggling and there's NOTHING she can do . . . she tries to distract him from the food and see if he'll cuddle, but he's too damn stubborn to give up eating even though it's taking him a long time to eat just a bite and his coordination is off.}
{And for the rest of the night . . . NO JOKE, Bear gets up from cuddles to wander around (no small feat considering he staggers all over the place) looking for his dry food and walking past the plethora (and increasing number) of wet food varieties available on plates in front of him.}
{And Momma wonders WHY THE HELL he always complains about dry food when he has it . . . and wants more wet food when he can't have it . . . based on that, with only wet food, he should be in kitty heaven (minus the pain) . . . and Momma realizes she's been skunked for years into believing the poor, beleaguered Bear who can never get enough wet food and barely tolerates the dry food. He just wants what he can't have. Cats.}
{Yes, this post is more serious than most of our posts . . . I don't want to give the idea that the experience was all fun and games . . . it WAS NOT. From Bear's struggle to eat (with me trying EVERYTHING I could think of and running around in circles trying to get him to eat because I knew he was hungry) to his face plant while trying to get in the litter box, he was actually more "out of it" and "off" than after the surgery to remove his tumor. And second only to Bear's pain, was my own. I can deal with my own pain, but to watch him in pain is straight out torture. And he's too stubborn to accept help too (I helped him in to the litter box and he had to come out and then go back in by himself. Or when he tried to jump up his cat tree and I tried to help by placing him on the top perch only for him to jump down and then back up again. Cats. Oh, phooey, Momma's like that too . . . she clearly sees she has a "kid" just like her. The curse of every parent to the parent's stubborn/determined child: "I hope you have a kid JUST LIKE YOU when you grow up! Then you'll see!" Oh, yes. Yes, I will.)}


On Bear's molar - part 4
 {the same night, more aftermath}:
MK: Did you have a good sleep?
BC: Who are YOU? Holy cat treats! I've finally come face to face with Bigfoot!
{Pause}
BC: Oh.
MK: Do you feel better?
BC: Maybe.
MK: You finally settled down for more than ten minutes . . . actually you slept for almost an hour.
BC: I was tired!
MK: I know. Before that, you kept getting up every five minutes and wandering around looking for your dry food bowl.
BC: Now that you mention it, I'm STARVING!
MK: Let me get out the plates of wet food from the refrigerator.
BC: But I want DRY food!
MK: {trying to distract him} I might hate seeing you in pain, but that was one very special cuddle.
BC: Hmph.
MK: You slept curled up in my arms . . . your chin was on my upper arm and both my arms were folded around you, holding you securely, meanwhile, you were pulled tight into me as I laid on my side. You were all wrapped up in my arms. And you fell asleep! Finally!
BC: I was tired!
MK: Do you remember me humming to you and petting you?
BC: YOUR humming? Phht. That wouldn't relax me, lady!
MK: Since I can't purr, I was hoping it'd have the same relaxing power.
BC: {sniff} I don't remember this.
MK: That's okay. All that matters is you got some rest.
BC: Hmph. I was surrounded. Where was I going to go?
MK: You SLEPT! And you're the one that came to me! I know better than trying to make you do anything - I just laid on the floor and waited in the blanket nest I created. See? There's drool on my shoulder! You were out cold! I know . . . after 10 years of sleep/cuddling, I know all the signs of you sleeping and you were OUT.
BC: I bet you drooled on your OWN shoulder!
MK: I doubt it, I couldn't fall asleep. I was too worried about you. I had to keep checking to make sure you were breathing.
BC: Whatever.
MK: It makes me feel good that you felt safe with me and I was able to get you to relax a bit.
BC: I'm sorry, is this post a love letter you yourself? "I'm so awesome and a great momma! I starved my cat for hours, abandoned him at a strange place for the day, then refused to let him eat dry food! Aren't I such a great momma?"
MK: Well, when you put it that way . . .
{Pause}
MK: NO! I also tried desperately to get you to eat by offering you four different kinds of wet food, I held you until you woke up even though I was in major pain and really hungry, and I tried to HELP you and keep you from hurting yourself!
BC: "I'm such a great momma! My cat has a hole in his mouth and stitches, requires pain medication, and I follow him around everywhere and regularly HAVE to check that he's breathing!"
MK: You needed the tooth to be removed! It bled every time I brushed your teeth! The only reason the vet didn't do it a year ago is because you'd already been "under" three times longer than he planned since he took out three times what he was expecting to remove of the tumor and the surrounding tissue!
BC: "I'm such a great cat momma, I let a stranger shave my cat of his luxurious plumage, let the same stranger slice my cat open, and then insisted he wear a cone until it became obvious he couldn't eat with it on!"
MK: So what you're saying is that I'm a terrible Momma?
BC: YES!
{Pause}
BC: {sigh} No.
{Pause}
BC: But don't let that go to your head!
{Pause}
BC: {mumbling}.
MK: What was that?
BC: I liked our sleepy snuggle too.
MK: I love you, Bug.
BC: DON'T PUSH IT!
{Pause}
BC: {sigh} {mumbling}.
MK: What?
BC: You always do everything you can to make me feel safe and loved, even when you're really scared yourself. I love you, Momma.

{As the night wore on, Momma and Bear had many more of these super cuddles, where Bear settled down enough to sleep and Momma refused to leave his side . . . until Bear felt a bit better and required his space, even though he still needed to check in with Momma every so often for reassurance. Being a Momma might be hard at times, but it also is the most rewarding and satisfying job I'll ever do.}

No comments:

Post a Comment