I’m writing this post so my cat doesn’t die. I’m superstitious. She’s been ill. She’s old. Her eating is spotty and she’s losing weight. If you’ve read any earlier posts, you know that she’s already been a miracle kitty, having died and then been revived on the exam table at the vet. I even wrote a short book inspired by the experience. Now in May, it’s been a year and a half since that incident. Every day with her has been a gift. But just recently she started refusing food and has declined in strength. So, as the day nears when my first traditionally published novel comes out, I fear she’s hanging on for me until this milestone.
You know how pets sometimes do that? They’re so loyal and loving, they instinctively know you need them and will hold on for you as long as they can. I can think of two stories off the top of my head when this happened to people I knew. And I’m afraid my dear cat Maddie is doing the same.
A Long Journey Together
I don’t want Maddie to die — ever. She’s a good-natured beauty who came to us as a six-month-old stray when my dog Arrow cornered her. She’s lived a life of luxury and happiness since. She knows she’s beautiful and has used it to her advantage in the past. In fact, her nickname is Khaleesi. But she’s also provided us with unwavering affection over the years as my husband went through cancer treatment and we suddenly brought home three adopted children. She’s tolerated living with four dogs over the course of a decade too. And one very grumpy cat who she never liked much. At night, she snuggles by my head in bed and during the day, curls up in my arms.
So, as she loses weight and I call the vet every few days, please pray or think good thoughts for us. She has a thyroid condition and mild kidney disease. She’s weak but sometimes attentive. I know she can’t live forever, but I hope the stars don’t align in a way that breaks my heart. It’s hard not to think only about myself here but at the same time, she’s a mere fourteen, which seems too young for such a sweet and otherwise healthy kitty to leave this earth. And so I write this post, thinking if I do write it, she’ll live through the summer and if I don’t, she won’t. We’ll see how the stars arrange themselves.
Last November, my cat Madeleine had a heart attack and died, but she was revived by the emergency hospital vet. It was, to say the least, a traumatic experience for me, no doubt for her too. I couldn’t get over it. I wondered if she had had an out-of-body, or as my husband and I joked, an out-of-kitty experience. So I did what a writer does. I wrote about it.
Maddie had had a urinary tract infection for awhile that we thought we were treating but the antibiotics didn’t work. One Friday, she vomited her dinner and gave up eating. So I took her to the emergency vet where after a routine examination, she went into cardiac arrest. Luckily, the doctors revived her. Afterward, the experience stayed in my mind for weeks. How could I have let this happen?
The artistic outcome was I started writing a story about it and couldn’t stop. It’s now a novel. It’s about a young gardener who’s just finished graduate school and comes home to care for her family home while her mom’s away in rehab. The working title is Sophie and the Tree Hollow. And here are the first few paragraphs. If you like it and want to read more, let me know. I may self-publish it, I may shop for representation, I’m not sure yet. The good news is Maddie’s infection-free and as healthy as a thirteen-year-old cat can be.