I have a cat. His name is Earnest. He was a gift from a student in a senior English class spring semester of the last year I taught. The class voted to call him Shakespeare. But I declined. I couldn’t see myself opening my back door and yelling Shakespeare into the neighborhood. So we settled on Earnest because as a class we were reading “The Importance of Being Earnest” when he came into my life.
He was full of fleas, a fraidy cat and an alley cat. Little did I know that I didn’t have to worry about startling the neighborhood with a scream of Shakespeare. Earnest’s feet have never touched earth. All of my previous cats were indoor and outdoor cats. Not Earnest. My husband, who claims not to like cats, decreed that he was too vulnerable to face the great outdoors.
Now Earnest is 12 or 13 years old. That number equates to roughly 68 in human years. And my veterinarian assures me that indoor cats can live to 20. That will make Earnest 100 or more.
I am starting to call him the cat-that-won’t-die.
My cat takes more medicine than I do.
First, after several incidents of deliberately not using the litter box, it was decided that he has a problem common with male cats that can be fixed with special cat food. So he went on a diet of cat food that can only be purchased at the veterinarian’s office.
That particular malady cost my husband a pair of shoes. That may not sound like a big problem, but my husband wears a size of shoe that is difficult to find. I used to dread shoe shopping with him. Now, I can order him shoes on the internet. But even that is sometimes difficult. Not every brand of shoe carries his size.
Next, a stray cat took up with us. A solid black cat that my oldest granddaughter named Julianne. You would think that Earnest and Julianne would be ignorant of each other as one is housebound and one stays outdoors. But noo!
They met through the window. Julianne would climb on the carport roof and Earnest would meet her on the bedroom chest. It was not love at first sight. They would hiss and growl and paw at the window until either my husband or I would break them up.
Earnest became obsessed with Julianne and jealous. Very jealous. He took to not using the litter box again.
I took him to the veterinarian. He was put on kitty Buspirine, an anti-anxiety medication. I said to the veterinarian when he gave me the prescription, “You mean my cat is crazy?” He answered, “No, he is just anxious.” I fail to see the difference.
So then my cat ate special food and took anti-anxiety medication. That particular episode cost me a new sofa. Though in Earnest’s defense, I needed a new sofa anyway.
Just short of a year ago, Earnest went into another funk. He would stay glued to the window that looked out on the carport roof, even though Julianne was not there to hiss at him. He would not eat. He began to smell. He again would not use the litter box. Does this seem to be a reoccurring theme?
Another trip to the veterinarian. He had ear mites. Three trips to the veterinarian for ear cleanings, topical medication to rid him of fleas and ear mites and two kinds of eardrops and a month later he was well.
This cost me two rugs. One of the rugs was threadbare and needed to be replaced. But the other one wasn’t. However, I like my new rugs.
About two weeks ago, Earnest began acting funny. I don’t want to buy any new furniture, so we went immediately to the veterinarian. His ears were bothering him again. Not ear mites, allergies. My cat has allergies that make his ears bother him. So now I must use special drops to clean his ears once a week.
So now my cat eats special food, takes pills for anxiety and has allergies that require special drops to clean his ears weekly.
He takes more medicine than I do, and he is younger than I am when you compare cat years to human years. He’s the cat-that-won’t-die.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at email@example.com.