Sunday, May 8, 2011

Trouble Cat

Should have been named "Trouble"

I am going to blog about my trip to Africa, but I have to wait until next Wednesday or Thursday, so I can post some of my better pictures. The negatives and slides of the pictures that I took while I was there are being scanned to disk by the expensive camera shop at a cost that would pay for a new wardrobe for my next trip. Okay, not a new wardrobe but a pair of jeans and several T-shirts. I have a seriously cute picture of a bunch of children on the street and an arty shot of sundown on the Zambezi, and I can't just scan the prints at home because they are in a multi-picture frame. 

So in the meantime, I can blog about my cat. Lately, it has been horribly unlucky to be one of my cats. Truffle, our only cat at the moment, broke his little toe. The first I realized anything was wrong was when he jumped up on my dresser and I saw his rear paw had an open sore on it. An hour later, the vet looked at it and said he had an abscess that had ruptured, and that he seemed to have broken the bone in his outer toe, probably by catching his claw in something. She gave him a shot of a long-acting antibiotic and told me to bring him back at the end of the week. In the meantime, keep him inside.

By the end of the week, Truffle had managed to escape and get out only twice. The abscess, while looking better, was still draining. X-rays showed the infection was in the bone, and that surgery would be necessary. I had to give Truffle antibiotics by mouth over the weekend, and bring him in Monday for the surgery. He could go home Tuesday, and would need to continue on the antibiotic, and stay inside. 

Truffle is not an easy cat to give medicine to. None of them are, but Truffle is 13 some odd pounds of pure muscle and mean, and has a finely honed instinct for self defense. So far, I've been able to corral him in the sink area of the divided bath morning and night for over a week to give him his drops, and most of them seem to be going inside. None of the scratches he's inflicted on me have been very deep. Despite the fact that Truffle has managed to remove almost all his stitches, he is recovering well, and has only escaped the house once. He should be finished with the antibiotics and make his last vet visit Tuesday, and by then he should be able to resume normal life. I hope.

It is at times like this, when corralling a terrified cat determined to fight to the end to avoid the medicine that is going to save him from a horrible, possibly life-threatening infection, and getting scratched for my pains, that my thoughts turn theological. Maybe this is what our relationship with God is like, I think. We don't understand when he is doing things that will ultimately benefit us. We fight and scratch and yowl and rip at our stitches. Maybe there is some beneficial plan behind events that only seem bad from our limited perspective.

But then I go on to think about the situation from my perspective. I know my cat is a cat. I don't expect him to like or understand surgery, stitches, medicine, confinement. I know that from his perspective, these are horrible events with no redeeming features. If I had the power to make antibiotics taste yummy and wounds zip themselves closed without uncomfortable stitches, I would exercise it in a second and not worry about whether I was interfering with his little kitty-cat sized free will in the process. Whatever Truffle was doing at the moment he got injured (my husband thinks climbing on the fence), he probably did have another choice he could have made. But whatever Truffle was doing at the moment he got injured, he didn't do it with the intention of exposing himself to an injury and horrible infection. He probably did it with the intention of exposing a bird or a squirrel to an injury and possible death, because he's a cat, which means he's a carnivore.

And I certainly don't judge him for not seeing the injury and medical treatment from my perspective. How could he? He's a cat. Oh, sure, I have fussed at him a few times when he's scratched me, and I have called him a bad cat for removing his stitches, but that's just frustration on my part. I know he's not bad. I love the little demon. I love the courage he exhibits in the presence of a being who is many times his size and who seems determined to poison him. I love the ingenuity he shows in removing his stitches and sneaking outdoors. I don't love the results, because they are bad for him, but I love the traits. And I knew when I took on the responsibility of living with a cat that it would mean moments like these, and I did it anyway.

So theology isn't my thing. Obviously I am not qualified to be God. 

Update, May 10, 2011: Truffle has his remaining stitches out, has healed up well, no longer needs his antibiotic, and can go outside when he wants to. He still looks funny with his paw shaved, but that will mend in time, too.

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