Tuesday 15 February 2011


Something rather shocking befell the family recently. A friend who doesn't see her often announced that she thought the Beloved Cat, whom I shall call Daisy for the sake of patient confidentiality, had lost weight. This happened on a Sunday so there was an agonising hiatus before I could contact the Vet and even more time before the one that has known her all her life - nearly twelve years - would be on duty. However, the day did finally come when she was caught, held and poured in to her basket for the terrifying four minute drive to wherever she feared she was being shanghaied. (I have, all of a sudden, serious doubts about the political correctness of that last image: kidnapped, then). Perceiving me closing the door of the bedroom where she had been nestling on an old mohair jumper next to the radiator behind the very table on which I am computing as we speak, she slid from under it, low as a serpent and did her best to slink under the bed. Not possible: slink as she might and smear herself effacingly over the carpet, the one: the cat, was still higher than the other: the bed. However, by the same instinct that had understood the door closing, since all are left open in this house in order that My Lady should have access wherever she will, she saw that her fate was immutable. A combination of that and her heart-breaking trust in me finally resulted in compliance with the indignity of allowing herself to be picked up and thrust in to the wicker cage that had served too many cats before; not even a cell of her own in this Hell on Earth of a prison. I did put a clean towel inside to do my best to make it hers but I may just have to give in to my raging guilt and buy a new basket that will smell only of the shop and of her.

The Vet is big and jolly with a loud bass voice. His surgery is well run with two adjoining areas. An arrow points to "Cat waiting area", another to "Dog waiting area". These are both ignored and, no, I don't know where the rabbits and hamsters wait. We, that is, Daisy, my son who is visiting, and I, waited quietly in the wrong place while I held Daisy's paw and my son walked about reading all the notices. Finally it was our turn. The Vet listened to the presenting problem and looked at his screen. Daisy, who hates the basket, had to be dragged out of any port in a storm in the interest of the consultation, weighed, compared with the info on the screen and pronounced, indeed to have lost weight, a tenth of her former body-weight. This and that and the other were prodded and examined and, with heart in boots, I agreed to blood and urine tests to establish the, no doubt, terminal cause; thyroid, heart, cancer, whatever. Casually, I asked whether he thought it may be life-threatening - no, he didn't believe the light-heartedness either - and was less than reassuring when he said he couldn't know, yet. He warned us he may be some time as he went outside with the love of my life. But they were back in surprisingly little time and there was no more to do than wait for the results - this was Thursday, so no proper breath taking until Monday. Dear Reader, all was well. Come back in six weeks to eliminate irritable bowel syndrome - and another several hundred pounds: sterling that is - and stop worrying. Maybe she had just lost weight and we could review her diet. "Sometimes a cat can just lose weight ":Vetinary Surgeon. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar": Sigmund Freud. Nos da.

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