We didn't know Harry had gotten sick until he quit eating last week.
He's been with me 20 years; I've lived with this cat longer than I lived with my family.
He was the cat whose warmth eased the pain after my breast cancer operation. And he's the one who, even in old age, has what Denny calls "good cat skills" from his street-cat days, to the extent that we two full-grown adults pay someone else to clip his claws, and donate their blood in the process.
We took him to the vet when he quit eating. He had a nasty abscess, with fever and tooth problems. I don't know how I didn't see the swelling before it was so bad he couldn't eat. It tears at me.
In just a short time he lost weight, the same percentage as if I'd lost 30 pounds. The vet did all the right things, including powerful antibiotics, but when we brought him home, none of us knew if he would live out the week.
Then Bev, a family friend and a nurse, came to visit for a few nights while she spent time with her family. She claimed Harry as her patient, sweet-talking him while she cleaned and drained his wound; through his screaming, four times in two days. By the time she left, he was well enough to eat soft foods and take liquids by mouth. I don't know if Harry would be here today without her.
We'd prefer smooth sailing, but the rough days are the ones that tell us who we are, the strength of our connections, and how thankful we are that we're not alone in the ocean.
I hope there's a Bev in your life when you need her.
Words and photos by Kathleen Scott,for her blog Hill Country Mysteries. Copyright 2009-2010.