26 April 2011

Pet Parenting

This is Kallisto. She is a Russian Blue, or a blue Russian Shorthair, depending who you ask. Her birthday is October 30, 1998 & she came to live with me when she was 12 weeks old.
Together, we have lived in three states, four cities, & more apartments & houses than I can think of right now.
When I’m hanging out in my room, she lays on the bed close to where I’m sitting. When I take a shower, I often find her sitting outside the bathroom door. Sometimes I’ll find her sitting on the kitchen windowsill (where these pictures were taken).
If I’m in the other part of the apartment for ‘too long’, she comes to find me. When she finds me, she looks at me & meows, like she’s asking where I’ve been. Then she usually sits near my feet. Or she keeps looking at me until I pick her up.
When I start getting ready to go to sleep, she sits near my pillow & watches me until I lay down. Usually, she’s purring before my head hits the pillow.
She makes sure my ears are nice & clean before she settles in to sleep, herself. Sometimes she’ll clean my forehead or groom my hair, too.
If she looks at me when I’m eating, it’s because she wants to sit in my lap. She has never been interested in ‘people food’ (except canned tuna, but that’s a whole nother level).
This weekend, we had our first "health scare". Early in the weekend, I noticed she seemed to be sneezing a bit more than usual. She has allergies & mine have been acting up, so I figured it was just "that time of year" for everyone. On Sunday I noticed that she just kind of looked miserable. She was sitting sort of hunched over & when she'd lay down into a kittyloaf, she held her head tilted forward at an unusual angle. Her breathing seemed labored & her sneezes were productive of scads (SCADS!) of yellow snot!
I figured it could be extra-bad allergies. Or it could be pneumonia. Or something. I've had a few friends who have dealt with pets' lingering illnesses & I was kind of terrified of what it would mean if she had feline tuberculosis or something (is that a thing?). She was able to purr emphatically despite the breathing issues she was having, so I figured that was a sign that it wasn't all that bad. I took the approach that many a proletariat does with our own illnesses: wait & see.
When I woke up today, she seemed unusually lethargic & didn't seem as eager to purr when I picked her up (which she usually does, even a little bit). I called work & told them I'd be late, then called the vet to see if they could see her soon. Indeed they could & I got her there as soon as I could. The vet said that her heart & lungs sounded good (not pneumonia or tuberculosis FUCK YEAH!) and that she has a bacterial uppper-respiratory infection.
I felt a strange sort of relief once I knew that it was a simple, localised bacterial infection that should clear up with antibiotics. The vet gave her an antibiotic injection at the office & I have a 7-day run to (hopefully) give her 2x a day. Also, there are some saline nose drops--which she dealt with pretty well, thankfully! Over the past 40 or so hours, I definitely realised how important she is to me--though I had a pretty good idea before that. I mean, people who talk shit about her (or cats in general) have been asked/told to leave my house, yeah. It really occurred to me, though, that for going on 13 years, she has been a constant in my life. As I mentioned before, we've lived kind of all over the place. She has always been a place in my life where I could find comfort, snuggles, an ear-cleaner, & purrs that won't quit.
Her activity level & breathing are already improved. I'm waiting for her to have a bite to eat so I can give her the first of the oral antibiotics & then, a few more years together.