Sunday, February 23, 2014

Molly's Miracle

This is Molly.

Molly is almost 16 years old and is a dingy-looking, part-white, part-tan, part-Siamese, outdoor cat that Tess got for her 5th birthday.  As a kitten, Molly was a super cute ball of fur.  Now she is a bigger ball of fur--or more specifically--lots of balls of fur matted together.

Recently, Molly appeared to be on death’s doorstep so I brought her into the house and put her into hospice.

The first days in animal hospice, Molly drank massive amounts of water, ate very little food, and slept most of the time.  She seemed unusually unsteady, her back legs wobbled when she walked, and her mouth and nose were a stained a weird brown color.  And she was kind of disgusting; every time she sneezed--which was excessively often--slime poured out of her nose (in fact, she kind of oozed slime out of her face in those first days--think Gary the snail on Sponge Bob). Being relatively sure that these were Molly’s last days, we (meaning me, since the children came home each day and emotionlessly asked, “Is Molly dead yet?”) tried to provide her with palliative care; furminating her dirty white coat as often as possible and saying comforting and entirely untrue things to her (like, "Aren't you a pretty kitty"). That first week, Molly did nothing but slowly creep out of her bed to drink water, eat a little food, or use the litter box, and then she would painstakingly creep back in and fall asleep. Then one day, maybe day eight in kitty hospice, I came home from work and Molly was missing. Her basket was empty and I was sure she had wandered off to hide herself under a bed and die with dignity.  But, just as I was taking my coat off, feeling a bit sentimental about the time she spent with us (and remembering the time she gave up several of her lives as a kitten when she almost gotten eaten by a dog), Molly jogged through the living room as if she had not a care in the world, holding her tail high.  Obviously, she must have been feeling better and decided to take a field trip to Tess’ room to lounge upon the green chair—the green chair which requires jumping to lie upon. Molly had not been jumping previously.  Molly had barely been walking. When she did walk, it was this wobbly, uncoordinated sort of gait that made her look like she was drunk. 

So now (probably week 4 in unnecessary hospice), with her remarkable transformation, and her impenetrable defense of what she deems “her room” when the other cats come inside, I am beginning to wonder if Molly was just recovering from a nasty hangover for that first week.  Maybe that’s why she was so thirsty when I first brought her in (alcohol is a diuretic) and why her face was stained brown (The Mexican Tequila in the pantry seems to have been opened…and drunk??).  Maybe she has been privately drinking for years but recently became so depressed that she tried to end it all and failed.  Max and Shamgar (yes that is his real name—Judges 3:31—look it up) would be a difficult duo with which to create compassionate community—especially when they dethroned 'the Queen' (Molly's former--and maybe current--view of herself) from her loft—and forced her to hang out in the plastic doghouse on the ground.  Maybe Molly has been depressed for years and was really crying out for help in the only way she knew how—self-destruction. 

Or maybe, and here’s my other theory, as she seems to be as spry as a spring chicken lately, maybe she has been secretly plotting her permanent import into the big house and decided that she would feign death.  She has always ALWAYS wanted to be an indoor cat, and maybe she decided that self-mutilation/starvation/dirtiness would win her the prize she coveted. Maybe. But now that I have discovered her deception and/or substance abuse/dependence, I am watching her closely and have installed a hidden camera in the mud room to track her movements. So far, so good.  I also put the inhalants out of reach.  She does, however, seem to sneak around at night.  I hear her little toenails click-clicking on the hardwood while I sleep and wonder what she is up to and why she has the need to traverse the entire house and why she thinks it is a good idea to use Cole's Witte Travel bag as a porta-potty or Shay's pillow as a slobber distribution site.

Regardless of the method of her madness, I do believe Molly thinks that she has won.  She, a former "Outside Cat" has now achieved the coveted  status of "Indoor Pet"; she has pushed her boundaries, pulled out all the stops, and humiliated herself to the point of being distasteful. And, though I think she is sober now, I've been thinking of signing her up for AA just to keep her out of trouble...and out of the house...which is where she will be again when the weather gets warm...except she doesn't know that...and I'm not about to tell her for fear she will again fall into patterns of self-loathing.

It's not sayonara yet for Mol; she has personally checked herself out of hospice and into happiness. It's a (temporary) dream come true!

Long live the Queen!

Now if I could just teach her to use a hankie.

For more adventures with Molly, check out a few more of her imperfections here and see pictures of her modestly bathing (she actually does this??) here.

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