My cell phone rings.
It’s noisy and hard to hear.
It’s the veterinarian. She has some bad news.
She can’t be sure, but Sylvia may have a kidney infection.
“We’ll have to run more tests.”
It’s also likely Sylvia has a hyperthyroid condition.
The vet then says, “It’s common in older cats….”
I don’t hear anything after that for a few seconds….
What do you mean?
Sylvia isn’t ‘old’
And she isn’t ‘older’
She’s my “silly girl”
Older cats don’t play with toys!
I still come home and find cat toys in the middle of the living room and smile because I know how happy my Sylvia is.…
The vet runs down a list of options and asks me what I want to do.
I said, “Whatever you recommend. Whatever she needs.”
She explains what tests she’s going to run.
I say, “Fine.”
She says, “I’ll put you through to the receptionist to go over the billing”.
I’m thinking, “I don’t give a fuck about the billing.”
Just do it. I’ll haggle over money if it involves me, not my cats.
… I wait on hold
… I remember fall 1997
I had just adopted Sylvia and her brother Mickey.
They were only a few weeks old.
I could hold them both in one hand they were so tiny…
It’s amazing to think back on what a terror Sylvia was.
She was always getting into trouble.
She destroyed all my house plants.
She would drag things out from under the kitchen sink I didn’t even know existed; a pair of glasses from a previous tenant; a bed sheet ten times her size; an empty can of peanuts.
Anything she could get her little paws on she would move from one room to another.
For the first couple of weeks, every time I would come home the living room looked like a disaster area.
She would pull down the drapery
Two large panels, a window sheer, valance, ornate tie strings, a hanging rod.
They spanned the entire length of the sliding glass doors.
She’d turn the whole mess into a kitten playground
... One day it finally took its toll on me.
After cleaning up the mess and putting everything back in place for the umpteenth time, I left the room and immediately heard the “chick-chick-chick” sound of cat claws coming from the living room.
I returned to the room and there she was, little Sylvia, digging her claws into the drapes!
I grabbed a small couch pillow to smack her with – she was so tiny I didn’t want to hurt her.
She shot out of the room like a bullet to hide in the bedroom.
“OK”, I thought. “She’s learned her lesson”
I went to sit down.
About 2 minutes passed when out of the corner of my eye I could see her walking towards me.
I didn’t turn to look at her… but I knew she had stopped next to my chair, sat down, and was staring up at me.
I slowly turned to look at her – this tiny 12 week old kitten.
The look on her face said it all.
It said, “You are not going to be mad at me! We’re going to settle this right now! ”
I looked down at her and realized what an incredibly smart cat she was.
She wanted to put this issue behind us and she wanted to do it NOW!
To understand at such an impossibly young age the importance of resolving issues and moving on as quickly as possible spoke volumes about the intelligence of my Sylvia …..
Now it's 15 years later - earlier this week..
We’re in the vet’s office..
Sylvia is clinging to my hand inside her carrying case and shaking.
She looks out through holes in the case and sees dogs…
She sees people..
Strange noises coming from all directions..
Strange smells …
She looks up at me with those adorable, emerald eyes just like she did when she was a kitten..
I tell her, “Everything is going to be alright, Sylvia”
“I love you, Sylvia… I love you very much”
And now …. I wait for the results of the tests….
I hope for the best and cherish every second I can spend with her…
“We had a deal, Sylvia.”
“I said I would take you in and give you a home with all the love and happiness possible…”
“But you're the baby. I leave first.”