When I was a swingin' single gal in Seattle (that was alliterative), I had a cat (and it is kind of too bad I didn't have a salmon, but I kind of did, actually. There was this big fish store across the street and it had a giant salmon on top of the store and its fish mouth moved up and down constantly. I used to imagine it said, "Hiiiii, Juuunnne! How was your dayyyyy!?" I really did. How did I ever snag a man?) and I used to come home to my cat, Mr. Horkheimer, and ask him, "How was your cat day?"
Apparently inquiring about how days went was big with me.
The phrase, "How was your cat day?" became kind of a habit with me, and I find myself asking Marvin that same thing sometimes.
Well, I'll tell you what. Today was a bad cat day. It was a particularly bad cat day for our cat Francis.
In 1997, right after Princess Diana died, Marvin and I were engaged and living in an apartment in North Hollywood. Okay, yes, get all your judgy I-am-a-tramp-with-my-tramp-steamer-doing-my-Charlie-Chaplin-tramp-impression-tramping-around-town thoughts out right now. He bought the cow, didn't he?
So there we were in our apartment, me being a vamp, when we heard this weird, "Meaaaaaa!" noise in the night. We heard it again. High-pitched. "Meaaaaa!"
"What was that?" I asked, heading to the balcony. Other neighbors were on their balconies, too.
"It's a bird," said Marvin.
"Birds don't sing at night, do they?"
"Did you hear that?" our really ridiculously dramatic and turns out kind of nosy neighbor in the facing apartment complex asked us from his balcony, a daiquiri in his hand. "I did," I said. "I think it's a kitten!"
"It's a bird," Marvin insisted.
I guess I don't need to tell you it wasn't a bird, and several hours of hearing "Meaaa!" and many heroic attempts by the daiquiri-holder's boyfriend later, the teeniest, tiniest little kitten you ever saw emerged from the ivy of our carport roof. The boyfriend said the little thing had been hanging upside-down.
And this, folks, is how I got Francis. I originally named him Diana, thinking he was a girl, because when he first emerged from the ivy he still had his eyes closed, was toothless, and his gender was a little hard to determine. Not that I would have been able to sex him by his teeth.
We had to feed him from a bottle, using cat's milk, which let me tell you is cheap. And just like a human baby, Fran would wake up crying in the night and we would have to get him from his little bed we made for him in the bathroom, where he had a hot water bottle and blankets, and take turns feeding him. It was years later that Marvin finally admitted to me that one night he was really tired and didn't warm up Francis' bottle like we were instructed, and he watched that poor kitten shiver for an hour and felt horrid.
This is why we do not have kids.
Anyway, even though all of our friends were just waiting for my hysterical "THE KITTEN DIED!" phone call, Francis pulled though and 11 and a half years later he weighs 20 pounds.
Francis the kitten with his Great American Hero, Mr. Horkheimer. There was no one he admired as much as Horkie.
So last night I was here in the computer room, having a pertinent email conversation with faithful reader Jan about the Howard Stern show, when Francis started meowing insistently. I thought maybe he was yelling at Tallulah, as he is not a fan. But his meows got louder, and suddenly he started screaming.
It was 9 or 10 at night.
We all ran in there, all of us, and poor Francis was struggling to get up, and he couldn't, and nothing we did helped him, and I can't begin to tell you how awful it was. And here is the problem. Francis is completely nuts. The whole we-raised-him-since-he-was-two-weeks-old thing? Yeah. Although he's great with us, he is a SCARY SCARY NUTBAR with everyone else, and was actually banned from the vet in LA, because he went for my throat and the throat of the vet, so his vet visits have been limited at best.
He quieted down in a few minutes and went to sleep.
Nevertheless, I had him at the vet at 7:30 this morning. He was quiet all night until about 5 a.m. and his screaming started again, and you do not even want to know how hard it was to get him in that crate. I honestly thought we were going to have to call the police or something to help us. I am being serious. He is so scary when he gets frightened.
So guess what? My poor cat is passing a kidney stone. Four hundred dollars later, and all we can do is give him pain meds and wait it out. Oh, and the best part was when they called me at work and said, "Um, would it be okay if we lightly sedated Francis? We can't get near him to do any testing." I'm all, knock him out cold! You think I don't know what you're up against? Lightly sedate him.
I kept trying to picture how they even sedated him. Did they shoot some sort of blow dart across the room?
Here is my poor baby right now. He is loaded to the gills with painkillers. Just the way I like him. I got to see his x-rays, which were kind of fascinating and kind of made me want to faint all at the same time.
You know, I have been mentally preparing for Ruby's demise–she and Francis are about the same age. And then Francis has to up and get ill. I was just not prepared to lose my ridiculous Fran yet. So please, everyone send nice thoughts to his nutty self. Even you, mother-in-law. Who Francis may have slapped twice. Or maybe three times.