A Sign of the Times


Last week I took my cat “Nibbler”, to the vet. He has an ulcer developing under his lip. He’s been on the steroid prednisone for the past month or so, with no noticeable sign of improvement. So I trotted him back over to the vet and had her check him out. Side note that was last week. This week when I took him for an antibiotic shot, I handed him over and they had me wait outside. A Sign of the times right? At any rate, last week they did a small biopsy on his lip to test for cancer. No worries, turns out its not cancerous. They stitched it up and tied a plastic collar around his neck to keep him from scratching the incision.

Mr. Cone Head

Did I mention I have 4 cats? Needless to say “Mr. Cone Head,”aka
‘Nibbler”, with that collar around his neck, is the Blind Elephant in the Room. He crashed, bumped, tripped and careened into everything. Not to mention on top of that, he’s been shunned by the other cats because of the collar. Sound familiar? He had to wear the thing for 4 days. During those 4 days he threw whatever cat etiquette he’d learned out the door. Like eating out of a bowl. I’d pour dry cat food into his bowl, then try to position his head over the bowl. If you know cats, he has to do things his way. So instead he’d reach his paw into the bowl and pull the food out onto the floor. Then grunting and looking like a pig (I kid you not) he’d lap it up. All the while the plastic cones scraping on the floor scaring the other cats. But hey, whatever works right? The collar has also caused him to move a little slower. He looks at his surroundings more carefully. Above all, now when confronted with an immovable object he’s learned to back up, reevaluate and circumvent the object. As for the cat shunning, he placidly waited until the other cats adjusted to him, which they did. All but one. “Butta” wouldn’t have anything to do with him till the cone came off. Nibbler didn’t like his situation but he adjusted to the cone. Was any of this fair to him? Did he cause the ulcer, who knows? I had previously caught him eating my permanent botanicals, (sounds better than, fake plants). Upon realizing it I removed them, albeit possibly too late. God knows what kind of chemicals he ingested. I guess it could have been worst. At least he didn’t grow another head!

I’m taking my Cue from a Cat 

A short time ago, If I’m honest, I was the blind elephant in the room. Running blindly from one store to another, bumping into immovable restrictions all the while wrapping my head around the new social distancing norm. All in all, not much different from what Nibbler experienced. Like him, did I in some obscure way contribute to this social upheaval, perhaps through ambivalence? Who knows, only time will tell. That’s a saga for another day. As for the here and now, I’m taking my cue from a cat.

That said, like most people, our eating habits have changed. We cook and eat in frequently. We’ve even started growing vegetables and herbs again. I say we but it’s my niece who unexpectedly, has become the gardening gnome. Also like “Mr Cone Head”, we’re learning to circumvent things. We’ve talked to our creditors to learn our options in the event we need them. Pooled our resources and developed a different type of social interaction with people and neighbors. I have an overripe lemon tree and share lemons with my neighbors. They have tomatoes they share with me. As a result, we’re learning every day to do things a little differently, as we adjust to the collar around our necks.

                                     Image by Andy M.

The New Normal

But there was one more wrinkle, Nibbler started sneezing like crazy. At first I thought it was the meds but in hindsight I realized it was the new (cheap) cat litter I bought. I didn’t notice it was scented. Evidently, it turns out Nibbler has allergies. Other than that, his stitches healed so his collar has come off. I haven’t noticed any lingering effects. The meds seem to be working and the ulcer is shrinking. On the whole, as far as he’s concerned, most things have returned to normal for him. In time, things will return to normal for us too. Though I suspect as with Nibbler, some things will irreparably change and that ain’t all bad!  For now this is the new normal”. So in the mist of this upheaval we’re experiencing. If i’m cool enough to be chilling with family, it’s because of the lessons i’m learning…from a cat.

Check this site and for my new pet remembrance books. One for kids and youth, “Remember when Gypsy Swiped the Pork Chop from Uncle Ed’s Plate?”And the other for adults. “Remember When… Pet Anecdotes and Humorous Poems”

Sandra Moses


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