Our cat, The Cat Formerly Known As Biko (pronounced “beek-oh”) (I know, isn’t it an awful name?) has requested anonymity on this blog. From now on he would like to be known as “Barry White.” If you would like to know why, click here.
Mr. White has finally returned from the pet hospital. He’s back to his old puffed-up self, pretending to be a fearsome Jaguar stalking antelope on the Serengeti, when really, he’s just a house cat chasing flies on the lawn.
It cost a small fortune to spring him out of the pet hospital. The equivalent of three iPads, if you must know. Or one Canon EOS DSLR camera. Or six pairs of Armani sunglasses.
Or three-and-a-half KitchenAid mixers or fourteen American Girl dolls. Or fourteen hundred individually wrapped paper fans from the Dollar Store.
You see where I’m going with this. It’s hard to stop the calculating.
And yes, my mind went there in real time as the vet was ringing it all up and I was handing her my ATM card.
You may already know this, but I’m not the world’s biggest animal lover. I cringe when I see my friends driving around with their 70 lb “doggie” on their lap, because I just can’t relate. I’ve got friends who sleep on their beds with two labradors. Friends who smooch their dogs even though those same dog lips have been licking their own unmentionable nether-regions. I know that my opinions about the pet fanaticism that’s currently in vogue are unpopular, so I pretty much keep them to myself. I have two cats – one showed up on our doorstep as a stray kitten and although I tried hard to off-load it onto another family, there were no takers so he’s ours now and I think I might love him. But I don’t have cat paraphernalia, paw print key chains, or “Cat lover” bumper stickers on my car. I don’t buy jewel-encrusted collars for them or spend a whole lot of time mollycoddling them. I buy the cheapest cat food possible even though it’s probably horse meat. I am the furthest thing from a cat lady.
I love him enough, though. I feed him. I bailed him out. And I was gutted when we found out that he was sick.
I haven’t told my husband how much the hospital bill was. Since he’s from the auld sod, which was until recently considered a third world country, my husband actually believes that animals belong outdoors earning their keep on the farm, not inside, hogging the duvet. He believes that if an animal is inside, it should be on a dinner plate.
We aren’t sure how Mr. White got sick or why he went into kidney failure, so the vet asked me about what he might have gotten into around the house, like antifreeze or anything toxic. That’s when I remembered: Fi’s science project was on oil pollution. And the liquid left over from her project was so toxic that her teacher “returned” it to me at carpool. She asked me to take the full bucket of oil spill home because it was too toxic for them to pour down the drain at school. It might leach into the ground, she said. So I had to drive home balancing a full bucket of oil spill slopping in the car.
When we got home I put it on the driveway beside the vat of oil from the Thanksgiving turkey we deep-fat fried which is still sitting on the driveway in the exact same place my husband fricasseed it, back in November. I figured he was thinking about where to dispose of the turkey oil so I put the bucket there hoping he might know what to do with it. We told him that the teacher had given us instructions to dispose of it properly, and that we had no idea what this meant.
So without telling us, under cover of night, he apparently poured it down a hole in the front yard.
We know he did this because of the telltale bits of sorbent, cotton balls, and sludge he left behind.
So when the vet asked me if our cat had gotten into anything, I told him my theory that my Irish husband was maybe trying to indirectly do away with the cat, by letting him nibble on Fiona’s science experiment. I gave him my spiel about how Irish people think farm animals belong outside and how cruel that is, how archaic and farmer-like. The vet (Dr. Fitzpatrick – doh!) said that my husband being Irish didn’t have anything to do with anything, and probably didn’t cause any kidney failure either.
I kept this minor detail from my husband, because I was annoyed that he had used our yard as a covert dumping ground without our permission.
You see? This is how comedic our little family is.
Anyhoo, since Barry White is out of the woods, I can show you the text messages that flew back and forth between my husband and our tween in an apparent attempt to cast blame on whoever’s fault it is that the cat got sick.
Did someone say colonoscopy? Then you must watch the Billy video, again.
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