I’ve always had a soft spot for animals, and that’s why I wanted to add this link to my website — if you click on this web site daily, its sponsors will provide for the care and feeding of animals.
This means a lot to me, because all but one of our critters were rescued or adopted. For a long time one was unsure about his new home though: our cat Pumpkin.
Mr. Shukti had a devastating loss in his family, a death leaving behind several family members, including two cats. It was one of those horrible situations where there was little we could do, but we had to do something, so we took in the cats. I didn’t know much about them except they were two males, a black shorthair named Tony and an orange-and-white fuzzball named Pumpkin, and they were friendly.
My toughest critics.
Friendly they were; receptive to change, not so much. When we got them home Tony took one look around his new room, hissed, and crawled under the bed. I gave him 24 hours to sulk, then gently dragged him out from under the bed and rubbed his tummy until his growls changed to purrs. After that he claimed us, “helping” my husband around the house and sitting in my lap to watch movies with me. Pumpkin, however, was another story. He never left our sides but neither would he eat, no matter what we used as a bribe, rejecting even freshly cooked chicken and fish. This was beyond me, because we’ve had all kinds of cats in our married life — playful ones, lazy ones, brilliant cats who could open a drawer in the bathroom and tweeze out a single Q-Tip and mental giants who I caught having slap fights with their own reflections — and the one thing they all had in common is they ate like pigs at a trough. Really, when I see the Fancy Feast commercials with a cat delicately eating food from a piece of Waterford, I just laugh, because ours eat like Bluto from Animal House.
Aside from stress, Pumpkin got a clean bill of health from the vet before we claimed him. We’d never had one that had nothing organically wrong with him reject food. We tempted him with everything we could but one day he crawled into the corner of our office and just stared dejectedly at the wall. I scooped him up and rushed him back to the vet. She hydrated him and explained that we had to force him to eat. I had to feed him soft cat food and water with a syringe until he started eating on his own. This was where working from home helped me: I’d heard of cats that go off their food getting shocked into hepatic failure if they suddenly start eating again, so I decided to try something different. Every hour I’d sneak up on him and give him a squirt each of food and water, and while I often wound up wearing most of it, I got enough into him that he was soon coming up to us and demanding food just like the rest of the household.
We lost our beloved Tony to cancer Labor Day weekend 2007, but Pumpkin is still with us, healthy as a little horse. I think now he’s as happy to be here as we are to have him, too. Every morning when I sit down in front of my computer, he marches into my lap, purring like an idling Harley, and sits with me while I drink my coffee. As you can see, he also helps himself to water whenever he wants.
A sad addendum: Our beloved Pumpkin took his final ride to the vet this spring 2014. I adored that little cat. He was 16, and his health was deteriorating. I held him as the vet euthanized him, and then buried him in a sunny spot in our yard. I curled him up and put his little foot over his nose in his favorite sleeping position.
Requiescat in pace, Pumpkin. Mommy loves you and always will.