I started my new job this week, and although it’s only been three days, it seems like the kind of place where I can do well and get along with my coworkers. It helps that I’m the youngest person there by five to ten years and the only one who lives in Seattle proper, the rest commuting every day from the far southern suburbs. I guess I understand that as far as affordable home purchases are concerned, but if we’re all commuting for roughly the same amount of time every day, I’ll take the city of Seattle in any fight on any day of the year.
It’s about time that I started working, both because I needed to start waking up for a reason every day and because paychecks are important. The most recent and significant need for a paycheck occurred this morning, when I took The Cat to the vet because he won’t stop barfing on the carpet.
Having owned animals all my life, I’m not an alarmist when it comes to their care. I’m aware that sometimes cats barf, and it’s usually because they hork down their food without stopping to realize they’re full or because they swallow giant gobs of hair every day, and unless the barfing is prolonged or appears to be painful for the animal, it’s probably nothing. While The Cat seemed fine in every other respect – sleeping, appetite, going to the bathroom, demanding attention – the barfing continued on a daily basis. I may not be an alarmist but I do think about tumors a lot, and although I was concerned about our now-ruined carpet, I was mostly concerned that The Cat might have one.
So I took him to the vet this morning and learned that he has a small mass in his abdomen but it’s probably just poop waiting to be shat out. I also learned that he has a palpable thyroid and that this, along with vomiting, are symptoms of hyperthyroidism. I’d never even considered this since I thought only thin cats could have hyperthyroidism, but apparently fat cats can get it, too. The staff took him to the back for lab tests, I paid $200 and pet a puppy in the waiting room, and now we’re home and the vet should call on Monday with the results.
If The Cat has hyperthyroidism, it’s not the end of the world. He’ll be on medication and probably gain back that pound he lost since his last vet visit (I knew he looked sleeker!), and eventually, I might have to put him on special food. But even though it’s not a huge deal, I did have a moment this morning where I realized that The Cat is getting older, and that as far as time is concerned, this is the beginning of the end. He has less time left than we’ve already had together, and if he enjoyed such robust health in his youth, we might be entering the era of sicknesses. I mean, nobody wants to pay $200 for some lab tests and I will probably have to go to a cheaper vet that isn’t so close to my house, but I will always pay for them, and I will always wake up early on Saturdays to take him to the vet, and I will do this because I agreed to take care of him over ten years ago. Some people refer to their pets as their babies, but The Cat is not my child. He is my friend, and when he’s too old and too sick to continue living, I want to know that I’ve been a good steward for him.
In the meantime, I get to clean up barf, lose security deposits, and wonder why landlords don’t just install hardwood floors instead of this cheap beige carpet that’s ugly and soaks up cat juices so well.