We have three cats. For a few days this week, we almost had two cats. Stanley started acting weird -- weirder than usual -- from her perch on the couch. In fact, that was one of the problems: she didn't leave the couch. Day before yesterday, when we took a look at her and realized her pupils were dilated and she was kind of floppy, we thought maybe the scratch on her mouth (the scratch she'd surely gotten during a fight with one of her sisters) was infected. I called the vet; Nathan took her in.
He came back with no cat and the news that Stanley was probably not long for this world. She had a gigantic growth in her belly that the vet thought was possibly cancerous, but in any case, it didn't look good. She'd had x-rays and blood drawn, the results of which we'd hear the next day. In the meantime, they were keeping her until the afternoon when we could retrieve her and she could, I imagined, come home and die overnight.
Poor Stanley has few friends. She's a hissy, scratchy, bitey kind of cat who's unpredictable and grouchy most of the time. She's never liked her sisters, and they steer clear of her, much like anyone who visits our house. She pees on things. Once, she stuck a claw in my eyeball; I still have a small blind spot. And yet, she's my cat. She's hopelessly devoted to me, in her own irritating and sometimes painful way. She drools uncontrollably when I pet her and purrs so loud that, according to the vet, her heart murmur can't be diagnosed properly due to the noise. She walks underfoot; she creeps slowly, uninvited, onto my lap; there are several hilarious pictures of me doing things -- opening birthday presents, posing with friends -- where Stanley appears slightly behind or to the side of me, staring up at me in seeming adoration.
When I was pregnant with George, one of the most common things people asked was, "what are you going to do with Stanley?" To me, it was never really in question; I'm not a pet owner who gives up an animal unless the situation is truly dire, and it's never come to that. I hoped for the best and have been pleasantly surprised. Stanley seems to see George as an extension of me, and she's only swatted at him a few times, all completely deserved. George loves her, and I guess I didn't realize how much until Nathan said that this morning, as the vet tech took Stanley away for surgery, George bawled and meowed. Little did he know that Nathan had signed papers allowing them to put her to sleep if things looked grim. I, of course, assumed the worst, and waited for a phone call saying that it was over, too bad; come pick up the ashes in a week.
Well, we did indeed get a call this afternoon -- before her surgery was even scheduled to start -- that she was finished. But not finished as in dead. Finished as in FINE. A cyst on her uterus had grown so large that it was shoving her organs around, making her look plump, waddle and probably be a total asshole, as she has been for years. We were welcome to visit her, and she could come home tomorrow. We walked to the Cat Clinic and petted our dopey, dozing cat. We saw pictures of the colossal tumor. We wondered aloud if she'll act any differently now that her insides aren't squished. I'm relieved. Despite all her eccentricities, her outright nastiness and penchant for peeing on stuff, she's still my cat, and it looks like it'll be that way for at least a little while longer.
Way to cheat death, Stan. See you tomorrow.