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Writer plays nurse to her ailing fuzz muffin

Oliver has complained more than once that I never give him air time. He has a point, so this column is to honor my kitty companion.

Because of his recent health issues, I’ve played Florence Nightingale and Indiana Jones rolled into one for Oliver’s sake. This includes trips for special food, trips to the vet across town for meds, much prayer and, yes, tears. I’ve tried to remain practical and avoid emotional meltdowns, knowing full well it won’t help.

It’s a long story and I will not belabor the details, well, yes, I probably will, but suffice it to say, I love my fur buddy. He greets me when I return home, often leaping at the door knob to let me in. He looks at me, batting his olive-green eyes with pure love. Despite a common misconception, people can become just as attached to their cat buddy as to their dog buddy. I’ve enjoyed both, so let’s just get that out of the way. If you’re an animal person, you get my drift.

Recently I motored up to Springfield with Oliver riding shotgun. Oliver would rather lie down in the path of a vacuum cleaner, or as Lynn puts it, “the cat-sucker-upper,” than ride in the car. In his carrier (jail cell), he’s a captive with no means of escape. Springfield lies about 180 miles north. Oliver serenaded me for about 153 miles worth, both ways. If that doesn’t prove I care, what would? I’d look over and see him, freaked out and staring through the top of his cage as treetops zipped along. Cats know trees shouldn’t move, and it unnerves them when they do.

The reason for the trip wasn’t a vacation this time, but because of his recently diagnosed hyperthyroidism. There are various treatments, but the gold standard is radioactive iodine, which is 98 percent effective at curing the problem. I kid you not. I never knew there was such a facility, which is closely governed by state laws.

Radioactive iodine, given with one painless injection, apparently attaches itself to the “bad” thyroid tissue and destroys it. Dr. Evans is the vet who administers the product and cares for the kitties who must remain there for three nights. I suffered fairly extreme separation anxiety. Dr. Evans tried to put me at ease, stopping just shy of a binkie and pacifier.

There are no side effects from this treatment, except they may seem more lethargic for a couple weeks. Ollie has long been a supreme napper. I have laid down a good example there. For the first week, as a precautionary measure, our cuddle time is limited to no more than one hour per day within a foot of one another. Pretty cruel after four days apart. If I’ve measured correctly, I can work on the sofa with him snoozing on top, but if his foot’s hanging down, I’m not sure.

On top of being nuked, he has dental issues and is having trouble eating. He can’t have dental surgery until his thyroid numbers are normal again, which takes a few weeks. Ay, caramba! What’s a mother to do meanwhile? I have tried cheerleading. Eat, cat, eat!

My kitchen looks like a triage unit, with half-empty cans of cat food, an anti-inflammatory, a tub of powdered goat milk and one tube of vitamin paste. Either his teeth really are as bad as the vet said they were, or there’s a more serious issue at stake. Time will tell. No matter what, I won’t regret my efforts on his behalf.

So, pet lovers take heart. You are not the only bozo willing to perform acrobatics and take out second mortgages (exaggerating again) when your fuzz muffin’s life is at stake. I do, however, draw the line at clothing.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer living in Eagle Point. Email your cat stories to pcdover@hotmail.com.