I have heard people say that you are only as happy as your unhappiest child. Is it being melodramatic to say that you are only as happy as your unhappiest cat? Seriously, I don't know if I can overstate how concerned I have been for my cat, Big Fat Mike, Mikey, Prince Michael Pants—he answers to lots of names.
He has been sick for weeks with a bladder infection, but it went undetected at first. The Vet finally realized what was going on when we discovered blood in the big guy's urine. Then we discovered elevated blood sugar levels. Then we discovered he had a high fever and could barely walk because he was suffering from severe joint pain, wasn't eating or drinking, and wasn't peeing except when he couldn't help it.
Sounds like I'm talking about an old man, but it's really my cat, and not just any cat. Mike is my constant companion. When I step out into the hallway in the morning, he is waiting there to race me down the stairs and to beat me to his food bowl. When I am straightening up the kitchen, he is sitting on the rug beside me. When I am working in my basement office, he is resting patiently beside me in his spot just to the right of my chair. He waits outside the bathroom door for me and naps on the floor in front of the couch when I sit here to write a blog post or check my email.
He snorts when he breaths because his nose is slightly pushed in. Sometimes he smells like a barn because he's a 21-pounder and can't always reach to wash his hind parts. He blows up like a puffer fish and turns into a saber tooth tiger protecting his den if a stray cat wanders into the back yard, and it's so scary we have to stand on the dining room table in fear for our lives. He plays fetch obsessively and only stops when he has exhausted every ounce of strength in his bovine-like body. He can't stand to be held and will not cuddle no matter what.
Despite his oddities, I love the fatso, and when he was so sick The Vet suggested it might be cancer or an untreatable immune disorder, and I would have to consider putting him down, I sank inside. A knot settled in my throat for three days while Mike was subjected to tests—all through Christmas gift making and Christmas music playing at church and movie watching with the family.
When I woke up last Monday I tried to steel myself against the phone call that was inevitable, I was sure, the one where The Vet would say Mike tested positive for some terrible illness that would mean the end of my companion cat. I worked at getting ready for Christmas, wrapping presents and thinking about what clothes to pack for the trip to Georgia, and every time the phone rang I said a cuss and took a deep breath.
So...when I learned Mike was OK and that he would be home and all in one piece by the time we returned from our holiday trip, I nearly danced a jig. And now that he is curled up at my side, purring and acting like the Big Fat Mike I love, I think maybe it's OK to say something as gushy as "you are as happy as your unhappiest cat."