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Monday, December 20, 2004

Christmas and the One-Eyed Cat

When Christmas approaches at Mr. G's homestead, the threat level moves from Yellow to Orange. We put up additional barricades and implement more aggressive security routines to protect an important "soft target" - the Christmas tree. Our Golden Retriever has mellowed into doggy middle age and is no longer a credible threat to the decorations. But there are two plotters remaining - a terrorist Papillon puppy and a one-eyed cat.

I am an involuntary keeper of pets. My three womenfolk bring creatures into the house. When I protest, the floodgates open. I have yet to stand firm as the oceans of little girl grief smash into me. I tell myself "Okay, this time I will not cave in; this time I will implement my decision mercilessly and teach these girls that I am not to be ignored." This is akin the an ice cube saying "Okay, I will not melt this time - I am going to sit here in the sun and remain solid and square." So we have two cats, two dogs and a hamster. The critter population has declined - we used to have three cats, but one decided to move out when we brought the terrorist puppy into the house. We also used to have dozens of fish in three different tanks, a leopard gecko, a rabbit, two gerbils (which were very tasty treats for the cats) and a fire-bellied toad. I am happy that we free of this infestation of small, smelly creatures.

The one-eyed cat actually has two eyes - the left eye is diseased, bulges out of the socket and is a milky white color. This startling problem is caused by Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), which is an incurable, fatal disease caused by a coronavirus. My girls found this cat and its litter-mate at the local Pet Smart, where someone had abandoned a litter on the doorstep. The one eyed-cat lost its sister last summer - FIP caused its belly to blow up like a small balloon and I had it put down. The one-eyed cat, called "Jade," is defying the odds. She continues to eat, sleep and behave more or less like a normal cat. She doesn't see well, obviously. Her energy level is a bit low and she is a runty creature. But she continues to live and has a darn good attitude, all things considered. Jade still bats the Christmas tree ornaments around, when she sees them.

It now looks like Jade will live through Christmas. I was fearful that we would be scheduling her euthanasia right about now - definitely not a cheerful Yuletide activity. I consider Jade's continued survival to be a Christmas gift from the God of cats.

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