Monday, March 26, 2007

Make new friends, but keep the old

Not sure if any of you remember this rhyme from the Brownies, but it goes: "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." It comes to mind today because I just left my cat, Phoebe at the vet today. She is jaundiced, on an IV drip and getting a "complete work-up."

I have three pets. First I got Ernest. Five years later Tommy and I adopted Phoebe (the grey kitty) and last Labor Day we adopted Stella.

For a few years it was just me and Ernest against the world. No boyfriend, no cable and no internet. We would hang out in my single apartment and pass the hours watching television on my sad black and white tv with rabbit ears. Then I got Phoebe and she quickly became the alpha kitty in the house. She and Ernest get along, but he prefers his solitude. Phoebe was always on the couch with me, and when I worked at the kitchen table she would sit on the chair next to me.

Then I got Stella. Dogs are major attention-hogs. Beyond going out for walks I found that I liked having her with me whenever possible. We go shopping together, to the dog park, to coffee, to lunch. Anywhere she can go, she goes. She commands more attention than the cats, and I give it to her. I hate to say that the cats have slipped a rung, but they sort of have.

About a month after my friend, J, had her baby, her cat got really sick and passed away within a week of going to the vet. J felt terrible. She felt like had she not had her baby she would have noticed earlier symptoms and possibly saved her kitty's life. At the time I could not understand how anyone could possibly forget about a pet.

Cut to me at the vet, unable to tell him about Phoebe's eating patterns. I had no idea if she was eating less, drinking less, or using the facilities less. I did notice that she had taken to hiding in my guestroom closet, but I thought it was to get away from Gemma, my friend's dog who is staying with us. I only took her to the vet because for the second time in a month she went to the bathroom on my bed. This time I woke up feeling damp. Phoebe was next to me on the bed. I made her smell the pee. I was angry and thought she was letting me know that she was not a fan of the other dog that has been staying here.

Now that I know she is ill I feel terrible. I bet she was sitting next to the pee to let me know that it was her, and not Ernest, who was peeing on my bed. She was probably trying to get it through my thick skull that she felt bad. When the vet took one look at her and said "she has jaundice" I knew that this would never have gotten so far had it still been just me and the cats.

So I am going to take some time today to check in on friends I have lost touch with and family who I haven't spoken to in a while. It's too easy to get caught up in our daily lives. We're all busy and it's all too easy to not call a friend back, or to miss a birthday. I don't want it to take somebody getting sick for me to take the time to pay attention to them.

I just wish it hadn't taken me getting pee'd on to learn this lesson. Get well, Pheebs.


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