Tag Archives: Pets

Survival note for keepers of fat Cats

The large, bumpy lump in Coolidge’s belly wasn’t tender, but wasn’t diminishing, either. We’ve been rubbing this Cat’s belly for 12 1/2 years, and somehow hadn’t noticed this lump till about a month ago. This made the lump worrisome, especially because lumps that are not tender can be the most sinister. But he hasn’t lost weight; on the contrary, he’s gained a pound since his October annual exam: up from 14.4 pounds to 15.4. He’s been eating and drinking normally, defecating and urinating normally, and frequently vomiting normally. I finally decided to have the vet palpate his belly, show her what I felt, and ask her to explain the bumpy lump.

About six minutes and $43 later, she pronounced his belly perfectly healthy. I showed her where I felt the lump, and received the best of all possible news: I’m not crazy, and Coolidge is not sick. Coolidge has a remarkable fat pad deposit, something that frequently occurs as female and some neutered males age. In Levitical terms, he is fat, but he is clean.

For the restoration of peace of mind, $43 was a tremendous value. And of far greater value to our peace of mind is God’s guiding wisdom that a righteous man has regard for the life of his animal (Proverbs 12:10), and His assurance that he will preserve man and beast (Psalm 36:6).

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About the Cat…


Coolidge has lately been enjoying the exercise of his most awesome ability: the vigor of the allergens that inhere in every cell of his being and have the power to cause us to sneeze without ceasing, but never quite inoculate us. Further proof of his supremacy of being is his ability to influence us to comply, without fail and without delay, with attendance upon every nuance of his routine. Our own routines of course have been suffused by recent transitions, but his routine, he assures us with the power of his yowling, must be preserved, and has indeed been preserved.

The Cat is a revisionist, and is in nominal fact an Arminian. How the Covenant Cat of a Reformed household can be an Arminian is actually fairly straightforward. He simply misperceives his situation entirely. He actually believes that he chose us, and that we are here to do his will and live for his every whim. He probably believes these things because he is cute and big; but the fact is that I awoke one Saturday August morning in 1998, and sensed that the kitten for us would be available at the local feed store’s adoption day, and that we should hasten there to secure him and give him a home.

He was tiny and shy, and he looked sort of clever, and indeed he was clever, because we had no idea at the time that he would become so expensive. After all, he had been gashed by a raccoon in the wild, was infested with lungworm to the point of severe asthma, had been given a transfusion using his mother’s blood, and was sufficiently recovered for adoption at 10 weeks. I’m a pushover for survivor stories, and I knew he was one special kitten.

And he did become expensive: at two he broke his hock on a routine prowling mission in the house and required four operations; later there was IBD and exploratory surgery; he became diabetic at eight, developed hepatic lipidosis and had a feeding tube for nine weeks; and we remain under house arrest, testing his blood and administering his insulin injections twice a day, every day. It’s a light assignment, a joyful duty.

He carries himself as an alpha male, and the language of his swagger attests to his belief that we owe him everything because he somehow chose or accepted us, when indeed he was helpless and had no choice. We owe him everything within our power to practicably provide because we promised, not because the little feral kitten who was near death when he was rescued by cat-crazy volunteers deserved anything, but because he simply compelled our compassion because we chose to take compassion on him. And he has a pretty nice life, at least by any measure according to human standards of a cat’s life.

Coolidge has contributed to the economies of veterinarians and veterinary labs on Vashon Island and in Tacoma, Seattle, and now, on a modest maintenance level, in Clarkston. I’m as discomfited to admit by how much he has enriched the economy as I am to confess how much he means to us and how much he adds to our life.

He’s a good Cat, all in all.

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