My wife and I were supposed to go away for a long weekend, but because her cat was sick, one of us couldn’t go: me.
Now, I think I’ve mentioned before that I developed a cat allergy in my 50s from “overdosing” on cats. Seriously, one of my friends explained: “You can get too much of a good thing and develop an allergy.”
Okay, Jack wasn’t a doctor, but the example he gave was of the northerners who go to Florida in winter and eat so much shell fish they develop a shellfish allergy. (I have that, too.)
For several years, we had a cat named Oliver, but then we inherited both our daughter and son’s cats, Kato and Cole. That’s when I developed a cat allergy. Too much of a good thing?
This allergy manifests itself many different ways. If I accidentally touch a kitty and touch my eye, the eye itches terribly and eventually swells almost shut. If she licks my hand, I get welts. If she gets brushed near me or sits in the chair where I sit too often, I have to use an inhaler.
Yes, I’ve tried allergy shots.
The other problem? Cats love me a lot. One cat spent hours with her head buried inside my shoe. You know that’s love when anything besides your foot chooses to live in your shoe.
Cats are always trying to sit with me, and they run their purr machine when they see me.
Consequently, this creates quite the quandary. I want to be nice, but then I sneeze and wheeze.
So, my wife left me with Isabella, who, by the way, has no idea that’s her name. She responds only to two sounds: “kitty” and “food.”
Because we have to give her two shots of insulin a day, that became my task. The challenge was also to change her feeding time from 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Since she had literally been a “fat cat” with absolute freedom to eat any time she wanted to now being restricted to a half cup of cat food a day, she has become quite demanding about the timeliness of each quarter cup.
My daily routine had been to get up a little later each morning to feed her and then give her the shot. For the first five days she was needy, yet respectful.
This, however, is where the plot thickens.
When my wife and I were moving from our first rental, her uncle and dad helped us move, and the neighbor’s poodle attacked her uncle. All I heard was, “Pete, she bit me.”
Well, Izzy did me one better.
To avoid eye swelling, I sleep with my door shut. She was outside that door, as usual, meowing and whimpering for food, but this time something different happened.
I opened the door this dark, rainy morning and smelled a terrible smell that could only have come from a kitty’s “Ohio.” Because there’s a litter box down the hall, I assumed she had deposited her daily constitutional. It was only when I got downstairs that I realized she had made part of that deposit immediately outside my door, and that I had stepped in it and tracked it down a flight of stairs into the kitchen.
Then when I tried to give her the insulin shot, which she doesn’t seem to feel, she flinched, and I hit my thumb.
That’s not all. I went back upstairs to check out the litter box and there was another little treat in the doorway that I stepped on as well. She had turned on me! It was like there were poopy land mines everywhere.
I spent an hour with Lysol trying to figure out if she’s really a smart cat or just vindictive and satanic. It seemed like a well laid out plan.
The good news? Her mom’s coming home.
(Nick Jacobs of Windber is a senior partner with Senior Management Resources and author of the blog healinghospitals.com.)