We have four cats at Someday Farm. They are inherited barn beasties, left for us by the previous owner's daughter, who cared for them diligently after her father died. I tried to tell her she was welcome to take the cats before we moved in; she looked at me as though I'd suggested she barbeque them and retorted, "It's the only home they've ever known." This sentiment was forcefully repeated inside a card she left us after we took possession of Someday, along with photos of "the girls."
My mother always had a cat in the house when I was growing up, with a succession of different personalities and a variety of names: Vodka, Snowball, Velvet, Champagne, Selina, Chaucer. But four cats is more than I've ever had to deal with at one time, and I'm now faced with the dilemma of a very sick kitty. Comfort, the friendliest, purriest and most congenial of the barn kitty coalition, has not been well of late. She's gotten skinny, even though she still rams her way into the food bowl. I suspected an ear infection, as she was shaking her head a lot, and made a mental note to go and buy ear drops from the vet. But this week she has deteriorated at an alarming pace, walking with a lean and sometimes falling over when one of her companions brushes by her too enthusiastically. Yesterday I found her looking practically post-nuclear, with a trail of crusty blood coming out of her eyes.
So, much to the amusement of D and C, I'm waiting for the vet to arrive. Most country people don't spend money on barn cats; they are an expendable commodity, and believe me, when one goes to "the bush" or "the happy hunting ground," there are a dozen more willing to pounce into the empty place at the food bowl. But I feel bad about leaving Comfort to suffer. She is the only barn kitty who'll stand up to Neko, and the only one I can pick up and hold in my lap. She's a friend to all children and amuses visitors with her paunch of belly fat that swings when she walks.
We've spent hours together sitting in the sunshine. She truly was a comfort to me while I was on my leave of absence, her purrs a tonic to my grieving soul. So although I am usually a bit more of a hardass when it comes to animals, it doesn't feel right to follow "the country way" in the case of Comfort. I called the vet over on the 4th Concession and he promised to drop by today. I'm going to shell out a fistful of dough, probably only to have the vet tell me she's a goner, but at least then I can put her out of her misery knowing I tried to do something for her.
I wonder how the other kitties will react if Comfort, whom I've always thought of as the feline ringleader, disappears from their kitty coalition? I think Comfort and Betty are sisters; I have no idea if cats care about that kind of thing or not. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.