About 14 years ago I fell in love with this little polydactyl kitten who had mittens for front paws. The day I picked him up from the litter, on a whim, I decided that he should also have a friend. The owner of the cat pointed at a little grey kitten and told me that he was smart: the first cat to be litter trained so I grabbed him too. Try as I might my mittened cat, Monsieur Remy Dupompeneau,*** was never really my cat. He was an independent wild child who bolted for the great outdoors when ever he could, running away four times, until 2006 when he ran away and didn't return. Pan is not wild, he is smart, loyal and neurotic and has been by my side (literally) since the 1990s. He generally acts more like a dog than a cat, so we've coined him a cog.
Me and Pan many, many moons ago....I can see by the clock that it's 2:30AM
My Cat During My Pregnancy:
Pan had always been the Panthor to my Skeletor and thought that aliens were invading my body and decided to fight back. He hated everything to do with me, avoided me at all costs until night time when he would jump on me while I slept and pee all over my legs. One of the first things that our nurse practitioner told me when I found out I was pregnant was to avoid cleaning the cat litter since cat urine isn't good for pregnant women****, so I started having some panic attacks when he decided that I was a human fire hydrant. So we locked him out of the bedroom every night after the fifth offence. Panthor got depressed about his banishment from the bedroom, started tearing out his own hair and spent all of his time sitting atop the fridge (Snake Mountain) glaring at us and tearing out more hair. We took him to the vet, ran a series of tests and got him some medication for his nerves and antibiotics for the giant bald spot/sore he'd created on his side.
The Third Trimester:
As we prepared for the arrival of Molly and Jack we set up the nursery months in advance, giving our sensitive creature a chance to adapt. We filled the cribs and car seats with balloons and aluminium foil so he never got in the habit of sleeping in the minions cribs or car seats. Unfortunately he was still spending a significant amount of time glaring at us from the top of the fridge.
Newborns & Pan:
Finally Molly and Jack arrived and it was as if our cat had returned, he was mildly curious about the babies, but generally chose to visit us when they were asleep. As the minions got older they became more and more obsessed with the cat. One of Jack's favourite games is to pet Pan or to push him around the house in a giant empty diaper box. He barely meows when Jack's "Gentle Touch" is more like a round of Ultimate Fighter than acceptable cat affection. He has never tried to climb into their cribs, bassinets or been aggressive in any way - even when he probably should. Unfortunately from time to time he'd obsessively pick at one of his back paws, which we mistakenly took for neurosis rather than a purely medical issue.
Pan and Jack
Last month I was unable to treat his paw at home with rubbing alcohol and polysporen as the swelling on his hot spot had gotten out of control. So we opened up our wallets, let out a big sigh and went to the vet thinking that we'd get some more antibiotics and stress medication. It turns out this hot spot was not a result of low self esteem, it was a tumour. We completed a series of tests to see if the tumour had spread to lungs, impacted blood or kidney functions (it hadn't) and started saving up money like crazy while we tried steroids and a topical spray to keep the tumour from growing. Over the next few weeks the spray and steroids appeared to work like tumour fertiliser and the growth doubled, maybe tripled in size. We jokingly called Pan "Crang" because it looked like there was a giant brain on his foot, but silently worried if we'd be able to afford to get him in on time.
Yesterday Pan had a successful operation to remove his tumour and one of his toes.***** He's recovering well, despite being on a lot of pain medication, is confused as to why a 16 month old little boy keeps on squealing in delight while charging him and that he can't run away quite like he used to.
Thank you to everyone at Renforth Veterinary Clinic for your amazing services and helping keep the oldest member of our family with us. Long live Pan(thor)!
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*14 year old - http://www.calculatorcat.com/cats/cat-years.phtml
**I don't know if the first two places where I lived from ages 21-25 technically count. The amount of sugar cereal, popsicles, diet coke and vanilla vodka consumed in those apartments was neither healthy nor adult.
***Because he was Cajun - I told you already I was drinking a lot of vodka.
****To this day Chris still believes this was an excuse I used to get out of chores.
*****What is the opposite of a polydactyl cat? Antidactyl cat? I think we'll just call him Hobbles.