I'm not making this up. Almost every one of these cats should have died years ago but my friend has an amazing gift for not letting anything die. She spends thousands of dollars and even had to cash out a few of her retirement funds to ensure each cat spends the requisite time in each of their nine lives. She has never left them before but has an important wedding to go to so is leaving the sickly cats for 6 days. I have a dreadful feeling that they will all be dead by the time she gets back. Nobody else could possibly keep these critters alive. She spends about 4 hours a day taking care of them before and after work and it seems newer, sicker cats show up on her doorstep monthly.
I went over yesterday because I am taking a shift on Saturday morning while she is gone to administer medicines, change the 10 litter boxes, lay out every cat's specialty foods and refill all the water (bottled, never tap). But I have a sick feeling in my gut that the cats are going to take one look at me on Saturday and keel over dead with an indignant meow. They'll be able to sense right away that I'm not a "cat person." I'm really not. I don't connect with them and am so brash as to hold human life much higher than the feline variety.
We had an assortment of cats growing up. We played with the kittens until they lost that cute kitty quality then took them down to the local grocery store in Scott's Corner, New York. We would arrange them nicely in a pretty laundry basket and guilt trip shoppers to take them home. I spent many hours of my childhood sitting on that curb in the parking lot making up anything people wanted to hear to convince them to take the kittens off my hands. If I remember correctly, each one of those kittens had prize-winning, Persian ancestors. Once an indignant shopper yelled at us for being irresponsible pet stewards and grabbed the entire wicker laundry basket full of cats, threw it in her SUV and screached off. We were scared to have to tell my mom her basket had been stolen but set a record for fastest dispersal of felines.
My friend is the Patron Saint of Should-Be-Dead Cats. They stream to her yeowling for fair health benefits, equal protection and the right to worship as they may. She amazes me with her bottomless affection and devotion to each little life. The only comparison I can draw to my own life is my slavish devotion to my nice Italian plates that hang on my wall. They have broken tens of times but each time I lovingly SuperGlue, repaint and rehang them as if they are my own children. But I have a feeling that her devotion will be more highly rewarded than mine. Almost every one of those cats is a walking miracle of the perpetuation of life despite all odds. My plates just make our cookies look yummier. That's important, right?