Three veterinarians have told me my Hemingway is terminally ill.
He is back home to await the inevitable after overnights in two animal hospitals. No one can imagine how sad I am or how often the tears flow freely.
There are tears when he looks at me with those big gray eyes. There are more tears when he eats cooked chicken or canned tuna and when he sits at the kitchen door watching my every mood.
Is he really going to die? And when? Should I prepare a box for the burial or decide on cremation, the alternative?
It is, of course, far easier to ignore either and continue in the hope that maybe — just maybe — the big gray-and-white polydactyl will make a remarkable turnaround that would set medical records in the world of feline care.
Mary Alice Powell
It is easy for me to find a flicker of hope because the steroid shot he was given at the last clinic has, miraculously, returned him to a degree of normalcy. He is eating again and interacting with Geranium and Lydia, his longtime pals. He jumps up on the bed to get close to me before turning on his purr machine full volume. He rolls over on his back full length to have his belly rubbed. At dusk he still picks up his catnip toy and cries until I say, “Good boy,” a nightly exercise for many years.
And he still meets me at the door every time I come home. Of course I am staying home much more because of his condition.
He is as handsome now as he was 15 years ago when he decided during a snowstorm to abandon living in the field across the road at Posey Lake and follow the lady who always set a dish of warm food by the big maple tree in the yard. After his mitten paws with six toes were discovered, I named him Hemingway after the author know for his love of polydactyls.
Through the years, Hemingway has been, without question, the most independent of any of the cats I have loved and cared for. I know how he must have suffered during the recent examinations, because he has always hated being contained. At the Kelly Animal Clinic in Adrian, the technicians posted “Escape Artist” on his cage to warn workers how quickly he could escape. He was also my largest cat and spent all day outdoors when we lived at the lake.