my kitty the gerbil

baby steps to health and a rant about journalling

Thank you, everyone for all of your kind e-mails and entries and phone calls.  It’s been nice to have so many people rooting for us.

Last night was hard.  Lillith looked horrible when I got home.  She didn’t want to come out from under the futon.  I had gone to the pharmacy to pick up something to force-feed her with and the pharmacist from the hold-up was there and he asked what I needed.  I told him my cat wasn’t eating and he gave me two syringes free of charge.  I guess when you survive robberies together you stick together even if you don’t know each other’s names.

I bought a bottle of Evian as well while I was there and got home ready to make Lillith feel better.  I pulled her out from under the couch and placed her in the living room.  I filled the syringe with water and squirted it towards the back of her mouth.  She swallowed all the water, hiccuped, and then waited for more.  Squirt, swallow, hiccup.  Squirt, swallow, hiccup.  Then I noticed that she would stick her tongue out just a little when she wanted more.  I held the syringe up like a hamster cage water bottle just over her face.  I depressed the syringe just a little and she started lapping at the bottom of the syringe.  She drank three full syringes of water that way.  Like a big hamster.  She ate a few more bites of turkey.  I brushed her with her favorite brush.  She stayed by my side until Eric got home.  She responded to his voice and stayed in the living room with us.

Then Eric left for rehearsal, and things got worse again.  She went to the bathroom twice in fifteen minutes, and she started to go on herself.  I tried to clean it up, but I didn’t want to wash her with anything that would make her sicker.  She tried to stay in areas so that she wouldn’t dirty up the apartment.  She was embarrassed by the way she smelled, and wouldn’t let the other cat near her.  She got depressed again, and hid under the office futon where I couldn’t reach her.  I took her tail from under the futon and cleaned it.  She didn’t resist.  That was it for the night.  She wouldn’t come out.

I called my mom and cried.  I knew that she had pulled around some of our sick kitties when I was a kid.  She told me to make sure that I kept her hydrated but to leave her alone if she wanted to be alone.  Sometimes kitties don’t want to be pet.  How can this be possible?

Eric came home and she wouldn’t come out for him either.  We stayed with Taylor and tried to watch television.  My head felt like it was caving in.  Neither of us really talked to each other.  All three of us were just these depressed blobs thinking about the sick kitty in the next room.  Eventually we decided to try and get Lillith to drink again.  We went into the office and pulled her out.  She drank one syringe of water, but it took fifteen minutes.  She kept sneezing and turning her head.  Her eyes were all glassy, and they keep running this light brown liquid.  Still, she looked better than she had the day before.  We left her be and went to bed.

I stayed home from work today.  I’m exhausted and I look like hell.  I can’t take being at work not knowing how she’s doing.  I got up this morning and found her in the dining room under the table.  Her eyes were clear and she even looked up at me.  I made a phone call and sat down to look something up in my day planner.  Lillith walked right over to me and stood in front of the day planner, just like she normally would.  I pet her for a while and picked her up and brought her to the futon.  She drank a syringe of water and then stayed next to me.  At one point she even tried to bathe herself.  She licked her tail for a second and then gave me this look like, “I am such a mess.”  Grease came on the television and we sat there watching and singing.  Taylor jumped up and sat on my other side.  The three of us were bobbing our heads and singing “Rama, lama, lama, ka-dinga, da ding, de dong.”

I’m afraid to try and feed her again.  She seems to be trying to do this thing on her own terms and I don’t want to mess with it.  The worst part of it all is she hasn’t made a sound since before we left for New Orleans.  She won’t meow, she won’t purr.  The only time she makes a noise is when she sneezes or burps.  She’s just so quiet.

Last night I had horrible dreams that Taylor was sick, too.  I kept waking up and waking him up and petting him until I felt he was okay.  This thing is making me just miserable.

But she looks better today.  I just have to be more patient than I am.

Hey, did anyone happen to catch that show “Thanks” last night?  It was a pilot for a new series about a family of pilgrims trying to make it in the New World.  It’s a comedy.  It’s horrendous.  I thought it was a joke.  Everybody looks and talks like modern times, but they call each other Goody.  I couldn’t believe it.  Who green lighted this show?  The set looks like it’s a high school play, and in between the “scenes” there’s these Python-rip off cartoons of a bunch of pilgrims scampering into buildings complete with these faux British mumblings.  Oh, and some of the people in the show speak with a British accent, and some don’t.

The jokes go something like:

I’m going to pull your tooth out now, little girl.

(the dentist holds up a very large pair of pliers with “blood” stains on the bottom)

Don’t you want to wash that first?


Well, isn’t it possible that there might be very tiny creatures that live inside our mouths that could pass infection from one person to another?

She has an overactive imagination.

Or, perhaps she’s a WITCH!

(thunderous applause and laughter)

If I brought this show in as a sketch, I’d be kicked out of the troupe.

Anyway, I just wanted to take a few moments to thank everyone for being so supportive through all of this.  Lillith really is starting to look better.  She’s a fighter.  Eric thinks she’s going to be just fine.  Taylor seems to just be jealous.  Yesterday when I was getting Lillith to drink from the syringe, Taylor stuck his big fuzzy head in the middle to see what she was drinking.  Then when I was feeding her turkey– I’m not kidding– Taylor stood right next to me and made this cough-hic noise to try and sound like Lillith.  I looked down at him and he looked up at me like, “I need the turkey medicine, too.”


Okay, I’m going to attempt an opinion here, but I’m still weak and my eyes are all puffy, but here goes…

Um… I was nominated for a site award from  Some people seem to think that these awards are a bad idea.  I am flattered that I was nominated.  Here’s the deal:  it’s hard to judge other people’s journals, but we can say as a group when we like something and when we don’t.  We can all agree, “You know, this person’s journal is one of my favorites.  I love stories about kids.”  Or cats.  Or whatever.  And because we can’t meet the person and shake his or her hand… and because we don’t pay any money to read these things, and because there’s nothing you can do except send an e-mail, we make these awards so that people as a group can go, “We like you for this.  Thanks.”  That’s all it is.  I don’t think it’s a popularity contest, and I don’t think that it’s a way to boast or pretend you’re better than someone else.

Columbine raised the question about what makes a journal, and whether or not Squishy is a journal.  When I was growing up and we had to make journals in school we were always told to put anything in our journals that we wanted.  It didn’t have to be a “Dear Diary” kind of thing because sometimes “Dear Diary” doesn’t capture how we feel that day.  If we wanted to color a picture, or paste a leaf or write a poem or a short story– we could do anything we wanted as long as we put something in there every day.  That was how we made our mark every day.  Even if Jim’s site is mostly fiction, that’s what he’s putting in his journal.  He’s writing stories and poems that mean something to him– and maybe to him they mean something just as deep and personal as a “Dear Diary.”  We just don’t know the whole story.  We see what he lets us see.

That’s a journal.

Sometimes in my entries I’ll make my cats talk or I have Billy Blanks yell at me.  Of course that’s not what happened.  One time Cathy read an entry that I had written about a bunch of us playing games one night.  She said,  “You know, that’s not exactly how it happened, but that’s what it felt like.  That’s how it should have happened.”  Since I’m not recording things as they are happening, “I’m stepping to the left right now, and I’m making a Turkey sandwich”– I have to record how they feel afterwards.

Last night I would have just typed tears.  I don’t know how to type tears.  So today I just have to type memories.  I have to use words to explain emotions that have no words.  You can’t paste sorrow to your journal page.  I can’t let all of you hear me crying.  But I can talk about how when I was holding Lillith and crying into her fur Taylor tried to get close and see what was going on and he fell off the ottoman.  Because at that moment I was laughing through my tears.  That’s the moment I choose to remember.  That’s how I want to remember last night.  I use personification in my cats because that’s how they are to me.  That’s how I want them to be in my journal.  This is my journal.  This is my world, as I see it.  I’m not recording life, I’m recording my world.  These are the people in it, the way that I see them.  This is how I want you to meet them.  This is how I want you to know them.  This is how I can make you love them like I love them.  And maybe Taylor fell off the ottoman when I was trying to feed Lillith, or maybe he fell off just a second after it would have been funny.  Maybe he didn’t fall off the ottoman at all.  It doesn’t matter.  That’s the feeling of that moment.  I had all of my attention on my sick cat and my healthy cat was beside himself trying to get attention.  It’s a picture.  It’s a feeling.  It’s a scene.  I’m not playing for laughs.  I’m showing you my world as I see it.

I hope you still think that’s legitimate.  Because that’s what I want in my journal.  I want my memories as I see them.

Time for the syringe.  Thanks again, everyone, for everything.  Eric, Taylor and Lillith thank you, too.

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