Yesterday when I woke up, Tempest was off. I didn’t notice right away – it was 5:30am, after all – but the signs started seeping into my brain as I got her food ready. She loves food, more than anything, and yet she wasn’t complaining in her usual impatience as I got the food ready. Though she’d followed me to the kitchen, she sat quietly and once I put her bowl down for her, she just sniffed it and walked away.
That’s when I knew she was feeling really horrible. She walked back into the bedroom, and I let her be as I finished getting ready for work. She was under the bed, another sign that she was stressed to some degree. I pet her, as best as I could reach her, and made sure to feel her stomach. No cramping that I could tell, and she seemed to relax as she purred for me. The only problem with purring as a sign of anything is that it can mean either pleasure or pain, from what I’ve read.
I went to work, but was fretting, and so I looked up some info as soon as I logged in. I wondered if she’d been bit by something, and so that’s where I started looking.
And pretty well freaked myself out at first. Black Widow’s are deadly, and very quickly, did you know that? Cats are especially sensitive to their venom, which is a nerve toxin, and it is almost always deadly for cats, even with quick treatment. Lucky for me, I quickly figured out that she’d already be dead if she’d been bitten by a black widow. The other spider that could cause problems was a brown recluse, but there would be time to deal with it, if that was the case.
I read as much information as I could stand, and worried all day long. Should I go home? Should I call the vet? I’d convinced myself by then that she wasn’t in danger, at least not immediate danger, but I couldn’t stop worrying, since I couldn’t check on her. It was a judgement call, and not a comfortable one to make. Deciding not to go home definitely felt like I was disregarding my concerns and putting work first, which isn’t accurate but hard to shake nonetheless.
When I got home, she met me at the door, as normal. She was maybe a tad off her usual, though the maintenance guys vacuuming the building’s hallway could have been the culprit, since she’s stressed both by strangers and by vacuums. She’d eaten all her food while I was at work, and she was eagerly awaiting more.
Normalcy had returned, it seemed.
I still have no idea why she was off yesterday morning. Perhaps it was nothing more than an upset stomach. We all have off days, after all.
What was scariest for me was realizing in retrospect how little I know, despite having lived with cats and dogs literally all of my life.
I started researching first aid books, and that highlighted again my lack of knowledge. I don’t know why we never had books like that at home, but I’ll definitely be getting one soon. I’ve started looking into them, and flipped through a few at the bookstores. There’s more than I’d have expected, which is nice. (Any recommendations?)
It is funny how something so (relatively and in retrospect) minor could drive home so strongly the responsibility I have for this precious life, and just how easy it is to fuck up.