The cat who can­celled Thanks­giv­ing

Sherbrooke Record - - FRONT PAGE - Ross Mur­ray

Reg­u­lar read­ers know that I har­bour a cer­tain prej­u­dice against cats, and like most prej­u­dices, it’s de­fined by my own nar­row ex­pe­ri­ence. But this sum­mer, our mid­dle daugh­ter Katie moved back home along with her own two cats, Lin­coln and Chan­dler. That’s when I dis­cov­ered not all cats are jerks; only our cats are jerks.

Not all cats, for in­stance, per­form track-and-field over sleep­ing tor­sos or con­fuse” snug­gling” with “barg­ing,” just our cat Polly. And while I’m sure Nel­lie is not the only dan­ger­ously over­weight cat who can­not prop­erly clean her­self, she may be the only cat that me­ows in­sis­tently out­side the bath­room door each morn­ing un­til one of the hu­mans damp­ens a baby wipe and cleans her butt.

Lin­coln and Chan­dler, on the other hand, pos­sess the qual­i­ties I look for in a cat: avoid­ing con­tact and star­ing blankly.

Lin­coln is the blank one, a bit of a dullard. His head is too small for his body, which makes me cer­tain he’s func­tion­ing en­tirely on a prim­i­tive brain stem. His favourite thing in the world is an eraser. When you pick him up, he goes limp, as though the thought of es­cape never oc­curred to him. As though thought never oc­curred to him.

But Katie loves him, so we take good care of him while she’s study­ing in Ot­tawa. If some­thing needs wip­ing, we’ll wipe it.

That’s why when Lin­coln seemed not him­self early last week —not eat­ing, not drink­ing, not a bit of eraser time — I called the Coat­i­cook vet Wed­nes­day morn­ing, and they told me they could see Lin­coln at 9:00 o’clock.

Within the space of two hours, Lin­coln had an ap­point­ment with the vet, had trav­elled to the vet, had seen the vet, had blood work done, had re­ceived re­sults of said blood work and had been checked in overnight for treat­ment. Mean­while I was on a wait­ing list for seven years to get a rou­tine checkup.

I took time off work for the visit, but that was okay, even if it was for a cat, be­cause Katie loves her cats. Like­wise, we can­celled our Thanks­giv­ing plans at Deb’s sis­ters, where all our chil­dren had planned to con­verge, be­cause now we had to take care of Lin­coln. Plus Katie loves her cats, and she wanted to see them, es­pe­cially the sick one.

So all our kids came home in­stead. We found a last-minute turkey, at Wal­mart of all places, and it tasted like a reg­u­lar turkey, and we bought sweet pota­toes there too, and they tasted like what you’d ex­pect Wal­mart sweet pota­toes to taste like.

Katie ar­rived Fri­day evening with Em and her part­ner Al­tan, then James ar­rived Satur­day evening, and Abby was here all along, though most of the time in her room, be­cause she’s 16 and pos­si­bly part cat, the avoid­ing and star­ing blankly kind.

And we ate and we drank and played geeky games. We hiked up Mount Or­ford thinking we’d glory in the leaves at their most bril­liant, but halfway up the clouds and mist rolled in, and by the time we got to the top, we couldn’t see fog-all, so we hiked back down and ate and drank some more.

We picked ap­ples, feel­ing pretty clever eat­ing the free “sam­ples” off the trees and then pay­ing for more than we’ll ever eat, which is West­ern com­merce in a nut­shell.

Then ev­ery­one dis­persed, tak­ing the left­overs with them, and I went to the fridge and thought, WTF: Where’s The Food?

And while all this climb­ing and geek­ing and pick­ing and eat­ing were tak­ing place, we were all the while watch­ing Lin­coln, pick­ing him up to see if he was purring hap­pily, ask­ing who had last seen him drink­ing, keep­ing the toi­let wa­ter fresh be­cause he’s that kind of cat. At one point we won­dered if he was look­ing dopey, which is no easy as­sess­ment when a cat is nat­u­rally dopey.

When it be­came clear he had not been eat­ing the vet’s spe­cial cat food at five dol­lars a tin, Deb and I had to forcibly get some in his mouth as in­structed, only to dis­cover later that Lin­coln sim­ply didn’t like the vet’s spe­cial cat food at five dol­lars a tin.

We were all thank­ful he was okay and were grate­ful to be to­gether for a short time, even if none of this was what we had planned and all be­cause of a cat.

And if you see me try­ing to coax Lin­coln out from un­der a chair or rub­bing his belly or mak­ing me­ow­ing noises or toss­ing an eraser his way, I as­sure you it is solely be­cause Katie loves her cats.

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