Blacker than night and four months old, Velvet came into our lives when she was barely weaned from her mother at six weeks. An ad in the paper, a desperate plea for homes for an unwanted and unanticipated litter was how we found each other.
Being the parenting types, and with the kids all grown up and going about their own lives, I imagine it was 'empty nest' syndrome that drove us to seek out a surrogate child, and while not generally a lover of cats, Velvet has become such a part of me that when she was injured this morning, I acted as though my child was being murdered.
I had no idea that I would love this animal so much. Having had cats before for the sake of my children, I pretty much gave them their space and they gave me mine. But something happened with this one over the course of the past couple of months. I would sit at the computer and she would hop into my lap, purring and kneading, head rubbing my arm while she 'groomed' me with her tongue.
What started as a desire to have something to take care of quickly blossomed into a full blown love affair, with toys and bedding, and scratching poles, and, well, you know what I mean. Only the best kitten food and kitten treats, the little hurried pattering of her feet when I shake the Whiska's treat bag making me giggle because I've never seen anything move so fast. Her constant presence and her desire to be loved and to give love in return has so endeared her to me, that were something to happen to her, I don't know what I'd do. Scratch that, meow, because I now know that I would become incoherently panicked.
I was awoken this morning to the sound of mewling. Not her usual amiable "Hey wake up and feed me" sound, but an insistent, frightened meowing that caused me to bolt upright. Wondering what she could have gotten herself into since the entire house is child proofed again, she flew past my feet flinging her head back and forth as though possessed. Trying to catch her proved a job in itself, and I felt the panic begin to rise as I realized that something was really wrong.
Finally scooping her up, I held her tight as she was trying desperately to escape, I saw at once that her tiny little nose was all wet, and that she had something sticking to it. While trying to get a closer look and touch it, she tried to claw her way out of my arms, and it took considerable effort to keep my grip on her. It was a stinger I realized, and wandered with her to see where she had been. Going to her favorite perch in the living room window, the evidence lie there in the form of a dead bee, Velvet's curiosity had gotten her into trouble.
Not being very well educated in the ways of feline propensities to withstand such things, terror struck me as I imagined her dying right then and there. Calling our animal hospital, they said that we should watch for her throat to swell, or any other outward signs of distress, and oh, pull the stinger out. Signs of distress!? She's freaking out! Well, yes, but......... But nothing! Help me! Send a pet ambulance for God's sake!
After they calmed me down enough to rationalize again, they pointed out that I could bring her in for a shot, but it was going to cost me, especially if I wanted her kept for observation. And so, out came the tweezers, and with two of us holding her, (not an easy feat), we got the stinger out, while she yelped in pain and leaped away like a flying squirrel immediately after. What sounded like sneezing brought fresh panic, as I imagined the sound to be a death rattle, and frantically found her and held her close, all the while feeling her throat for any signs of swelling. Her poor little eyes were all watery, and she was shaking a little bit, but she purred at me, and my heart dissolved into a reddish pool of water. I set her down and went and did the only thing I knew how to do, got her treat bag.
It was at that moment that I finally calmed down a little, because as soon as the kitchen cabinet door opened, a streak of black fur raced into the kitchen and Velvet was right there, rubbing against my leg. Stinger in the nose? No problem. Can't see where she's going because of her watery eyes? Not a big deal. Because she knows the sound of that particular cabinet door opening, and she knew full well it meant TREAT TIME! Hallelujah for stupid bees and the TREAT BAG, because so far, even while I'm writing this, I'm feeding her more and more of the things.
The bee is now a little pile of mush. I put it in an envelope, (thinking to take it with me to the vet), and pounded it's stinger less body into nothing for hurting my baby. And God help any other creature that tries to harm her either. I know. She has trained me well, but I can not help it, God help ME, I love the little thing half to death. I don't know where such a strong feeling has come from, but I'm glad it's there, even though she is a pain in the butt when I try to sleep on my own schedule.
Velvet is fine now, her nose seems to be a little sore, but she's back to exploring and doing all of the usual cat things. In fact, she is sitting and looking at me as if I must be stupid for not catering to her instead of sitting here writing this. And so, I must beg your leave to do my master's bidding, as she now knows where the treat bag is, and is going to play on my sympathy all day long, probably gaining a pound or two before the day is out. Hopefully this will be the only time we ever have to deal with this, but knowing this particular kitty, we're going to be in for many more 'emergencies'.