A member of my friend’s family passed away the other day, so I agreed to keep an eye on her 12-year-old cat over the weekend.
I let myself in, but he was nowhere to be found. Until I went up the stairs to the spare bedroom. There, nearly motionless, was my duty for the weekend.
The cat has a form of lung cancer, and his usual goofiness and playfulness has been replaced by a bit of listlessness and some labored breathing. His sides puff in and out like the bellows of a vintage pipe organ.
“OK, medicine,” I said to no one in particular, going over to the spare bathroom where the medication was laid out along with the instructions.
With the medication administered, he purred and played with my hand for a while, even pawing at me to get more attention between the ears.
Animals are a reflection of who we are as people. So is how we treat them. They can inspire a smile, make children laugh, and offer unconditional affection. I’ve seen how animals can change lives through animal rescues and even through happenstance.
Our family has had any number of pets over the years: a dog, two cats, several fish, and a pair of parakeets. My nephew likes his mini-dragon, my nieces dote on their beagle/collie mix, and my brother has always liked chihuahas.
Me? I love cats, but I’m off-the-chart allergic to pet dander, and I can’t be around them too long without wheezing and having itchy eyes.
So, why pet-sit a cat with lung cancer?
Sometimes you have to.