Thursday, February 12, 2009

Me Against the World

First, I want to thank everyone who gave me brain-soothers from around the Internet. I especially want to thank the woman who suggested it’s also relaxing to, you know, actually step away from the computer and go outside for a walk. I was going to figure out how to post a page of calming-links and rotate them out every few days but having spent several days in the land of calming, I was due for a couple days of weird. For my more excitable readers who are about to start worrying remember, I didn’t say bad and I didn't say sad. I said weird.

A while back, someone who comments here had a blog about how unbearably disgusting he found cats; and more specifically, the cats of his roommates. Apparently, there was a certain laissez-faire attitude towards litter-box usage and only the litter-box and their food was everywhere. Even though I love cats, I certainly understood his revulsion, although I can make the argument that the cats weren’t the slobs here, it was the ones with the thumbs who owned them and didn’t clean enough. But part of me wanted to say, “Hey, blogger. Blame not the species; in fact, come to my house and see how clean, neat and low-key a properly-tended housecat can be.”

Then again, Lulabelle was peeing in the tub and shower, so maybe she wasn’t up to being the standard-bearer for her people. After two days of shouting at her and curling my lip in dismay, I noted the urine had some blood in it; she had a bladder infection. I suddenly recalled my mother telling me that the cat we had growing up would pee in the tub when she had a bladder infection. Whatever benefit tub-peeing provides the cat, it allows to human to note the problem, which might go unnoted in a regular litter box, eventually leading to serious problems. It’s weird, it’s not what you want to find first thing in the morning when you just want to take a shower without having to reach for the Chlorox, but no one can deny that it isn’t effective. I whisked her in to the vet and got her antibiotics. Ten days later, she was fine.

Three weeks later, I was scrubbing the tub again; another trip to the vet, another round of antibiotics. This time, the vet massaged her abdomen in a seriously intrusive way, to see if he could feel kidney stones. “No kidney stones, just a really bad bladder infection,” he declared. Having had bladder infections and wincing in empathy at what it must have felt like to have the doctor Rolf her torso, I silently thanked the cat for not killing him.

Two more months passed. Early this week, I found Lulabelle shimmering out of the bathroom, a place that by its very excess of water isn’t usually her favorite hangout. Sure enough, the Mad Urinator had struck again. Back to the vet we went, who was now puzzled. Cats can have a predisposition towards bladder infections, but it usually shows up in adolescence or as a consequence of old age. Lulabelle is in the prime of life. We decided to get her x-rayed to rule out a tiny yet vicious kidney stone. A few minute later, the tech brought her back in and set up a laptop computer with the x-ray image on it. I placed the cat back in her carrier and stared deeply at the x-ray. I always stare at test results in doctor’s offices, which is adorable because I have never understood a single thing I was looking at. But, darn it, it’s there and I’m going to participate. I proudly noted that I recognized vertebrae and a tail, which is two more things than I can usually find. Peering at the picture for a while, I was interested to note that there was something white and opaque in her upper abdomen, bone-like but nowhere near another bone. After all these years of peering fruitlessly at medical tests, I had every reason to believe I finally diagnosed something; I had found Lulabelle’s kidney stone.

The vet came in, and leaned over the laptop, looking at the x-ray. A minute passed and then another. I got a little impatient; couldn’t he see what I had come to think of as our kidney stone? I was about to say something I hoped would sound medical when he said thoughtfully, “Well, she doesn’t have kidney stones, but did you know she’s been shot?”


He pointed to my kidney stone and said, “That’s a bullet.”

I’ll summarize the next few minutes of my asking questions and spluttering for you. Lulabelle, at some point in the past, was shot with a very small-caliber weapon, probably from the back. It entered her backside and lodged in her pelvis, miraculously missing both her spine and her excretory organs. Oddly enough, her bladder infection was completely unrelated; had we not taken the x-ray, we’d never have known about this. Contrary to what I immediately assumed, my missing a gunshot wound on my cat didn’t make me the worst pet-owner in the world. The bullet was small enough so that the entry wound had been small and probably stopped bleeding very quickly. In the years we have owned her, she’s spent more than one night out exactly twice; it could have been during one of those times and by the time she got home she had stopped bleeding and her fur covered the scab. Or it could have been from before we owned her. If she knew, she wasn’t telling. The vet saw no reason for the moment to remove the bullet. He gave me a stronger antibiotic for the bladder infection and sent us home.

I drove home in silence for a few minutes and then called Consort to tell him the news. We both agreed that she was insanely lucky and that we were very grateful she was so very lucky and then I swung around to the thought which had been lurking at the back of my head for several minutes.

“Our cat who takes pride in her killing skills got shot and walked around with a bullet in her, possibly for years. Should we change her name to Biggie Smalls? Tupac?”

Consort offered, “Lupac?”

So, as with so many of her brothers-in-arms in the rap community, my cat now has her given name and her hood-name. May I present Lupac Shapurr.

Of course, Biggie and Tupac eventually got caught in another hail of bullets and their luck ran out. Lulabelle isn’t going to be given that chance. Even though her raison d’etre comes from being an indoor-outdoor cat, I had never been happy about that lifestyle. Now, she shall remain inside. It won’t be as interesting, but I’ll get new toys, she can slap the dog and, if she wants, I’ll build her a recording studio.


Blogger Char said...

awwwwwwwwww poor baby. Glad Lupac made it through. I once owned a gangsta girl and she kept the entire house in line.

I know I will never own a male cat again because in being a responsible owner, I had the snipping done. As a result he has great problems with urination and pees outside the box at any provocation. He's 16 now and time is not on his side.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

That's amazing. Just in case, I'd keep her away from East Coast cats. I understand that the Biggie/Tupac dispute was the result of some tension between EC and WC rappers.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Your kitty has street cred, for real!

Thank goodness for those 9, 8 lives!

Peace - Rene

1:58 PM  
Blogger bethany actually said...

Weeeeeird, indeed!

My mom's cat was an indoor/outdoor cat for the first 6 years of her life, till she had a bad cut from a run-in with another animal. Even though the cat sometimes whined to be let out, mostly she seemed relieved to be able to stay inside all the time. I hope the same thing happens with Lulabelle.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because, even cooler than being that tough to begin with is being cool enough to keep it a SECRET and not brag...

3:21 PM  
Blogger OHN said...

I bet before she came to you, she was in a kitty gang and got shot when she was "jumping out" of the gang.

(Oh, what do I know, I live in the boring midwest;)

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Well,if she got shot that night in the storm you mentioned before, that would explain her ability to predict when you need to send your daughter out with rain gear!

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very angry Lullabelle has been shot however the silver lining is her blingy new name! Kudos to you on that.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year, my cat Fat Boy died of some unknown blunt-force trauma to the underside of his hindquarters. My vet believes someone kicked him, as there were no signs of the more common indoor-outdoor cat traumas: no blood or open wounds to indicate a catfight, no shredded claws as is common when cats are hit by a car.

As if this wasn't bad enough, when the vet x-rayed Fat Boy, she found two bullets from long, long ago buried in his rump.

I was livid. The vet was sad and resigned. She told me that it's egregiously common for vets to find beebee pellets and small bullets on cat's x-rays. We adopted Fat Boy when he was already around 10 years old, and the vet said in any outdoor cat of that age, it's not strange to find old bullets embedded inside them. Apparently there are lots of ppl out there who find joy in shooting cats. I really, really hope those jerks get their comeuppance.

I really miss my Fat Boy. (sigh)

PS - Love your blog, can't wait for the book to come out! Squee!

1:03 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I wonder if it could have happened during the "rain incident"? She was gone for soooo long - perhaps she had to take time to care for herself before she could venture home.

4:02 AM  
Blogger priscilla said...

Poor Lulabelle! I owned a cat someone shot. It broke her leg, and she was in a cast for quite sometime...and then she got hit by a car. That's why I no longer own an outdoor kitty. Too dangerous for them!

Of course, it could be dangerous for you, if you tried to keep her inside. Ha!

6:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not to take anything away from Lupac's worries, but this gave me a case of the giggles. Well done.

11:08 AM  
Blogger BiPolar Wife said...

Yo, Lupac!

I was telling my husband just the other day how I often wondered about my dogs' previous lives, before the shelter and before we adopted them. Who were their owners? How were they treated?

Looks like Lupac has quite the history to her...wait...I sense a book deal in the future!!!

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Felicia on this one, what kind of antisocial fool shoots a defenseless cat? I hope, as Stewie Griffin so eloquently says, "Their uppance will come."
Lupac Shapurr - love that!

Kathy in SD

2:30 PM  
Anonymous La BellaDonna said...

I brought home Lamb Chop, a tiny little rescue kitten, home in a rainstorm. I'd been heading down to the trainstation for work, and there was this bedraggled little tiny thing chewing on a lamb chop bone down by an abandoned building. Guess who was late to work that day!

She got popped in the house, I went off to work, I came home and was cleaning her with a wash cloth while she purred madly.

That's when I found a BB pellet embedded in her leg. Someone was shooting BBs at a KITTEN.

I HATE people, some days.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous La BellaDonna said...

I just got down to where Lula stays in now, when it rains. I'm pretty sure I know the reason WHY she knows it's going to rain.

Old injuries: an accurate, but unpleasant, way to prognosticate weather.

8:34 AM  

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