Patches, on death’s door just a couple of weeks ago, is now eating me out of house and home. Not literally. But she continues to be a very picky eater and doesn’t like to eat the same thing more than two or three days running. A couple of months ago she went off her canned food and I started cooking chicken for her and chopping it up real small. Every once in a while I’d spy her up on the cat tree eating the dry food that the other girls get. If she saw me looking at her, she’d act rather guilty. Then early this month she stopped eating altogether and I thought that was the end.
A trip to the vet confirmed there wasn’t anything to do, so I made her a comfy spot behind the sofa. I took her collar off, as it was hanging off her skinny neck and I didn’t expect her to go back outside. Ever.
She camped out peacefully on the towel I set out for her. I would visit a few times a day, reaching over the back of the sofa to scratch her neck just so. Elijah was getting ready to head back to college, and I told him she would probably die before he left.
Then, on the third day, she came strolling into the kitchen, stretching and blinking as if she was just waking up from a long nap. She sat near the back door and cried to go out. I put some food down for her and she ate. And ate.
She’s been eating ever since, and has gained a little weight back and acts like her old self. I’ve even let her outside for little stints, and she stays real close to home.
Every few days I go to the nearby pet store to buy a few cans of food. What an amazing selection! I chuckle over the silly people who feed their cats venison and duck. Then I remember standing over the stove gently sautéing a chicken thigh to the perfect level of still-pink doneness, because Patches doesn’t like it too dry. She’s never tried duck, but I bet she would like it.
As I left the pet store I saw a guy getting ready to get on his bike. He was wearing a helmet (always a plus in my book) and had a straw hat hanging down his back. He seemed unhurried and at peace.
I said hello and made a comment about the hat. “Oh, I need it here!” he said. “It’s hot!” He told me he had just moved from LA. “I’ve been here… let me see… it’s one week today!”
His name was Cy and he had just gotten fed up with the LA traffic and busy-ness and the lifestyle that seemed to make enjoying his surroundings impossible. He has good friends here and they’ve been encouraging him to move for a while. “Finally, I just thought: ‘what am I waiting for?'” He packed a few things and got on a bus, talking and making friends along the way. He had to leave a lot behind, including two orange tabby cats that he really misses. He’s planning to pick his cats up as soon as he can.
But he’s thrilled to be here, and loves how green and lush everything is. “You can lie on the grass here!” he exclaimed. “And I picked wild blackberries! If you did that in LA, you’d have to valet your car and wait in line!”
We stood on the sidewalk and talked for a long time. We agreed about the importance of being able to walk places, and to have wilderness nearby. We agreed that connecting with each other is hard when everyone stays in their cars. And that’s not a good thing.
I hadn’t really been thinking about giving money away but decided it would be a great way to welcome this young man to Portland. A vision of Cassidy from last October flashed into my mind. I told him I had a gift for him to help get things off here on a good foot. He got real curious as I reached into my bag. When I pulled out the hundred and handed it to him, he started to protest. “Oh, no! I can’t take your money! No way! I’ve only known you for a few minutes!”
I told him about my mom and the blog and how I’ve been giving hundred dollar bills away for almost a year. “That’s amazing!” he said. “I love this town!” He agreed to take the money and promised to pass some of it on. “You know, to keep the good vibe going.”
Cy’s so excited about his new life here in Portland. He has everything he needs to make it wonderful.
I picked up Patches’ towel from behind the sofa today and threw it in the wash. I suspect she’ll need it again someday soon, but in the meantime she’ll be hanging out on laps and beds and in the garden. And eating whatever strikes her fancy.
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