My Name is Leo

An adored cat deals gracefully with a jaw tumor while his owner quietly falls apart.

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Location: Philadelphia area, Northeast, United States

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I'm dreaming Saturday morning -- the sun is up, but I'm asleep. I dream of being tossed from a small boat, which overturns in the ocean waves. Leo is in the water (doggypaddling) in front of me. The cat can swim -- who knew? The sun shines, it's summertime and we are near the shore, so there is no panic.

Next thing I know we are out of the water, and my kitty finds himself trying to maneuver through a six-inch-deep snowfall.

Keep in mind that Leo is a 100% indoor cat. He's never been in the snow, and as far as I know he's not sneaking out for the occasional swim.

Oh, there was more, I'm sure. I'm fairly certain I dreamed of another Leo crisis last night. But I think one goofy dream is enough to illustrate my particularly disturbed state of mind.

There's a pretty obvious subconscious illustrating the continuing trials that Leo is facing. (Is the water a symbol of Leo's excessive drool? Hmm...where's Freud when you need him?)

Of course, I jinxed myself and Leo by being too positive in my last post. Probably the nanosecond that post hit the www, Leo stopped eating again.

I did manage to spoon feed him baby food yesterday, but even that wasn't acceptable to the furman this morning.

Just feeling at the end of my rope. I like an old-fashioned wooden roller coaster ride, but I'm not a fan of loops and I'm being thrown through a lot of them lately... (I could belabor the metaphor and say the floor has dropped away from me like a floorless coaster, but I'll resist ;)

Maybe it's my control-freak personality that is distressed by this uncontrollable illness. I want to break the code, to figure out how to make this journey smoother -- or perhaps even make his journey faster at this point. For it seems that Leo's happiness is equally balanced by his limitations.

But he is still experiencing happiness -- even after he barely eats this morning due to the slime pouring from his mouth, I find him stretched out on my bed. When he sees me entering the room, he rolls over and purrs. I rub his matted belly and remember how it used to be so fluffy and soft -- the softest fur your most huggable stuffed animal come to life.

Through his ordeal, I see glimmers of his former vivacious personality but it alternates with body language that seems to signal something between discomfort and defeat.

Why Leo? Why my sweet, magnificent, greatest cat ever?

It's just not fair. And I am very, very pissed.


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