Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hairball

Back from a grueling grocery-shopping trip (on the weekend, against my better judgment), I am putting the eggs in the refrigerator when I see it. On our beautiful granite floor is a slimy, gray, cigar-shaped, hairy wad of goop: the tell-tale sign of feline nausea gone awry. “No!” I say, stupidly, and the flimsy egg carton slips out of my hand, sending a raw egg crashing to the kitchen floor.

Ignoring the egg, I move in for a closer look at the offending gray object. Yes, the size and shape of a (very large) cat’s esophagus. A hairball for sure. Muttering under my breath, I head to the kitchen for paper towels and nearly crash into Joey, who’s already quietly mopping my splattered egg off the floor. “Two brushings a day, then,” he says grimly.

But there’s nothing we can do about what’s happened already. Even after the floor is clean, the dampness is dark on the granite. It won’t dry out for days - a dark, hairball-shaped badge of our failure as kitty owners.

It’s amazing the cat has done as well as he has, really. One rainy January morning, for no reason apparent to him, he was coaxed into a travel crate, whisked off by strangers, driven several hours to an airport vet, given various shots and tests, repacked into the crate, and then - thinking the worst was over - unceremoniously loaded onto a plane and flown off to Amsterdam.

In wintry Amsterdam, he was (we hear) unloaded from the plane, given a roomy kennel to rest in, and loaded onto the plane for a long flight to Singapore. He was unloaded in tropical temperatures, taken through customs, given the obligatory rabies shot (although he’d had one in August), and transferred to quarantine. A week later, we arrived, and we began to visit him two or three times a week. And one day, inexplicably, he was put in his travel crate again and whisked off to a place he’d never seen, with entirely different furniture, that we assured him was “home.”

He sniffed everything suspiciously for days. And a few weeks later, just when he’d gotten used to it, that set of furniture disappeared, and movers arrived with a giant sea container and unloaded furniture that vaguely reminded him of...something...what was it? It looked like home, but it smelled like boxes and cardboard and crates and movers.

It’s been a few days since our sea shipment arrived, and I think he’s finally starting to settle in. He’s stopped bathing too much out of nerves (so hopefully we’ve seen the last of the hairballs), and he spends his days sleeping on his favorite chair. He follows Joey through the house in the evenings and curls up tight next to me at night. Even in the chaos, I think he was relieved to find us at the end of his journey. We put him through quite a lot to get here - it wasn’t easy for us, either - but somehow I think he’d agree that it’s better than two years without us.

1 comment:

Joanna said...

aaww, he looks relatively settled, unless that was a picture from back in the states.
miles and mimi throw up when we're out of town, out of spite (or they poop in the closet)....cats will be cats, i suppose.
by the way, before i start to feel sorry for your weather conditions, let me remind you that yesterday it was 30 degrees and snowing. i miss the sun.