Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The cats of the house - Louie

Louie is my elder cat. The alpha cat, actually, of the house. He came into my life as a little kitten back in 1997. His mother lived on the grounds where I worked at the time.

One morning, my desk phone rang. It was our receptionist. I answered the phone and could tell I was on the speaker. The receptionist was telling me that there was someone that wanted to see me, while I could hear humans mimicking cats (meowing) in the background. I had no choice but to head out quickly to the reception area.

When I got there, I found a tiny little kitten in a box. He was so tiny that he fit in the palm of my hand. A few of the ladies in the office saw him outside the reception doors and caught him. They got him some milk from the cafeteria (well meaning I know, even though milk is not good for cats or kittens). I picked him up and held him. He was so small, and shaking. He smelled horrible and his eyes didn't look right.

I immediately said I'd take him and got my purse and took him to my vet. I asked the vet to run the normal tests and to begin the vaccination process and said I'd be back to get him at the end of the day. When I went to pick him up, I was told the norm - keep him segregated from the other cats until the test results are back and there is no danger of any contagious illnesses. The vet sent us home with oral antibiotics and eye drops that I was to give to him twice a day, as he seemed to have an infection of some sort in his eyes.

When we got home, my alpha cat at that time, Max, wanted to know what I had. Max was a beautiful cat, but not known for his manners or friendly behavior. I had to keep the little guy in my room with the door closed. Max was not used to the door being closed and spent the entire night outside of the door, scratching at it and just carrying on. I couldn't allow Max to see the little guy though.

The little guy was scared and exhausted. I put him on my bed and he finally just collapsed, his little limbs didn't even bend as he fell sideways close to me and went to sleep. As I looked at him, I began to get teary-eyed, hoping for his clean bill of health, as I was already becoming attached.

The next morning, the vet gave him a clean bill of health! Thank God. I was still nervous, though, to let Max too close to the baby, as I didn't quite know what Max would do. I sat in the chair with the little guy on my lap while Max demanded to see this thing. The little guy was equally interested in Max, so I carefully and slowly let them see each other. Max was so good and gentle and really loved the little guy. Suddenly, the little one wanted to get off of my lap and hang out with Max on the floor. While they were on the floor together, Max's big fluffy tail was shaking and the baby couldn't help but attack it. They bonded immediately and were thick as thieves until we lost Max two years later.

For the next two weeks, I gave the baby his antibiotics and eye drops twice daily. His eyes were looking better, yet still not right. When we went for our two week check up, the vet, upon investigating, told me the baby had a birth defect (and gave me the Latin term that I'll never remember) where his eyelids never completely developed. This generally happens in the womb. He said that if I was going to allow the babe to go outdoors, I'd need to get him plastic surgery as that was his only means of protecting his eyes from the outdoor elements. If animals eyes get infected it can be fatal. I was keeping my cats indoors, so that was not an issue.

The baby was also a loud talker from the second day with me. I thought about an appropriate name for him and decided on Louie. He is named after Louie Prima, the great singer and bandleader. My dad was a huge fan and we grew up listening to Prima. FYI - Louie Prima was the voice of King Louie from the cartoon, The Jungle Book, and King Louie's moves and those of the his band of apes, were inspired by Louie Prima and the Witnesses.

My Louie is such a joy and a very lovable guy. Everyone that meets him is not only taken with his personality, but intrigued by his eyes. He certainly makes my life more enjoyable and he is a creative inspiration for me.

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