The Doctor Is In


“What is wrong with Garfield?” I ask the Bearded One over and over all weekend.  Our little 6-year-old tabby cat is not in obvious pain, but he hasn’t meowed since Friday.  Usually we’re trying to get him to pipe down.  He doesn’t get out of bed, except for when I vacuum, and then he just hides under the bed.

“The Blahs have overtaken him,” the Bearded One diagnoses.  “That’ll be $325.”

Our kitty just stares straight ahead for hours.  His ears don’t even twitch.

Almost catatonic.

He’s gotten up twice to pee in his litter box, but he is very slow-moving.  He stops and crouches, like he’s dizzy or has an excruciating headache.

It’s the darkest weekend of winter and we conclude this is worth watching closely, but not necessarily a doctor thing.  We don’t go to vets much.  He’s stable, and we both keep the vigil.  He needs to drink.  I haven’t actually seen him drink in two days.

“Maybe he fell off of the house,” the Bearded One says and I’m surprised.  I hadn’t considered a concussion, I tell him.  “No need for a cat scan,” he says.  We’re both trying to keep it all in perspective, and I appreciate the humor.  I do.


Maybe some tummy germ made it in.  I’m in shock over the Newtown shootings of children and miss his cuddling and meowing more than ever.

This is a cat that has an immediate and loud opinion about everything.  Something has slammed him.

*          *          *

Whenever there’s a gap in the rain, Pearl goes out into the upper pasture and climbs Goat Mountain.

Can you spot Pearl?

Can you spot Pearl?

I can see her from the house, standing up there scanning the horizon.

Pearl on Goat Mountain 005

She sees me looking out the window again.  Things aren’t injury-free in the goat world, either.

LaLa is limping this week.  It has improved a bit, but when I first saw it, it looked like he was going lame.  The other goats love to slam into him recreationally, especially after we feed them twice-daily grain for energy.  Sage and Pearl catch LaLa against the edges of the barn doorway.  Looks like he got a leg or a foot hung up this time.


Every time the Bearded One comes in from the barn I ask him, “How is LaLa?”

“Sedate,” he answered.  “They’re all sedate.  It’s pouring rain.”  They do not like getting wet.  They like lying in the barn chewing hay.  Growing fleece.  Passing time.

The Dr. is In 027

I pull a carrot out of the wet winter soil for LaLa.  It’s flame-colored and smells rooty.  Carrots are all that’s left in the garden, the last crop to come out before I spread the compost and some spent goat hay over the beds.

Last Friday, the Bearded One dumped the last of 34 wheelbarrow loads of finished compost on the beds, and it’s still sitting there.  For me, Friday was making the third and final batch of fruitcake, and then my energy left and Garfield got weird and all three goats rejected the carrots.  Everything has seemed a little bleak since those children died.  And Garfield stopped meowing.

On Monday night, I put a little cap-full of water next to Garfield on the bed, hoping he’ll try it.  No.


The Bearded One does not complain when he notices the small water dish on his side of the bed, which I appreciate.  I want Garfield to at least see the water.  Then it’s 10pm and I cradle him in my arms and take him out to the hut and gently put him in his cat bed.

Now it is 5:15am and won’t be light for three hours.  I’m up early.  I notice the lightness from the living room windows, and feel the rush of the first dusting of snow!  I tiptoe carefully out to the hut to get Garfield, secretly fearing that he died in the night and hoping that he did not.

I open the door and gasp.  Garfield is rising up out of his bed.  “MEOW!” he says and stretches.

“Good morning, Garfield!” I sing out.  I scoop him up and kiss him.  Then I take him into the house and kiss him some more.  I put him on the couch and he crawls into my lap and gives a tiny little purr.  I pet him for a few minutes, and watch him noticing the shadows in the room.  He holds his little body steady.

Then he leaps down.  And crouches.  Not too fast.  This isn’t over yet.  Somehow he’s used up one of his nine lives, and he knows it.  Finally he walks to the water bowl and drinks.



14 responses to “The Doctor Is In

  1. That last cartoon is precious. The tail says it all…
    Hooray for the recovery. We’ve all used up one of our lives this week. Peace.

  2. Your words are so compassionate and beautiful…that I can know how you are doing through this blog is also a gift to me! How come the humans are sticks and the animals have substance? tee

  3. Christine Widman

    Here we haven’t seen a bobcat in over a year. Neither has our inspiring, potter-artist, cat-loving 80+ year old neighbor. And if she hasn’t seen any, then I know there have been none to see.
    I think with the deep drought and hotter temps that the bobcats have moved up higher into the mountains where it’s cooler and there’s more water.
    I pray to all the gods for cats to have our bobcats back.
    I want to hear their soft footsteps on the roof above our bedroom. I want to see one sitting on our pink adobe wall. I want to watch one stealing a drink of water from the birdbath. I miss their breath-taking beauty and grace.
    So GLAD Garfield is Meowing again.
    Sending love,

    • Christine, I LOVE your reports from the dessert and I, too, pray for the return of the bobcats. We have one of Denny’s magnificent bobcat photos on our wall. Hard to imagine that they have left, and I surely understand how you miss them. Cat energy is the best.:)

  4. Love this sharing….and, love to see Garfield’s tusheee in the air as he sups the water…you and the Bearded One give such loving presence to these critters…they FEEL it…and with that, hopefully the healing. Hugs to all on the Farmlet…..

    • Thanks, Leslie. Garfield is still improving, though he still hasn’t eaten anything. Who knows what got to him? Yet another mystery left unsolved around here! Love you..:)

  5. I am SO glad that Garfield is getting better…I had my breath held while I was reading and as your post progressed I was steeling myself for the worst…can you please give Garfield a special hug and kiss from me? We don’t like vet’s either after getting our dogs injected for kenel cough every year and after they developed kenel cough we were told (by the same vet that gave them the injections and insisted that they were vital injections…) that kenel cough is to dogs what the common cold is to humans and the vaccine doesn’t work! I think that Garfield has earned a special meal and his place in front of the fire tonight :).

    • Thanks, Fran, and you described last night perfectly, Garfield curled up on the couch next to the woodstove. Do you have a special Tasmanian Telescope?:) I gave Garfield some kisses and scritches from you and he sends a little lick back. May you and Steve and Earl and Bezial survive the apocalypse tonight…24 hours ahead of us. Love from Olalla!

      • HA! Forgedaboudit! Steve says that he couldn’t find out what time ground zero was for our impending doom and as he has to go shopping for Christmas today (Friday) he is going to phone me up every 30 minutes because as I am 50km away from where he will be inland (we are on the coast) the odds are that I will be washed away with the boys first and he said “Make SURE you answer the phone because otherwise I am going to look like a dick when I run around the supermarket screaming out “run for your lives the end is nigh!” to an overjaded selection of Christmas shoppers and nothing happens…”…I used to get worried about this Mayan prediction about 2 years ago…now…I don’t believe it because the Mayans have also made predictions that stretch out into the future…why would they do that if they thought that the world was going to end? They wouldn’t! It’s all a doomsday cultists heavenly happiness that anyone is listening to this at all…we have a cult in Queensland that have been predicting “THE END” for years now and every time they pinpoint a date they come up looking like the nutcases that they are…one day it will be “the end”…but not today, and not because some numpty decided to take the Mayans out of context. Apparently the Mayans have some decent plans for this month…they might have done better putting all of the money that has gone into publicising this “doomsday” (including the crappy movies that they made) into supporting the Mayans and their month of celebrations…at least it would have been productive and colourful! Imagine what the Mayan indians could have done with a squillion dollars? Now THAT would have been one ENORMOUS pinata! 😉 Hugs from Olalla Christi and think of Steve doing the Christmas shopping…the poor man must be insane! 🙂

  6. To Fran – lololololololololololol over your Mayan Ground Zero scenario & picturing Steve running through the shopping center crying out “The END is nigh!” lololololololol
    I had completely forgotten about it also.
    I figure there have been so many real End of the World scenarios…the Anasazi apocalypse, the Assyrians terrorizing the population, Attila the Hun and his happy group, the Dark Ages torture and burn at the stake hysteria, the US Civil War, WWI – the war to end all wars, the World War II holocaust…
    well, that’s enough of that.
    I like thinking of a giant celebratory pinata.
    Or Garfield by the firelight.
    Or the exchanges of celebration and real daily living that happens each week on this joyous, funny, tender, real glimpse of humans connecting on planet Earth.

  7. I read this post with bated breath as you told us about Garfield. So pleased that he is on the mend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s