Saturday, May 10, 2008

Heat Trumps Chicken

Today marks the second anniversary of this blog, and over the last couple of days I was thinking about doing a kind of dewy-eyed post about how great it has been having this forum at my disposal and how important it is to take the time to really breathe in and celebrate all those little moments with your kids, because they grow and change so fast.

But we're shelving those plans, at least temporarily. The most notable thing happening in our house over the last 24 hours or so has been the onset of what can only be considered early heat in our little Olive. Early "estrus," for all those cat purists out there.

I guess the girls started noticing some differences in our kitten's behavior during the day on Thursday. By the time I got home from work and we moved through the typical bath/teeth-brushing/book-reading/fighting over degrees of "tired" routine, Olive was rolling around on the floor and making a wide-ranging array of sounds that would seem unnatural emanating from any living being not named Aretha Franklin.

We got Madison and Ava to bed and then went immediately to consult that omnipotent force technology has made available to people in distress everywhere - Google! After just a few moments spent throwing around search terms like cats... heat... symptoms... how soon... our situation was relatively clear. At four months and one week of age, our little Olive was gettin' jiggy with it. She was relatively calm watching TV with Gwen and I over the course of the night, even made it through the jarring and increasingly inscrutable distress of "Lost" without incident. Then Ava crawled into bed with us about 3 a.m. and threw off the group's equilibrium.

I tried to make a go of the middle for about an hour, then wound up taking refuge in Ava's room. She stayed with Gwen, and Olive wandered about, clearly having issues and perfectly happy to let us know about her situation through the darkness, mainly from the landing area at the top of the stairs, within convenient vocal range of all of us. Madison, who has had a terrible time with seasonal allergies this week, was zonked out on Children's Claritin and did not emerge from her comparatively tranquil slumber.

By yesterday morning, we were more convinced of our diagnosis than ever, as the odd sounds and movements continued. The girls kept asking what was going on, wanting to know what was wrong with our newest family member - a question that made Madison's "what's chicken made of?" query, which helped launch this little writing project, seem like, well, child's play.

We said Olive obviously wasn't feeling well, and that Gwen was going to take her to the vet to see what was wrong. At one point, during the morning ritual of warm milk and Noggin, Madison looked down from her chair and saw her cat laying with face and front half pressed against the floor, hindquarters raised.

"OK, that's a strange position," she said.

I agreed and tried to change the subject, but Maddie stuck with it. "It looks like she's wanting something," she continued, before observing that Olive had been unusually affectionate over the last day or so. We had several decades of life experience and an Internet search engine at our disposal but, as is typically the case, our 7-year-old quickly made up the ground.

We got the girls off to school and Gwen took Olive to the vet, who confirmed our untrained suspicions and offered to schedule a spaying for Monday. Gwen responded with some version of "um, that's just not going to work for us" - I don't ask for specific details anymore - and magically a slot for later that morning opened up.

She picked up our woozy little post-op patient about 3 p.m., and in response to the girls' questions delivered the basic messaging we'd discussed over the course of the day. Olive was trying to tell us that she was ready for a special shot that dogs and cats get at this age, to help keep them healthy, and it's such an important shot that they actually have to do a little cut to make sure it gets to the right place. We opted not to raise the specter of fertility and offspring at this moment, as part of this conversation. The approach seems to be working, and the questions have ceased as our pet, after a few uncharacteristic hisses while coming down off the anaesthesia, quietly recovers.

"I feel so bad for Olive," an emotional Madison said when everyone was back at home. "I would have my stomach opened if the doctor said it was between me and her."

[The patient, post-op, as bundled up by Ava]

Last night I brought home pizza and salads - an emerging Friday tradition - and we watched High School Musical to cap a fairly rough and hectic week. Gwen took our "baby" Ava to her kindergarten pre-screening on Tuesday, then cried off and on for two days. Our adorable and still tiny kitten rounded things out with her own coming-of-age issues, sort of a non-human but similarly unsettling variation on the theme. There's no escaping it, our girls are getting older.

And this blog is two. And although I sometimes wonder why I continue to post, what it means and who it's for, I have to admit... I'm still glad it's here.


Blogger Kevin said...

Two?? Woah. I'd be shocked if I kept blogging for 2 years.. cause well that sort of determination and commitment is something.. I lack. Congrats.

Hope your little kitty recovers well and that next week is less hectic for you.

(Did i really read this blog 10 minutes post-posting? I need a hobby.)

12:36 PM  
Blogger Sarah :) said...

Wow. Two years. Good job. I hope I have the ability to write in mine for two, at least. :]

And I'll say a little prayer for your kitty. Also, that your girls will stop asking questions. I know how awkward those can be. ;]


1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please, please do not stop posting. your blog is one of the little highlights of my online experience (and i DO need a hobby) *grin

4:00 PM  
Blogger DeeDeeB said...

I discovered your blog a few weeks ago,and I came back everyday since... I love it. I love the stories, the pictures! I find it so refreshing. Happy anniversary and keep posting!
I hope Olive is recovering well..

10:17 PM  
Blogger Plum said...

I enjoy reading your blog as well. It gives an interesting view into a world that is ouside my own. Your stories and life happenings are great and I love seeing your appreciation for your life. It is contagious, so keep blogging.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Jasmin said...

Well I am glad your still posting.

The little stories that you share are always so heartwarming to read.

Poor little Olive, we adopted our cat at about 5months old, so we didn't go through this 'stage' but sounds like it was an interesting conversation starter.

I'm sure your little girls will give Olive plenty of cuddles while she recovers.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Funny blog about Olive and your girls. I laughed out loud at the quote that it looked like Olive wanted something. Happy 2nd Blog Birthday! Keep 'em coming!

11:39 AM  
Blogger Lydia said...

Oh, this is one of the richest pieces of writing a lifelong cat person has ever read! You may have read my comments about our little Shiva Lullaby who preceded your Olive by some months. Shiva needed her "special shot" early on too, and you have described the symptoms and antics to a tee. The way you wove together the growth of your blog, your daughters, and Olive is truly masterful. You may not be aware of just how wonderful a writer you are and how enjoyable you make little moments in the days of your readers. Thanks so much and happy birthday (and calm life to Olive).

6:30 PM  
Blogger said...

I've just started reading, so I'm certainly glad you're still here!

All the best to you and yours, especially wee Olive, she looks adorable.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Lisa R. said...

I laugh and cry every time I read your blog...I am mommy of two boys same ages as your girls, and it is both reassuring and frightening to know that someone else's life is so similar to mine right now!

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy 2nd Anniversary! I really enjoy your blog, I just stumbled upon it a few weeks ago.

I hope Olive is feeling better. =)

7:41 PM  
Blogger Sunflowerfairy said...

lol! It looks like she wants something all right....

Poor kitty.

Happy 2nd blog birthday. Looking forward to celebrating more with you and your family.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

I'm still glad it's here, too. Yours was the first I ever bookmarked on my own blog. I've often asked the same questions you do (what it means and who it's for) but in the end I think it means something different every time you post, and it's for you, along with anyone else who wants to tag along.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

LOL!! I can see your girls...much older...realizing what was going on with Olive and laughing when they recall what you and Gwen told them. Very clever way to handle it!

Blessings, Melanie

4:09 PM  

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