Paula is an amazing woman. I wish every one of you could get to know her. The fact that she is always there to help me through illness and to provide support when I and our children need it is only part of the wonder that is Paula. The greater part has to do with her relationship with her pets. She would probably tell you her most important task in life is to take care of all of God's little fuzzy creatures; those less fortunate than us who need assistance to get through life.
And boy, do we have the fuzzy creatures.
Among the many cats that we feed each day - no make that every morning, noon, and night - we have Tiggie. Tigger came to us several years ago after someone dumped him along the roadside so that he would die - I presume. Because I didn't want any more cats around the house, I would take pleasure, at least for the first couple of weeks he began to appear, when I saw our resident bully at the time, a massive feline we called Panda (he looked and was built like a panda bear), chase down this golden tiger cat and rip into him, ultimately chasing him off into the woods. Well, the golden cat kept coming back each day, and with each day's passing, he looked ever more forlorn, and malnourished.
So the "better angels of our nature" won out and we brought the stray cat into the household, named him Tigger, and embraced him as one of our own.
You're probably saying, "You started this story talking about Paula and now you're telling us about a cat named Tigger. Where are you going with this?" Here's where the two intersect. Tigger has a problem and Paula is the best solution to nature's problems that has ever been on this earth.
Here's Mr. Tiggie's problem. He isn't peeing enough. How do I know? Why do I even want to know? Paula checks the litter boxes. All five of them. Apparently she monitors them. Yes, you and I are all going, "yick" about now. You're asking, what kind of person probes a cat poop box for information? That's my Paula.
The amazing thing about this story - and the reason I bring it to you here - is that we have a small army of cats in the house (all former strays that Paula has been kind-hearted enough to shelter) that use the litter boxes. In other words, there are a number of hairy creatures that are contributing to the goo that piles up in them. But Paula knows who's doing what in there. Paula knows everything.
She came to me about a week ago and told me she was concerned that Tigger had a urinary tract infection. I had two immediate reactions. (1) How on earth would you know that? I wouldn't know it if I had a urinary tract infection. (2) What's it going to cost me?
Apparently when she cleans the litter boxes (I should say, on those rare days when I'm not cleaning the litter boxes. This is my weblog and I get to "mold" the story.), she checks to make sure that every little body that is contributing to the mess is doing it in a healthy way - as measured by some veterinary standard that I'm sure is beyond my understanding. And she noticed that some of the "leavings" of urine were tiny. I guess. So she was on the case! She knew that one of the cats wasn't urinating properly. She began to follow each of them to the boxes (!) and to sift through their "afterproducts" and gauge their volume. She narrowed the issue down to one cat - Mr. Tigger. And of course the next thing you know old Tig is off to the vet to get squeezed and prodded and in the end to have (expensive) antibiotics prescribed.
Why do I tell you this story? It says to all of us this: Paula is an amazing woman when it comes to her pets. Had I been in charge, I would have realized that Tigger had had a problem after about the seventh day he hadn't moved from his curled up position on the couch and the flies - along with a pungent aroma - were gathering around him. I usually notice a cat has some kind of health problem when there is a considerable amount of blood flowing - as when old Doc was badly bitten by a possum; I'll tell you that story some day but I'll have to add up all the medical bills before I can tell it properly - or when I come home from work and Paula is in tears. That's always a dead- giveaway.
So Paula is on the case. And of course I've volunteered to watch for Tigger going to the litter boxes too - like I'm going to go over there and lift his tail and see what is happening under there. But it gives Paula a bit of reassurance that I'm there to help. "Sure. You bet. I'm on it. I'll keep an eye on him. And wipe his little butt when he's done."
Paula appreciates that kind of response.
So, we're watching and waiting for Tigger to pee. May God have mercy on me and make it a normal one. You know, I wonder. If I went in and got an eyedropper and filled it with water and went to the litter box and ...