About two years overdue, I took my cat Amy last week for a check-up at the vet's. That delay was not because of the probable cost (which proved as expected to be three figures--this is Manhattan, after all). It wasn't because of the distance, since the clinic is an eight-minute walk from my building. It may have been because the good-looking vet whom I liked has changed jobs and is no longer there.
But the real reason for my procrastination was my procrastination, and the fact that Amy eats and sleeps and spends her day curled up on the bed or the desk or looking out the window, seeming as happy and absent of maladies as one could be. Her principal avocation is nuzzling next to me and taking the occasional nibble out of my arm.
Anyway, last week being slow, I decided to put off the check-up no longer, and I enlisted the help of a young friend to chaperone Amy (and me) to the vet's.
So you'll know, Amy is a Calico, the breed of mostly (though naturally not totally) females. She is a blend of orange -- brown and dark brown and white, her coloring going well with a light brown covering on my bed. (I take no credit for that.) She came from a no-kill animal shelter and the planning of a lady who volunteers for the shelter and who had boarded the cat until a suitable home was found. That lady, with my bio, searched through a lengthy rolodex to find a cat that would be good for me -- a feline of mild temperament and not so young as to climb the walls all night. (I've gone through that, and once is plenty.)
The lady spotted a cat of age maybe four or five who had proven out of joint near other cats and would have to be the sole four-legged creature in the household. I promised to conform.
The lady generously brought the cat over to check out my place and me, and when it seemed that the animal and I would be a good match, she brought her once again. Amy moved in with a name I didn't like, and I figured I had the right of naming, so she became Amy. She and I took a trip to the vet -- the good-looking one -- to be sure she was healthy. He commented on her good nature; I smiled as if I had anything to do with it.
There were no return trips to the vet's office until now. That's three years later.
Amy is the third, maybe the fourth cat I've lived with, and while she isn't the smartest, she has the best disposition of any of them. Getting her wish to be the only cat around, she has reciprocated by growing increasingly sociable. She may be hungry in the morning, but there are no visits to the kitchen until I've showered and all, and she seems to be resigned, as I hear only a few plaintive meows.
Since the cat hadn't been beyond the apartment door in more than three years, I was jittery about how last week's trip to the vet would go. My young helper arrived, and we loaded Amy into her carrying case (used in the past by predecessors). On the walk over, the cat let us know she wasn't happy, but we met a young doctor assigned to the appointment, and once on the exam table, Amy relaxed and got weighed, punched and stuck with a couple of needles for the overdue shots, all the while lying supine and stoic. I looked on with a benign expression, as if that was exactly what I'd expected. The lady vet seemed impressed -- I think that may have been her easiest exam of the day.
The three of us, the friend and Amy and I, went home relieved, thinking that another trip to the vet could wait a few years.
They say that pets take on the looks and personality of their owners. While I don't detect any physical resemblance with Amy, I'd like to attribute her good nature to the guy chosen as her daddy. Not highly likely, but maybe.
Stanley Ely writes about cats, and some dogs, in his book "Life Up Close, a Memoir" in paperback and ebook.