Monday, March 06, 2006

Happy belated birthday ... to my cat

March 5 was our cat, Garland’s, birthday. She turned nine.

If you think remembering a cat’s birthday is dorky, you should have seen me before World’s Cutest Baby was born. Back then, Garland was My Child. I would make up songs and sing them to her (“Kitty woman, walking down the street, kitty woman …”); I would drive 20 minutes out of my way to buy gourmet cat food that you can’t find at the grocery store; I’d sleep on about one inch of pillow so she could have the rest of it.

When I went into labor, I didn't want to leave for the hospital, because I didn’t want to leave Garland home alone.

When we came home from the hospital with WCB, everything had changed. Garland had gone from “Our Child to “the cat.” If I remember to put her cheap, Purina-brand food in her dish once a day, I am doing well.

Poor Garland. She doesn’t get the attention she deserves, so I’ve decided to honor her on her (belated) birthday by listing Nine Important Facts About Garland:

1. Garland is named after Judy Garland. I have a photo of her as a kitten, staring up at the TV screen, watching a scene from “A Star is Born.” I pasted that photo into her baby book.

2. Yes, she has a baby book

3. I adopted Garland from the Humane Society in Sioux City, Iowa when she was 10 weeks old. As I walked past her cage, she reached out and grabbed me with her paws. I knew it was meant to be.

4. Garland had a twin brother named Hector who shared her cage at the humane society. I’ve always felt guilty about not adopting him, too, and I’ve always wondered what happened to him.

5. When Garland was 10 months old, she hurt herself jumping for a toy and had to have reconstructive knee surgery. The vet bill was $500. I was at my first peon job out of college, and my husband was still in college, so it might as well have been 5 million dollars. We charged it to our credit card.

6. Garland used to have an adopted sister named Buffett (named for Warren, not Jimmy), who died in 2001 of a rare feline disease called FIP. After Buffett died, we could tell that Garland was in mourning for a long time.

7. Garland is terrified of strangers and fears the doorbell, so much so that the Domino’s Pizza commercial with the ringing doorbell sends her running under the couch.

8. Years ago, Jay and I were trying to get Garland into her carrier to go to the vet, and she scrambled out of it and climbed over my face with her claws. Jay said he could see my blood spurting into the air. He ended up taking her to the vet alone, where the staff talked him into buying cat health insurance.

9. Yes, they sell cat health insurance.

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