Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Get Well Soon, Mr. Bearsie Bear

My mom has had quite a rough year. Not only did she lose two sweet kitty cats, but now her other kitty cat, Bearsie, is having health issues. Since I don't think I've ever told the story here of how Bearsie came to live with my mom, I thought this would be a good time.

Many years after I adopted Vana and Jezebel, I discovered another kitty was living under my house. I was living in Rochester, NY on Meigs St. on the first floor of a pretty dilapidated house. I noticed on several occasions over one winter that I could hear a kitty meowing in the basement, which had a dirt floor and was only accessible by pulling up a board on the side of the house and walking down a handful of rickety steps -- or, I discovered, through a broken window on the other side of the house. But, alas, every time I went to find this kitty, he was no where to be found. Occasionally I would see a few neighborhood cats hanging out together on one porch or another. I remember distinctly that there was a brown cat who was missing one eye. Then I started seeing another brown cat who looked much like the one I called one-eyed Jack, but who was a bit fuller with both eyes intact. I remember seeing him under the boughs of the great evergreen in the neighbor's yard the following spring and carefully tiptoeing over and then getting down on the ground at a distance to say hello to him. One day, after doing this a few times, he came up to me and let me pet him. I was so excited that he finally trusted me! After that, he would often come up onto my porch looking for some food and I would oblige. One day, I came out onto the porch to find him sitting with an opposum! In my ignorance (and lack of coherent thought) I found myself worried that the opposum was going to give him rabies and tried to scare him away with a broom. I remember watching the opposum's stupor and wondering why he wasn't moving and then later feeling like an incredible idiot once I realized that obviously he was playing possum. But I digress...

A number of months went by while I fed him on my porch. My boyfriend at the time, Randy, decided he should be named "Big Head", for some reason. I, on the other hand, started calling him "Little Bear". Bear was always a very sweet cat and the more I got to know him, the more I noticed that he was in great need of seeing a veterinarian. The most obvious reasons were that he had a number of wounds on his head and very dirty ears. I knew, though, that if I were to take him to the vet, I would also need to take him in. I had rescued several cats since adopting Jezebel and Vana, but never liked the idea of taking another cat in, because it didn't seem like we had the room or that it would be fair to the other kitties. I had been lucky in finding homes for the other cats, but I had run out of people to ask by the time I met Bear. I decided finally that I would take him in early in the year 2001. The vet treated him for worms, fleas, ear mites, and had to pop a couple of enormous abcesses on his head from infected fight wounds. I'm pretty sure he also stayed that day to be neutered, but I don't recall for certain. When he came back to the apartment to move in with us, Jezebel swiped her paw at him to show him she was the boss and Bear rolled over on his side and submitted to her. It seemed to me that he must have been very glad to be in out of the cold and in a place with someone who wanted to feed him and take care of him.

In late summer of 2002, I moved to Boston to start graduate school at New England Conservatory. In the process of moving I had to leave all three cats at my mom's house in Syracuse until I was able to move into my new Bostonian apartment. I knew after seeing the very small apartment I was to live in that it would be hard even with two cats, as we would be confined pretty much to one bedroom and very little common space. I proposed the idea to my mom that maybe she could take Bear for a while. She didn't have any pets and had never had a cat. Being the awesome mom that she is, she agreed to take him, not quite sure how things would go. But, in no time at all, mom and Bearsie grew to enjoy each other's company very much. They still do. In fact, I can hardly believe there was ever a time when he wasn't my mom's cat.

We don't really know how old Bear is, but his many years on the street probably added more than a few. He's got a kidney stone and a stone in his bladder, and now most recently a mass was discovered in one of his kidneys. I know he's going to be okay, because he's a super trooper, but he's going to need lots of TLC. And so will my mom.

My mom has a special request of you! When you think of Bearsie, don't think of him as sick. Think of him as well. Imagine him frolicking! Thank you! :-)

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