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We Love Them Like Children

Story ID:9037
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Caldwell ID USA
Year:2013
Person:Miss Priss
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We Love Them Like Children


I walked through the door of our apartment. After a day at work; it was nice to
be home. As usual, our older cat, Ms. Pris, sat on the floor on my side of the sofa. She
heard my car and rushed to where I sit in the evenings.

"You want your treats, Pris?" I asked. She sat and stared at me with a look of
anticipation.

I fixed a drink, walked around the coffee table, and Pris, who knows the routine,
moved so I wouldn't step on her. I sat down, and she stationed herself beside my right
foot.

I looked down into her big green eyes, "What?"

"Meow!"

"I know. You want your treat, don't ya, big girl."

She twitched with anticipation. "Meow!"

"Wait until I get my computer up and running, big girl. You know the routine."

I picked up my laptop and turned it on. As I opened my various emails and
Facebook and typed in my passwords, she put her two front paws on the arm of the sofa
and looked me straight in the eye, "Meow!"

"Ok, Pris. You're right. It's treat time." She sat back on the floor, as I opened
the container of hard, crunchy treats.

I took one out and held it out. She stood on her aging hind legs, took it gently
from my fingers and settled back to chew.

I gave her a second, a third and a fourth. She crunched down on the fourth,
jumped and began poking at the right side of her mouth with her tongue and then pawed
at her cheek with her right front paw.

It looked like a piece of the treat might have jammed between her cheek and
her gum. I was wrong. She walked away, but soon came back and curled up against
the wall.

She doesn't sleep there and rarely walks away when it's treat time.

I watched her carefully.

She struggled to get comfortable and panted.
I knew she was in pain and realized she may have broken a tooth. She is
probably thirteen years old. It could happen.

A few hours later, I watched her go to her food bowl in the kitchen. She
started to eat, jumped from the bowl and ran to her spot at the wall, slumped against it,
curled up and began to pant again.

Ginny babysat our grandchildren at her daughter's house that night. When she
called, I said, "Gin, I think Pris is in pain. She might have broken a tooth." Gin would
come home while I was at work the next day. "Gin, when you come home, keep an eye
on her."

She did and saw Pris paw at her cheek. Gin thought she might have a
breathing problem, because Pris looked like she struggled to breathe.

"Gin, I think she's panting, because she's in pain."

I called the vet from work and made an appointment for late that afternoon.

I came home, put an unhappy and fighting cat into the evil cat carrier and went
to the vet.

We had a short wait. In minutes I was in the examining room and lifting
a very frightened cat out of her carrier. It took me, the vet and his assistant to hold
Pris still, while the vet forced Pris' mouth open.

"I think you’re right, Mr. Smith. Her tooth in the lower back right appears
to be broken. I think there's a problem with the same tooth on the lower left as well.

"What needs to be done?" I asked.

"I’ll need to sedate her, so we can check the teeth. I think she'll need at least
one tooth removed. She'll need to stay for the night as well."

Money is always tight for us. "How much will it cost, Doc?"
The vet and his assistant exchanged a look. Maybe I read it wrong, but to me it
appeared to be a look they may have exchanged many times as a pet owner said, "I can't
afford it. Put her down."

He looked me in the eye. "Mr. Smith, you know it cost $40 just for bringing in
here."

"Yeah, I know."

"It will be $60 to anesthetize her and about $55 to remove her teeth."

I gave a sigh of relief. On my way home to take Pris to the vet, I checked the mail
and found a check for $200 from Chicken Soup for the soul, for a story I sold them.

“Do what you need to do, Doc.” I said and watched watched him and his assistant
exchange another look.

They were smiled.

I would never put Miss Pris to her end, not until it is her time. We've been through
too much together. It was lucky I received a check for a story I sold the day I needed
the money to pay the $155 to make Miss Pris feel better.

Even without the check, I would have found a way to pay. I'm sure the vet had
payment plan. We would have done what was needed.

We adopted Pris nine and a half years ago, knowing we made a commitment.
We're sticking to it.

Pets are family. We love them like children.

Michael T. Smith