The Cat Lady* Writes Again


Posted by Kathy Waller


You may say a cat uses good grammar. Well, a cat does — but you let a cat get excited once; you let a cat get to pulling fur with another cat on a shed, nights, and you’ll hear grammar that will give you the lockjaw. Ignorant people think it’s the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it’s the sickening grammar they use.
~ Mark Twain,  A Tramp Abroad


Ernest Davis-Waller on back of recliner

I’m sitting in my recliner, feet up, laptop on lap, Ernest Davis-Waller stretched out on the wide overstuffed armrest to my right. His left foreleg stretches down so his paw rests against me. He’s making biscuits on my leg. Clothing doesn’t protect me: his claws pierce my flesh. I take his leg, move it up to the armrest. He reaches down and resumes making biscuits. I move his leg back up… he reaches down… If only he didn’t look so pleased with himself. But finally I give up. He’s had a difficult day. I guess.

William Davis-Waller is in the hospital. Friday night I noticed he was limping a bit, and I knew what was wrong. Saturday morning, the veterinarian diagnosed diabetes. We fed him special food the rest of the weekend and took him back to the vet early Monday morning to stay until his glucose stabilizes.

William Davis-Waller watching PBS

William and Ernest came to us from Austin Pets Alive, which rescues cats and dogs from the animal shelter and fosters them until the cats and dogs are ready to rescue people like the Davis-Wallers. They were six months old when we got them, Ernest first, and William a month later. They hit it off immediately and spent the first night practicing for the Daytona 500–from the bed to the floor to the closet to the bed to the floor to the closet, round and round and round, trampling the humans, all night long.

Five days after they met, Ernest developed a tummy complaint and was admitted to the hospital. Within twenty-four hours, William stopped eating and lay limp and unresponsive in my lap. I took him to the hospital, where he was found to be running a high fever. Ernest was better but not ready to be released. I left William and went home.

Ernest and William sharing recliner

That afternoon, I called to check on William. He was fine, said the vet. She’d put him in the cage with Ernest, and in a couple of hours his fever was gone and he was all perky and eating like a horse. She wanted to keep both over the weekend.

By Monday, however, things had broken down a bit. Ernest, it seems, had told William in no uncertain terms that the cage wasn’t big enough for both of them. According to the veterinarian’s assistant, he used some pretty sickening grammar.

William was moved, post-haste, to his own accommodations.

But back at home, they teamed up again, brothers in arms. And for the past seven years, except for the night Ernest spent at the emergency veterinary clinic–he ate ribbon again–they haven’t been separated. Until this week.

I dropped in this afternoon to check on William and, just in case, told the vet about his dependence on Ernest. He was doing well, his glucose level was down, and he would be ready to come home in a few more days. And would I like to visit him?

William on piano, where he is not supposed to be
William on piano, where he is not supposed to be

They put us in one of the examination rooms and closed the door. William didn’t say hi, how you, no pleasantries at all. Nothing. Instead, we wrestled. He wanted off the exam table. I sat down and held him on my lap. He wanted back on the exam table. He purred twice, for a total of four seconds, and only trying to get me off guard so I would loose my hold. In short, he wanted outta there.

The worst part was that for the full half-hour we were together, he engaged in projectile shedding. I’m used to that, it’s what cats do at the vet’s, but it’s darned uncomfortable when you’re using both hands to corral the beast and can’t spare one to get the fur off your tongue, where it shouldn’t have migrated to in the first place.

William by himself
William by himself

The really worst part, of course, is that he has diabetes. When he came to us, he was all ears, tail and tummy, and he vacuumed up every bite we gave him. He grew into a larger cat than I’d expected him to, based on his small, tapered feet, and the ears, tail, and tummy shrank to proper proportion. But he continued to put on weight. I knew he was becoming a candidate for diabetes. And though I tried to take weight off him, I wasn’t consistent in my efforts. Being a good parent means you sometimes have to do things neither you nor your child, nor your cat, enjoys. If you don’t do those things, you end up feeling guilty and doing things you both like even less. In this case dealing with needles and syringes and blood tests.

On the positive side, the veterinarian told me something I didn’t know–that with proper treatment, diabetic cats sometimes improve and can survive without insulin injections. Like Type II diabetes in humans? I asked. Yes. That makes sense. And now we have something to work toward.

And I can go to bed tonight without worrying that William is running a high fever because he’s lonesome for Ernest.

Ears, tail, and tummy

There was a post on Facebook yesterday that claimed the position you sleep in reveals something about you. If you sleep flat on your back, you’re quiet and reserved and have a high sense of self-worth. If you sleep on your side, you’re calm and laid-back when you’re awake. If you sleep on your back and snore, you’re irritable (reasonable, since you possibly have sleep apnea, but that’s not quite the same as being reserved or laid-back).

I don’t know how I sleep–except that in the morning the sheet and blankets are usually on my side of the bed. I’m afraid to ask what that means.

But for the most part, the position I sleep in depends on two things:

  1. how cold I am; and
  2. how many cats occupy the space that rightfully belongs to my legs.

I’ve taken so long moseying through this piece that Ernest has abandoned me for David’s recliner. He may or may not go with me upstairs to bed. Whatever happens, I know that for tonight, at least, one of my legs will be assured a place to stretch out.

But I’ll be glad when William comes home, even if it means I have to sleep sitting up.



*I’m not really a cat lady or even a cat person. I’m a dog, cat, horse, parakeet, cow, and chicken person, and I would like to be a raccoon person but I’m smart enough not to try that. But I can say, with Mark Twain,

When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.
~  “An Incident,” Who Is Mark Twain?


Mark Twain’s thoughts about cats appear at

Published by Wranglers

This is a group blog under the name Wranglers

18 thoughts on “The Cat Lady* Writes Again

  1. So sorry Williams sick, but thrilled he has options. I’m the same with Gabe and Gaby. They may get jealous when I spend time with one or the other, but they are lost when one is gone. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Delightful post, Kathy! I know we have a lot of pet lovers in our group so it’s a wonderful post for all of us. One of our cats is a candidate for diabetes, too, so I need to get in the groove and get her some more exercise. However, she also has TERRIBLE arthritis and so shouldn’t be jumping and running a lot. We’re in a bit of a pickle… My best to you and your special boys!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having a cat that can’t move around without pain does pose a problem. William should have gotten more activity. David bounced a little ball up the stairs so it hit the wall behind the landing and bounced back down. William chased it up and down once, then figured out he could sit on the landing or on a step and watch it, and, if it stopped somewhere, bat it back down. He ain’t dumb. After that, we bounced the ball for the pleasure of watching him not chase it. Thanks for your comment.


  3. This was a fun post, Kathy, apart from the sad fact that cats do get sick sometimes. I’ve no personal experience of cats, apart from those that use my garden as a very large litter tray and with 9 houses as neighbours all around my garden that’s a lot of cats since at least 4 have cats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Nancy. I know what you mean about the large litter tray. When I was little, my father walled and roofed my sand box with chicken wire to keep the neighborhood kitties out. It had a door with a latch. I always wanted a play house and didn’t realize till I was grown that I’d had one. Like everything else he built, it was both sturdy and attractive.


  4. I hope you win the battle to get him off the insulin. A few years back I had a sweet boy — Tessir — who was diagnosed with diabetes. After several years of insulin shots and special food, I lost the battle, followed the vet’s recommendation, and had him put to sleep. Boy… he had personality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mike. I’m sorry about Tessir. We had our Christabel put down because of diabetes twelve years ago. It’s so hard to let go when the time arrives. I was already having visions of going through that with William and was surprised to learn he might improve. He obviously feels better. So we’re hopeful.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Skunks are so cute. I did have a run-in with one that had the potential of not being cute at all, but it ended well for both of us. William seems closer to his Daddy, watches his movements, parks under his computer chair, but at night he sleeps on my side of the bed. I don’t know how that works. I presume it’s because I’m built more like a featherbed than David is.


  5. Love the post, Kathy. We got a 14 week old kitten a month ago and wondered what would transpire when we came home. We took Patty (our Shih Tzu) to the shelter to help pick out a cat that would get along with her. We definitely succeeded because they are now fast friends. It’s so funny to watch them play the game of “catch me if you can” and I’d say they are both about even in who wins. At night they curl up on the bed (on my side) and I have had to change that, as with a foot of room I can’t turn, which makes my back pain excruciating. When I wake up they are curled next to me and because they are almost the same color, sometimes it’s hard to see which is which. Leonard seems to like it here and Patty is estatic to have a new friend to play with. Now, if I could just get them to share the bed I’d be all set!


    1. Thanks for commenting. I love to watch cats and dogs play together. It’s wonderful they’re friends. Years ago I had a little collie that at first resented the new Siamese kitten but letter became her protector and moved to cut off any dog that came near her, even the neighbor’s dog, who was quite friendly. If you manage to get yours to share the bed, please send instructions. Last night William lay down beside my pillow and Ernest lay just below. Then William managed to swing his bottom around so he was lying across the bed rather than up-and-down, thus pushing me to the other side and David almost to the floor. When I tried to move him, he did his impersonation of Jello. Loving pets sometimes has its drawbacks.


  6. Pets really are a part of the family. When one of them is away it is like having a child out of the house. I hope everything went well and everyone is back home where they belong.


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