eight lives left

A lit­tle while ago, Byron stopped hold­ing down his meals, and we’d con­sis­tent­ly find chick­en parts scat­tered about the house short­ly after he ate. A vis­it to the vet, along with the usu­al blood tests, came up emp­ty. It was only an x-ray at the ER that showed a small object lodged at the start of his small intes­tine, block­ing the path of digestion.

It didn’t come as a huge sur­prise. Byron was a relent­less cat when it came to search­ing for food. I couldn’t tell if he’d roam the house for things to eat cause he was hun­gry, or if his hunger came from the con­stant roam­ing. Sometimes we’d find chewed up toys passed through his sys­tem, but more often than not they came up the oth­er end, cov­ered in bile. It was only a mat­ter of time before some­thing got stuck.

cat in cone

The face of a killer defeat­ed by a fur­ni­ture screw.

I try to have a prag­mat­ic view about my cats. Operations of this scale on any sin­gle one are hard for me to jus­ti­fy, when I could use those resources to save sev­er­al more (espe­cial­ly when I wouldn’t love a new cat any less). So I left the deci­sion up to Heather, con­sid­er­ing the fact that she’s the bread­win­ner now, and she’s had a stronger con­nec­tion to him ever since she start­ed tak­ing care of the cat’s meals.

It wasn’t a dif­fi­cult choice for her, and she gave the vet approval to oper­ate with­out a sec­ond thought.

Cat at Wintersday

Heather’s spent more hours as his ranger alter-ego, Byron Tightslasher, than any oth­er char­ac­ter. Every detail of his vir­tu­al per­sona is care­ful­ly cho­sen to mim­ic Byron in real life, from the pat­terns of his fur, to the tilt of his muz­zle. In keep­ing with his per­son­al­i­ty, even the ranger pets that fol­low him are named after foods, such as his juve­nile eagle called Drumsticks.

This Christmas, Byron’s “Santa Claws” per­sona includes a snow­fall aura, Wintersday weapon set, wreath back­pack, and Ho-Ho-Tron mini with match­ing san­ta hat.

After leav­ing Leonard at the hos­pi­tal for an emer­gency oper­a­tion, then find­ing out the next day that he was gone, I was ter­ri­fied that I’d nev­er see Byron again, but he soon came home with a new col­lar and a shaven bel­ly, weak from not hav­ing digest­ed a prop­er meal in so long.

It’s been a few months since, and he’s rebound­ed quite well, though a lot more cau­tious when it comes to the things he decides to put in his mouth. I sus­pect he’s learned a very painful les­son about not eat­ing some­thing just because he can, which means by now he’s at least smarter than most puppies.

shaved belly

BELLY NEEDS BOOPING

I could tell Heather loved my kit­ties, cause she obsess­es over their health, projects their per­son­al­i­ties onto oth­er ani­mals, and talks about them cease­less­ly (whether it’s to me or peo­ple she just met). She even role-plays as them in Guild Wars 2, her favourite part of every sea­son being the chance cre­ate a new cos­tume. But after see­ing the how much effort she put into sav­ing my lit­tle boy, then nurs­ing him back to health with del­i­cate patience, I’ve start­ed to under­stand that love goes deep­er than I real­ized, for both them and me.

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