“Bustin’ a Move” by Stacey Hatton
This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Cats.”
Whenever one of my children gets sick, it never fails that I allow them to eat junk food. With that said, however, most of the wicked comfort food makes it into my mouth before it nears their sick tray. If I know why I’m doing this, why don’t I stop? Let me open up the family-sized box of Cheez-Its and ponder the answer . . .
I seem to be at my worst when I have little control over the situation. The fat, old “Carb Fairy” swirls around my cart at the grocery store, seizing temptations and dropping them into my cart when I’m not focused. Cookies, Doritos, fudge bars, macaroni and cheese—all crapola that rarely makes an appearance in our house.
I’m buying that food to make them feel better?
Who am I kidding?
But I’m here to tell you, that evil nymph broke into to my house again with a vat of cookie dough ice cream last week, and that sucker didn’t stand a chance.
At the beginning of summer 2013, our family adopted two darling kittens from a shelter. My daughters, Munchkin #1 and Munchkin #2, fell instantly in love, but became attached to the one we named “Jazzy.” This cat appeared to be more jazzed up the first day when we were naming them, plus her white paws looked like jazz hands. You would never guess I’m a bit of a musical-theater nerd.
The next morning, without any warning, Jazzy decided to perform a double-back flip off our one-story landing onto the bottom stairs of the staircase. Since I was in the next room, I sprinted after hearing a seismic-strength thud. There was the two-month-old kitty, weaving into the family room and shaking her head as if a linebacker had just rung her bell.
Unfortunately, Jazzy never was the same after that. Her health declined severely, and she had to leave our home. My daughters—who were age six and seven—were furious and blamed me for the cat’s head injury. They said they would never forgive me.
My children can be overly dramatic at times, so I figured I would give it a couple of weeks, and they would warm up to the other cat. Then we could move forward.
One month later . . .
What the heck was that? I wondered. It sounded just like when Jazzy.
Oh, yes. When this happened to Jazzy, all three of the veterinarians we visited said it was unheard of for a cat to fall off a one-story landing onto the stairs below. SO WHY DID THE SECOND CAT JUST DO IT, TOO?!
Meet Cali, a beautiful calico cat who is quirky and, on a daily basis, likes to mimic breast-feeding on a human’s T-shirt. She was odd, but who are we to judge? Our family isn’t exactly related to “the Beav” or the Bradys.
But now we had two kittens doing something which is unheard of in feline veterinary medicine. I was thinking that if the shelter got word of this happening, it would assign a caseworker and write me up for a second alleged boot to the puss.
Fast forward to when the urge to start overeating occurred.
“Mrs. Hatton? From Cali’s X-rays, it appears she has fractured her hip,” said the vet to me over the phone.
As I listened, I grabbed a spoon and headed to the freezer. “She broke her hip? She’s just a kitten, not an old lady,” I laughed. I tend to make lame jokes when I’m given bad medical news.
The vet continued. “Since it’s a clean break at the head of the bone, it looks as if surgery is the only way to save the hip joint.”
My head started whirling, my gut began churning and I was craving chocolate awful fierce. I knew that if we didn’t save this kitten, life was going to be hell on earth. Or worse— my husband and I would have to sleep with one eye open. Our darling munchkins would lose it!
I know. Who’s the parent in this scenario? But sometimes humans—even little ones—can be pushed over the brink and go on crazy parental killing sprees because too many of their beloved kitties were sent off to the “farm.”
We weren’t willing to sacrifice our lives for a pet. And, if I were gone, who would supply the house with more Cheez- Its?
Plus, I kind of liked Cali. While the munchkins were at school, Cali would climb up on my desk and cuddle near my computer. She would soak up its warmth and keep me company while I tried to write. I called her my writing “mews.”
After discussing the surgery in great depth, and deciding the odds of one munchkin getting a college scholarship was a possibility, we were willing to risk the financial setback. I called the vet back and said we would pay the horrifically high amount of . . .
This just in: Several veterinary schools in Middle Eastern universities have taken up camel manipulation. Frank, isn’t that interesting? Apparently, camels can be injured due to their awkward gait across the unsteady desert terrain. Back to your regular programming.*
So we got Cali’s hip fixed, and she began hobbling along much better two days later. The vet said we were to keep her from jumping up on anything for three weeks.
I was sure that would be easy. NOT! But after all the dough we had spent on this kitten, we needed to keep her protected.
Did anybody check Craigslist to see if a “huge hamster ball” is for sale?
Until we have that in place, or have figured how to make a cat suit of Bubble Wrap, I’m going to be holding my breath and making frequent trips for more ice cream.
*No facts were checked by this author on camel manipulations. It sounds way too gross.
Stacey Hatton is a New York Times bestselling author, humor columnist for the Kansas City Star, member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshops attendee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and her blog http://NurseMommyLaughs.com.
Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Cats.” The book is filled with 62 cat-approved stories written by their humans. Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1CdPXYt) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1zFY1kd).
To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.