For the past few months–it seemed to us to date roughly from the unexpected arrival of the youngster Midnight–we’ve been concerned about Ben, our mercurial black cat.
He licks and cleans himself obsessively and has rendered the back of his long wonderful legs almost furless.
Ben is a busy boy–
and when he’s not busy he can be perfectly still and seem to be meditating.
He can also be loving
appearing out of nowhere to curl himself round your neck as you lie in bed.
He comes into the kitchen at his customary fast trot–pit stop for fuel– looking shiny sleek from the front.
A black thoroughbred:
“…always on the move that man–never without ‘is passport.” *
Always in the moment.
He never demands food; he clocks what’s on offer and circles, letting his nose make the choice and when he likes the message it’s sending he settles back on his haunches, leans forward, head close to the bowl and starts to eat.
He has a penchant for sleeping black on black–disappearing into the material; you can walk past him and not notice he’s there.
But after the fluffy bundle arrived around midnight one night…
…Ben took umbrage and started to sleep in the garage. It seemed he couldn’t deal with the playfulness of the newcomer who just wanted to rumble.
I worried that he might be depressed. The traveling vet, who comes to the house, thought it might be anxiety and prescribed pills.
Big Beau just stood his ground and let the youngster bounce off him.
Beau and Ben had bonded and I missed their wild chases over and under the furniture.
The mad leaps, the somersaults and the arched backed stand-offs.
By retreating, Ben had lost his playmate. His thunder had been stolen.
He protested all the way to the new vet–but now we know what the problem is.
It’s a wretched little mite called michrosporum canis (round worm).
I’m relieved to learn it’s not the wretched little fluffy mite I suspected.
We now wrap Ben in a towel, then TRY to syringe a tasteless liquid between his gritted teeth– which can cause a smidgen of spousal tension–of minor importance when the goal is to get the magical Ben back on top form…
ps; Things have calmed down down between Mr Midnight and our Ben…
*Mick’s speech from a favorite play: Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker.
“You remind me of my uncle’s brother. He was always on the move, that man. Never without his passport. Has an eye for the girls. Very much your build. Bit of an athlete. Long-jump specialist. He had a habit of demonstrating different run-ups in the drawing-room round about Christmas time…”