The sign on his cage at the shelter said, “Hi, I’m Wilson. I’m a lap cat. Wherever you go I want to be.” On the way home from the shelter he fell asleep on my lap. That was the beginning of a very close relationship. I had owned cats before, even though I am far more of a dog person. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate cats, it’s more of a preference for dogs but at that point in my life I wanted a pet. Where I was living at the time (an apartment building) they didn’t allow dogs. I figured that a cat was fine and I like cats enough that it would be worth my time to go find one that I wanted to adopt. I went to a well known ‘no kill’ shelter in the area and I looked at the adult cats first. A lot of people tend to overlook the adult cats in shelters because everyone wants a kitten as they are so darn cute. To be fair, I wanted a kitten too but I’m aware that the bigger problem in shelters is the adult cats being overlooked and I’m glad I did not overlook my Wilson.
He was about a year or two old when I got him. At least, that was their best guess for his age. He was not a kitten but he was still very young (even if he was full grown) and incredibly affectionate. At that point in time with him I was in an abusive relationship with someone who treated Wilson like crap. I won’t get into the details of it because I don’t like to think of it but she was very abusive to him. He would always run to me for shelter and comfort and he would always be on my lap. Something that enraged her, something that even made her take her anger out on me. When I finally had the balls to tell her to move the fuck out and leave me, because I stopped being in denial that she was a psychopath, she threatened to come back when I wasn’t at the apartment and steal him. Take him away from me. At several points she sent me emails wishing that he would die.
From the moment I kicked her out up until this very day I have had this connection to this cat like he saved my life. Somehow. I’ve been through many ups and downs with my own various disorders. I’ve been at low low points where I was actually suicidal but thought “who will take care of Wilson if I die” because honestly (at those points) there was no one but me and that cat. I would get up every day just to make sure he was taken care of. Feed him, go get him food if we were out, play with him, and in general doing all these things to care for him even if I wasn’t in a place to care for myself helped to heal me greatly.
Over time, some sort of bond formed between us. I would notice that if I was ever crying, having a panic attack (or flashback) he somehow sensed it and knew to come over to me to comfort me or pull me out of it. Help me bring me back to reality. He’d gently tap his paws on me, my arm or my face, trying to get my attention. Trying to get me to pet him and in this manner it calmed me, greatly. I never actively taught him to be attentive to my emotions he just somehow picked up on them one day. I realized this cat was truly acting as some kind of guardian for my mental health even though that was never anything that he had been meant to do from the start. He was just meant (originally) to be a pet. This was something that led him to be tested officially through therapeutic channels until he was certified as an emotional service animal as it was very obvious he reacted to my distress and knew how to calm me.
Over the past few days a lot of things have happened with Wilson. I found a lump on his back which turned out to just be a harmless fatty tumor, but it was jarring enough. Not to mention the fact that when I did take him into the vet he needed a lot of tests. Now, Wilson may be extremely nice, loving, and patient with me but he’s not like that with anyone else. The only way to get any tests done on him (which he definitely needed) was to sedate him. I agreed with this because I know how he is, I know that he’s too combative with the vet for them to get anything done if he’s not knocked out. However, this was the first time he needed this much extensive work done. Not just shots but blood work and with how combative he got it would have been dangerous not to sedate him while they did what they needed in order to get the information for him to get surgery.
I had never actually seen this cat so doped up before. Ever. He had surgery once (years ago) to remove a sinus polyp but by the time I picked him up from the vet that day (with how they arranged it) he wasn’t that out of it. He was kind of tired but most of the sedation had worn off by that point and by the time I got him home he napped, ate, and was good to go. The other night, it was a very different experience. He was straight up out of it. Even though I knew it was harmless because ultimately he was just high out of his mind on tranquilizers that weren’t going to kill him, to watch him be that helpless was very jarring. This is a cat that takes care of me, usually, not the other way around. To see him stumble, fall over, barely be able to crawl…that really got to me. Not only that but he’s shaved in two areas because they had to do that in order to give him shots and look at the tumor on his back. More or less he looked like a complete wreck when I brought him home and was acting like it as well. His eyes were only half open, and at one point he got so woozy that I had to hold him upright while he vomited to make sure he didn’t choke on it.
He was out of it, like this, for hours. Struggling to walk and to do anything for himself. I stayed downstairs with him watching him like a hawk. The other cat (Frederick) wouldn’t stop hissing and growling at him. I think Wilson was too out of it to even notice that it was happening. Then around midnight or so, Wilson got up from where he was laying and desperately tried to get on the couch but was still too out of it to be able to climb up there so I picked him up and put him on the couch where he immediately fell asleep. I laid back down and started to watch cartoons. After about an hour he wakes up and starts to desperately claw his way towards me until his on top of me and drunkenly nuzzling his face against mine. He struggled and grasped at everything he could just to get on top of me, bury his face in my neck, and go to sleep again. Maybe I’m just a bit softy, or an idiot, but this was so touching to me. For all the years that I was comforted by him, when he was in his darkest most fucked up moment he sought his comfort from me.
After about an hour of sleeping this way when he got up next he was noticeably better. Not perfect but a lot more coherent. He went downstairs to use the litter box and came back up. It was a slow…slow process but he did it by himself (with me monitoring to make sure he didn’t fall down the stairs or get hurt). He then ate a bit of food and jumped onto his favorite chair (only took him two tries) and went back to sleep. At that point I fell asleep on the couch. It wasn’t much later that I was woken up to him again, nuzzling and purring near my face. Pawing at me and giving me little taps and nudges. He was, in essence, back to himself. Maybe a tiny tiny bit wobbly on his feet but he hadn’t purred the entire day until that point. He had been so drugged. His eyes were back to normal his balance was at 90% he was my cat again, my very brave and strong boy. Going through this, however, took an emotional toll on me because I’ve never had to see him that way before.
It’s been an exhausting 24 hours and I barely slept last night. Wilson is back to himself, entirely. Eating, sleeping, playing, running around like he would normally be (except for the two shaved patches on him). I don’t mind that he’s shaved, even if it looks kinda “funny”. I just want him to be okay. The other cat eventually stopped hissing at him and being a dick and things are fine now. I will never forget having to see Wilson struggle like that, though, and it reminded me of his age and how precious time is with my pets. Especially him because he’s the most senior pet I own currently. Follow by my dog. Frederick is the youngest of the bunch at only 6 years old.
I had to yank a massive amount of money out of my savings to pay for this surgery and to make sure that Wilson got the care he needed and though it’s going to be hard for me for awhile…it was entirely worth it. He gets surgery on Tuesday to remove the tumor which is benign, thank God, but I’ll be going through all of this again and I can’t stress how hard it is. Especially when the whole relationship I ever had with this animal was him caring for me. Yet, I have seen in the past day how much he clings to me for comfort when he’s hurt or sick and it’s like no bond I’ve ever felt with any animal before. Not only did I save his life when I adopted him from that shelter he saved mine and he continues to do so time and again by reaffirming that this bond we have it strong and will never break. I love this damn cat more than I love most people and this is why. So, if I’m quiet or oddly absent over the next few days this is why. All of it is stressing me out but Wilson takes priority for me because I’ve always taken priority to him and as I said before, I’m not sure I know anyone who would care for him as much as I do if anything were to happen to me. No matter what the cost, emotionally or financially I need to see it through and get him to the other side of this surgery and into recovery. I’m happy as fuck that I found this cat and was able to have such a relationship with him. I only can hope that the same happens for other people in their lives with their animals because it’s a feeling of love an acceptance you can’t really get anywhere else. Thank you for being patient with me through all of this. I appreciate it.