Piece of Mind: Democrats and a cat with a sore wrist

This has been an educational week for me. I learned by checking our website's stats, for example, that our readers are fascinated by our report that the La Cañada electorate is becoming less Republican ("City inches toward the left," first published in print and online Oct. 28).

Of course I have no way of knowing whether it's Democrats who boosted that story's popularity by gleefully sharing it with friends, or if instead, the local GOP members thought they should spread the alert that left-leaning people have been moving into town. ("Hide the silver, Patricia, some scary-looking people have set up camp next-door!").

Truth be told, the political and philosophical leanings of the people reading us don't matter to me, as long as everyone finds something of interest that keeps them coming back for more. Now, if we could just convince more of you to write letters to the editor, I'd believe some kind of miracle had taken place, and I would be downright ecstatic.

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Another thing I learned this week is that a cat with a swollen paw doesn't appreciate attempts to set an icepack on it. Who knew?

All I know is that Sam's right wrist appears swollen, he's quiet and is walking gingerly. There's no other sign of a trauma. Obviously, I need to get him to a vet as soon as we're off deadline with this week's paper so he can be tended to by someone who knows what she's doing.

In the meantime, I thought it was a brilliant idea to present the cat with an icepack and ask nicely if he'd let me put it on his sore limb. The look in his (only) eye was something along the lines of: "What are you thinking, woman?" as he yanked his paw away from me.

Sam is my husband's pride and joy, rescued as a newborn that had been left alone and shivering near a parking lot 13 years ago. Gil heard the sound of a wailing kitten and traced it to some bushes. A rescue was accomplished and the red tabby became a much-loved member of our household. One of his eyes didn't develop properly and was eventually removed by his vet, hence the "one-eyed cat" description I often give him.

Early in our marriage, Gil took on the role of designated liaison between the animal clinic and our pets. I've set foot in the vet's office maybe a half-dozen times over the past 30 years, while my better half is on a first-name basis with everyone there.

Unfortunately for the cat, Gil is out of town this week. Poor Sam was left to trust me, a woman who told her only daughter to rest, drink plenty of liquids, take Tylenol and she'd be just fine, no matter what malady she was suffering. "You'll survive!" I'd tell her. So far, so good, but I do worry about what she might be telling her shrink one day about my callous demeanor.

I'm also worried that my casual approach to caring for others might end up getting me in trouble this week. If Gil were home, Sam would have been in the vet's office immediately, work obligations be damned. As you can see, that's not the case when I'm in charge.

I'm concentrating mightily that Sam will be cured when I get home tonight. And he certainly has to be in better shape by the time Gil returns Saturday. (That reminds me: If you see him around town in coming days, please don't ask him how the cat is doing. What he doesn't know, well, keeps him in a better mood.)

Just before I left the house today, using my wrist I demonstrated to Sam how he could stretch his paw out and place it in on the icepack while I was gone, in the unlikely case he wished to reconsider my suggestion. Tomorrow I'll swallow that bitter pill of a reproving look from the vet for having made him linger in pain too long.

Unless, that is, a miracle occurs.

CAROL CORMACI is managing editor of the Valley Sun. E-mail her at ccormaci@valleysun.net.

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