Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Symbolism of Kingie

Momma needs to go shoppin'. I need some Pill Pockets. I've tried these once before with King and had much success. I'm hoping it will work again.

It seems King Blonderson has gotten himself a bladder infection. We have ruled out everything else, and his blood work was relatively normal (with high cholesterol, of course, because he's... um... large).


Not happy about the water bowl spillage twice already this morning, but happy that my kitteh is not diabetic or dying of some random disease. Others who know me? Perhaps not so happy. See, the only one who loves Kingie is me.

I will admit it--Kingie is very standoffish to a lot of people. Well, everyone. He's a momma's boy. He doesn't go to guests. He looks annoyed when my parents attempt to pet him. He pushes his paws violently up against the chest of anyone who tries to pick him up. Then he looks at me, MARS, and begs me to hold him instead. It's like having my very own 2-yr-old. Except King is 13. And feline.

I've often wondered about King's history. When my ex and I first adopted him, he slept in the bathroom for like 2 months. He didn't like either of us. He had 3 names: Bubba, Buster, and Jo Jo. All 3 were on his paperwork. The cat adoption place was trying to get rid of the Jo Jo name from his original owner. I remember every so often saying, "Jo Jo?" and his ears would perk up and he would look right at me. But after about 6 months of calling him King (the ex chose that one), he started to respond to it. Also, by then I'd put him on a diet that helped control his irritable bowel syndrome a little better. His coat got shinier. His eyes started to twinkle. He actually came out of the bathroom and played with toys. And then he started the "hugging." He wraps both paws around my neck and hugs me. I love it.

His back is really sensitive. He doesn't like anyone to pet it. He bristles, and you can feel his spine through his fur very easily there. Once, when Little came to visit, she petted him there (well, she was like 2, so she kinda smacked at him accidentally in that well-meaning-toddler way while thinking she was petting him), and he actually hissed at her. It was the first and last time I've ever heard Kingie hiss. I've decided that long ago in his previous life, someone must have hit him on his back. Someone abused my Kingie. That makes me very sad.

There are many reasons why people would not want to have a cat like King:

1. He has irritable bowel syndrome
2. He is missing a tooth and has TERRIBLE teeth (no, I can't afford a dental)
3. He's antisocial
4. He has back dander
5. He licked all the fur off his belly and legs and gnaws on his own legs sometimes (nervous habit called "barbering")
6. He requires special food for his IBS; wet food twice a day
7. He does a seek-and-find mission for plastic when he's hungry, eats it, and then barfs it back up

I could go on. I really could.

But here's the thing--I love him. And I get so sad that other people in my life don't get to see his sweet side. My parents have seen the way he will come snuggle on me and get his hugs. They've seen the photographs of King sleeping on my head. But they've also had to scoop my litter and help me carry the special food in cases from the store.

At night, Kingie comes into my room while I'm reading in bed. He stares at me from the floor for a while. He does everything in slow motion (except eating), so it takes him a while to figure out how he's going to jump up there with me. And then he spoons into my chest and tucks his little head under my chin and falls asleep. After about 10 minutes, he wakes up and remembers he needs to go Drink More Water. Then he usually comes back and sleeps on my laundry on the floor. And then when the sun is ready to rise, he goes for my head. And kneads it.

When I was in therapy in Chicago--the beginning when I was a horrible mess--I used to tell Shrinkydink that I had a giant hole in my chest. We did a lot of imagery work, and I complained about this hole for months. I literally pictured myself with a hole. Like this:

In the hazy fog of imagery work--or perhaps I was even hypnotized--I would look down and see the chair I was leaning against through my chest. No one was in there. Not even my parents. Not my sister or my friends or my coworkers. I was so sad that their hands went right through me to the other side.

After a few months of working on my issues, we decided to revisit the hole and check its progress. (Seriously, I know this all sounds a little weird, but my therapy literally saved my life.) We hadn't done the imagery for a while, so I closed my eyes and we worked our way there. And when I looked down inside of my hole, Kingie was in there. Like this:

Still no friends, family, etc. Just Kingie. Sleepin'. My big, fat furbaby had crawled in there. Webbie was nowhere to be found.

To this day, King is the only thing that sits in the hole. It's a smaller hole now--not so raw and gaping. But this part of me that relates to King kind of works like this: we are misunderstood. People don't always "get" us or even "want" us. Most people would probably cast us aside or "put us down." But if they would just stop and really look at us, they would see that despite all of our armor and castle walls, we are extremely loving. We just want someone to hold us and pet our heads and say, "I love you, too."

So that is why I tolerate all of the crap that comes with being King's owner. I deal with the high price of fancy food and yearly blood work. I clean up his giant man poops and laugh when he snottily sneezes in my face. I hold him up so that others can try to pet him and get his attention. And I put ice cubes in his water whenever I can. I think King knows that we are on the same team. And I will continue to always do whatever I can to give him a long, happy, contented life. Because when I was down at the lowest I've ever been before, he crawled in my chest hole, snuggled up, and promised to stay there.


Natalie said...

That is quite possibly the sweetest love letter to a a pet I have ever seen. So glad you two have each other.

JChevais said...

This was amazing. Tears! In my eyes! You are both blessed.

terry said...

this made me cry.

i'm so glad he's okay.