Right now I’m sitting on the floor, and the cat is in my chair. Is there something wrong with this situation? Sadly, no. For those of you unacquainted with my cat, she is a delightful creature who is at once an ideal companion, playmate, and friend. She came to our house through my neighbor of three doors down, Brooke. I was at their house a lot, practicing lacrosse with Brooke’s older brother and generally just hanging. They had Helsa at the time, when her name was still “Mittens” and Brooke would attempt to dress her up in doll’s clothes. She wasn’t in any way malicious, I just think she was a little too proactive owner for Mittens’ taste. The cat was chiefly outdoors, and spent a lot of time around my house for whatever reason, and my Mom took a liking to her and started putting water and such on the porch. Eventually I ended up having to carry her back to Brooke’s house, and she would squirm the whole time and vocalize her objections.
After no more than a week or two of this, Brooke’s mom, whose name escapes me, brought Helsa over to our house and said we should keep her. Everyone was ecstatic except for my sister, who is convinced Helsa has a grudge against her. The first thing we did was give her a name better suited to her personality and came up with Helsa Poppins. (You get points if you know what that means.) She seemed to be in all places at once, and befriended every member of the family, except my aforementioned sister, who coincidently had her own cat at the time, Lolli, who could safely be described as anti-social. Helsa had never been a skinny cat, and her weight grew in her new home, which I attribute to the way she would play the members of the household against each other feeding her, much the way a child might go from parent to parent until their wants were completely satisfied.
Fast-forward to 2003: Helsa has consistently ranked in my favorite females list for many years now, and our relationship has grown comfortable. She doesn’t care for saxophone practicing, I could do without the shedding, but there’s an understanding. This year especially it seems that she had grown very close to my Mother, and they had become close companions, spending the majority of every day within five feet of each other. The time I see her the most, however, is when I’m sick. Sometimes it’s even an early warning, where Helsa will begin sleeping in my bed and I’ll come down within a day. It’s one of the sweetest things I can imagine, because when I’m really ill she literally never leaves my side.
About two weeks ago, Helsa began to lose weight. This struck everyone, and after several days it became apparent that she wasn’t eating like she used to. Within the next week, she stopped eating almost entirely. Every possible combination of cat food, cat treat, baby food, fish, chicken has been tried, with at best meager results. For lack of a better term, she seems uninterested in food. She has eaten several times, but thrown up shortly afterward; liquids seem best. Now she is acting lethargic, not really moving much, but her mobility does not seem impaired in any way, just her motivation. The past three days, she has been spending almost all her time in my room. I want to be able to give her the kind of support she has given me so many times, but I just don’t know what to do.