Screw this trying not to write about the cat. He is sweet, he is loveable, he has been my sick baby. We feed him his antibiotics twice daily like we are supposed to, I microwave his freaking food (gad almighty), we clean his fur when he's been through his secret trove of some creosote-like substance, we are slowly teaching him about the scratching post, we have tolerated his stink because he can't smell or breathe properly to clean himself, we find the humour in the fluid he regularly hocks up when he's two inches from our faces. He's so cute despite his obvious physical drawbacks that even guests in our home have found his pathetic snurkling endearing, even if he is spitting nose juice on their new fall sweater.

In light of all of the above, please do not hold it against me when I tell you what I did, albeit unintentionally, to the cat this morning.

I was standing with one foot in the bathtub and one foot on slippery linoleum, balanced precariously half in and half out, trying to reach my towel without dripping all over the bathroom floor. It's a move I pull every morning, and every morning I think that I will one day seriously injure myself. This morning, I learned that, indeed, everything is not about me, because I injured the cat instead while executing this move.

Oskar likes to sit on the edge of the tub when I take my shower, lured by the false confidence of a shower curtain at his back, which is also something that speaks to me of imminent danger, but that's for some future entry when my legs have been shredded by Oskar's claws. In this instance, he was sitting on the far edge of the tub when I stepped out to get my towel, and I assumed that this was still the case three seconds later when I swung my outside leg back in. I was wrong. He was now sitting precisely in position to have the right side of his little kitty head booted by my travelling right foot.

It was one of those moments when every movement is slowed down for maximum analysis. It looked like the momentum of Oskar's head dragged his body down into and across the bottom of the tub, which nearly gave me a heart attack before I remembered that ceramic is slippery and that he was only sliding, not actually flying, from the force of my kick. He skidded to a slow stop, and I impulsively bent down to reassure him that I was not evil and to check for injury. He seemed fine and cuddled with me right away.

A couple of minutes later, he was up on the sink investigating my cosmetics as he does every morning, and I was feeling fairly reassured by his behaviour that all was well, when he sneezed. He's been sneezing a lot lately, but this one had a little bit of blood in it. I froze, unable to look away from the spray pattern on the sink's backsplash. It was a very small, thin, and unimpressive spray pattern, but it was freaking alarming when coming from my Oskar.

My baby kitty + blood + my fault = horrifying + guilt + sympathy + a deep and chilling sadness

He seemed completely unperturbed. I wiped my finger along and under his nose, around his eyes, and along his mouth, and there was no trace of blood at all in the clear snot he still has running. When I pulled up the edges of his tiny lips, he didn't put up any struggle, so I assumed that he wasn't hurting there. I think I saw a minor split along his gums, and that was the only injury I could find. I immediately fell to kissing him and apologizing and hoping for the best.

I called the Fiery One at work to find out how Oskar had seemed before he left for work, and he said that Oskar seemed more than fine. Before I left for work, Oskar was busily eating hard cat food, so I am fairly certain that he sustained no broken jaw/head in the incident and that his gum injury was as minor as it looked.

Right? I am right, right? I got to watch him for a whole forty-five minutes before leaving the house, and he was hale and hardy. I'm sure of it. Yes?

Why, of all things, just when Oskar is on the mend from his upper respiratory virus, did I have to go and kick him in the head?

Mirrors are not more silent
Nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
In the moonlight, you are that panther
We catch sight of from afar.
- excerpt from "To A Cat" by Jorges Luis Borges

UPDATE: As soon as I walked in the door, Oskar ran out into the hall, which he has never had the energy to do before. He then proceeded to do everything he could to get me to notice how he didn't like the food in his food bowl, because fresher is better. And now, he is curled up in front of this keyboard without a fever, without sneezes, and also without snot. My guess is that I knocked the virus right out of him.