I Nearly (Accidentally) Killed My Cat, But Then I Saved Him With Cat Stinky Stew (recipe inside)

See this cat here? The one for whom I once made a human ear hat? His name is Oskar, and, yes, he always looks exactly this serious.

Two days ago, it was a glorious fall the day. It was the kind of fall day that is warm and sunny, the kind where you can wander around without a coat and a gentle coolness sits at the edges of things. I spent most of the day pretending that I could turn a three-hour stretch of its afternoon into every day for the rest of my life.

I wanted to live inside it always.

I was so energized by that great fall day that I decided to clean out and rearrange all of my kitchen cupboards. I have a powerful and sometimes debilitating seasonal depression, but fall still manages to motivate me in one last rush before it all falls apart horribly in October.

At one point, I was up on the second rung of a step ladder balancing Pyrex cookware in both hands — which I never use for baking, by the way, because I always imagine finding my feet studded with thousands of tiny glass shards — and Oskar stuck to the third rung refusing to budge from his spot. 

"Get down," I said politely, "because I'd hate to accidentally knock you off."

Oskar stared back in refusal.

"Jerk," I said.

I turned a bit to steady myself to avoid dropping the dishes, which, of course, caused my thigh to knock him just hard enough to send him falling to the floor between the fridge and the ladder. Because of the confined space, he couldn't right himself during the fall, and he landed with his back across the metal brace between the step ladder's legs. He jumped away, licked his back a couple of times, and ran off.

"I told you so," I said, like a perfect jerk. "That might hurt later."

And, within about two hours, Oskar was barely walking, he refused to eat or drink, he was terrified of the other cats, and he'd stopped vocalizing. He never stops vocalizing. He sometimes even cries out in his sleep.

I didn't rush off to the vet, though, because I was sure he had just buggered up his back a bit and needed some TLC. He's a formerly abused rescue kitty who goes a bit feral whenever he experiences something traumatizing that triggers his anxiety — in our old apartment, he used to hide out inside the walls, and the only thing that would lure him out was raw meat — so he can present with fairly dramatic symptoms that don't hold up under scrutiny. I poked and prodded him, but he wasn't bothered by pressure, and he didn't have a fever, which would have had me at the vet immediately. Also, he wasn't doing that death thing cats do where they go off to die alone, so, to keep him hydrated and fed while he healed, I made up a thick, stinky stew for him that he couldn't resist.

Secret to cats who've gone off food: push their noses into a small bowl of disgusting stench.

Cat Stinky Stew for Ailing Kitties

1 small tin of tuna with juice (you may substitute actual soft cat food)
1 handful of dry cat food
1 tablespoon of olive oil (in case of constipation)
¼ cup of water
Microwave for 25 seconds on high. Stir. Let cool for a couple of minutes. Secretly delight in the tortured cries of the two non-injured kitties who clearly don't deserve Cat Stinky Stew.

I realize that canned tuna is not ideal for cats because it is mercury-ridden human food, but when a kitty is off both food and water, it's time to pull out even the slightly poisonous guns, and it worked. Each time we managed to get some water and/or food into Oskar, he perked up a bit. This didn't stop me from predicting his early demise, though, and feeling horrible guilt that I had told him just last month that if he was the first to go, we wouldn't hold it against him. (I said it at a weak moment, because he is irritating beyond irritating coupled with a whine like no other.)

I felt a little less guilty, though, when his butt end exploded sticky poo all over my deeply-discounted-closing-out-sale-but-retails-for-$300 bag that I ended up having to scrub down with soap and water, liberally spray with Windex, and then smudge with Nilodor. I now think of it as my Feces Bag. Thanks, Oskar. You are with me always.

And because we're suckers, we let him do all the things he likes that we hate, like clawing the crap out of our necks while he lounges on our shoulders as though he's not some kind of largish, terrifying panther.

He only bites your face if you baby-talk while looking at him.

After a day-and-a-half of walking around in a hunched U shape, skittering away from the other kitties, refusing food, and being quiet for once in his life, he marched into the bedroom on full whine yesterday morning.

"Meeeeeooooowww wwwoooooeeeeem," he said.

"You're alive!" I said.

"Mweeeooommm," he said. "Weeeeeooooowww. WAAAAAHH."

"Oh, baby. You've never sounded so good," I said.

He was back to his sturdy, straight-backed self, lustily drinking water, snarfing it up his nose, and then sneezing it all over my neck in a way that only he can get away with. Of course, this also means that he's back to trying to chew on my achilles tendons while I cook, but it is what it is. You gotta love what you gotta love.

Welcome back, Oskar!

You appear to be recovering from your tragic kittenhood nicely, being that you didn't even try to live inside the walls like a rabid bat this time. Around these parts, we call that progress.

Thanks for not dying.