Last night, after going to bed quite upset about the family cat remaining seriously ill, I dreamed about my long-since-ex-dog, Bracken.
I was in some kind of town centre pedestrian shopping street, and she needed to wee, so I found a tree for her and that was all right. (Picture the usual sort of trees that grow in a one-paving-slab-size patch of dirt in town centres, surrounded by grilles on the ground, where idiots tend to drop cigarette butts.) Right near the end of what I remember, I saw my mother also preparing to pee on a tree, which was just odd.
Piper continues alive and alert, although lethargic, complaining of a dry mouth and barely eating (clear signs of kidney trouble, which both his humans suspected before it was diagnosed). On a positive note, we haven't seen any frothy pee after he started antibiotics. He is receiving fluids subcutaneously (in case you didn't know this, cats have a LOT of space under their skin. Loose skin is good protection from other predators who might try to grab them, and helps them squeeze through tiny places. Our neighbour Princess, a huge Maine Coon cross, has been observed forcing herself through a 6cm gap). (Apparently my school teacher genes are activating as some kind of coping mechanism.)
Giving up on our spoiled cat is not an option while he remains bright-eyed and squeaky and wants to live. If there were such a thing as kidney dialysis for cats, his mother would have him on it. We're far from rich, and he's not even a dog, but this is still a family member we're talking about.
Animals are sort of a big deal for me. I'm autistic, so it's a given that I can relate to non-human animals more easily than to humans. Furthermore, and given that it's my understanding that humans are hard-wired to need tactile contact with others, I can't touch other humans without it hurting (the discomfort is psychological but altogether real). If I'm after touch stim, I need – physically need – an animal.
The family pet is the first thing I look for each morning and the first thing I go and find when I get home from work, unless he happens to want something and has consequently come to wait by the door. He's my perpetual fall-back topic of conversation. He never comforts me when I'm sad, but he amuses me whenever he's hungry.
As it happens, I'm wired to live with two dogs, so lodging with a single cat was already less than ideal, but the thought of a house empty of quadrupedal life is… not something I can contemplate with equanimity.