The call from Rosebud came early Tuesday morning: "Can you foster a cat
who's recovering from an accident. He's at the vet. Bye. Oh, by the way,
he might be brain damaged. He keeps falling over when he tries to walk."
Caring for a brain-damaged cat. Hmmm. Of course I went promptly to the
animal clinic to pick up my new charge. He was handed to me in a pet
carrier along with ear medicines, antibiotics and a warning not to let him
up on the furniture because of his faulty equilibrium.
When I let my patient out at home, I beheld a nondescript white Persian, big
pale blue eyes and streaks of grease in his ragged coat which bespoke of
nights spent in gutters and under cars. I had just seen the film "Babe, Pig
in the City," in which the title pig was described as a "pinky, whitey kind
of thingy" - a description, I thought which precisely described my new
foster child. So Babe he was.
After several weeks of TLC, and repeated visits to the vet, Babe's
inclination to tilt to the left and occasionally fall over was shown to be
the result, not of an encounter with a car, but of the presence of a large
polyp in his ear, behind which debris had accumulated, causing a massive
infection and ruptured eardrum. Polyp removed. Problem solved, although he
would forever have a slight tilt of his head to the left which gave him a
charming, quizzical expression. His coat was snowy white and luxurious.
Now Babe was ready for adoption.
This is always the hardest part of being a foster mom is giving up your baby
to a total stranger. After checking out several applicants, I decided on
Bill, who wanted a buddy with whom to watch the games on the weekends. As
soon as Babe met Bill, he walked over to him, climbed onto his lap and
announced his approval with a rumbling purr. When Bill and his girlfriend
Monica arrived with the cat carrier and Babe was tucked inside, the time
came for me to tearfully say, "Goodbye Babe." Bill assured me he would give
Babe the best of care, adding, "I think," he said cautiously, not wanting to
offend, "I'll change his name."