A 2015 Fogknife post about the time my cat came back from the vet and didn’t move or eat for a couple of days has become one of the most-visited articles on this website. When I first noticed that trend, I added a summary to the top of the article, the better to more quickly calm the nerves of worried cat companions who found their way there via search engines.

I just now updated this leading paragraph again, so that it reads this way:

Summary: Our cat had a stressful vet visit, and for days she acted worryingly sick and lethargic. She lost her appetite for kibble, and that made things worse. Offering her a little bit of soft, aromatic food, like mashed-up tunafish, re-stimulated her appetite. She ate it up and recovered swiftly from there.

My motivation came from a very nice email I received yesterday from one concerned cat owner who had found their way to this article. They wanted to express gratitude for the reassurance my happy-ending story offered, what with their own cat in the midst of a similarly worrying post-vet malaise. I very much appreciated the letter, feeling quite touched by the gesture.

However, it seemed clear that my first attempt at a summary didn’t make clear enough that the article offered active advice on top of mere reassurance, and I blame only myself and my typically meandering narrative style here. I replied to suggest that my worried correspondent try what I did with Ada, offering their kitty a little dish of soft food with a strong smell to rekindle its appetite.

And I received another reply within hours: the cat in question ate up the food, cried for more, and then got up to go chow down on its kibble-bowl once again. Just like with Ada, years ago! I felt such a rush of pride and relief at my ability to help — coupled with a drive to try improving the wording of that old article once again, since it seems I have described a syndrome and recovery-path not unique to my own old cat. And so that is what I did.

In a funny coincidence, I had just that morning returned from the local vet’s office, the first time I had done so since moving to Providence last year. While my purpose was routine — just giving the two little monsters I currently live with their annual rabies shot — sitting in a strange veterinary clinic brought very bittersweet memories to mind. This left me in an especially receptive state to feeling feline sympathies, when that first email came, and the resulting exchange may have felt like a slightly steeper emotional roller-coaster for me than I would have on another day. It left a deep impact that I can contemplate whenever I want to remind myself why I keep a blog.


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