Friday, May 20, 2011

A Prayer for Keats

As many of my close friends and blog readers know, my cat Keats is gravely ill.

The infection that set into her system in February has forty syllables, and even when the vet explains it to me, I don't get it.

David has taken her several times for check ups, and both the vet and he believe that any day now, any day now, Keats will turn that corner and head back to health.

It's been four months, and she has made little progress if any. Mostly, she seems to have faded.

David has been the best caretaker. He wets soft rags and bathes her fur, which she thanks him with a gravely purr. He gives her antibiotics three times a day; she thanks him by choking 'em down but sometimes throwing them back up. After all, she is a cat -- and they no likey medicine.

David gives her treats, opens cans of tuna or small, glass jars of chicken flavored baby food and tries to tempt her to eat. Sometimes she eats, but it is never much, and we're afraid, it will not sustain her.

Keats is ill. Gravely ill, and David and I each night say prayers for her.

"Lord, you know our heart and how we love our cat. If it be Your will, heal her."


Keats loves to eat -- she used to beg by her bowl, beg any time a can of any kind was opened in the kitchen, and beg at all hours of the night -- where she'd stand by our bed and let out this wail of hunger and lead us to her bowl.

She used to love to sit at the door and look outside.

Now, she lies prostrate and weak on old towels laid on beds and chairs for her and takes every opportunity to hide in closets, under beds, or behind the television where she licks and licks and licks her open wounds.

Our cat, we used to know is gone, and in her place is very sick Keats.

"Lord, you know...."

Both of our cats are indoor cats. We made a commitment to them when we adopted them that we would love and care for them as long as they live. If something happens to David and me before Tallulah and Keats have gone to Kitty Heaven, I know that someone who loved us would take "our girls."

"...our hearts love this cat..."

In the evenings, we take the cats to our back deck, which sits up two stories, and if we keep our eyes on them, they sort of know the rules of the space -- well, the way in which all cats know rules -- when you ain't looking and sometimes when you are, they break them.

If they start for the steps, we stand up, and they skedaddle back to the side that is allowed. We have them trained; well, we have them sort of trained. If they break the rules, they know it's back inside.

"..if it be YOUR will"

They love the brief respite outside where the many feeders attract birds to flutter around. Sometimes the birds land too close to the cats, but so far, the birds are winners as neither cat has gotten her paws on one of the feathered ones, but they love to try.

They mostly watch the birds, but they also sip from the bird bath [must taste like birds], perk their ears this way and that to the outside noises [especially the sound of stirring in the grass and bushes -- chipmunks, stupid squirrels, or Stumpy and Lumpy from across the street], and sit or lie placidly on the railing.

I like for Keats to sit in the sun, her wounds exposed to its hopefully healing heat.

"...heal her."

But on Wednesday as I sat on the deck, my sweet Keats moved on the railing and fell sideways, awkwardly, and horribly to the ground.


I heard her hit the ground below the ducia, and my heart fell. I rushed to get her, and when I found her, she sat there, stunned, with bird seed and leaves sticking to her fur and wounds.

From the porch behind us, our neighbors asked, "What happened? Is she okay?"
I replied shakily, "I don't know. I don't know."

I picked her up, ran up the deck stairs, and hurried Tallulah inside as I brought Keats to where I could see her. She looked at me with wide pupils. We were both shaken.

I cried.

and I thought: That's it. I let her fall, and now in her weakened condition, she'll die. It's my fault.

Today, she's still weak, fragile --- and alive. She ate a little tuna, offered to her on a teaspoon.

The fall didn't kill her, and if the infection does, it is yet to be known.

Only God knows that and He knows our heart.

That's one of my many prayers these days -- a prayer for Keats.


  1. Anyone who has ever loved a pet knows your pain. I am sorry you and David are having to go through this but also know what a good life you are able to give your kitties. All animals deserve such a loving and happy life.

  2. Oh Harriet, you know this cuts me to the quick. I know this feeling.....tears forming now as I read this. How precious they are, and how much they need us to care for them, and care for her you have. My prayers are with you and your husband and Keats. How blessed you are to have such a wonderful husband, I think I love him just for that, do you mind :-) Prayer, prayers, prayers.....Lori

  3. My heart hurts for you and I hope your kitty is soon well and healthy again.

  4. You know my heart goes out to you and David. I will pray for Keats and hope she continues to give you unending joy for as long as possible! <3

  5. Oh Harriet, I am so sorry about Keats. It's tragic...I know so much your pain. Even though I don't have pets right now (the fish don't count), I had two dogs growing up. When Renee the greyhound died, I had already moved to Nebraska, but when my parents called to tell me, I cried and cried. There is nothing like a loving pet. I will pray for Keats...and for you and David, too.

  6. Mrs. Gillham, I am so so SO sorry about Keats :( I will keep Keats in my thoughts and prayers. I hope Keats gets better, and I'm glad she's okay from her fall. It's not your fault that she fell, and she has lots and lots of people praying for her to get better :)

  7. Still praying for you and Keats......Lori

  8. New photo? Gosh, you are going to start losing friends if you keep this up.

  9. oh friend... my heart hurts with yours... please hear our prayers, Lord...

  10. This post made me ache. Your commitment to "your girls" is the same commitment that any good parent makes to their children. And Keats knows she's got a great parents. Love you and keeping you close to my heart...

  11. I'm so sorry to read this TT. We lost one of our baby kitties 3 years ago to feline leukemia and we still miss her so. I'll say a prayer for Keats and you as well.
    -- Jessie