Friday, December 4, 2009

A Cat Named Migraine

“When my cats aren't happy, I'm not happy. Not because I care about their mood but because I know they're just sitting there thinking up ways to get even.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

I have been a migraine sufferer for most of my life. Hallucinatory lightning bolts and fireworks in my eyes, a pile driver in my head, all that and more is part of Divinipotent Daily's reality. I tell you this not for sympathy but to assure you that when I named my cat Migraine, I did so with full awareness of the implications.

It is not that Migraine is a terrible cat. Quite the contrary, he is an exemplary feline in every way — graceful, regal, insouciant and independent...and yet remarkably affectionate. Laps are to some cats as the Bat Signal is to Batman, and so it is with Migraine. Wherever a lap forms, he'll be there.

"There are no ordinary cats."
~ Colette

Sometimes animals choose you, and that's what happened with Migraine. One day a couple of years ago he followed my husband into our building, up the stairs and through our front door. We put him in the spare room with some litter, water and food, posted signs around the neighborhood and asked about a lost cat at places where local pet owners gather. Nada.

Did I mention we already had two cats?

Their names are Bogie and Harry, they adore each other and until Migraine came along, they led lives of perfect peace and harmony. The problem is that Migraine doesn't like other animals, including cats. He particularly doesn't like Harry. Harry is a gentle soul and Migraine apparently sees that as a character flaw to be punished with ambush attacks, biting and hissing. This is one key to the origin of the name Migraine. The other: I am allergic to cats and three is one too many.

With regret, we decided we would find Migraine a new home after having him checked out by our veterinarian. The good news: Migraine had no communicable diseases. The bad news, he has a heart murmur and an overactive thyroid that requires a daily dose of medication mixed into his breakfast. These facts, combined with the fact that he is not a kitten, make him a cat most people do not want. Since we didn't want to put him in a shelter — he likes people too much — we seemed to be stuck with him.

We had almost resigned ourselves to this imperfect situation when the pining for a dog began. Every holiday season the news is filled with stories about overflowing shelters. This year, many stories mention "black dog syndrome" — the fact that black dogs are disproportionately likely to languish in shelters. (Yes, folks, discrimination based on color is not just for humans.) As yesterday's post about my late dog Decibel should have made clear, I do not suffer from black dog syndrome. I would welcome another black dog. And then there was this story in the November 27 issue of UK's Daily Mail: "How walking the dog beats going to a gym." Sounds good to me.

Here is our conundrum. Robert and I want a dog. Those mellow and friendly souls Bogie and Harry would ultimately adjust to one — that's just how they are. But Migraine...he would feel differently.  Things could get ugly.

This is Migraine. A handsome devil, don't you think? Would you like to adopt him?

"Cats were put into the world to disprove the dogma that all things were created to serve man."
~ Paul Gray

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