A Cat Story


by Ed Collins/ January, 1996

They say cats have nine lives.

Boopie now has eight.

Boopie is my wife Judy’s replacement cat. A few months ago she picked him out of a cardboard box in front of her sister Terry’s  supermarket.

Judy didn’t want a new cat; she was still in mourning over her old cat Ricky, who recently died after seventeen years of faithful service.

I think Judy felt a new cat would be an insult to Ricky’s memory.

Shortly after Judy came home with her new cat, she took him back to her sister’s. I think the kitty reminded her of Ricky and she couldn’t handle it.

That’s when I got involved.

“Go get the cat, dammit,” I said.

She got the cat.

She named the cat Freddie but he somehow acquired the nickname Boopie. Why, I don’t know. He was cute and funny. He swaggered when he walked. And he farted a lot.

The farting wasn’t funny. It turned out to be a big problem.

In addition farting, Boopie also had a chronic case of the runs.

Something was wrong with Boopie.

One day Judy came home from the vet without Boopie.

When the vet called to tell Judy about Boopie’s ultrasound, I was in the room. I could tell something was wrong.

Judy was crying. I heard only one side of the conversation but I got the idea that unless Boopie had an operation he had no chance of surviving childhood.

When Judy got off the phone, I braced myself.

She told me Boopie had something wrong with his intestine and that to fix it would cost a small fortune.

The alternative would be to put Boopie down (I knew that meant to put him asleep, permanently.

Boopie and I had something in common: We were both between a rock and a hard place.

I told Judy to bring him home and hope he would somehow outgrow it.

The first night he shit all over the garage and he looked miserable.

The second night he spent in the pet hospital, preparing for the costly operation.  (How much I didn’t want to know, and still don’t.)

Boopie survived the operation and three months later he is still passing gas. And swaggering.

Other than that he seems healthy.

For Judy’s Christmas present, I drew a cartoon strip that commemorated the experience.boopiecomic1

The first panel is Judy looking distraught, with me asking, “What’s wrong, Judy?”

In the second panel, Judy starts crying. Between sobs she says, “The vet says Boopie has an intussusception of the bowel. That’s why he farts and has the runs all the time. The vet says Boopie needs an operation.”

In the third panel, I ask a sobbing Judy the big question:  “How much?”boopiecomic2

In the fourth panel, Judy, still crying, responds, sheepishly, “Somewhere between $700 and a $1000 dollars.”

In the fifth and six panels my expression remains unchanged:  I’m stunned.

In the seventh panel, I tilt my head back and break into tears.   barcloaf1-1