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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How This Cat Threw Out My Back

When I described our weekend with Snowstorm Jonas in my last blog post, I left out the part about our pets and my back.  We took pity on our four "barn" cats and the beagle and let them in for the day while the snow fell and the winds blew outside our farmhouse.

If we don't let them in, the cats and chickens line up on the back porch railing and stare into the kitchen window looking hungry, cold, and pitiful.  I put my foot down with the chickens and other livestock, however.  They must stay outside in the barn.

After playing outside with our children and running the best she could through over a foot of snow, Tippy was content to lie on the kitchen floor in front of the warm coalstove for hours.  She didn't mind the mess of boots and gloves drying all around her.  She was quite well-behaved except that her hound smell permeated every part of the kitchen, but she can't help that.

  But this black cat, Star, is our favorite; or should I say, he WAS my favorite pet.  He is big, fluffy, gentle, the best mouse hunter, and a survivor.  He stands up to loose dogs, brings his prey to the other feline residents, always waits until the other cats have finished before he eats a morsel, and takes the least comfortable chair if he is allowed inside the house.  He even stands at the door and meows when he needs to go outside.  His only flaw is that he hates to use the bathroom in the snow.

On Saturday afternoon, as the snow was winding down and my husband was outside shoveling and making paths for the younger children to go sledding, I was making a hearty beef stew in the crockpot.  Star began walking around me, looking up into my eyes, and being restless.  I gave him water, but he didn't want that.  I gave him food, but he didn't want that either.  I opened a cupboard door to retrieve a measuring cup, and he tried to walk into the cupboard.  I realized he needed to go outside, so I opened the front door and called for him.  He looked me in the eyes, turned around, and ran the other way.  Before I knew it, he sneaked behind the dining room door where the childrens' backpacks were hidden out of sight, and I heard our daughter yell, "No, Star. Noooo!"

As I realized what he was up to, I rushed to the backpacks and lunged forward to grab the cat squatting there, and then I felt it.  Something pulled in my low back, and I could not move.  Our daughter grabbed the cat and put him outside as our teen son cleaned up the mess he made on the brand new backpack and the floor, and I was paralyzed on my hands and knees next to it all.  I felt most undignified, but I couldn't stop laughing at the hilarity of the situation.  Had I really just thrown out my back because this cat would not willingly use the bathroom in the snow?  Really?  It took five minutes, two teenaged children, and a dining room chair to successfully get me back up on my feet.  Even then, I couldn't stand up straight.  For the rest of the day and night, I could only walk very slowly, hunched over, with the assistance of two people.  Lying flat on my back was the only relief I got from the pain.  I went to bed that night with a heating pad, a muscle relaxer, and some ibuprofen wondering if an ambulance would be able to get up our snow-covered lane because I was certain I could never get in and out of our SUV.  I couldn't imagine going another day without a visit to the hospital emergency room.

Believe it or not, after a restful night's sleep, with the exception of a snap and shooting pain at one point when I tried to prop myself up on an extra pillow, I awoke the next morning pain-free.  I was able to get out of bed and walk downstairs on my own.  As the day progressed, I became more mobile and the tight muscle in my back gradually loosened.  As the weekend ended, I felt almost back to normal, and except for a little twinge every now and then, I have been fine ever since.  Our six-year old believes that is due to all her prayers Saturday night.  I certainly did my own share of praying too since I knew I would need to be able to drive children around and do tons of laundry all this week.  I have thanked God numerous times and breathed many sighs of relief that my mishap was short lived.

While I definitely believe in the power of prayer, I'm also not willing to tempt fate.  I'm afraid Star has been banned from the house for the foreseeable future.  Or at least until the next major snowstorm.  Perhaps I should just invest in a litter box.

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