Recently, we had a federal election. Many of the old politicians will be very soon thrown out of the House of Commons, and many new ones will come in. As with the creatures peering through the windows at the end of Animal Farm, however, it may be difficult to determine a difference between these two groups. Each individual member of Parliament is meant to represent the people of a constituency. In fact, an M.P. has always struck me as more the prime minister’s man in his riding, rather than his electorate’s man in Ottawa. To my mind, an elected politician should embody the best of his country, or province, or town. Instead, what results is a legislature filled with the lowest common denominators on which the majority could agree.
I have a better example to put forward. I suggest no one other than my cat, Tucker.
As you may know from having read this blog, Tucker is now suffering from diabetes. This necessitates an injection of insulin twice a day. This is not too great a hardship for the roly poly one. He simply lies down when I tell him to, and calmly accepts the needle, which he may not feel too much anyway.
What must be onerous for him are other effects of his condition. Just this weekend, I had to perform a ‘curve’ on Tucker, drawing blood from him every two hours for a glucose reading. I am getting better at stabbing that little sausage in the ear, but I still don’t produce blood each time. Yet each time, the most resistance he gives is to flatten his ears. I can tell, especially as the day progresses, that he is unhappy with the discomfort of having his ear jabbed. Who wouldn’t be? But he submits to the indignity even so.
His rear end is weak, and he sometimes lopes like a rabbit when it walks rather than hops. I brought a litter-box upstairs for his convenience, but he doesn’t always use it. Most nights, about nine o’clock, he trundles slowly downstairs to keep his regular appointment. Then he struggles back up, coming to rest on the landing. Does he wonder why he can’t walk as he once did? If he does, he doesn’t appear angry about it. His veterinarian does not want him to take B12 to strengthen his rear right now. We are hopeful that once his insulin dosage is managed, he will regain his all-wheel drive.
Yet through it all, Tucker maintains his good spirits. I have always thought of him as a creature who wants to be happy. He still plays, and looks forward to it. Our regular sessions are with a string-toy, but we play in other ways, too. We play peek-a-boo, which he finds exciting. Other times, I will creep up on him, in plain sight; he starts purring and when I grabbed him, he squeals. He will hurry into the nylon tunnel and wait for me to terrorize him from the outside.
He spends more time on my lap now. That started almost simultaneously with the discovery of his diabetes. And at the end of the day, some time during the night, he comes to bed - using the steps each time now; he has mastered them at last - and sleeps there with me, Renn and Josie. Cammie disdains our close company, but sleeps in the same room.
My point in all of this is that Tucker, to me, represents some of the best qualities in a cat. He is friendly and loveable, playful, inquisitive, intelligent. Above all, he has patience and endurance; in his forbearance and fortitude, he is an exemplar. It’s true that he will still chase and fight with Noah - rather impressive considering his diabetical disabilities. But he has been through much in his short life, much that would discourage others. He remains cheerful and childlike, without being childish.
If only our elected representatives had the same qualities, if only they could stir our admiration in the same way. But perhaps that’s why we have pets. We spend our lives hoping for something from our politicians. We actually get something from our pets.