Parker is my foster-cat. He came to stay with me in January, 2017. The orange boy was first seen behind a shopping mall here in town, searching rubbish bins for food. A rescue-group was called and, when its representative arrived, she met a friendly but hungry male cat, already neutered. Part of a rotisserie chicken that the lady had earlier purchased was sacrificed to the cat’s satisfaction, and he was taken to a foster-home. Not long after, it was discovered he had diabetes, so injections of insulin were begun.
The rescue-group, with which my own often co-operates, found it difficult to regulate Parker’s diabetes treatment. He lived in a shelter-home that the group owns and, though given loving care by the volunteers, received his shots from different people, and not always at the same time. As well, it was not possible always to guard him from sneaking food inappropriate for his condition. It was decided that Parker needed more routine, so I was asked to take him in, as I already had some experience with Tucker’s diabetes. Ironically, Parker receives a different kind of insulin than does the roly poly, and by means of a syringe, rather than a pen. This meant that I had some things to learn. Managing the injection by syringe took more than a few attempts, but I was soon practicing the procedure without worry.
With a controlled diet (helped by the fact that while I am absent or asleep, Parker is sequestered in the library) and regular times for his injections, we have been able to reduce his insulin dosage by almost half. Added to this amelioration has been his dental work, which removed most of his remaining teeth. I noticed a difference in his playing almost immediately following his surgery. He undoubtedly felt happier and more comfortable. Physically, the sturdy boy was set fair.
His integration with the other cats has been bumpy. Josie and Renn will allow him to lie near them on the bed or couch; Renn and Parker will sniff noses. Cammie likes to lunge at Parker, to startle him – but she does that with Tucker - and me, too, for that matter. That’s the princess’s version of fun. Tucker and Parker… Well, those two don’t get along. Initially, I thought it was the newcomer’s fault. But I have since revised my opinion. Ever since the two became embroiled in a couple of genuine battles, they have been wary of each other. While Parker will emit a high-pitched little cry if he comes too close to Tucker, the latter will hiss and growl. He also tries to swat Parker if he passes near.
Well, every family has its dramas. The two boys, both weighty, both diabetic, should have enough in common to make amends. Perhaps it is Tucker’s old fear of being relegated to last place in the household hierarchy. Parker is rather outside of that order so, while Tucker is still in some ways on the bottom rung, he can persuade himself that he is above Parker, as long as he maintains an hostility toward him.
But Parker is free to roam much of the time. He has his favourite spots – snoozing on the Track-ball, for instance, or in a corner of the sitting room – and he knows the schedule here at the cosy apartment, even reminding me of his evening insulin shot, though this may have more to do with the accompanying morsel of food he receives. He is the most playful of my cats, and loves his alone-time with me, much of which I spend rubbing his fuzzy head. He has lately taken to spending a little of bath-time with me, as well. Renn is ambivalent about that.
I wish that I could give Parker the full freedom of his home, instead of limiting it due to other cats’ (actually, other cat’s…) hostility. One day he may be adopted by someone special, someone who appreciates his condition, someone with no other felines, or perhaps one who will be Parker’s friend. Until then, he will stay here. And that’s fine with me.