Friday, November 21, 2008

How the Kracker Cats came to be, part 14: Kaboodle - we make it through the winter, but I damn near die

As much as we loved him, we could not let Kaboodle freeload off us. So we set him to work, splitting wood with his sharp claws. He did a good job.

To any newcomers, or any old-timers who need a review, I suggest that before you read this, you click either on the label, "Kaboodle," or "How the Kracker Cats Came to be." 

I must wrap the Kaboodle intro section up, so that I can introduce the remainder of the original Kracker Cats. I have to leave to catch a plane to Fairbanks in less than an hour, so I will keep this very short.

In short, despite the great ignorance that I had in me toward cats, we made it through the winter, with all of us very much in love, even if there was a certain amount of strive and contention in our lives - because Kaboodle was that kind of cat - sweet, yet combative and contentious. 

And, as I said, he played rough. So it happened that when spring finally came, I was out on the Iditarod Trail, following a specific musher with my airplane, the Running Dog, as he ran his dogs from Anchorage to Nome.

In the village of Kaltag, where the trail turns off the Yukon River and makes its way through a low range of mountains toward Unalakleet, at the edge of Norton Sound, I chatted with a vet as he gave the dog team I was following an exam.

I asked him about cats, and if they ever scratched him when he examined them.

One day, I stepped into the living room and found him like this. He had worked so hard to split that wood, I figured he deserved to chill out and relax.

"Oh, yes!" he said. "Frequently. Getting scratched by cats is part of being a vet."

So I took off my various coats and jackets, rolled up my woolen sleeves, and showed him the scars and scabs Kaboodle had left on my arm - not in meanness but in play.

His eyes went wide. "Wow!" he said. "You have an extraordinary cat!"

As the race moved toward the finish line, I grew every more sluggish and lethargic; my body and limbs seemed to be stiffen. Ordinary movement became more difficult. I chalked it up it to the physical demands placed upon even a photographer who follows this grueling race, even in a little airplane.

But when I got home and tried to catch up on my rest, it did no good. 

The sluggishness grew worse, and I stiffened more. Pain set into my legs and joints and then grew to become unbearable. By late April, I could hardly walk, it hurt so bad. But the ice on the lake that I had parked the Running Dog was about to rot and melt, so I made a heroic effort. In great pain, I taxied the plane off the lake onto the shore, removed the skis and put my wheels back on.

This left me in such pain that Sunflower rushed me to Anchorage. The doctor looked me over, speculated that I had sarcoidosis - a disease that can kill and recently did kill the actor, Bernie Mac. The doctor subscribed Prednizone.

I got well again.

Later, I was reading something, somewhere, and I saw the words, "catscratch disease." I read the article. The symptoms were identical to what I had suffered, what the doctor diagnosed as sarcoidosis. 



Parker said...

Wow, I am glad you are OK now.
Kaboodle sure does work for his kibble!

ZOOLATRY said...

We have just read the entire blog (except for any older posts that is)... we've read everything on the sidebar. In truth, it is impossible to decide whether the photographs are better, or the writing is better. In truth, it is all fantastic... a really great blog, thanks!

Eric and Flynn said...

We agree 110% with what Zoolatry have said. Our humans like to cruise, and a couple of years ago they went to Alaska for a cruise and also a land tour visiting Denali and Copper Center amongst other places. Although they could only see such a very small part, they found it the most beautiful and amazing place they have ever visited.

Team Tabby said...

We are also glad to hear you got well again! We like the pictures of Kaboodle working for his keep. He sure knew how to relax though.

Mindy, Moe, Bono

Daisy said...

Oh, I wonder if you actually did have cat scratch illness? Thank goodness you got all better.

Standtall said...

Lol at the picture of Kaboodle in remote control and beer.

Catch Scratch disease? I get scratch a lot by my cats. Do I have something to be afraid of?

Standtall said...

And how are you?

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Wow, whatever it was we're glad you got over it! As far as working for our, we're awfully glad mom accepts feet warming, lap sitting and cuddley purrs or we'd be in serious trouble.

Grahamn Kracker said...

Yes, Parker, he was a hard worker. Judging from your appearance, I suspect that you could be, too.

Thank you, Zoolatry. In my own mind, I am equal part writer, equal part photographer so I am glad to leave you confused in this matter.

Eric and Flynn - one day, I will post Copper Center cats, and Denali cats, too, so keep coming back.

TT: Yes, relaxing was a feline skill that Kaboodle had mastered well. And yet, he could be mighty tense, too.

I don't know, Daisy. I will always wonder.

Standtall - I don't think you need to worry. Kaboodle took scratching to another dimension. I am doing good, thank you.


zss: You have a good Mom, who knows what kind of works cats are not only best at, but most enjoy.

Terri Ashby said...

Found your blog by accident - love it to bits. Please post some more!