The Homer Chapter

Chapter 22, In Which Mom Acts Insanely OR How Many Cats Does It Take...????

September 13, 1999

Just a year ago I was writing: Gene "and Austin are looking down from Rainbow Bridge right now, laughing that Mom the "cat hater" is bringing even more cats in to the house." And I have been frequently lamenting to Paul that I never thought we would have 3 cats.

So what did I do?Homer the Great!

You guessed it. Another cat. Another homeless cat. Another older cat. SUCKER!

Homer is a tom cat that has been hanging around our hospital all summer. He has charmed everyone and many employees have brought in sacks of food. The women in the lab even took up a donation, took him to the vet, and got him some antibiotics and a rabies vaccine.

This funny looking cat has been homeless in Kingwood for at least 5 or 6 years. Apparently, a home health business fed him at least that long, gave him the name Homer, and then they moved away 1 or 2 years ago. We're not sure where Homer was in the intervening time, but he came to Preston Memorial Hospital several months ago. He had progressed from hanging out under cars in the parking lot to having his own blanket on the loading dock. Although everyone loved him, a movement started to find Homer a real home. Yours truly somehow was nominated as new mom.

I spent several weeks trying to locate Homer but he never seemed to be around when I was ready to take him home. Today, however, I was leaving for lunch and saw Homer just going into the woods behind the hospital. I screeched my car to a halt, flung open the door and called Homer. He stopped, came back, and let me pet him. Then I picked him up, put him in the car and slammed the door. Homer had about 2 seconds of panic then settled into my lap. Off we went to "The Shed," my local abode. On the way over, twice Homer stood on his hind legs in my lap, put his front paws on the steering wheel and drove! Tooncies, the driving cat!

December 30, 1999

Homer is a marvelous cat. Unfortunately, Miss Ripley and the little gatos won't get to know him. Homer has feline AIDs, so we need to keep him away from Ripley due to her immunosuppression secondary to diabetes. Too bad, he is such a mellow, fine fellow. Actually he has feline HIV, not full-blown AIDS, and the vet says he is very healthy currently. Cats apparently live 3 to 10 years after the diagnosis. Homer is 7 or 8 years old approximately. I have since learned that big cats in Africa carry the feline AIDS virus and seem to have no ill effects. I just have to be cautious about Homer getting infections and treat them immediately.

Homer was apparently in a bad accident at one point because one side of his skull is slightly crushed, he has jaw damage, and he has chronic sinus problems. He was also a fighter and a lover, because his right ear hangs limply and his left ear is notched badly. Many people claim Homer is the father of their cats. In fact, several months before I got him, he brought "home" (that is, to the hospital) a pretty female and her two kittens. The mom and one kitty moved on, but a pretty little kitty looking a lot like Homer (except long-haired and beautiful), stayed behind. This kitty took up the position of Preston Memorial Hospital mascot when Homer moved to my Kingwood home. Employees fixed a box for her on the loading dock and brought in food so she stayed but remained untouchable. Homer won't be fathering any more homeless kitties, though, because a little trip to the vet has resulted in the shrinkage of a most impressive set of balls!

Homer likes to come visit the hospital still and see all his old friends and to play with his daughter. If he cuts through the woods and over the creek behind my Kingwood house, it is only about a quarter of a mile to the hospital. He will often be waiting for me when I leave for the day, so he jumps in the car and I drive him home. He is such a piece of work.

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