ON TIME LEADER
Sorbo is a gorgeous cat.
He's the kind of cat that when you see him in a window, with the sun
backlighting the clean plush white fur on his delicate little body, your
heart skips a beat and you utter an audible sigh.
He's the kind of cat that if his only job was to be a beautiful mobile
sculpture, he would be worth his weight in gold.
But that's not Sorbo's only job! From the time he was two years old,
Sorbo has been a self-appointed union representative for all the family
Until six years ago, my husband had a policy. Pets will never be
hungry because dry food is always available. Nonetheless, the anticipated
offering of coveted wet food will take place every evening on our schedule
-- not theirs. Whether we put wet food down at 5 o'clock or at midnight,
they patiently waited for "the prize".
Then Sorbo decided that wet food should be served promptly at 7pm.
First alert, 7:03pm, when Sorbo smacked my arm with his paw. If I
ignored him, he moved to second alert, singing in my ear. His voice was so
enthralling -- more like the trill of a songbird than the demands of a cat
-- that it rarely worked because I wanted to hear more!
Third alert was to nip me on the forearm. That one always worked.
Sorbo lived the philosophy, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease".
One evening about four years ago, I looked up from reading and saw
that it was 7:45. Where was Sorbo?
I found him behind the sofa, suffering the results of a very bad
stroke. He couldn't stand, could barely lift his head, and could only pull
himself in twitchy little circles to the right.
Our vet thought he wouldn't recover, but there WAS a chance.
We brought him home and lavished love and attention on him. I fed him
in my lap, at first having to put little bites into his mouth. Soon he
progressed to mushing his little face in the food. He never gave up! He
improved daily and within two months he was back to his appointed tasks.
But gone were alerts 1 and 2. He just nipped on my arm.
Sorbo has had two more little strokes. But, with love and our new
policy of "lap snacks on demand", he has recovered well from both.
I will always remember during his rehabilitation when he could jump,
but not propel himself forward. There he was, at 7:03, popping up and down
in front of my chair like a little jumping jack.
About a year ago, after having secured "the prize" for his union
members, and after eating his personal "lap snack", he began to nip my arm.
What did he want?
We decided it might be a "Lassie moment", and asked him, "Is Timmy
caught in a well?"
He immediately led me to a hiding spot, where his brother Snowball had
suffered a very mild stroke. (The vet had warned us that it might be a
con*** problem). Sorbo had taken on a third job -- that of health care
watchdog over his family!
However, I want to share with you the REAL reason I'm writing this
When I was a little girl, my sister and I had a fight that ended with
both of us yelling, "I hate you!" My grandmother separated us, and told us
to each write an essay entitled, "Why I Love my Sister".
After hours in our rooms, we read our essays to each other.
"But I thought you hated each other", grandma said. Two little girls
broke down in tears and never fought like that again.
Just this morning I caught myself feeling irritated with Sorbo. It's
hard to concentrate with someone biting your arm to get a "lap snack on
demand"! Then, even though my irritation had been short-lived and
non-expressed, I could feel grandma sending me to my room to write Sorbo
I looked down at the cluster of little red marks on my arm, and
remembered just how grateful I am to have those wounds! How grateful I am
that Sorbo had the courage and stubborn persistence that brought him
through his strokes! I knew, without doubt, that when I no longer sport
his teeth marks I will be sadder than I can imagine.
It will mean that I have lost my most precious squeaky little wheel.
-- Terece Lewis