The webcomic that Brooks and I are creating—The Unadoptables—features a cat named Babalu, who is one of those sickly cats always in and out of the vet’s office. She’s a thin, picky eater with bladder issues, and cone-dependent. Whenever she takes a nap, people often mistake her for dead.
We had plenty of our own experiences with sickly cats to use for inspiration. My sister Kathleen’s cat Loki (below) was born with some kind of liver condition that had him in and out of the vet’s office, which was eventually resolved with an expensive surgery (click here to watch Loki doing something hilarious while wearing a cone). I also used to have a cat named Mary. She peed. A lot. Everywhere. And my sister Beth’s cat Precious was a behavioral pee-er. If Beth did anything to slight Precious, the cat would look her right in the eye and pee on things like her bed or an unpacked suitcase. And Brooks had a diabetic cat named 149 who needed twice daily insulin injections for 5 years, and frequently had seizures.
Babalu clings to life with grim determination. She is both scrappy and resigned to the inevitable. Each morning she wakes up still alive is a surprise to her. I see a bit of an Elaine Stritch as Jack Donaghy’s mother in our sickly kitty.
Babalu will also have her own Twitter account, so stay tuned for that!