IMG_9552Cats make us do a lot of goofy things.

They make us talk in a pitch only cats and bats can hear. They make us sing original songs with lyrics like “Meeeeeeeeatball is a sweeeeeeeetball.”

They make us swaddle them in girdles.

Zach in his girdled glory
Zach in his girdled glory

If you ask Zach, he would tell you, in his soft-spoken, scaredy-eyed way, that he most definitely did not “make us” gird him thusly.

As Zach’s press secretary, I can clarify: yes, he did. At least, his heart did, even if his head didn’t sign off on it.

That’s no small distinction. Zach is a cat who largely lives in his head, and it’s a careful place. In Zach’s head, all his books are categorized by subject (and you bet there are separate sections for “History – East Indian” and “History – West Indian”). His Legos are stored by color, year of manufacture, and size. His underwear is freshly ironed.

No, cats don’t wear underwear.* Except when they do. Which brings me to Zach’s girdle.

Zach is such a quiet, careful little cat that he would never willingly let on that he harbored harmful secrets. But what his head kept under his hat, his heart howled out.

Zach and Boom and my feet and the girdle
Zach and Boom and my feet and the girdle

Little Zach recently got littler than we’d like, so our vet team started sleuthing out causes for his weight loss. What they found was a significant arrhythmia — irregular heartbeat — but a totally normal heart rate. An ultrasound showed that Zach’s heart is structurally normal, making his batty beats a mystery.

But Fresh DJ Denise and L’il Ice Dr. C aren’t keen on missing beats, so they cooked up a solution: a Holter monitor.

Or, as Zach knows it, a girly, ghastly, humiliating girdle. WITH HIS NAME ON IT.

To get technical, the girdle-looking thing in these pictures isn’t the monitor; the monitor is swaddled up in there, with all the mummification tape keeping it securely attached to Zach. Over a twenty-four-hour period, the Holter monitor will continually record the rhythm of Zach’s heart via electrodes attached to his chest. We’ll then have truckloads of data to dice up with the specialists, and we can finally unwrap Zach’s mysteries.

"Aw, no, you're not really taking pictures of this, are you?!"
“Aw, no, you’re not really taking pictures of this, are you?!”

So Zach’s heart is 100% in this game.
But the distance from the head to the heart is the longest 8″ in the world.

Being a dunderhead human, I didn’t initially realize that Zach’s mind was maddened. Gazing at Zach through the Suite A window, fellow human Jonathan and I remarked on how calm Zach seemed; how well he was tolerating his temporary mummification; how amaaaaazing it all was.

Then I went into the suite.

I have never heard Zach speak a word before. He’s an inherently quiet cat, all the way on the “I” side of the introvert/extrovert axis of the Myers-Briggs test. Zach is the kid the teacher always sat between the two ne’er-do-wells on the bus, because no matter how many times they poked him and made faces and called him Missy Spit Pants, he wouldn’t make a sound.

But in his girdle, Zach had everything to say.

" long as you don't post it on the internet or anything..."
“Alright…as long as you don’t post it on the internet or anything…”

Meowing constantly, his orangey-brown-tea eyes screaming even louder, Zach cantered around my ankles. He was tolerating the monitor and its trappings, technically; but he wasn’t happy about it. I believe the proper translation of his yells would be: “THIS ARE WEIRD. THIS ARE WEIRD. THIS ARE WEIRD.”

But maybe that had less to do with the girdle than with the effect it had on Zach’s roommates. All of a sudden, this loner of a cat had a cluster of admirers.

No one was more enamored of Zach’s girdle than Boom. I’ve never before seen these two cats interact, but Boom loved Mummified Zach. He loved him like Kanye loves Kim. He loved him like everybody loves Raymond. He loved him like the guy in the My Pillow commercial loves his pillow.

It was strange.
And Zach knew it.

"YOU SHOULD TOTALLY POST THAT ON THE INTERNET!" "Yeah, imma retweet it right now!"
“YOU SHOULD TOTALLY POST THAT ON THE INTERNET!” “Yeah, imma retweet it right now!”

So did Claudia, who, like Zach, is generally not that into cats. But this cat, this girdled, mummified cat, was a cat who caught her attention. Claudia was keeping close company with this Zach.

I could go on. Frank was fascinated. Dawg was gazing down at Zach dotingly. There was kindness in their eyes. No one was swatting or stressing or raging. It’s almost as though they all wanted to take care of him.

OK, maybe they were making fun of him. But let me have my “We Are The World” fantasy.

Today, though, it’s all over. Zach is gleefully girdleless, and Suite A’s citizens are back to their separate corners. We’ll have the results from Zach’s Holter monitor soon, and I will share them with you.

Meantime, keep your hearts in conversation with your heads, kittens.

*They do read about history and play with Legos, but that’s stating the obvious.


2 thoughts on “Girdled

  1. Oh, Zach – don’t fret, sweet one. I also had to wear this kind of monitor and it wasn’t easy! But I did get the cute little girdle and didn’t come close to being as cute as you! Be well, wonderful boy – you are loved more than you know!

  2. So Zach was cruising under everyone’s radar, people watching, cat watching, taking notes for his upcoming novel. All of a sudden, people and cats were watching him! Too much attention! Hopefully, this test will reveal a path to good health (and chicken flavored cat treats) for handsome orange patch Zach! Late October love to you and Tabby’s Place!

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