Polly‘s right eye will not be elected President in 2020.
Polly’s right eye has left the building.
Surely I must be speaking of some other Polly — the Nirvana song, or the feisty auntie on Peaky Blinders, or the freaky parrot in the old mozzarella ads. (They made my Brooklyn Italian mother disproportionately angry. “A commercial about Italian cheese should not have a rapping bird.” Let us leave aside the fact that she was giving Polly-O string cheese the unmerited compliment of being “Italian.” But I digress.)
But in fact, I am speaking of the prime Polly, the only Polly who matters here, Polly of the soft Sahara-sand coat and short temper and wide blue
Oh, yes, kittens. I’m afraid things have gone and gotten weird for our one and only Polly.
As you recall, we last saw Polly departing in triumph, bound for a forever home with brand-new-brudder Burt Reynolds. He was young and wild and wondrous, the first and only Tabby’s Place cat to have earned the nickname El Chapo (why? see below). She was grown and gorgeous and a bit grouchy with humans…but if, and only if, she did not have the best friendship of a fellow cat. Once Polly had a posse — or at least one good brudder — she was a blue-eyed, turmeric-toned lamb.
Their co-adoption made everyone stand up and cheer.
Once settled into their forever home, these two cats were loved beyond measure. Exuberant updates told us of their joy; photos proved the point gleefully. Life and love may never be “perfect,” but surely Polly and Burt’s world came close.
Perfection would be punctured all too soon.
Burt, despite being young and wild and wondrous, suddenly developed a disease that made him weaker than a great-great-grandfather. The once manic little man who could escape any crate and tunnel through any trouble was in the trouble of his life. What was first hoped to be a mere virus turned out to be nothing less than FIP, fatal and mysterious and devastating beyond description.
Burt’s days would be few, dosed out like a precious string of seed pearls until the strand suddenly stopped. His family nursed him with ferocious affection, filling each day with a decade’s worth of love. When Burt’s time came, he’d received a great-great-grandfather’s share of adoration, and he passed in peace.
What he left behind, however, would be quite the opposite.
Mourning Burt, the family turned the full force of their kindness to his shell-shocked sister Polly. The two orange-and-white cats had become closer than siblings, and Polly mourned madly.
Then she got mad. And at last, she went mad.
Living in the one circumstance she couldn’t stand — life as an “only cat” — Polly lost her joy and her grip and her last pieces of peace. Grieving and confused, she lashed out in attacks that only escalated. Her family did everything right; our feline behavior consultant did everything in her considerable power; it was more than love could heal.
Polly’s personal approval rating of life was at an all-time low. And so, with tears and regrets and selfless love, Polly was returned to Tabby’s Place.
Back among cats, Polly found peace, faltering and fumbling at first, then diving full-strength for the pearls of friendship around every bend in Suite B. We delighted to see her delighting in cats (and vice versa); we celebrated the new start.
But we worried about that eye.
Oh yes, Polly’s right eye.
Shortly after her return, we noticed that Polly’s beautiful blue eye was rather red. She was diagnosed with uveitis, and our vet team began her on medication. But days and then weeks passed with no relief. Polly’s blue eye was angry, aching, and so very red. After a meteoric rise, her life-approval rating plummeted to purgatory again.
It was time to call on Dr. Fantastic (our collective name for the network of stellar specialists who treat our cats). The fabulous feline ophthalmologist confirmed that Polly’s particular case was severe and unresponsive to all the “right” medications. Things could only get worse and more painful, unless we did something that sounds quite drastic.
Polly could regain comfort and quality of life. Polly could live pain-free. Polly could be perkier than a parrot singing about string cheese. But Polly would have to lose that eye.
People gasped. People where aghast. But Polly barely passed gas. As usual, it was the cat who took calamity in stride, while human beans burst into angst all around her.
That angst is ancient history now, though, as Polly has sailed through her enucleation surgery. One Polly eye is more beautiful than an ocean of lesser orbs. We have, sadly, stolen her dreams of being a fighter pilot, but that’s probably for the best anyway.
We wouldn’t wish any shape of suffering on any cat. But despite all she’s endured, Polly and her big blue eye are only looking in one direction: forward. The life ahead is popping with promise, and best-friend felines, and contraband cheese (yes, volunteers, we know about the cheese).
Polly’s life again has her vote…and the votes of a loyal interspecies delegation, too.
PS: Why do all of these photos display a two-eyed Polly? Because she’s not ready for her post-op close-up, that’s why. But rest assured she is as beautiful than ever, with photos to come once she’s all healed.