RUSH: A little story here. Everybody’s asking me here, ‘What are you so edgy about today?’ I’m not edgy. I just didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night. You know, we treat our little pets like our kids, especially if you don’t have kids you treat the little animals like your kids. And Punkin had to go to the vet today for a standard checkup, a urinalysis and a teeth cleaning and because you can’t make a cat pee on demand and you can’t get a cat to hold still while you brush its teeth, they have to anesthetize the cat at the vet’s office. That means, just like human beings, you cannot feed the cat for a period of 12 hours prior to the cat’s appointment at the doctor. So that meant I could not feed Punkin after eight o’clock. I made sure she had something to eat about 7:30 and then all the bowls, I emptied them out, left the bowls there empty, she has two places in the house where she eats. And by pattern, she came down to the library about 11:30 p.m., where I was feverishly working on comments after I’d watched all these speeches last night, and she starts rubbing against my legs, jumping up on my lap, starts head-butting me, and I know what that means. It means she wants to eat, and I looked at her, I said, ‘I’m sorry.’
I looked right into her eyes, ‘I’m sorry Punky, but I can’t feed you.’ She doesn’t know what I’m saying, she’s a cat. So, I get upstairs, and as a habit, she leads me into her room, because I feed her right before I go to bed, it’s just become a habit. She leads me in, and I have to go in there anyway to get something. When I don’t feed her she just gets this perplexed look on the face, and I’m saying, ‘Sweetie, I can’t feed you. You have to go to the doctor tomorrow.’ And of course she doesn’t know what I’m saying. I’m talking to an animal. She has these big almond eyes just looking at me like this doesn’t make sense to her. So I go get in bed about one o’clock, 1:30 a.m., and in five minutes the cat jumps on the bed. She never sleeps with me. I mean, maybe once that blue moon. She got underneath the covers! She started biting my toes. She started licking. She’s furrowing around under there like a ferret. I ignore her, trying to go to sleep. ‘Big day tomorrow on the EIB Network,’ I’m saying to myself. I said, ‘Punky, I’m sorry, I can’t feed you.’ She finally moves out from underneath the covers and gets on the pillow and starts head-butting me, and I just ignore her and all I want to do is feed this little cat because she hasn’t eaten in a while, can’t do it because she gotta go to the doctor.
Finally I fall asleep, and at 4:30 a.m. or five here come the head-butts again. She’s not mad. She wants to eat. She doesn’t understand why I’m ignoring her. We create little habits in our animals, and this was a big break in the routine and the habit; there was no food! This only happens twice a year for these checkups; the animal can’t get used to it. So finally at 7:30 a.m. I got up, and this little cat bounded out of the bed and just ran as happily and joyously to our little room where I feed her, leading me all the way and I just watched her go, she turned around and stopped seeing I didn’t follow her, and she just had the saddest look. And then she’d take a couple steps and turn around and see if I was following. I said, ‘Punky, I’m sorry, I can’t feed you.’ I say to myself, again, I’m talking to a cat. So I finally just went into my bathroom and did something else I never do, and that’s shut the door. I have two doors into the bathroom-closet complex, and I closed the outer door so she couldn’t get in there and make me feel even guiltier, because what I’m doing is for her own safety and so forth.
One of the members of the staff was going to come up and get her at eight o’clock and put her in a little cat cage and take her to the vet. I got outta the shower and the cat was gone. It was just tough. She was so happy this morning, ‘Oh, finally I’m going to get to eat,’ and she didn’t get to eat, trying to lead me in there, taking two steps, looking back at me. Heartbreaking stuff. This has been a tough day.