Balloon Animal

Our cat. He really wasn’t fat. Touch his side, feel his ribs. Skinny as a wooden fence. But his belly swelled, like a balloon. It was gas. Bloating, cramping, digestive trouble. We gave him pepto bismo. It hardly helped.

We took him to the vet. She took a needle and pricked his side. The gas spurted out. He flew around the room.

Next morning, the needle hole had healed. He had built up more gas. He was bigger than before. Belly big as a basketball. His belly grew. Big as a beach ball. Meowing, he floated off the sofa, and, when dad came home, out the front door.

He hung in the sky, a hundred feet up. We tried, but our ladder wasn’t tall enough. We could still hear him meowing. We thought he got closer. We thought he was floating back down. But he was just getting bigger. His belly was the size of a yoga ball. His stomach was the size of a car. Then bigger.

The police came, and asked, Why is there a blimp over your house? Why is it black and white? Why is it textured so?

We said, because our cat is black and white, because that is the texture of fur. Please sirs, get our cat down

The firetruck came. Their ladder wasn’t tall enough either.

We took turns looking through the binoculars. You could hardly see his head. Hardly see his feet or tail. He was just a belly, very big, with bits hanging off.

He was a mile wide. He cast shade on the neighborhood. It cooled us down. We turned off the air conditioner. It saved us money on our electricity bill. It was the first time having a cat had ever saved us any money.

If I looked carefully, through the binoculars, birding binoculars, I could see he was screaming

He caught a bird. A flying smacked against his belly, I mean. His belly was taut as a drum, and the bird bounced off, and fell into our pool. I fished it out with a skimmer. But it had already drowned, while we watched.

The police called out the national guard. The colonel was a gastroenterologist, for his day job. The major was a veterinarian. They conferred, and told a sniper to shoot a hole in our cat’s belly. “That’s how regulations say to deal with these things.”

She shot. It was a good shot. With an armor piercing round and a high powered rifle. The gas hissed out

It smelled of burps and cat kibble. It was horrible. The national guard put on gas masks. The firefighters put on smoke masks. The police drove away, choking. We hid in the house, and sprayed febreeze, but looked out the windows.

The belly got smaller. It was only as big as
a blimp
a car
a yoga ball
a beach ball
a basketball
a cat.

I ran out, and caught him. He meowed, screamed, purred, clawed me, tried to crawl into me and atop me, all at once. I petted him, and said soothing words in soothing tones.

The tiny hole from the armor piercing round scabbed up. And his stomach started to expand. We knew he wasn’t happy like this. So we took him to the vet, and paid one hundred and thirty six dollars, to have him put down, with hot pink euthasol.


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