My Olive Thief

Much to my parents' horror, I adopted a cat my junior year of college. He and his two brothers were found in the wall of the welding lab in our university with eyes and ears just barely open. The welding class decided to name the three boys after the three most common types of welding: Mig, Tig, and S.M.A.W. (Shielded Metal Arc Welding). Mig was the most pathetic of the three. He was barely able to squeak a meow. But the moment I heard his squeak, I knew he was my cat. That was a little over three years ago.

How could I say no to this face?! Tig and SMAW are sleeping on either side of him.
Photo from March 2011.
Feel free to label me as a crazy cat lady, but I miss him terribly while living in Malaysia. This fur ball has the ability to act as my cortisol detection cat. Animals are able to detect things that humans cannot. Service animals are no longer just "seeing eye dogs." There are many documented cases of dogs being used to warn of seizures, to help manage diabetes, to lesson PTSD symptoms and even help ease anxiety.

Mig lived with a friend from college while I was in Malaysia.
She was showing him pictures of me while I was gone.
Photo from June 2014.
It took me a while to realize that I had a cortisol detection cat. His entire persona changes when I am low on cortisol. I would come home from work just barely functioning. All I could do was collapse on the couch and try to not fall asleep. I was nervous that if I fell asleep I might not wake up. During these times, Mig would stay glued to my side.

Cannot move from couch.
Photo from Jan 2013.
On weekends, Mig would not let me sleep in. With Adrenal Insufficiency, the most critical dose of HC is that first morning dose. It must be taken around the same time every single day. A thirty minute delay in that first dose could mark the difference between a good or a horrible day. I was struggling so much late 2012 and early 2013 that I could barely make it out of bed.

You will not sleep in. But it's for your health. Promise.
Photo from Aug 2013.
Mig knew that something was not right on weekends. He would jump onto my bed and begin licking my face. I would angrily kick him off the bed. He would cautiously return, creeping back on the bed and refusing to leave me alone until I got up and went to my medicine cabinet. Around twenty minutes after I swallowed my medicine, Mig would relax. He could sense that I was no longer in a danger zone.

He jumped up onto my shoulders and would not get down until I swallowed HC.
Photo from Feb 2013.
The name Olive Thief stems from the fact that this cat loves black olives as much as I do. My body struggles with retaining sodium. To counteract this, I take fludrocortisone and eat copious amounts of salt. From a very young age, I shocked people with my ability to down black olives and even drink their brine. I now have to fight Mig for my olives.

Olives. Must. Have. Those. Olives.
Photo from July 2013.
He is a critical part of my team, helping me remain Clearly Alive.

Do you have a story with your pet and your disease? Please share it below!

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