Understand this: before Simpkin, I had never owned an animal before, and never cared for one either. 

Simpkin is sick. He refuses to eat or drink. He makes sad little squeals and tucks one paw under his chest, then curls up and goes back to sleep. I hated leaving for work today. Before I left, in desperation, I mixed up a kind of gruel out of canned salmon and water and left it out for him. As soon as I got home, I commenced trying again to get Simpkin to drink. The only thing that works is an eye dropper, squeezed gently into the side of his mouth. I've been giving him water every half an hour, trying to make up for 30-some hours without a drink. Am I only flattering myself, thinking that he seems to have perked up?

A few years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of myself as cat-nurse. Now I only want this tiny living thing to get well.