When I found her still breathing in the morning I mentally threw up a thank you and a few promises to be a better person. Explaining the sudden death to Aaron would not have been easy. His analytical autistic mind would have pegged me as the perpetrator in a heartbeat. Never mind the guilt I would have suffered all on my own without his help.
We could barely fit the dog carrier through the door when we arrived at the vet’s office. Sized for Lucy, a Beagle, it was far too big for this scrawny, little kitten but it was all we had. I called ahead and told them we were coming so they ushered us right into a small exam room. I pulled the cat out of the crate and I could tell by the look on the veterinarian’s face it wasn’t good. As she looked the kitten over I confessed how I nearly killed it with toxic chemicals. She quickly assured me I’d done no such thing. In fact, the cat had no pink tone to her skin at all; even her nose and tongue were white. She was so anemic she was almost dead. Had I not killed the fleas that were sucking her blood she may not have made it through the night.
As I was afraid of, she was going to need eye salve, ear drops and a special diet if she were to survive. My heart sank because I knew the shelter wouldn’t take her. Unless someone volunteers to care for them, animals this sick are humanely dispatched simply because they don’t have the manpower to handle them.
It was about that point that Lisa, the vet, said “She’s so lucky she found you and you’re willing to take care of her.”
My mind raced. I hadn’t agreed to anything. I couldn’t keep a cat. My mother-in-law is terrified of cats. It would cause all sorts of mayhem at the holidays if we had a cat. But they were all staring at me; the vet, the technician, my own child. I was backed into a corner. I had to set a good example. I agreed to pay for the visit, the medications, the special food and take care of her but only until she was healthy enough to go to the shelter. We couldn’t keep a cat. They all nodded in agreement with a smug, “Uh huh sure, you’ll wear down eventually,” look on their faces.
Those weren’t the only things I’d have to pay for. A cat’s got to go when a cat’s got to go. We needed a litter box. But I put my foot down and refused to buy any toys. I also set the ground rule of not naming the cat. Once they’re named they’re yours forever.
The cat started eating its new, rather expensive I might add, special diet food very well. The salve was helping her eyes and she tolerated the ear drops. It was all good until two days later. After one of those trips to the litter box it became rather apparent that something had gone horribly, horribly wrong. She came traipsing through the living room with part of her butt hanging out. Yes, out. Out in the open where you could see it.
Now—I had grown up on a hobby farm. I had seen all kinds of things; calves being born, chickens hatch, pigs being butchered. All kinds of stuff. But NOTHING prepared me for this. So I was just a little excited when I was explaining the situation over the phone to the receptionist at the veterinarian’s office. She calmly stated, “Oh, well you might want to bring her in.”
“MIGHT? MIGHT? No lady, I can assure you I absolutely, positively, without a doubt want to bring her in. While it seems like this might be considered normal to you, where I come from we prefer to keep our intestines on the INSIDE!”
(to be continued...)