The challenge at terribleminds.com last week was a 100 word or less, 5 sentence story, the shorter the better. To be posted on the terribleminds comment section by Monday 27th, noon. I was able to get a short, short story up there on time, even though we had snow and my husband and I went out Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, cross country skiing. So this is not my usual story. But a blog about what happened Wednesday. shortlink for this story http://wp.me/p1BAlV-2o
Cat Magic Louise Sorensen February 29, 2012
Today I had the vet come out to my home and euthanize two old friends.
Gucci was a tiny yellow fluff ball when my daughter brought him home as a kitten, many years ago. He grew up to be a big strong long haired yellow cat with the temperament of a T-rex. About three years ago, when he was ten, he got feline Aids. Since then, he has had his ups and downs, but was fine until two months ago.
Fifi was a beautiful calico cat. White with orange and grey tabby spots. We got her and two of her sisters from a neighbour down the street. Three little kittens for my three little kids. We lost her sisters Lillie and Mouf to a coyote, and an unknown injury over the years, but Fifi survived. She always kept herself pristinely clean. She was healthy until she was seventeen and a half, then started to deteriorate. Even with a huge appetite and eating well, she still lost weight.
Gucci, known to his friends as Mr. Gootch, mellowed with age and became a gentle sweetheart. But he still would snap at you if you hurt him in any way. In the last year, he started climbing onto my lap and spending some time there purring, and not biting. Astonished at first, we came to call these times “An Evening with the Gootch,” as he had never before been one to sit on a person. Always an enthusiastic food lover, towards the end, he has become weaker and weaker, unable to eat more than a tablespoon of turkey broth morning and night.
Today, he was too weak to get up and go to the litter and urinate. Not the first time. I had him on a towel over a layer of plastic, but he had moved over one seat on the sofa and urinated on the unprotected pillow and towel. I moved him to a clean dry towel, put all the towels in the laundry, and washed the wet pillows.
Fifi was as thin as a little skeleton and had had a minor stroke. She held her head a little to the right and no longer washed herself, at all. So her face was a mess of dried cat milk (specially formulated for cats and kittens). I washed her twice a day with a moist Kleenex, but it was not a cure, she still looked pretty dirty.
Yesterday, Fifi’s left cheek swelled up very badly. She was no longer comfortable, and kept coming to me, meowing gently, asking me to do something about her pain.
There was nothing I could do to help her except end her life.
There was nothing I could do to help Gootch except end his life.
I am so sad.
November 25, 2010, I was finally able to rescue a little cat I had seen hanging around, abandoned on a deserted country road since Halloween. Three weeks he had been out in the cold. I stopped the truck and got out the first time I saw him and tried to catch him, but he ran away. The second time I saw him I was driving home in the pouring rain one night–he was huddled head down, by the side of the road, the cold rain falling down on him.
The third time I saw him, I happened to have a small bag of dry cat food that I had been using as dog training aids, in my coat pocket. I pulled the truck over, put it in park and immediately crossed to the other side of the road to try to catch the little cat.
He ran from me, so I squatted down, dug a handful of food out of my pocket, and held it out to him. He was dubious of my good intentions. I called and called to him and finally he approached. When he smelled the food, in his hunger, he chomped right into my fingers. I pulled my fingers out of his mouth and ripped them all to hell. Blood spurting all over. Then I picked him up–he was eating the food from my hand the whole time as I walked across the road, opened the truck door, and put him on the floor of the passenger side. I put more food on the floor, closed the door, and drove home, only a ten minute drive. Before we started for home, I noticed my fingers were still bleeding profusely, so I wrapped them in Kleenex.
He ate the whole drive home. Not looking up, paying no attention when we accelerated, just stuffing his mouth as fast as he could. When we got home I picked him up, carried him past our barking watch dog Fred, unlocked the door, took him upstairs to a spare bathroom and set him down. Then brought in a litter box, a box with a towel inside, and food and water.
Then I phoned my doctor for an emergency appointment for cat bite. Long story short, I was on antibiotics for ten days for the cat bite, went to the hospital for a tetanus shot, and didn’t need a rabies shot.
Bareep, the name I finally settled on for the little cat, because that is the sound he always greeted me with, was skeletal, lousy, and had a huge swollen belly full of worms. His tail was all chunked up with feces. I don’t think he would have lasted another three days outside. It took three months to nurse him back to health, and another month to introduce him to our five other cats down stairs. Today he is a beautiful, long haired black cat. Also fat and round–his body’s reaction to starvation.
The strange thing is, a year after I rescued Bareep, our eighteen year old black cat Panther got sick with congestive heart failure. I had to have her put down, euthanized.
In September 2003, I rescued a long haired yellow cat, more a kitten, that I named Sinbad. He was almost bald from flea allergies, skinny, and not happy that I’d taken him away from his pride. With the previous owner’s permission.
I spent two months sitting by the large cage where we kept new cats to get our other cats used to them. He scratched and bit me constantly when I held out my hand. He hated me. Finally he got over his upset at whatever had happened in his life (he was unfavoured and unfed in his previous home overrun with breeding cats.) and accepted me. He was my special sweetheart and we loved each other. He took to life with enthusiasm and played and ate and purred and loved without reserve.
January 2004, a yellow cat we named Oscar showed up in our barn. He was sociable, intelligent, and came through the cat door into the house all by himself that summer and stayed. But earlier in March, Sinbad got hit and killed by a car. So it seemed like a replacement cat of the same colour showed up when I was about to lose a cat.
First yellow Oscar showed up to replace Sinbad, then black Bareep showed up to replace Panther.
About three months ago, I noticed a fat short haired orange cat hanging around our place. We’re out in the country where there’s very few people, and we’re about five hundred yards from our closest neighbours on each side. People, presumably from the city, often come out to the country and dump unwanted cats and dogs. Leave them here to starve to death or get killed by cars. Because often the abandoned animal is too traumatized to come near a person who might help them.
I think someone dumped that fat orange cat. He’s friendly, and much thinner now after three months outside. Thankfully we’ve had a mild winter. And we have a barn where animals can shelter and cats can catch and survive off mice. I’ve started leaving a handful of dry cat food outside our deck door for O.C. as I call him (Orange Cat).
But I can’t help thinking that orange O.C. showed up to replace yellow Mr. Gootch. And I’m thinking there should be a little female calico to take Fifi’s place.
Not that they can ever be replaced.
But there are spaces available, and that’s the way cat magic works.