Monday, October 01, 2007

It Was the Worst of Times, It Was the Best of Times

Warning: This story has nothing to do with writing. Unless you consider the fact that I'm writing it, of course!

This is a tale of three kitties.

Target and Hunter are siblings and are probably about a year old. I don't know exactly how old they are because they were strays given to us as very tiny kittens last November. I think they were roughly four to five weeks old when we got them, so working backwards from when they came to us, they'll be a year old sometime this month.

The third cat, Caesar, is seventeen and a half and fading pretty fast. His hind legs are arthritic and can hardly support him. Though he eats well, he is very bony. He has a constant runny nose. We know the day we'll have to put him to sleep is coming soon, but we keep nursing him along because he still seems to get some enjoyments out of life and doesn't appear to be in pain.

(This backstory/infodump is all going to become important. Trust me!)

Friday night, I came home from a function at my kids' school around 8:30. It was dark, but as I pulled into the driveway, I could see Caesar sitting off to one side and Target and Hunter on the other. Caesar stood up and began ambling, slowly, toward the car, but I figured he was smart enough (after seventeen years!) not to get to close. I stopped at the bottom of the drive and got out to open the garage door.

As soon as I exited my minivan, I heard a cat wailing in pain and/or fear. I looked around the other side of the car and discovered to my utter horror that my poor Caesar's had in fact gotten too close and one of his hind legs was trapped beneath the rear wheel. I rushed back into the driver's seat and rolled the wheel off his leg, thinking to myself that NOW I was surely going to have to take him to have him put down because I must have crushed his leg beyond repair.

I got back out and ran around to pick him up, only to discover that he had gotten up and walked away! The leg that had been trapped beneath the car was gimpier than before, but not apparently much worse for wear. I picked him up and felt the bones, figuring he'd howl in pain if it were broken, but he didn't protest. I put him back down and opened the garage door. He walked in, looking for his dinner.

I couldn't believe it, but of course, I was incredibly relieved.

I pulled the van into the garage and called for Target and Hunter to come in. (We always bring the cats in at night because we have lost multiple cats over the years to the coyotes in our neighborhood.) They wouldn't come and I knew why. They'd been frightened by Caesar's howling. I tried several more times before we went to bed, but we ultimately decided there was no choice but to leave them out for the night and hope for the best.

But on Saturday morning, only Hunter showed up for breakfast. We were worried, but not overly concerned until we noticed parts of a half-eaten animal carcass in the lawn. At first, I thought it was a rabbit and figured Hunter and Target had killed and eaten it (since they've been known to do that), but when Target still hadn't turned up by late morning, my husband looked a little closer at the remaining fur.

"It looks like tabby, doesn't it?" he asked me.

I had to agree, it did.

"And look at these feet. They have claws like a cat."

I had to agree, they did.

And so, we figured, that was that. The coyotes had gotten Target in the night. I had the unenviable task of picking up my oldest son from his best friend's house, where he'd spent the night, and explaining how I had essentially killed his cat. He cried and cried when I told him.

It was shaping up to be the worst day of my life.

Later in the afternoon, I came across a dose of tapeworm medication and, knowing Caesar was infested with them and they were probably adding ot his overall decline, I decided to give him the medication. He took it readily enough, but around 4pm, he didn't look very well and was panting as though he were in pain.

My son started crying. "He's suffering, Mom. We should take him and have him put to sleep right now."

I could only shake my head. How could we lose two cats in one day? I just didn't think we could handle it, emotionally.

Cooler heads prevailed and Caesar started doing better once we moved him out of the sun and got him some water. We theorize that the medication had probably started to work and was giving him a bit of an upset stomach, but that it passed quickly. By the time we were getting ready to leave for dinner at my mother-in-law's house, Caesar was eating his dinner and looking as well as we've seen him in a while.

One bullet dodged.

My son went to bring Hunter in for the night while his friend headed out the front door to walk home. A few seconds later, the friend came back in with a cat in his arms and a very puzzled look on his face.

"Doesn't this look like Target?" he asked.

I looked at the cat. "That's because it IS Target!"

We all crowded around, scarcely able to believe it. Somehow, that rotten cat had managed to stay out of sight ALL DAY LONG! We now assume that the dead animal in the lawn was, as I originally believed, a rabbit and that the cats killed and ate it during the night. It was quite a large rabbit, so it's likely Target simply wasn't hungry enough to be bothered to come in when called for breakfast. (Maybe he was too full to get up!)

And so, after all the worry and fear, we still have three cats!

To top off the "best of times" part of the weekend, I learned that Darcy received second place in the Maggies in the Historical category and India received Honorable Mention. Way to go, ladies!

Also, Carnally Ever After got a pretty nice review from Fallen Angel Reviews. Check it out!


lacey kaye said...

You had me on the edge of my seat the whole time!

Glad everything is ok. whew.

Ann Aguirre said...

Wow, scary. I'm glad your kitties are all okay. I'd be terribly upset if anything happened to either of mine.

Tessa Dare said...

OMG! I almost didn't read the whole post... wasn't sure I could take it. Glad I did, though.

It's so funny that your cat and Lacey's crush have the same name. Do they have coyotes in Seattle?

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

Target was being a verifiable meankitty, I see :) Planting rabbit bits and everything.