Rasputin and the Fateful Finger Day
I don’t have many great qualities, I’d imagine (for instance, I find it increasingly difficult to even get a date, so I’m tempted to say that I must be lacking some crucial quality – unfortunately, it’s a temptation I never give into. I know better).
What I do have, and consider a good thing to have, is a large, uncontrollably malleable heart. Even if it’s quite a fault of mine to have it, a liability.
It’s still not the worst thing to have.
Then, again, I’m also ignorant about a great many things, and most often, after the initial shock of owning so much pathos, I tend to hole away again into my own, insular world. So, no loss is ever that greatly overwhelming, except death, antithetical cliches, and poorly played tennis matches. (i.e., a missed dating opportunity, small potatoes; a grocery store out of small potatoes when I want potato salad, devastating).
I know it’s not going to come across this way, upfront, my big heart, etc. in today’s blog, perhaps…since, one of the two kittens in question attacked Amanda, the other day, sending her to the fate of a Tetanus shot, but “hold off the earth” your criticism, for awhile, to paraphrase the Bard.
What you should know, first, about the cat attack: Max, the dog, was let into the backyard, which is his backyard, and there, underneath the last step, were two kittens, kittens that had appeared from nowhere but out of the calm green grass, and there they were sitting, the two kittens, as was told to me, like a planned lolcat photo op, by the bicycle.
Max, of course, immediately fell under the impression that he’d been given the greatest gift of all: toys that were alive with fur and embedded noisemakers, like his stuffed polar bear. Amanda barely rescued one kitten from his vice-like jaws; this is the kitten that bit her so maliciously on her pinkie…and maybe, we’re not sure, somehow on her wrist.
The other “kitteh” got away…and, we thought, would stay there.
Amanda, whose heart is, admittedly, only slightly larger than mine, due to a misshapen left aorta, I believe, (that’s what I tell myself) took the helpless, strikingly demoralized kitten to the Vet School, here on campus. I must say, here and now: I find it rather ironic that several blogs back I was bragging about the stewardship of this school and program, and yet, here they were, unwilling to assist; they wouldn’t help Amanda at all. Not really.
Instead, she was referred to another veterinarian’s office; he was also irate. Not at her, but at their inability to offer the very assistance they should be offering in order to better learn their craft. What few options they gave Amanda were ridiculously expensive. That, or, euthanization.
I was, then, via proximity of incident and the ridiculously-expensive-options only rule, irate as well.
This other vet, though, has done the right thing, mostly, in my opinion. He has been nursing this ravaged kitten ever since that Fateful Finger Day. He called yesterday to say several things: 1) the hole in the kitten’s side had healed; 2) his lung had reconstituted and his diaphragm was not, after all, damaged; 3) he had finally decided he was hungry enough to eat; 4) the quarantine was in effect and working well; and 5) when would be taking him home, please?
Amanda said, Well, could you put a collar on him and perhaps, neuter, him, first, and then we’d bring him home and go from there.
The vet said that it would take 10-14 days post-quarantine before he could neuter the poor, feral, pure evil, vicious, frightened, intimidated feline that we’d taken already, around the house, to calling, affectionately, Rasputin. The tone of his voice said more than enough. Neuter him on our own time.
He’s been poked, needled, fed, stitched, prodded and watered, the vet continued. He’d also bitten a vet assistant who had attempted to pet him.
I’m pretty sure I think I love this kitten.
I’m not sure, however, what will happen to him, even after we bring him home, as we’ve all but flat-out decided to do that. If nothing else,I reasoned, our house was where his people were, right? It might give him a better leg-up to return to his homeplace and start from scratch here. It made sense to me.
There were several kittens under there, originally, and for safety’s sake, we called the Humane Society; our neighbor has a crackhouse of cats, apparently. The congregate, they do their “drugs,” they kill a few birds, no cockroaches, though, I should point out, and they hang around in the yard, all damn day and night.
The Humane Society, like cats themsevles, came, in the still of the night, apparently, because all the kittens were gone the next morning. Sigh. Of course…he has no people now.
Or, so, we thought…
…until last night, when I was taking a much deserved bath, propping my sore ankle over the side of tub to let it wrap itself in steam. The other kitten, the one we thought had run away, seems to have come back; it’s like, almost right out of the Bible – 99 sheep lay down to sleep, or whatever, but one wanders off and you really only want the one that went away. (This is my version of that shepherd story because truth be known, I worried sick about that other kitten, the Houdini). To me, he was the one that stayed awake, and aware, and wandered off…to live. (He’ll have the best stories, if he ever comes back). Prodigal as his nature is, he did. So, I said, he must belong to me.
I kept hearing this tiny meow, as I lay steaming in the tub, but I refused to think that one had been left behind. I convinced myself that this was the one that had returned. I couldn’t bear thinking he’d been overlooked. How lonely that would feel. I know.
No, no, he must be the one that left and returned, I mean, how could they have overlooked a kitten, I kept saying over and over to myself.
The next thing I knew, I’d said it over and over to myself so many times that I was crawling underneath the house, fresh from my bath, at midnight last night, searching him/her out. I couldn’t stand that pitiful mewing. I would never get a night’s rest with that awful, plaintive cry for love and affection. Especially not when I have these arms, so eager to love and affect. It’s odd, but we do that to the sound of a cat’s meow, much more than a dog’s bark, I think: we personify it. It just sounds too “of the depth”, too doleful, too Mahalia Jackson.
I care for animals sometimes more than I do for people. I have yet, however, to trace that root down. I think it must have happened when I decided to love animals more than people.
I searched forever, and I couldn’t find it, that poor kitten. We decided to leave it food, water, and a lantern for a more fine dining atmosphere. It seems to have done the trick. At least, it’s grown quiet.
And, so, I’ll do my best to do the same as soon as I get these cobwebs and dead crickets out of my hair. I’ll just run another bath, quickly, and say a little prayer.
That’s right, Annelle, I pray.
I came back from class, today, and as promised, went outside to check on that kitten, I’ve named him Houdini Pip, both for his disappearing act and also because poor Pip, in Great Expectations, just couldn’t stay out of trouble, could he? Also, I wasn’t against using a file and a pork pie to lure my shackled robber out of the fog of the house foundation. It is plain filthy under there.
I peered under the house, and the lantern was gone. I stood silently in the dead heat of 92 degrees, but I heard no mewing issue forth when I called for him.
The water had been touched, though, and some of the food had been eaten. I was elated. Let him stay under there if he wants, I used to crawl under the house all the time when I was a little kid, much to the chagrin of everyone else. So long as he eats, he’ll be fine. And that’s what it appeared he’d done: eaten, at least a little of the food.
Amanda, ironically, I realized then, had not asked me to meet her anywhere for lunch. That’s when I g0t a little worried.
What if she’s taken to eating cat food? I fear that would not bode well for the future of groceries in our home.
This is how I stress: What if she’s just moving the food around in that bowl because she knows how neurotic I am about stray animals and someone loving them, and by so moving the food, she’ll think that I’ll assume the kitten’s being taken care of, because that’s exactly what I’d think.
If any of that’s true, then all I can say is this: that’s one hell of a gaslight.
But, I know better. After all, the lantern we used takes batteries.