Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cats And Kids Across The Decades

Even with about four decades in between, kids grabbing cats never ceases to result in some good feline expressions...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Mackster

Today, even with its weather-induced challenges, started okay. It's really, really cold here. I put a Hawaiian shirt on over my turtleneck and headed off for school. I sent Augusta back to school after her being home sick yesterday. She missed an audition for the Missoula Children's Theater while we were at the pediatrician, but thankfully she was not diagnosed with strep. I kept thinking 'Hawaii', even showing some of my students the obvious and almost comical differences between here and there. At the time I looked, the temperature in Powell was -13°; the projected high in Oahu today was 77°. It's not often that there is a 90° difference on a thermometer. We also made a list of things that we might have here, to handle the cold; snowsuit, snow boots, hat, mittens, hot chocolate. We then made a list of what we might have at the beach, since we were being mental travelers; bathing suit, flip-flops, sun hat, sunscreen, a fizzy pop. The point of the lesson was, no matter what one is doing there is a want for a few things. I guess what it all comes down to is warmth.

Anyhow, home we came after school for me to discover that one additional effect of the cold is the return of the addled, naughty old cat. He left a bloody mess on my bed and the two other cats, that had not been naughty as far as I know, were forced out of my bedroom's safe haven. I changed the bedding, started the laundry and remembered I needed to make a couple of quick stops before dark. I bundled up the kids and had them get in the car. I'd forgotten my purse, so back in the house I went. Back out to the car, with the stuff I thought I needed. Multiple doors had opened and shut and I thought we could go. I started the engine, heard a "THUMP" and saw one of our cats limping away, into the neighbors yard. It was Mack, the big cat. I went after him, calling for him to come back. He was under a trailer next door, howling. I went back to the car, told the kids to go back in the house. I went after Mack. I called him from our back yard and could see him next door. He wouldn't even look at me.

I tried all the calls and cajoles. He wouldn't respond. Yeah, I know ... when does a cat ever really listen? I went next door and was down on hands and knees in the crusty snow, trying to coax him out. He ran again, this time across the alley, and climbed into an old, parked truck. As I continued to call and he continued to howl, liquid started running from within the long-defunct truck. I could tell that Mack was there and distressed. I went back to the house since I was really cold by this point. I called Scott, explained that I suspected Mack had been caught by the fan belt of the car. Augusta went out after him. I went back out, sent Augusta back into the house and opened up the old truck of the neighbors. No sign of a hood release on the inside, so I went and opened from the front. The noise of me opening the hood flushed Mack back to our house and Augusta hollered that he had come back in the cat hatch.

From the earlier mess in my room, my door was shut and Mack sought a place to hide under the kids' bunks. I couldn't see any blood but his eyes were hugely dilated. I was able to reach under and scruff him. He's a big cat and scruffing is never ideal, but he didn't resist. I was able to get a good look at him. No blood running but a lot of bare flesh, big chunks of his velvety black and white coat missing. I carried him to the old cat's laundry room cherry box. He snuggled right in and I called the vet. Even though the vet was in the midst of pulling a calf, I was told to bring him in. I called a friend for a ride and we took Mack over, in the cherry box, with a laundry basket on top, covered with a fleece blanket decorated in ballet slippers. I put him in the kennel, with blanket tucked around him. He promptly exited the box and put his face to the corner of the kennel and peeked out from the blanket's side.

He'll spend the night at the vet. He has had some pain medication and he'll be x-rayed if doesn't appear to use the injured leg by tomorrow. He's the smart cat of our bunch and I know he was just looking for warmth, but I am just dumbfounded that he would crawl up into something like the car. He's never been one to get under things, such as the bedding. He has always been cautious to the point of being fearful. He could have come in the cat hatch at any time, so why he thought a car was a better option than our house, I just don't know. I know I should be glad he's alive, but I'm just sick over this. I just hope I have good news to add tomorrow, that he's not broken. It's going to be a long, painful recovery for him.