Thursday, April 13, 2006

it's hard at the end of the day

Mister Kitty showed up in the back yard Monday morning. I saw his grey tabby coat through the leaves, and I called him to see if he was a social kitty. He meowed and came to see me. You can imagine my horror when I saw that his head was twice the size that it should be, he had a gash on one side of his face, and he was favoring his left hind leg.

"Poor Mister Kitty! Are you hungry? Who is hungry? Mister Kitty is hungry."

I immediately went inside to get him some food. I put it on the ground for him outside, went inside, and called the vet to see if I could get an appointment for him. Miss Kitty's vet said they'd work him in if I could catch him. I tried putting some tuna in the back of the plastic cat carrier. He was too smart to go in all the way, so I couldn't shut the door. I thought I could maybe find a heavy cardboard box to get him in. I found one, but he was gone by the time I got back outside with it.

I saw Mister Kitty that night, Tuesday night, and last night. It's like he knew not to stop by during the day, because I was going to take him to the vet. Psychic kitty. I left his food out for him inside the cardboard box to get him used to going in it.

This morning, I was watering the plants out back, and Mister Kitty showed up on the doorstep. I put his food in the box for him, and he went right in. I shut it behind him, and tipped it up to carry it, whence he promptly freaked out. Paws were sticking out every possible escape route. Thinking he was going to hurt himself, I promptly let him out of the box.

He hadn't finished his food, so I made one final effort. I tried the soft carrier. It's smaller than all the others, but I thought I should exhaust all possible resources. Mister Kitty needed to go to the vet. He went right into the soft carrier to get the food, and I zipped him up in it and threw a towel over the top. He didn't like it. He meowed. He tried to get out. He didn't escape this time, though.

I brought him around front, but then realized the front door was locked. So, I left him out front, ran back in through the back, grabbed by wallet, some shoes, my keys, and the phone. I called the vet and told them I was on the way. I put Mister Kitty in the back of the car, and I talked to him all the way there. He wasn't a happy camper.

"It's okay, Mister Kitty. The vet's gonna make you all better. It'll be all right, baby."

At the vet, we sat and waited for a bit. I filled out some paperwork. And I tried to soothe the Mister Kitty. He meowed some more. He scratched. He tried to get out. And he was perfectly happy once we got to the exam room.

What a model patient. They took his temperature, and it was 2 degrees higher than normal, which meant he had a fever. They looked at his wounds, and could find no obvious damage on the back leg, but his face looked awful. He had significant scar tissue and wounds on his face, ears, and mouth, and some of his teeth were recently knocked out. His gums were bleeding. His disposition, on the other hand, was great.

He walked around the office, checking the place out, while they ran his blood work. It seemed like forever before the vet came back with the test strip.

The vet came back with the strip and showed it to me. There were two little blue dots. He had FIV... Feline Immunodeficiency Virus...

Feline AIDS.

The doctor assured me that he would have trouble healing, and with open wounds, he would easily spread the virus to other cats. He said almost all of his clients faced with a similar decision would opt to put the cat to sleep.

As he was telling me this, he averted his eyes, because tears were welling up in mine. Everything was kind of foggy after this point. I said goodbye to Mister Kitty. I picked him up and held him, and he purred for me. I kissed him on top of his head, and I told him I was sorry.

"I'm so sorry."

I whispered to him that I loved him and that I was sorry.

I left with an empty carrier, and it felt like it was filled with lead.

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posted by Jennifer at 4/13/2006 02:03:00 PM

Anonymous Jamie said...

I'm so sorry, too. I hope you're better soon.

4/13/2006 02:48:00 PM  

Blogger Penny said...

That last sentence made me cry.

You are a good woman, Jennifer. I am happy that Mr. Kitty found you. I am sorry for the outcome and for how I am sure you felt.


4/15/2006 04:47:00 PM  

Blogger DJ Shovelpants said...

Man, what a sad tale.

If you look at it this way, you ended the sufferring of one cat and in effect saved potentially thousands of other kitties roaming the streets.

I admire you.

4/19/2006 11:24:00 AM  

Blogger Jennifer said...

Thank you all for the kind words. I truly appreciate you.

4/23/2006 10:47:00 AM  

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