Remember George the cat? He had something of a misadventure on Monday night. So far he’s alive but not well at all– fevered, shaking, sooky. Weirdly, it’s very much like having a tiny baby with a heavy cold.
Allow me to explain.
I was actually organized enough to be ready to crawl (thankfully) into bed by midnight on Monday night– that’s something of a small miracle considering lately it’s been more like one am, sometimes two. George the cat is only about twelve weeks old and has the very devil in him– the last four weeks his soul mission has been rocketing toward the font or back door the moment it’s opened, hoping to streak past the ankles of unsuspecting visitors who don’t heed my cry of “Ahhhh!! Close the door! Cat!” with quite enough urgency.
Sometimes, he succeeds.
I only have one pair of hands, hey. Two kids, two cats, a whole life full of things to juggle… Sometimes balls get dropped. Or kittens, as the case may be.
Anyway. Late Monday afternoon, George the Houdini Cat did the bolt via the back door and ended up in the back garden. Minutes later I heard one of those awful, blood curdling cat fight screeches, and big ruffled orange tomcat came bolting out if the bushes.
No sign of George.
Stupid freaking cat.
I didn’t mention anything at all to the kidlets– no point, really– just called out for George occasionally, more and more as the sun went down; and sat with the sinking, concrete feeling deep in my guts that we’d lost another pet, that they were going to have deal with shit all over again.
|I’m sure he thinks it’s a sunbed.|
One last time, just on midnight, shaking a box of dry cat food and wrapped against the spring chill of the TinyTrainTown air, I leaned over the back balcony into the darkness and called, high pitched but halfheartedly “Georgie!! Puss puss puss puss puss!! Georgie Peorgie!! Dinnnnnner time!!”
And I heard, in response, a tiny “Mew! Mew! Mew!”
I’m not sure if I’m relieved the cat’s alive; or just pissed off because I was seriously looking forward to crawling into bed. Either way, the cat and I begin to play ’Marco!’ ’Polo!’, pausing for a time–out while I jogged back inside and grabbed a mushroom lamp to serve as a torch.
“Mew! Mew!” He sounds so pitiful that, for a few moments there, I’m not even pissed.
Until I realize he’s stuck twenty feet up a thirty foot high gum tree at the very back of the TinyTrainTown backyard, only a metre or two from the fence that separates our yard from next door’s three large dogs. While well trained and well behaved, they’d rip a tiny kitten to shreds, regardless.
“Oh for pity’s sake…” I murmur under my breath. “This is ridiculous.”
You can ’tsk tsk’ me at will, but… I don’t own a ladder. I’ve been meaning to buy one for quite a while now. It’s on the to–do list. I know- idiot. A ladder is one of those things that you can never just pop out to the shops and buy when you really need one. When you really need a ladder, the shops are always closed.
And that’s how I find myself, at almost two am, standing on top of milk crate that’s perched precariously on a garden chair, eight foot garden rake extended into the tree branches above me, lamp tucked beneath my chin, in my pajamas, still quite literally cat calling while the dogs bark and growl and scratch on the other side of the fence.
Poor cat. I was having flashbacks to those cartoons where Bugs Bunny is trapped on a tree branch high above a boiling, blistering lake of snapping, hand drawn alligators.
The flashbacks– and any sympathy I have for the cat– disappear thirty seconds later when a light suddenly comes on and out wanders my neighbor, in the shearers singlet and footy shorts that served as his own set of pj’s.
“Erm… Hi.” I say, one arm still wrapped firmly around the tree lest my shaky foot support give way. “You wouldn’t have a ladder, by any chance…?”
Three cheers for my neighbor who, after he’d woken up a bit and, I think, figured out I wasn’t actually climbing a tree in his yard; was quite helpful and procured much-needed ladder. Which, of course, I only got half way up before George the cat came clambering down, face first, my only reward for attempting to grab him two long, infected cat slashes down my thumb and ring finger.
“F*ck it, f*ck it, f*ck it, f*ck you cat!!”
I thank my neighbor, scoop up the kitten, scolding him gently in a shaky voice, the way you would a small child who’s scared the wits out of you by running off in a crowded supermarket.
It’s only once I get him inside, pop him down on the ground, that I notice his limp, his poor little mangled front paw, the leg swollen and jarred, dark blood crusted on his fur.
I call my mum. Call the vet. Cry.
It seems this week isn’t going to be much better than the last one, after all.
So far, George is recovering from a bad tom-cat bite, has not cost me a fortune in vet’s bills, and should be OK.
Fingers crossed. I’ll keep you posted.