Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Pet of the Week - Pilsbury!
Pilsbury's "gotcha story" begins with what should have been a routine trip from Atlanta to Birmingham to visit my Mom in December of 2005. On I-20, about 10 miles from the Alabama state line on a Friday night, I catch a glimpse of a ball of fur on top of the white line that runs between the blacktop and the shoulder. It's enough of a glimpse that I know that it's a cat, and that it's sitting up instead of flat on it's side in the classic roadkill pose.
I was able to go another 2 miles before I couldn't stand it and started looking for the next exit to turn around. In the next 10 minutes that it took to turn around and head back towards Atlanta, I called myself every sort of fool. By the time I turned around again, I was convinced it really was dead, or a figment of my imagination.
But lo and behold, there it was. Nose to the white line. Semi's and all manner of other vehicles zooming past about a foot from it. So I pull over, tell the dog to stay in the backseat and trudge my way back to where the cat was. Of course, traffic coming toward me and all, it's rather hard to see with all the headlights.
But I finally get about 5 feet away. The cat's not moving. It has it's head turned away from the flow of traffic and it sways every time a car passes. That's how close it is. When I say it was on the white line, I'm not exaggerating.
So I squat down on my haunches and do the whole "here kitty kitty" thing, which gets exactly zero response. I venture another foot closer, visions of spooking the cat under the wheels of the next semi dancing in my head. Try another "here kitty kitty" and nada. So I say it louder, thinking what the hell... maybe the thing is deaf from the road noise. That gets me a slow head swivel and suddenly I'm staring into beautiful gold eyes.
Score! It's alive! Another 3 or 4 minutes of "here kitty kitty" and I realize it's not going to budge. I stand up and review my options. Leaving it at this point isn't an option, since one sleepy driver weaving to the side of the right lane and it goes squish. I could take my coat off and see if I can rope it up, but that doesn't sound like a winner either. So I go for plan C. I wait for a lull in traffic that appears to be a good size and as quickly as I can scoot over and scoop him up.
Now, anyone who's dealt with feral cats is wondering how many wounds I have.
The answer would be none. He didn't make a sound and didn't move a muscle. So I get back to the car and put him on the front floor board. Tiger wakes up long enough to throw a sleepy eye at him and then flops back down again.
I proceed to drive to Birmingham. He's so quiet, I'm turning on the interior light every 30 minutes or so to make sure he's still alive. When I get to Mom's, he hasn't moved from the same spot and position I put him down in.
Okay, so obviously this thing is seriously hurt.
We put Tiger in the house and head back out to the emergency vet, which just so happens to be about 2 miles from Mom's. I tell them the whole story and they ask me if I'm going to surrender him or take him home. I answer that I don't know yet. Depends on how badly he's hurt. They look at me like I've suddenly sprouted demon appendages and I explain that if he's okay I'll leave him, but if he's hurt I'll take him home. They look at me like I belong in a nuthouse so I explain further that if he's hurt his adoption chances are nil. They nod sagely but still keep a healthy distance.
The vet in training comes in to take his vitals and announces that they're all normal and healthy.
The real vet comes in, does a thorough exam, listens to the whole story and then tells us that he has no broken bones and no signs of trauma other than the fact that he doesn't want to open his eyes, he has a small cut on his nose and a bloody claw. We go ahead and have her stain his eyes to make sure they're okay and all she finds are some surface scratches. She theorizes that someone sprayed something in his eyes. She explains that's why he's not moving. He can't see, ergo, no moving around. She gives us antibiotic ointment for his eyes.
She asks again if I want to surrender him. I should have said yes, but instead I ask what they do with surrendered animals. That was a mistake. They take them to the pound, which is always crowded this time of year and then she shrugs. I say we'll be taking him home.
We make a late night trip to walmart for a bed and plop him in it, where he stays until the next morning. I wake up too damn early and decide to scoop him up and put him in bed with me. So the cat on my stomach and the dog next to me sleep for another couple of hours.
We put food in front of his nose and he scarfs it down like a starving Armenian. At this point he's had three doses of antibiotic and the next thing we know he's up and walking around. By the next morning he was ready to get out of that room and explore, but not too far.
Of course the last thing I needed right then was a cat (course, cats are like that - they tend to do things when it's convenient for them, not you), so I offered him to three different people that I knew were good homes and thought were currently catless, but no takers. Mom had Catfish, who hated other cats with a passion. My Aunt Carol picked up a few strays a couple of months before. She offered to take him to TEARS (an animal rescue) but I wasn't really down with that. Mom's friend Willy "adopted" a cat when she got married which had the same other cat hating problem as Catfish.
I tried to find a Manx rescue nearby since he's a stumptailed wonder cat, but no luck. I called several no kill shelters but they were all full. After a few weeks, it was obvious that he had become a permanent resident of the household. He's adorable and so sweet. He wants nothing more than to sit in your lap and make biscuits all night long (thus, his name). He's a rather bizarre cat that and because of his idiosyncrasies (honestly, I've known a lot of cats in my life and he just doesn't behave like a cat should in any way, shape or form) we've taken to saying he's brain damaged. He's also a prolific talker. If he's not being petted or in a lap, he talks. And talks and talks. Even when he's laying down nearby he keeps up the conversation every so often, just to let you know he's there.
He had an illicit unrequited love affair with our Pit Bull, Tiger, until the day Tiger died. From the side of the interstate he wormed his way into my heart and then the hearts of everyone who's met him. I often wonder how he got there, and what his life was like before. I am so glad I spotted him that night.
Thank you Kenzie for sharing Pilsbury's story! Be sure to check out Kenzie's Etsy shop Bewhiskered featuring adorable Ruggles: lovable, huggable animal security blankets.