Friday, May 04, 2012

Death in Catland, A Short Hard Life Ends




The ringing phone woke me, although at first I thought it was a tea pot singing.  When my cell quit its noisome ring, before I could throw off my blanket loaded with irritated napping cats, and stumble out to find the source of that sound, the land line was ringing.

The woman's voice was not familiar to my sleepy brain at first.  She spoke like I should immediately know her.  Then she reminded me she was of the rural Linn barn colony.  I got all 20 of the cats fixed in April, I think it was, or was it March?  Three of those 20 were the bottle babes found in the barn behind the house the day I returned all the adults from surgery at the FCCO clinic in Portland.  So I'd brought River, their mom, back and tried to get her to nurse them. But she was sick by then, with bloody diarrhea, that turned out to be worm caused, so the bottle babes went off to PAWS in West Linn and I nursed River, their mom, back to health for ten days in my bathroom, before reluctantly returning her to the colony.

So that's who was calling, the woman of the older couple who feed them, although the cats live in the barn on someone else's property and someone else altogether leases that property and the barn they live in for his livestock.

The calico teen was sick, the woman was saying.  She was saying she couldn't even stand up, and what should she do, they had no money.  I said "I have no idea what is wrong with her.  Does she have a temp?  Is she dehydrated?  Does she have diarrhea?  What are her symptoms?  She needs to see a vet."  Again the woman said she had no money. She's on her way to work, can't talk much.

You never know what's really going on.  The couple wanted to make house cats of the calico and the orange tabby male teens, so after I returned them they put them in their garage.  But I couldn't believe they were still living in that garage, which was dirty, loaded in dangerous items and toxic substances and constantly dark.  That would resemble living in hell.  And would be very dangerous for two bored teenagers.

I told the woman I would call her husband, who is retired and always home.  I called him.  He said she wasn't dehydrated and could tell me little else.  Finally, mid day, I decided to just go down.  I was bored and curious basically. I figured she must have a cold or really have diarrhea, something like that.

I took sub cu fluids, some wormer, some probiotics, just in case.

When I arrived, he took me into a spare bathroom.  The poor cat was laying on her side on a towel.  She was in obvious pain, very uncomfortable and her stomach was horribly distended.  She had an abrasion on her neck, where it looked like the hair had been rubbed off up one side.  The man said she had been discovered like this 36 hours ago by him, when he went out to the garage.  However, I deem him an unreliable witness.

I felt hard poop in her stomach down her left side (descending colon).  I could pick her up but she could not support herself on either her front or back legs.  She could move her front legs, but I'm not sure if she could her back legs.  I think she fell and ruptured something on her spine, perhaps endured a diaphramatic hernia in the fall as well.  Or she had twisted or telescoped colon or horrible blockage.  I went out into the garage and found chewed on bits of duct tape.  What if she swallowed duct tape, I thought.

The little girl is trying to pretend things will be ok, between bouts of crying and chewing at a paw out of pain and stress.  She tries to please anyone who touches her, still hopeful she'll be fine, cared for and the pain will end and life playing in the sun, being groomed by her sisters and brothers, that will start again too.  I see it in her eyes.  But I know in my mind she will die instead.  There's no money to find out what happened to her and to fix it.

The cat was in terrible pain.  I told the man "this is a medical emergency.  Take this cat to a vet, even if its for euthanasia.  She is in terrible pain!"  But he said he had no money.  I can't figure this out. Anger boils in me.  He's on a nice pension.  It's just after the first.  WTF? I'm thinking.  I want to know if he has a shot gun, anything, but he can't go there, is crying, says he is a softee.

I call Viv, the closest friend, the only person I can actually get ahold of, tell her what is going on.  In her no nonsense get it done way, she tells me she'll call me right back.  She's calling her vet, making arrangements.  She pays for it.  She can't afford it, I know, so I cringe.  I can't either.  I vow in my mind to somehow make it up to her.  She calls me back, says to take her there, that they know I'm coming.  I take her there, the poor girl crying out most of the way.  I leave the man behind, staring after me, in his driveway.

 I feel nothing for him, no anger, no sympathy either, just nothing.

The calico is gone now.  Gone on, dead, whatever.  Out  of that fire pain, out of that garage of hell, too.

For good.








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