I believe that critters can sense when you are an animal person. I believe that if you open up your heart to them, they will find you. This has been proven true multiple times to me, like last night, when an injured cat just happened to find himself outside the door of my second-floor apartment.
Wednesdays are one of my busiest week days and yesterday was no exception. I finally got home for the night sometime after nine o’clock and decided, even though I was tired, I would go out and spend some much needed time relaxing out on the town with my roommates. I was barely inside for five minutes, and there was no cat around when I got home. But as we were leaving the apartment, viola. A cat. Right off the bat, he had a lot to say and, like most cats, he was in desperate need of petting. I knew he wasn’t one of the feral cats that live around the apartment alleyway. I didn’t recognize him, and he was neutered, very soft and clean, and not at all skittish. Once I got a better look at him, I noticed he was scratched up and was missing a front toenail, including all the fur around it. I guess the feral gang didn’t recognize him either. I told my roommates I better not go out after all, and headed back inside to do some doctoring.
The cat was super grateful to be out of the cold and was very patient as I washed out his ouchies and put some triple antibiotic ointment on them. Thank you, trusty first aid kit! Then I started calling around town to figure out what to do with the guy.
First, I posted a picture of him on Facebook. All of the people I know in town are college students who can’t have pets, but with social media, you never know who will see the pic and recognize the missing kitty. Then I called my vet’s office, which is hooked up to an after hours dispatch service. They recommended that I call animal control. I wasn’t super fond of the idea, but I looked it up anyway. I live in a very tiny town (an everything-closes-before-8pm town), and according to the interwebz, animal control was the job of the police. I called their non-emergency after hours line, and had a talk with a lady who did not sound like a cat-person. Apparently, the information I found was outdated and the police no longer take care of such calls. “Well, darn,” I thought. So, I called the vet hotline again. This time, I was connected with my main veterinarian, who I am pretty sure is a saint. He has done so much for my Desmond — he definitely deserves his own post in the future!
Doc told me to put some Neosporin on Cat’s wounds, and I told him with a casual flip of my hair, “Been there, done that” (I may be paraphrasing). Then he advised me to watch the cat overnight, make sure he wasn’t acting sick, give him some food, and take him in to the vet office in the morning where he could get his distemper shot and some de-wormer, be kept until Monday, and then he would be moved to the Humane Society. The other option was to take him straight to the Humane Society about 20 minutes from here. It is a no-kill shelter, but I hate to decrease this cat’s chances of getting back to his real home by sending him out of town. I also don’t like the idea of sending him to a shelter without making sure he has his shots.
It sounded like a sleep-over was the only option, and as soon as Cat saw the pile of fleece blankets on my bed, he was sold on the idea. He looked to me for permission, and then immediately jumped up and buried himself underneath all of the blankets. Then he slept for a very long time. He had had a rough day.
Seriously….you gotta try the blankets.
So what are some quick tips if you come across an injured kitty and everything in town is closed? First of all, if it is an emergency, don’t rely on yourself. Call your vet and let them know what is wrong so they can prepare, and then get to the help immediately. If, like in the case of this kitty, all you’re dealing with are a couple of booboos, then just go into parent-mode. Clean them up, patch them up, and give them a little bit of comfort food. Minor scratches just need a little bit of that triple antibiotic ointment that most people have lying around the house.
For some quick kitty food, put a few Cheerios in a bowl, pour in just a little bit of milk, and heat it up in the microwave for about 7 seconds. For a litter box, all you need is an empty box (bigger than the cat), a trashbag to line the bottom, and ripped up newspaper. Using a paper shredder for this is the easiest, but you can just as easily use your hands or scissors. Just make sure you are not just throwing in giant wads of paper. Unless you just want your cat to sit in the box and play. If you have time to prepare, you can make really good kitty litter at home. Just do a quick Google search. Most recipes only require newspaper, dishsoap, and baking soda. That is also a great way to save some money and to ensure that you are not buying strip-mined clay litter, which is bad for the environment and not as healthy for your cat.
Have you ever had to stop what you were doing to help a furry-ous friend in need? It seems to happen a lot around here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Right now, it’s usually injured cats that find their way onto my bathroom sink for some quick doctoring. I wonder who I would bring home if I lived on the coast, or in the desert….