When my cat died
Minette est morte hier.
I came home from pottery and did the usual stuff: Let the cat out,
let the cat in, fed the cat, let the cat back out, let the cat back in.
I wasn’t paying much attention.
I was sitting on a step reading with the cat in my lap. She crawled
off, and I noticed that she seemed to have her claws stuck in the
carpet. This happens. So I unstuck them. They immediately got stuck
again. Then I noticed that her back legs weren’t working.
She couldn’t have broken her legs sitting in my lap? They must have
been broken outside. I must not have noticed when she came in. (Though
how I could have missed it is beyond me). I didn’t hear a cat fight.
Could a coyote have grabbed her? Then she vomited, and I stopped
thinking and called the 24-hour vet.
I know you’re not supposed to move a trauma victim, but I had to get
her in her pet carrier to go to the vet. I was terrified I’d hurt her
worse. But she didn’t seem in any more pain. She lay there on her side
She was not happy in the car.
The vet looked at her, held her tail, pinched her rear toes, checked
the bones in her leg and said they were not broken. Had she broken her
back, I asked.
No. He thought she had a blood clot the was blocking the artery to
the lower extremities. Her feet were cold, she had no sensation in the
tail or the toes.
I asked what the chances of recovery were. Not good. In four days she
might start to recover. Less than 50% chance more than 10%. But she’d
never be back to normal, and she’d keep having blood clots and would
probably live only a year or two more.
Her feet were so cold.
It had only been half an hour. If her feet were that cold they can’t
have been getting enough blood. I figured she’d live the rest of her
life crippled. If she lived.
I asked them to put her to sleep.
Then I cried.
The next morning I went on a longish bike ride to try and calm down. I
rode out to El Capitan Beach (on a rainy Wednesday in early May I was pretty
sure I’d have some solitude there). I sat at a picnic table and looked
out at the sea. And ate my lunch.
A (coastal scrub-)Jay landed about 2 feet away. I’ve never seen a
scrub-jay that close, and it was beautiful. It cocked its head and
looked at me. I very slowly moved my hand out to it hoping it might hop
onto a finger. It didn’t. Then it flew off.
And landed on my shoulder. I turned and looked at it. It looked at
me. It walked around my neck to the other shoulder.
I tore off a small bit of my lunch and put it on the table in front
of me. The jay flew down, grabbed it in its beak and flew off a few
feet. It came back for another crumb, and this time flew over to my
bike, perched on my tire, held the crumb in its two feet and pecked at
it with the beak. I was a little worried that it might pop the tire, but
it did not.
I gave it some more crumbs and it really flew off.
Doubtless it is used to caging crumbs off tourists, but to me it was
a magical moment, and one I needed.