To say Louie and I had a rough couple days is an understatement, but I have no doubt that it’s been a lot rougher on him.
On the way to an appointment Tuesday morning I had to swerve to avoid a kitten in the middle of the road. At most it was four or five weeks old, just a tiny little guy. The poor thing was frozen in fear in the middle of the street. I stopped, got out, and went to fetch it even though we REALLY don’t need another cat at the Pope household. Meanwhile the car behind me also stopped to keep from hitting it and it immediately ran up in the wheel well of the other car where it got caught in the brake pad with a terrible shriek. (Seriously, guy, you have a cat in your engine compartment, don’t move the car until it’s out!)
We both thought it was dead, so he drove off and I stayed for a minute to see if I could bury it on the side of the road. It was a sad enough story already without leaving it to the scavengers.
To my horror, as soon as the car drove off and I bent down to get it, it starts moving and trying to crawl away. It was so badly hurt, I thought it would have been a mercy had it died quickly. Now in a near panic, I picked him up and dashed to my car with the idea of taking him to the closest vet I knew of in Wentzville, Animal Medical Center of Wentzville.
Let me be clear, at this point my thinking was that he had almost no chance of survival, but there is no way I was going to let the little guy die slowly on the side of the road hurt and terrified. At least the vet could put him to sleep mercifully, and who knows, maybe there was still a chance to save him.
I had no box in the car to put him in. No bag. Nothing. If I put him on the floor he’d just crawl under the seat and I’d never get him out. So I wrapped him in a washcloth I had beside the seat and held him in my lap, bleeding all over me for the twenty minute drive.
When I got to the vet I set him on the counter and saw that, as bad as I already thought he was hurt, it was actually so much worse than I realized. It was the first time in my adrenalin fueled dash that I’d had a chance to really look at him. I don’t want to make it sound like this is about me, but honestly that very moment has traumatized me for the last two days. Flashback moments.
He was cut open all along his right side from his ribs down the back of his right leg. Worse, I saw he’d completely lost his right front leg. Turns out, he lost his tail too.
They immediately took him in the back and I left knowing he was in good hands, but he was so badly hurt I didn’t feel there was any hope. I realized later that I didn’t even leave my name or phone number. I’ve tried for two days to tell myself that I can only do my part and trust that he’s in the best place now, whether alive or otherwise.
I know. Big tough guy traumatized by a hurt kitten that I didn’t even know existed before that morning. Pretty weak. But no innocent creature should have to suffer like that, and that really bothers me.
So Thursday, two days later, I decided to stop by the vet’s. Really, I just needed closure and needed to hear he didn’t suffer needlessly. I gave it a 90% likelihood that he was too far gone to try to save. As soon as I opened the door I saw the Janell, who had met me at the counter when I brought him in on the day he was hurt. She looked up and said, “I know who you’re here to see!”
I could barely believe it. He’s still hanging in there? Not only is he hanging on, but he seems to be doing remarkably well. He was in a carrier on the counter, alert and bright eyed. He’s even been moving around, walking and eating. And, of course, he’s been just soaking up the love.
Bear in mind, he’s still not out of the woods yet. He’s a very hurt little cat, but the fact that he’s been moving around and active, interested in his surroundings and the people around him, is very encouraging.
The best part of the whole thing is that he has a waiting home. Janell has already decided to take him home when he gets better. She named him Louie and everyone there has been showering him with love. He seems more than happy to soak it all in.
So, while a happy ending isn’t assured yet, I’m at least very hopeful. And both Louie and I are feeling a whole lot better than we have for the last couple days.
I want to thank the Animal Medical Center of Wentzville for taking in this poor little guy and giving him such good love and care completely out of the goodness of their hearts. They didn’t hesitate to do all they could to help Louie, even when it seemed like there was no real point in trying. This is my completely unsolicited shout-out and recommendation.