Jul 16 2007

The hobo mark.

Published by at 5:38 pm under Pets,The Man

Yesterday, while sitting on the front porch, minding my own business, a cat appeared and rather imperiously (and loudly) demanded some help.

I’d seen this cat around for at least three weeks, but only from a distance. I knew it was wearing a collar, so I figured it was one of my neighbors’ indoor/outdoor cats, just making the rounds of the neighborhood. But, when it came right up to me, I could see how wrong that assumption was.

The cat was starving – literally – and very dehydrated. There was also something wrong with its mouth, because it couldn’t close it all the way. Being Sunday, there was really nowhere to take it, so I made it a bed in the garage with food, water, and a litterbox, and checked on it periodically. It was eating with difficulty, drinking water, and very friendly. It slept most of the day, worn out from long days of wandering around trying to find something to eat. Finding or hunting food would be more difficult, because it was declawed in the front.

I checked online lost-and-founds, and this morning I called our local animal shelter. No one seems to be looking for this cat, which is weird to me. Once upon a time, someone took care of it. It had a collar (no ID tags), and was declawed. I took it to my vet this afternoon and he checked it for a microchip. It didn’t have one, but that isn’t really a big surprise, since most people don’t chip their cats.

The cat is at the vet’s right now, where it will stay overnight getting tested for FIV and FeLuk. They’re going to give it a pain shot, and tomorrow they’ll sedate her to take x-rays and see if they can do anything for her jaw, which is broken. The vet thinks she was hit by a car, or sustained some other type of trauma. My personal dark suspicion is that she is a throw-away; someone took her for a ride and threw her out.

What to do with the cat? I don’t really want a third, but that’s preferable to having her euthanized just for being a stray cat. Stylin, who recently lost his own cat to kidney failure, also has said he may be able to give her a home. From here, all we can do is what we’re doing – try to help it.

I asked The Man why, why do stray and injured animals always seem to find their way into my path, and he answered “Because they know you’ll help them.” Stylin said the same thing, but added “I think there’s a network among the strays of the world, kind of like how hobos used to leave marks to identify which houses would give out food. I think strays leave messages so others will know where they can find help.”

I worried, at the vet’s office, about the expense of helping the cat. We are not poor, but we are not rolling in the extra money either, and the vet sounded like this could end up being an expensive task. But, as The Man says, “What can we do? The cat needs help, and it came to us. We’ve spent money on a lot less noble things.”

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