Sunday, November 06, 2005
This is the scarf I'm making as a minute token of gratitude for our friend & neighbor & veterinarian, Dr. D. Dr. D. saved our cat's life recently, because she is compassionate and generous and a big dang softie for animals (she is also extremely cute and very good at yoga - she can do the Advanced Pigeon where you pull your foot up with both arms to touch the back of your head and look like Yogi Mama). [Attention knitters: scarf details come later. Just scroll down if you want to skip the cat story.]
Okay, well, it wasn't really our cat, at least not then. It was our landlady's cat. You see, this is the Saga of Jackie.
Jackie is a semi-wild orange tabby cat, extremely canny and very sweet, but VERY wary of humans. My landlady, to whom I will hereafter refer as "Flakette," had 8 or 9 cats. One of them was so old its tongue didn't work anymore and Flakette had to give it water through an eyedropper. She's a big dang animal softie too, but not so much the good kind. Anyhow, 3 years ago when she moved to New England and we moved into the house, she couldn't catch the wild Jackie, and so she just left her here with a few cans of cat food. She tried a couple more times after that to catch her, but no dice - Jackie was too dang smart.
Since then we've been feeding Jackie and slowly making friends with her. She always loved to be scratched & petted, but she couldn't stand it for very long and would dash off before any emotional bonds could be formed - or so she thought. (Does she sound like the unlucky heroine in a Harlequin romance yet?)
Last June we hadn't seen Jackie for a while. It wasn't unusual for her to disappear for a week and come back hungry, but it went on too long. By the middle of summer, we figured that something terrible had happened to her, and we were pretty sad. Then HWWLLB came up with the idea that maybe Flakette had actually caught her and taken her away to live in New England. We decided that must be the answer, but we didn't call Flakette because we really didn't want to know.
Fast forward to October: I'm in the kitchen cooking a dinner for 20 people, and Simon (our indoor cat) is standing on his hind legs at the back door, staring out at something. Then we hear meowing. Jackie! Holy cow, it's Jackie! And holy cow... Jackie looks like she dragged herself home from a demilitarized zone. I went outside to feed her and freaked out when I saw her little hind leg just dragging behind her, useless. She was filthy and skinny and frantic for food. Her hair was falling out all over and every little rib and bone showed through her skin. When I petted her I could feel every vertebrae. She sucked down a whole can of cat food, and then staggered over to the little outdoor fireplace, climbed inside, curled up and went to sleep. Yes, the cat slept in a chimeneo, and I have to say it was really cute. Sad, but cute.
chimeneo / erstwhile cat bed
So I called Dr. D., who came right over the next morning, stuck Jackie in a carrier and whisked her off to the clinic. Keep in mind that this was basically a feral cat who had hardly been handled in her life, but she was just too weak to fight. So off to the vet she went, spent the day at the spa being de-parasitized, cleaned up, X-rayed, bandaged, poked, prodded and fussed over by a half-dozen vet techs with their motherly instincts cranked up to full throttle, and came home that night looking like a new woman. A really skinny, worn-out woman, but way cleaner, and on the mend already.
So it's been three weeks now, with Jackie quarantined in our guest room (she can't be around Simon til she finishes 28 days of antibiotics), gaining weight by the minute. She must have been surviving on crickets the last 5 months - she was down to 4 pounds when they weighed her at the vet. Apparently she was hit by a car some time over the summer, and her pelvis was broken, and the sciatic nerve in the hind leg damaged - that's why she drags it. We still don't know whether she'll have to have her leg amputated - it depends on whether it can heal back over despite the dragging (she had a gnarly wound that I won't describe here, because you might be eating while you read this).
Dr. D. has been over here every few days checking on Jackie - changing her bandages, giving her mini-exams, and basically acting as if she were her own beloved cat. So this hardly expresses the gratitude that HWWLLB and I both feel, but I'm knitting her a pretty fall scarf out of Crystal Palace Musique. I love the colorway - it reminds me of apples - and how light and lofty it is. I hope she likes it. But even if she doesn't, I reckon it will make a pretty good Xmas re-gift.
So you may be wondering, "Where is Flakette in all of this?" Or maybe even, "Shouldn't Flakette be covering at least part of these vet bills?" Well, we're wondering those things, too. Seems her phone has been disconnected, and she's not answering our emails. AWOL landlady. No scarf for her!