Saturday, July 4, 2015

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad morning

Some people work hard so their kids can have an easier time than they did, so they can retire and live the life they dreamed, so they can travel the world for a year or so they can afford the brand-name Oreos.

I work so one day I can buy a house with a yard and a fence that is not messing around so Pippi can get a pet. She really wants one. We've talked about the responsibilities that come with having your own pet: feeding it, walking it, cleaning up after it. These conversations usually end with her chewing on my arm or barking to go outside and chase squirrels.

I digress. Actually, I'm not even close to where I need to be to tell you this story, so I'm just going to jump in and tell you the same shameful thing I've already told four people today: I stepped on a kitten this morning.

**SPOILER** The kitten is OK.

Also, if you laughed just now, you're a terrible person and I'll see you in hell, because I'll obviously be there, because I stepped on a kitten.

It was seriously terrible. Pippi and I were out walking, I stopped to pick up an aluminum can, then put it on the asphalt to crush it, took a step back and realized what I felt underneath my foot wasn't a stick but a kitten. It was horrible. I thought I killed it. It was twitching and mewling loudly and I quickly ran through all the injuries my foot, with the weight of my body on top of it, could have inflicted: Did I break its legs? Its back? Crushed its organs? I am the worst person.

I stood on the side of the road for five minutes trying to decide what to do. (I'm great in a crisis. When I hit a deer a few years ago, it took me a minute to figure out whether I wanted to put my car in reverse and turn it off or put it in neutral and leave it running. I kept trying to put it in reverse and leave it running. Does not work. Then I'd put it in neutral and turn it off. On a mountain. With gravity in effect.) Take it to the vet? My vet's open on Saturday. Probably not this Saturday, the one holiday of the year that's on a Saturday. Call the pound? Answer same as before. Call the emergency vet number? Also, I'm two or three miles from home walking an energetic 50-pound dog, who, for the record, was much calmer and more helpful toward the cat than I was.

After about a minute of the awful kitten crying (awful is descriptive of the type of crying, not the kitten), it sort of lay down, eyes half-shut and not blinking, and I thought I wouldn't have to answer my own question because the kitten was dying. And I was a tiny bit relieved. (Remember I am the worst.)

But then it didn't die. It kept breathing, but breathing like it was in the final stages of cancer. Have I mentioned how horrible this was?

Finally I put the car in reverse and shut it off, metaphorically. I picked up the kitten with one hand -- it was that small -- see above re: worst person -- and cradled it in the bottom of my fortunately long T-shirt. With one hand on the leash and one hand holding up the hem of my shirt, I headed for home, the cat barely moving. I half expected it to die on the walk home.

Which it almost did. As if to prove she is not ready for a pet, Pippi at one point took off to get across the street, I lurched forward, the cat, which was moving around more and sort of half out of my pouch already, started to fall out. I managed to hold onto Pippi and catch the kitten only because God decided this poor cat had suffered because of my existence enough.

We made it home. Cat went into a shoebox, lay there and meowed loudly, though to my great relief it was irritated meowing and not help-I'm-dying meowing. I tried to give it water and ended up dumping the water all over the bottom of the box. Adulthood fail. I called animal control, which was not open but had a couple of workers who could respond to an emergency. Was this an emergency? Yes. It is a train wreck. An officer was on her way over.

In the hour between the first time I had to tell someone I stepped on a cat and the third time, the cat crunched on a few of the smaller bites of dog food I gave it, got wet from the water all over the bottom of the box and successfully climbed out of the box and onto my table multiple times. I'm not a doctor or a vet, but I am reasonably confident that a cat with broken legs, a broken back or a crushed stomach would not be engaging in such reckless activities as eating and escaping and maybe I was not a kitten killer after all.

He is pretty cute. 

The animal control officer, who was running late because there was a goat on the highway, concurred. She said she'd put him on the vet's list but he seemed fine, and cute to boot, so hopefully he gets adopted. And thus ended my time as a cat lady. 

What did I learn from this?

  • I'm clearly cut out for big dogs. And maybe lizards. Not small creatures that are easily injured.
  • Living things, while quite fragile, are much more resilient than they may seem. There's a life lesson in there somewhere.
  • Look where you're putting your feet.
  • All of the animal control people I've met in Lubbock, which is quite a few, have clearly loved animals and wanted what's best for them. I appreciate that. I know they can get something of a bad rap, and I know euthanizing dogs and cats can be dicey terrain for animal lovers, but they're all working hard to help animals find new homes. Speaking of, if you want to adopt, please go to animal shelters instead of breeders or pet stores. If you're in the Lubbock area, you have lots of options: the city's animal shelter,, the Haven Animal  Care Shelter, the Morris Safe House and the Humane Society of West Texas. If you're into pit bulls (don't be a breedist -- they're loving, smart, very trainable dogs who are only vicious if they're taught to be by a vicious person), check out Saving Grace Pit Bull Rescue.    
  • I would make a terrible mother kangaroo.

** Before you judge me for inappropriately making light of this, remember I am emotionally damaged and communicate largely through sarcasm. Now go ahead and judge. I deserve it. I stepped on a kitten.**

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