Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How the Captain Lost His Leg

April 17 is the third-year anniversary of our sweet Captain-Jack-CJ kitty losing his leg. It was on an unforgettable spring Sunday. Unusual for him, he hadn’t come home the night before, nor that morning before we left for church.

When we arrived home, a neighbor rushed over to tell us our kitty had been “hurt.” I’ll never forget the moment Fred handed him to me with one foot totally gone, the stump all bloodied with jagged bones sticking out.

Why do things like that happen on Sunday when places are closed? We had to take him thirty minutes across town to a “weekend vet.” I sat in the back seat beside him in the carrier. He would be silent for a while—and then he would let loose with this piercing wail of agony (something else I will never forget).

That establishment wanted $800 just to keep him and treat him overnight till we could get him to our own vet the next morning. Of course that was out of the question. We settled for their hydrating him and giving him antibiotics and pain meds, and we took him home. We threw quilts on the office floor, and I slept there beside him that night. Once he had the pain meds, we didn’t hear any more wails out of him, but by morning, the smell was beginning to be pronounced.

Meanwhile, we wrestled with what we would do about him. We were prepared to put him down if that was best for him, but we had a grandson doing his own wailing that he would give us all his money providing we didn’t let anyone “kill” CJ.

The next morning we were at our own vet even before they opened. Those were the people who had saved CJ’s life once already when someone brought him in as a half-grown kitten to be put down because he had an infected eye. But the vet staff found him so loving, they couldn’t bring themselves to do it. They confided to me that they had put him in the “witness protection program” until they could find him a home. They were the ones who named him Captain Jack because the decisive way he swished his tail reminded them of a pirate's sword.

When we saw the doctor, we heard the same thing we had the day before: all his vital signs were normal! Not only had he not bled to death in twenty-four hours or more, but the crazy little guy had normal blood pressure and no fever. How could we decide what to do? Finally, we put it to the doctor—if he were your cat, what would you do?

You already know the answer because you can see CJ’s picture. I’ll tell you the rest of the story tomorrow. [I’m sorry it’s been a while since I posted, but first I was sick, and then I was out of town and sick. Now I’m home but still recovering.]

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