My life has gone to the cats. And I am totally serious. *total serious face on* And to make this post even more exciting: parts of this could be rated "V" for Violent. Warning, warning!
I am on my fourth? fifth? house-sitting gig of the summer, which overlaps another house-sitting gig. Currently, I am taking care of Sammy the Spoiled, Skinny Gray Cat that lives in a beautiful mansion on the mountainside of Oregon City. He left me a treat today: a very cute, but very dead mouse. (Somehow, this one was kind of cute. Not sure how.) He's (Sammy, not the mouse!) sitting next to me as I type; he follows me around to whatever room I am in. Last night I thought he was going to walk into the shower (which is a giant tiled masterpiece of a room with two shower heads) with me.
When I am not living in the lap of luxury here (which sadly ends tomorrow morning!), I am caring for four kitties belonging to one of my co-workers, who (along with her family) is at Shasta Houseboats with the church high school group. She has four kitties: Angel, who is white with weird gray markings, likes to nap and sunbathe, and has been a very obedient kitty so far, I must say.
I was warned about Bob (featured above), the neurotic girl cat with calico coloring and a penchant for clawing screen doors. Bob has behaved as well. Shasta, the youngest and the softest kitty ever, will purr like a machine if she lets you hold her. And, well, I was told there was a fourth kitty named Minty, but apparently she doesn't like to make appearances too often—too busy hunting, etc.
Starting on Saturday, I begin a new house-sitting job for the tech pastor. I've house-sat for his family often, and I and his kitties have a real relationship. One of them, (I can never remember names) I call fondly "Scary Cat." She hisses and doesn't seem to care for me much. "Nice Kitty," however, I like and she likes me. Follows me around, wants me to hold her, groom her, and pet her. We tend to snuggle and watch TV together on the amazing new HD TV residing at this house. I think there are kitties at the house after that… hmmm.
Of course, I also have my own cat brood. While, I claim to own only one of the four—somehow, I still manage to find myself feeding all of them. Moochie, TeeTee and Elliott all belong to my mother. Elwood, the frequent, reoccurring star of this blog, is mine. I am making frequent visits home, so he doesn't get too mad at me. I think he just wants me to feed him. But today, oh today… I found myself hugging him and crying into his oddly patterned black and white fur.
So, now to the traumatic moment of my day... *deep breath* (This is the part that may be rated "V.")
After work, I drove to my real home, grabbed some things, got the mail, cuddled Elwood, and then left to go to Angel/Bob/Shasta/Minty's house to make sure all was cool with those cats. Driving along on Tilstrom Road (which if you know it, you know people drive fast on it!) I slowed down when a SUV before me was also slowing down… to my horror… to avoid hitting a black with white-toes kitty. And failed. I witnessed it all. Every terrible moment. The kitty trying to move to avoid getting crushed, failed, hit the tire, and then pushed itself like a broken rag doll, flipping like a fish out of water, across the road into the grassy hillside, of which I imagined to be his home. It was terrible. I didn't know what to do. The cat was still alive. The SUV was pulling over. Cars were behind me, so I kept moving forward. Shocked. As I continued to drive, I ached to go back and make the kitty was okay. In a weird slow-motion, I found myself at Angel/Bob/Shasta/Minty's house. I made sure their food and water dishes were full. Gave them all a cuddle and secured them inside the house. Then, I left and made my way back to the scene of the cat-astrophe.
As I passed the spot, I couldn't see anything, but then, in my rear view mirror, I saw her. The owner leaned over a blanket moving back and forth. What do I do? I made a quick turn, and drove to where she was, parked my car, and crossed the road carefully to where she was… I looked at her and she was sobbing. She was on the phone to her husband, asking for him to come home and help her know what to do. I smiled at her and sat down next to her. When she was off the phone, I told her I had seen what happened, and I loved cats. I must have sounded a bit crazy.
She introduced me to Katie, who was still alive and breathing really hard. She was beautiful, and had (like Elwood) weird markings on her face. She was Elwood's age and the same coloring at Elle, Elwood's mom and my cat while I was at OSU. Looking at Katie, I remembered Elle and how hard it was to lose her. How much I loved her. The woman explained to me, she just didn't know what to do. That this was the third cat she's lost to this road. And she was having a hard week. Just had a fight with her daughter. As she gently petted Katie, and tried to warm her up, my heart longed so much to bring whatever comfort I could to his woman. I sat with her, and petted Katie, saying sweet words of her bravery in making it back to the other side of the road when she was in pain. The woman kept telling me I could go, that I didn't need to be there, but it was so hard to leave.
When I finally did break away, I drove back to my real home, went inside and headed straight for Elwood. (He saw my teary face and ran under the bed. Really.) I coaxed him out, and picked him up and held him tight. Why do we get so close to animals? When they have such short lives with us? I cried and cried and cried. I cried for Katie and her owner. For the husband when he got home, who would have to "figure it out." I cried for Elle and how much I miss her little sassy self. And I cried just because I was tired.
Well, Sammy the Spoiled, Skinny Gray cat is mewing at the door. (Doesn't he know its rainy outside?) And I have my book—"The Unlikely Cat Lady" to read a bit on tonight… or not. Not sure I want to read about TNR and ferals and cats dying (as I read about last night when poor "Sid" died after being attacked by another bad feral cat.) I think I just want to sleep.