Let's call today: 'Monday, 11 December 2006'
wrote in the notebook:
One down, eight to go.
Three days after putting my 17 yr old cat to sleep, I was returning home late one night from a night hanging with friends.
In my headlights I saw a limp form on the road, and recognising a feline frame, I swerved to avoid rolling over it - squishing a cat corpse and feeling the sensation of rising over a soft furry speedbump again not rating too highly on my list of things to experience anytime soon.
I drove a little further when I decided to turn around. If he was someone's pet, they'd appreciate being able to identify him intact, so I resolved to move him to the curb.
I pulled over on the opposite side and walked over. He was a beautiful cat. Long and orange and fluffy. Inside my head I was angry at having to deal with another dead cat so soon after losing mine, but I was determined to spare him being turned into mush; something so beautiful shouldn't be turned into a bloody fur slushie on the road.
As I approached, I told myself that the passing headlights were responsible for what I thought I saw. But when I placed a hand on his side, I discovered that I was right: He was breathing.
For a second I was back in driveway leaning over my old fossil cat, overcome by the motionless creatures pain and shock and by my own helplessness, and I swore out loud that he wasn't dead or alive, but somewhere between.
He was bleeding from his mouth and I concluded that he was probably a lost cause, internal injuries would surely mean he couldn't be saved. But I knew I couldn't leave him, useless or not, I couldn't let him slowly die in the gutter.
I awkwardly bundled him up in a towel and loaded him into my car. A lady pulled over to see if I needed help... she thought it was a child I was cradling. When she found out it was a cat she drove off. Good intentions.
He didn't really move or fight as I drove him the short way to the vet. They admitted him, and I told them to let me know what happens with him. As I drove home I thought with relief how good it was that I didn't go over him, or any other cars before me... he'd have been dead for sure when I got to him if that had happened.
I didn't hear from them for a couple weeks and I figured he didn't make it, but I was satisfied that I'd done the right thing and I thought no more on it.
Working away this last week, I had a missed call on my mobile from them and when I called they said they weren't sure who'd called or why but we concluded it must have been regarding picking up the body of my old cat, since my Mum had organised his collection and burial around the same time... yep pet burial... not my thing but anyway...
When I got home this morning Mum told me about when she went to collect him she saw in the Cat to Adopt window a beautiful fluffy ginger cat they'd called Cooper who'd been hit by a car.
We went and looked at him. 'Cooper' as he's now called turned out only to have a fractured hip or pelvis or something and bounced back from it wonderfully, and the bleeding from his mouth? He'd grazed his chin.
The nice nurse girl opened the plastic cage and I took him in my arms, not caring about the tonnes of fur that remained on my shirt, and I patted him and scratched his head and told him I'd see him later.
Then I paid the nurse and went shopping for litter, a bed from Katie's late cat, some 'Fishy Cat Treats' (which I just love to say out loud for some reason), and a christmas stocking full of kitty toys.
Today at about 1pm, Ben and I - proud parents - brought him home.
I've made peace with the universe but most of all I've made a little more peace with myself.
I lost one, but I saved another. There's a sense of balance in that that makes me feel better.
Cooper's my boy now, and I'm going to spoil him. I feel a little sad knowing that I will appreciate him more than I had 'Wickey', but in a way I see him as a chance for redemption.
The ladies man is asleep on my bed now, so I'm going to go brush pat and love him.
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