If you follow this blog or my personal Facebook, then you've met Grendel. Grendel is the stray cat we've been feeding since late July. We've welcomed him into our home and let him stay as long as he likes. We've encouraged him to stay overnight, giving him treats and toys, with moderate success. We'd hoped that with the arrival of winter, he would just stay in.
He didn't want to. He likes us and trusts us, but he didn't want to be our cat. That became clear when the closer we tried to get to him, the more he resisted. If we kept him in against his wishes, he punished us with absences. We tried to give him space.
But he always came back eventually, if it got too cold, or he got too hungry, or if he'd been injured from a cat fight. We took him to the vet twice. He comes to us when he hurts.
Then THIS happened:
He came home three days ago, clearly in pain. We thought it was another sprain perhaps, but he couldn't put any weight on his foot. We kept him in, despite his protests, and watched it overnight. In the morning, it seemed to be worse, so we called our vet. (Mayfield Veterinary Animal Clinic)
They were exceptionally busy. Is it urgent? Describe his injury. They made the time to see him. Vet said it looked pretty bad and she recommended an x-ray. This is that x-ray. She only took one because the problem was obvious, no need to cause him more pain by repositioning him.
The next two hours were a flurry of phone calls to Guardian, trying to find the best course of action. We had a make him fast the rest of the night, in case he could get in a morning appointment that required sedation. Long story short- after many more phone calls Guardian had a cancellation and could take him in for surgery. THANK GOD. And yes, they could neuter him as well. We'd been meaning to do that anyway, and we felt that without neutering his recovery would take longer, due to his wandering, somewhat feral nature.
As you can imagine, the surgery was expensive. He now has two plates in that leg. I'm not going to tell you how much. Partly because the price was the decision of the vets involved (It was a bit less than expected. Maybe they cut us a break.) ) and partly because I'm a little bit embarrassed. Why would we pay so much for a cat that isn't ours? Some might think it was a dumb idea. It's just a cat, right? I know pet owners and animal lovers would understand.
Number One, it's a cat we love. Number two, he's a creature in need. He came to us, because he trusted us to help him. What else could we do? Like what? Abandon him? Hell no. Put him in a splint? Not with that injury, it would lead to ...Amputation? God, no. That would destroy him! So, you see...no other options.
The trip home from the south end of Edmonton to the west was hard. Grendel yowled, cried and thrashed violently all the way home. I was terrified he would further injure himself. He was angry coming out of the carrier, struggling to stand and walk, not that he's supposed to...Two medications were due, we had to remove the bandage on his front leg where the intravenous was, and put his cone back on. Dan went out and purchased a fabric cone for his comfort. We had it on him for less than an hour before it completely disappeared. Twenty-two dollars gone with no trace. More medication tonight after he has a good solid sleep and more food. As I write this, he's stretched out on the basement futon, out like a light.
This is day one and we're pooped, and he will remain indoors with us for a minimum of six weeks. (For good, if we can convince him.) More splint changes, new newspaper pellet litter, blocked off passageways, closed doors and keep him separated from Freya.
Dan and I often thought he had a couple of families looking after him. A neighbor told me that he lives in a green house across the avenue. I'm prepared for someone to come to my door, demanding to take him back. I will hand them the receipt we received from Guardian. I will ask them: "Where were you when he broke his leg? Why did he come to us, and not you?"
We have accepted that he may never be our cat, he might actually belong to someone else. He might not stay after all this is over.
But the more Dan and I talk about it, the less embarrassed I feel about our choices. Why shouldn't we do this? We have no mortgage and a clean VISA. Animal shelters and organizations all over this city, all over this continent do more with less. And there's no shame in helping defenseless animals. It's the RIGHT thing to do. Dan and I promised each other when Spartacus Jones died that we would help homeless animals to the best of our ability.
We're keeping that promise now.