A Cat’s Life

This has been one physically and emotionally draining day.

For the past several days, there had been cat noises coming from under the deck outside of our back door. Because of the blizzard, the deck and all of the sides leading out from under it had been blocked with snow. A couple of days ago, I’d gone to try to uncover as many of those areas as possible, in hopes that the cat under the deck would be able to make its way out.

We have several strays in our neighborhood that wander through on occasion, but before the storm, we hadn’t seen any of them for a few days, so just didn’t think about where they’d be weathering it. Out of sight, out of mind, so to speak.

Well, it became apparent this morning, as the yowls started to sound more desperate, that it was time for stronger action. After digging out the entirety of the deck, I came to the conclusion that the cat was either too scared or too weak to make its way out.

Desperate measures. We could tell that the yowls were coming from the vicinity of the back door, and with no way to crawl under the deck, I knew there was only one way to resolve this problem.

After running down two batteries on my cordless circular saws, I borrowed a neighbor’s plug-in saw and started cutting holes in our deck, as close to the sounds as I could. I cut a couple of holes large enough to reach under the deck and, using my phone camera, started trying to figure out where the cat was.

Alas, I could not see it, no matter where I pointed the camera.

An occasional yowl would ring out from beneath the deck, with me trying to be soothing over the saw racket. Finally, the hole I cut was big enough to stand up in, so I lay down on the deck, in the melting puddles of snow and pulled myself down to see what I could see with mine own little eyes. Pretty much nothing.

But I did see that before the deck was attached, there had been a concrete step down from the door to the backyard. And since the deck was installed, the soil from under the step had eroded, creating a crevice under the step. A crevice large enough for a small animal to fit in.

The area under the crevice was a stretch away from where I’d cut the hole, but I reached out under the step, feeling around to see if there was anything there. After a few seconds, my gloved hand touched something soft. I knew I was on the right track.

At first she fought it a little, but after several attempts at pulling her out, I was finally able to. Finally.

Now came the hard part. The emotionally difficult part.

I mentioned that we have had a couple of strays in our neighborhood. One of them had really take a liking to our deck. She just seemed to love the warm sunshine in the morning and we’d frequently see her out there sunning herself.

Over the course of the past several months, it had become apparent that “Midnight,” the name Turquoise gave her, was pretty much deaf. In conversations with a neighbor yesterday, he had stated that she was blind as well.

Sadly, the cat I extracted from under the step was the very same one.

She was weak and in need of medical attention, so we took her up to a neighborhood animal clinic. We were told that she was experiencing major hypothermia and dehydration. They gave her an IV to pump her with liquids and encased her in warming vessels. From there, because they were closing, we took her to another animal hospital, where they saw that she was blind and very weak and generally in terrible condition.

After answering as many questions as possible for the vet, we left her there, in their care, knowing that the likelihood of her survival is low. Knowing that, though we did what we could to get her there, it’s not going to be enough.

It’s heart wrenching. It’s painful. I barely knew this cat and yet, as I held her weak body, trying to keep her warm after pulling her from that hole, I immediately felt bonded to her.

So it goes. — from Facebook