I mentioned that I was house/cat/fish sitting a couple of weeks ago. While the fish were plotting world domination, the cats, Lucky and Grey Kitty, mostly hid from me. Lucky would show up and let me give her her thyroid medicine and pet her for a bit while I watched cable (cable!), but then would usually disappear for the rest of the evening. Grey Kitty was generally nowhere to be found.
Wednesday evening before I went home, I stopped in to talk to the head of the litigation department to let him know I was interested in a position that was rumored to be opening up. We talked for a bit and I headed for the fancy apartment with all the free wine. I found Lucky and gave her her medicine, after which she went away from me and hid. I thought this was weird, because usually she hung around after the medicine for a little attention. But whatever, I mean, cats are weird. I'm a dog person myself. They're all waggy and they follow you around and loooooooove you. Cats eye you suspiciously and then get in your face and make you sneeze and then purr in that sweet kitty-cat way and then shun you. So I don't really know how to read them.
Anyhoo, I went to bed early, as I had to run an errand to court as early as possible in the morning to file a thing. Naturally, I woke up late, and therefore HYSTERICAL, as I was supposed to be AT COURT FILING A THING, for heaven's sake! I freaked out, ran to the bathroom and got in the shower. When I was done, I noticed that there was something on the bath mat. One of the kitties had obviously peed on the mat, and there was blood in the urine. Neither of them was anywhere around. I got ready and ran out of the apartment and down to court (to file the thing). When I got to the office, I called my boss for whom I was house/cat/terrorist fish sitting, and left a message on her voice mail asking for the vet's name and number. Since I wasn't able to reach her, I started looking for an emergency vet. In the meantime, a coworker came to me desperate for help with a time-sensitive project, so I had to enlist the help of the office receptionist to find a vet for the kitty.
Now, never mind that I didn't know exactly which kitty was the bath mat pee culprit. For all I knew, it could've been that big blue fish with the yellow tail trying to mess with my head. I did suspect it was Lucky, because she had been acting so strangely the night before. We found a vet that was very close to the apartment, but they told me they couldn't treat Lucks without proof of ownership or permission from the owner.
"What am I supposed to do if I can't get a hold of her?" I asked.
"I don't know ma'am. I'm sorry. We just can't do it. It's the law," she replied.
It's not the law. Of course it's not the law. I suppose it is their right to have their own rules, but it makes me question whether they really have the animals' best interests at heart. I mean, what am I going to do, abduct someone's cat and take it to the vet for a rabies shot WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION? It just doesn't seem right. Snobbish upper east side animal hospital. Anyway, the desperate coworker I was helping called her vet (she was sympathetic, as she is a cat person), explained the situation and got me an appointment. No proof of ownership needed, and they would bill my boss. Nice.
I worked through lunch, drank a lot of coffee and finally got to three o'clock, when I left to get the cat for the appointment. When I got home, she was laying on the living room rug wheezing and she had thrown up all over the entry way, poor thing. No doubt Lucky was the sick one; I found an old towel, scooped her up and ran outside to get a taxi. Luckily we got a really sweet cab driver who got us there without jostling us too much, though Lucky cried and wheezed all the way.
When I got to the vet, the receptionist knew who I was and took us back to the exam room immediately. The vet could tell right away that Lucks was pretty sick, so she took her away for a chest x-ray and some blood work. I waited in the exam room, then in the waiting room. When they finally called me back, the news wasn't good. Lucky had a collapsed lung, fluid build up around her heart and lungs and blah blah blah de blah de bad stuff is wrong with her systems are failing recommend euthanasia.
Shit. I have to put my boss's cat to sleep, I thought.
It all made sense, of course, the cat was in pain, that was obvious to me without a visit to the vet, but to put her down? The whole idea was horrible to me.
I called my boss and got voice mail. "The vet said that Lucky's in pretty bad shape and she -" my voice caught, "she thinks that," my voice cracked, "she's recommending," my voice broke, "euthanasia." Then I finished brightly, "so, give me a call back!"
She called me back pretty quickly: "Let me talk to the vet," she said. I handed over the phone to the vet and continued to pet the wheezing Lucky, who was now on my lap. The vet brought the phone back to me and my boss said, "I'm really sorry about all this. Please give Lucky kisses and tell her goodbye for us."
Then I started crying. I did as I was told and then the vet gave Lucky a shot to tranquilize her as I kept petting her.
I won't recount her death (the cat's, not the vet's), but suffice it to say that she went before she was ever euthanized. I continued petting Lucky until after she was dead, and I cried like she was mine.
Then I went back to work covered in cat hair. Dead cat hair.
Did I mention I'm allergic to cats?
On the upside, I think my boss felt so bad that she accepted my suggestion for a name for Grey Kitty. She has now been deemed "Lucy". And she has apparently become much more friendly than she ever was when Lucky was around.
Maybe Lucy was the one plotting, not the fish.