Zoey, Part 8: “Did You Miss Me?”

I felt as if I had already lost her, as I handed Zoey over to Jake. Once she was in his arms, the change in his gruff demeanor was amazing; the kitten turned him into an enchanted boy, overjoyed to be holding his lost cat again.

“Macie Mae!” He cuddled and rocked her like she was a newborn baby. “Did you miss Daddy?”

Zoey didn’t nuzzle him back, nor did she try to get away from him. She just stiffened up. It was clear that she remembered Jake. So why didn’t she act happy or excited? She didn’t move a whisker, just remained paralyzed in Jake’s strong arms.

I watched this reunion in silence, alternately mourning the impending loss of my new furbaby, and wondering over the weirdness of it all: Jake’s transformation into a gentle giant… Zoey’s total lack of emotion… Clarissa still hanging back, staring.

The awkward cuddle fest dragged on for many long, torturous minutes. Finally I drew attention to Zoey’s hideous neck wound. Jake looked and blinked, noticing it for the first time. At last, Clarissa came forward to have a look. They gasped as they examined her.

 

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“It was nowhere near this bad when we last saw her,” Jake insisted.

“Ew! She feels disgusting!” Clarissa grimaced as she felt the scabby abrasions all around Zoey’s neck.

The couple looked at one another. There was some kind of silent communication going on between them.

“Okay, I’ll tell you what,” Jake said. “You can have her.”

Did I just hear right?!?

“You took her to the vet. You did a good thing for her. I’m willing to reimburse you some money towards the vet costs.”

Talk about doing a total 180!

“That’s not necessary,” I said. I was filled with gratitude towards him for gifting me this sweet baby girl. “I just thank you so much!”

As he handed the precious kitty back to me, I asked him to tell me a bit about Zoey’s history.

What I was told was nothing short of unbelievable.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

zoeymeister
“So I stays?”

 

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Zoey, Part 6: Settling in

I brought Zoey home and got started on her aftercare plan. I found it impossible to squirt the drops of liquid medicine down her throat; she was too wiggly. So I mixed the drops into her wet food, and she ate it right up. The flea med seemed to be working as well. While she still scratched a lot, a quick few strokes with a flea comb turned up no live fleas. The neck wound still looked awful, although it had started to fade from blood red to a healthier pink. I wondered if her fur would ever grow back there, or if she’d always have a bald spot.

My two adult cats weren’t sure what to make of the newcomer. I kept them separate as much as possible, sequestering Zoey in the spare bedroom most of the time. Of course, the other cats knew she was there; they’d smell her under the door, the way cats do. Also, I couldn’t resist letting her out once in awhile, for just a few minutes at a time, to explore a little bit of her new home.Well, the hallway at least.

As her sniffles cleared up, I let her out more and more. She was so curious about everything!

zoey bookcase
Zoey explores the bookcase. Notice that she is standing on a stack of cat-related books!

Speaking of curiosity, Milo seemed to want to know about Zoey. Jinx, however, was terribly offended that I would let another cat into our world. Certainly she, the magnificent Jinx, was splendid enough to fulfill anyone’s need for a cat! Even this Milo character was merely an “extra” on the set of her life. Him, she’d grown to tolerate, but this… this ZOEY. Just, no.

It will all work out, I thought. It’ll just take time. But three is my limit!

It’s funny, when I had just the two, I’d always joked that I was “one cat short of crazy.” Now, with the addition of Zoey, what did that make me???

 

jinx zoey staredown
Zoey looking up at Jinx. Jinx keeps her distance.

 

Before I could figure out the answer to that question, there was a knock at my door. I opened it to see Jake and Clarissa*, my neighbors. I’d only exchanged “hellos” in passing with them, yet I knew what they were here for.

They were Zoey’s original human parents. And Jake looked very unhappy.

 

*Names of humans have been changed

Zoey, Part 5: The Vet Visit

I had recently become Facebook friends with a very nice guy named John.* He worked at the local SPCA, we had mutual friends, and our paths had crossed several times in the past.

I messaged John and he was swift in responding. He was free that day, and would try to get in touch with his vet friend and see if she could make time for an emergency visit. Luckily, she could!

I realized that if she was going to be admitted to a veterinary clinic, this kitten would need a name. No more Deejling, the nickname I’d given her because she so strongly resembled my late, great, cat Deej. I had scribbled a list of potential names in a notebook and I looked them over now:

Sadie, Evie, Maizie, Paislee, Gracie…

 

who me
Who do I look like?

None of them seemed to fit. She was a quirky little cat, headstrong, stubborn and very much a survivor. (That nasty throat puncture could have been fatal!) She needed a whimsical name, one that was as full of personality as she was.

I decided on “Zoey.” The name has Greek roots and actually means “life.” How appropriate; not only was this baby as lively as could be, she was lucky to be alive at all, considering the gory puncture wound on her throat. 

John drove Zoey and I to a veterinary office on the outskirts of the city. We waited outside the small building until the doctor pulled in the driveway.

Introductions were quickly made. Dr. Amy* unlocked the building and we followed her in. In the examination room, she tried her best to assess Zoey’s condition. I say this, because the kitty was hard to wrangle. She wanted to explore everything in the room, not sit still on a silly table!

 

VET
John tries to hold Zoey still

 

Dr. Amy did manage to get her weighed: a scant 5.1 lbs. The hole in her throat was, as I’d guessed, most likely caused by a dog bite. The rest of her scratches, however, were deemed self-inflicted; Zoey had been scratching herself due to a flea allergy. So, a topical flea med was applied. The doctor observed that Zoey was a bit sneezy and diagnosed her with an upper respiratory infection. I was given liquid drops to take care of that problem, plus antibacterial wipes with which to clean Zoey’s wounds.

I was feeling so relieved when we got out of there, that Zoey was going to be just fine with a little TLC, and grateful to John and Dr. Amy for their help.

But things wouldn’t stay all rosy for long….

 

*AUTHOR’S NOTE: Names of humans in this story have been changed to protect their privacy.

Zoey, Part 4: The Kitten is Hurt!

I thought about getting a collar for the kitten. She was so tiny, though, would I be able to find one that would fit around her miniscule neck? An adult collar would look like hula hoop on her! 

As I gently stroked her fur while she ate, I thought it felt like there already was something around her neck. But not a collar; to my fingers, it felt more like a thin rope or a thick, coarse string. It was early in the morning, still dark outside, so I told myself I’d get a closer look later in the day, after I got home from my radio shift.

When I next encountered the baby kitty, I got the shock of my life. What I’d thought was a rope collar around her neck was actually multiple scratch wounds, all scabbed over. Worse than that, the kitten had a huge, raw wound on the front of  her neck! A large patch of fur was gone, exposing the pink skin underneath. And right in the middle of her throat was a deep, round hole! It was red with blood, as if it had occurred recently.  A claw from another cat? It looked a little too big to be that. More like a puncture wound, perhaps from a dog’s tooth.

 

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I was horrified, even though the little cat kept on eating and acting as if everything was normal.  I couldn’t let her stay outside like that, and risk the wound getting infected. Or have her get attacked by the same animal. The next time could be fatal! So I brought her inside and kept her away from my cats, Jinx and Milo.

But, as luck would have it, it was a Saturday. Were any vets even open on the weekend? And how was I going to get her there, considering I don’t have a car?

Then I had an idea… one with just the tiniest glimmer of hope.

 

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That face… how could I not help her?

Zoey, Part Two: A Cat Named Snowflake

It was Snowy who brought The Deejling to my porch. Snowy, or Snowflake, is my neighbor’s cat. Fluffy, gorgeous, and affectionate, Snowy has led all sorts of felines to my doorstep. Most, it turned out, belonged to other neighbors. The funny thing is, all of the cats had initially been too timid and skittish for me to get near them… until Snowy brought them to me. It was like he told them in Cat Language that I was a safe person. Or, more importantly, a source of food!

snowy tail
Snowflake the neighbor kitty

I was so thrilled when the mini Deej first appeared with Snowy on my doorstep. I was in awe. I took pics and sent them to my ex. He agreed that the kitten was a dead ringer for Deej.

After a few visits, the little guy (or gal?) let me pet it while it was eating. I was so happy! But I shouldn’t be, I thought to myself. I have two cats already. I don’t need a third!

I wasn’t prepared for what would happen next.

zoey snowy
Snowflake watching the Deejling eat

 

 

Been Awhile/ Introducing Zoey

First of all, let me apologize for not updating my blog in such a long time. Jinx and Milo are fine.

And, there is a new arrival to our household. Her name is Zoey.

zoey morning snuggle

Zoey’s arrival is such a complicated story, I’ve decided to serialize it. Ready for Part 1?

 

Zoey, Part One

I first noticed the little kitten because it looked so much like my late cat, Deej. If not for that fact, I might not have paid as much attention, only because there are so many cats wandering my neighborhood. It’s hard to keep track of which ones are stray or feral, and which ones are cats with owners who let them go outside. But the first time I spotted this tiny kitten, it literally stopped me in my tracks. It was in a parking lot near my house. When I tried to get close to her, she darted away into the bushes.

At first I would only see the tiny cat in the wee hours… on my way home from a 4AM laundromat trip, or walking to my part-time job around the same time. That sweet little face, the spindly legs, white body, and the dark markings… all so much like Deej as a baby! I even started thinking of the animal as The Deejling… a reincarnation, somehow? A supernatural spawn??

Of course, that wasn’t the case. This kitty’s resemblance to my poor, beloved Deej was just a coincidence…

Or… more like “a sign.”

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!

faraway zoey as deejling
The Deejling… mystery lookalike kitten

 

Deej Baby
My old buddy Deej, when he was a baby

Snowflake Returns

First of all, thanks for all the “likes” on my last post, The Stray Cat That Wasn’t. Since then, Snowflake has dropped by a few more times for a visit. I asked his human Dad if it’s okay to give him treats and he said sure.

flakey boy
“Mmm.. nom! nom! nom!”

I noticed that Snowflake has a, shall we say, unique voice. He sounds more like he is quacking than meowing. My former cat, Tiffany, who is a Turkish Angora, has a similar voice. The Ex and I used to call her “Quackety Cat.” Is this just a coincidence, or is the hoarse “meow” a common trait of the Angora breed?

Here is a short video of a recent conversation I had with Snowflake, so you can hear his funny voice. I look forward to your feedback!