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.
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.
I have come to the conclusion that Jinx and Milo will never be best friends. Not even good buddies.
I got Milo to keep Jinx company when I was working multiple jobs, at two radio stations and a convenience store. Even though Milo was an itty bitty baby kitty at the time, he stood up to Jinx, hissing at her and chasing her around from the get-go.
As he grew, he started to take a romantic interest in her, even though both cats were “fixed.” He kept trying to hump her, much to Jinx’s annoyance. He eventually grew out of that. At times, the two would sleep together, but that was a VERY RARE occurrence!
Right now, I am working two jobs: at a country radio station and a bookstore. It’s rare when I have to work both jobs the same day. But last Friday, I wound up working 10AM to 3PM on the radio, made a very quick stop home to feed my precious kitties, then raced off to the mall, to work at the bookstore until 9PM. When I came home that night, it was like someone had switched Jinx out with an Imposter Cat! She was acting crazy… yowling in a voice I’d never heard, and charging after Milo, which she’s never done before. What had happened while I was gone???
This continued the next morning. Jinx was stalking about like a prowling tigress and howling. Milo was cowering. I was shocked when I witnessed Jinx chasing Milo away from his food bowl! She is normally submissive to him. And Milo, normally the bully of the two, was not fighting back! I felt like I was in the Cat Twilight Zone!
Now here’s where my guilt comes into play. I love Jinx. I’m a Black Cat Advocate because of her. I joke that she is my “familiar” (an animal that helps witches cast spells). But I could hardly contain my fury when I saw her behaving this way towards Milo. I feel extra-protective of him, perhaps because of his “disability” (he has feline eyelid agenesis, requiring daily treatment with special eye ointment). I was terrified that Jinx would scratch Milo’s vulnerable eyes during one of her hissy fits. But mostly, I was stunned by the feelings in my own heart. I realized I love Milo more. This realization made me feel like a horrible person. I don’t have kids, but do mothers love one of their children more than the others? I think probably not. I could never give one of my kitties up; I’d almost rather die than have to choose between them. Perhaps this feeling stems from the fact that Milo is so demonstrative of his love for me… he freakin’ ADORES me, and follows me everywhere around the house! Jinx, on the other hand, is a typical feline. She is mostly aloof, but she will hop up on my lap when I’m on the computer and purr when I pet her. And unlike Milo, she’ll look into my eyes, as if reading my soul. I’ve had her years longer than I’ve had Milo, so I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did over this baffling change in her behavior!
Of course, I checked Jinx out to make sure she wasn’t sick. Her eyes were bright, her nose was wet, teeth looked good, no unusual lumps or bumps, and she was using the litterbox properly. Yet, after chasing Milo away from his food bowl, she refused to eat her own food! Seemed all she was suffering from was a brat attack. I tried giving her catnip, which she thoroughly enjoys. But once the giddy high wore off, I heard the now all-too-familiar noise of cats screeching. I raced into the room to find both cats with their tails bushed out and fur standing on end.
The next 24 hours were tense ones, with me feeding the cats in separate rooms. I had to fight the urge to stick Jinx in her cat carrier as “punishment.” I knew that this would only lead to more yowling and maybe even worse behavior once she got out. Happily, her behavior has gone back to normal on its own. Who knows what caused her outburst? I’m taking care to give both cats equal attention. This whole experience has left me feeling like a bad Mom.
The latest news on Milo’s eye situation is frustrating. The hospital in Syracuse I was advised to contact replied to my email as such:
Unfortunately our Ophthalmologist, Dr B. recently semi-retired and is no longer available for appointments at VMC.
At this time, Dr B.is still seeing appointments in Rochester so I would recommend calling the clinic there.
Thank you, and have a great day!
Yeah, I’ll have a super day after that. Sigh. Rochester is 150 miles from my home city of Watertown, more than twice the distance as Syracuse. I don’t drive, so I have to depend on someone else to get me there. I still have to contact the Fulton facility; I don’t expect to make any meaningful contacts until after the New Year weekend is over. That would be the closest to me, at “only” 61 miles away.
Meanwhile, Milo is doing super-well with the antibiotic ointment. His eyes are bright and clear, with most of the redness gone away. He’s my little trooper!
Milo, Jinx and I wish all of you a Happy New Year! Please continue to follow our story in 2016!