A Cat Above the Rest: Pippin's story
May 31, 2011 2:47 pm
Updated: Jun. 8, 2011 1:27 pm
A scrawny abandoned 6 week old tabby cat found his way to my sister’s in 2007. To say he was smart to pick her rural farmhouse is an understatement. She is a dog lover with a decided soft spot towards anything with fur. She is also an excellent manipulator
of other animal lovers. It didn’t hurt that she plied me with lunch and wine when I visited her that sunny day. “Oh,” she kept saying, “you’ve just got to see this kitten that showed up the other day.” “NO! I do not need another cat!”
“Well, if you are sure. He can live outside. He is definitely a farm cat. He’s a survivor!”
“Nope. I’m not taking another cat home!” “Here just let me top your glass before we go load that straw you want.” I should have known the kitten would be in the barn right where the straw was. The poor little striped fellow had already
seen the hard side of life but boy was he friendly and quite the talker. My sister was quite delighted with the little guy but she was afraid he’d die while she was on vacation hence the need for a new home. Somehow it ended up my sister would take him to
the vet, make sure he was fine and then bring him to me to “stay” while she was gone on a well deserved vacation. Our mother had been hospitalized with a broken leg since March. She was finally home and was presumed to be OK. So out of town my sister was
going. And I still believed the polite fiction that the cat was going back once she returned. Was not even going to name the little guy. Uh huh.
And that is how Pippin came to live with me and my 6 other cats- Piper, the grand dame, Toulouse- the old man, Josie- a formerly abused cat with a loving nature and 2 children of her own, and Houston the cat who needs everything just so. Didn’t matter he was
the smallest, Pippin cheerfully elbowed his way into this group and my heart with his bulldog stance and attitude. Puck fit him perfectly due to his mischievous personality but Pippin sounded much better to yell after him.
Since the very beginning he has tormented me with his independent streak. The other cats only ventured as far as the vegetable gardens when I was out and set up a howl if I got out of sight. Rather like petey’s lambs, afraid of being irretrievably lost. Not
Pippin. He needed the woods and the thrill of the hunt. Many a night I’ve ended up calling and looking for him or getting up during the night to let him in. We have coyotes, bobcats and other creatures in this area that made me fear for my pet’s safety.
The other kids didn’t need to be called twice.
I never knew where I would find this child.
I told you he was mischievous. He knew better than to be on the table but he wanted to see why my glass of club soda was making such noise so he decided to sit in the napkin holder. He wasn't "on" the table.
For the last 4 years Pippin has graced my life. I call him my laughing cat. I swear he does. He opens his mouth wide and shakes his head from side to side as if he is laughing without sound. I’ve watched his antics from my kitchen window and laughed.
Curious at what creature he is chasing in grassy circles only to see that he was playing with a blowing autumn leaf. I’ve wondered at the sounds he’d make. From the “bwoof” announcing his intent to play to the “here Mom, here Mom” as he came jogging across
the lawn to see me. I’m afraid the older cats were not so amused when he has tried to engage them in his free spirited play. They were much more content to nap in the catnip than run up and down a tree. Forget about pouncing like a leopard out of the tall
plants to surprise Mama Cat while she was gardening. Too much energy required for that.
Handsome fellow always wanting out.
So when he disappeared for 2 days this May, I was worried. I was out looking for him as soon as he missed his curfew. He climbed up and into my view while I was out yelling for him. I was all set to scold till I saw his leg. Dangling and useless so
obviously hurt. Then I found out everyone was having a bad pet day that day. Our vet was 3 wide as my niece put it. So over booked there was no way to see him. Calling all the other vets I trusted only to find the bad pet day wasn’t confined to here. Who’d
they recommend to see my fur baby? My overbooked vet. What to do? Cry and clean the wound. He wasn’t in shock nor was he bleeding. Then really cry because I just knew after cleaning the wound this was going to require surgery. Then cry harder because I had
to decide whether I could afford to save his 4 year old life. I mean, except for the leg he looked perfectly fine and healthy as usual. My DH has been laid off since early April, how to justify what might be an expensive operation on my cat?
Our appointment was the day after. My sister met me at the office. She‘d been on the receiving end of the ugly tears phone call and didn‘t want me to be alone if I had to put Pip to sleep. How was I supposed to do that? I got this cat the month before
my Mom died. Even as new cat to this household he cared for me. My Mom died the day after my birthday so you can imagine how I spent that day. The next night wasn't much better when Mom passed peacefully at 9:00pm. It was late when I finally got home that
night but I wasn't going to sleep anytime soon. I sat the kleenix box on the dining room table that I'd just inherited from Mom and then decided to have some of Mom's brandy. I'd cleaned out her liquor cabinet and knew even if the other bottles were dusty
and ancient the brandy wasn't. Mother made "drunken raisins" to occassionally liven up her daily bowl of oatmeal. She swore if I had drunken raisins I, too, would like oatmeal. That still hasn't happened but the brandy wasn't too bad that night. What happened
next? All of my cats came to the table. My old lady, Piper, sat on my lap and the rest of them arranged themselves quietly around me. The older kids I understood because animals do understand when the people they own are upset. But Pippin? He was only a few
months old new. Yet there he sat with everyone else until I went to bed.
I’d already decided what I could spend. I knew the mad money I’d saved for new bedding plants, a new outfit for my DS’s graduation and some new jeans for myself could be done without. I was so fine with that! So in we went. Doc looked at me first thing
and said, “Has someone been shooting in your area? It looks like he has been shot. Let’s take an x-ray and see what we got.”
Well, what we had was someone shot my cat. The bullet entered his elbow and shattered both the upper and lower bones of his leg. I saw the x-ray it was irreparable. Again Doc looked at me and said, “We can’t fix this. We have to amputate. This cat doesn’t
need this leg.” Luckily, my vet is a good one and reasonable. I could afford it. Pippin got a 3 day stay and surgery. I went home, got the Kleenex and turned on the computer. Sure All Recipes is a cooking site but how many cooks are pet lovers as well?
I posted a thread about my cat’s trauma so I should know there are quite a few AR pet lovers, more than I remembered talking to (DH thought that day might require adult beverages), because quite a few were kind enough to post words of comfort and sympathy.
I also emailed some of my friends that I have made on AR. I’m glad I did because I certainly wasn’t thinking about what was to come after the surgery. I was thinking about the viciousness of this act and what I’d like to do to that someone. I was thinking
about my poor young cat who would now be maimed for life. Thank goodness, cheepchick was thinking for me! She sent me a link to a site that helped prepare me for what was to come. To know your cat is having a limb removed and then to see the reality of it
are 2 different things. Watching the video from this site of a cat called Kes recovering from her rear leg amputation helped me so much. I didn’t bawl like a banshee when I picked up my cat after surgery. Every time a snivel started to bubble up when I got
Pippin home, I could hear (OK so I don’t really know what she sounds like) cheepchick admonishing “git to gittin!” In other words, now is not the time to bawl but move forward and deal with this like Mom.
Why are Pip’s pictures on this blog from before the surgery? Because there are some soft hearted cooks on this site as well as younger ones. I did not think it appropriate to have post surgery pictures here. They could be unsettling for some. However,
Pippin has posted his very first blog about his homecoming since the surgery. Here is where it is if you would like to see how he is doing.
The humanity of animals never fails to amaze me. Remember Scarlet? A stray mother cat that was burned badly but still kept going into a burning building after her kittens. I’ve often thought of that cat and how she cared for her kittens. Just recently
a set of parents near here were arrested for utter abuse and total neglect of their children. Where was their humanity? So why would it surprise me someone could be so callous as to shoot an obvious pet. Again I decided that matter was not suitable to be aired
here. In fact, it has taken me 6 attempts at writing the blog to get it all down. It is here.
No, I don’t accuse anyone of the deed. I just merely put all the facts out and I’ll let whoever reads it decide for themselves. I figured if just one person reads it and can help me understand the behavior of these people, it was worth it. If just one
person reads it that also has neighbors like these and now feels they aren’t alone, it was worth the effort. And no I’m not kidding about the wind chimes. For people as rigid and inflexible as they are, the tinkling sounds might just be enough to drive them
Have I done the right thing for my cat? The jury is still out. I did the right thing for me! He is getting around well enough but is he happy? Not really, I don‘t think. Just this weekend he overbalanced and went head over heels off the table I put
by the window for him. The King of the Jungle can no longer go outside to roam. I can see some of his old spark is gone for now. Short of bringing live birds and mice into the house for him to hunt, I’m not sure how to help him. I need to be much cleverer
than I am to figure a solution to this problem out.
Pippin made me really dwell on something else this Memorial Day weekend. While Pip is a cherished cat and always will be, he is just a cat. He’s not a father or brother or husband. What about all the soldiers that have come home so grievously injured?
I’ve always thought of those that served and been grateful to them but I never really and truly thought about how profoundly their lives have been affected by their service. God bless them and those that made the ultimate sacrifice!