Monday, December 1, 2008

Some hard lessons

The cats were always allowed inside/outside privileges. I knew that there were dangers in letting them roam the neighborhood, but for some reason, it didn't deter me from letting them do as they pleased. Besides, they loved going out trampin around, playing in the bushes, stalking mice, etc. Then one day, the outside world became a more dangerous place. I came home from work to find Gidget cowering in the bushes in front of our house. She was cut to hell and obviously disoriented. I called the vet who instructed me to keep her calm and to bring her in fist thing in the morning. Judging from her cuts, the vet suggested that she either got her ass kicked by another larger cat, or it could have even been a run in with a raccoon which was common in our area. They patched her up, hooked her little butt up to an IV for a few hours , gave her some booster shots and sent me on my way with a lovely $700 bill for my troubles. Great. But at least she lived to tell the tale! Now, had I taken that experience as a sign that the kitties should be kept inside the next part of this story may never have happened. I have a tough time telling it, but it's an important part of my life as a pet owner.

I decided to move away from the Ocean Beach area I had lived in for a few years, and to settle down in a nice apartment by myself out in the posh Mission Valley community. It cost an arm and a leg, and I actually rather hated the apartment, but wanted to live in that area so badly at the time that I convinced myself the exorbitant rent was worth it. I packed up my stuff, loaded the kitties into their crate and moved in. After a few weeks of letting them get aquainted with their new digs, I decided it was OK to let them out to explore their new surroundings. Webber loved to run into the nearby canyon and chase the wild rabbits. Gidget just laid in the sun and never went too far. Each night as I would leave to go to work, Webber would follow me to my car, and sit in the grass as I drove off. When I came home later that evening, he was always right there waiting to greet me and follow me up the stairs to get some food.

One night I came home, and he wasn't there. I knew instantly that something was wrong. I called him, clinked a can of cat food with a fork, and checked the canyon to no avail. Webber was nowhere to be found. The next day my friend, Tiffany, and I posted signs all over my complex offering a reward for Webber's safe return. I spent 3 nights agonizing over where he was when I got a voicemail that knocked the life out of me. A man out jogging called to let me know that he had seen my signs, and was really sorry to tell me that while he was jogging he happened across a cat of that description who had been hit by a car and sadly did not make it. I hung up the phone, but my head down and just cried for hours. I felt pain, sadness, and an overwhelming guilt for allowing this to happen to my buddy. Had i just kept him inside, he wouldn't have strayed out into that busy street. I saved him from the pound and felt like such a failure for not keeping him safe from harm. As I write this, my eyes still burn as the guilt has never truly left me. He was a GREAT cat. One of those cats that everyone likes, even those people who swear they hate cats. When he died, I felt such a void not having him around anymore. Gidget was the queen, but Webber was the clown. And with that, Gidget was deigned an inside cat from then on. I didn't want to deal with that kind of guilt again, and knew that it was safer for her in the house. As sad as I was to lose Webber, Gidget was notably happy being the only animal in the house. She was literally prancing around the apartment, purring and cuddling with me every time I sat down. Unfortunately for the Gidge, one animal just didn't seem to be enough for me.

No comments: