The day before I found Kitty comatose on the kitchen floor, the Stalker and I had been at a close friend’s birthday party. I had just reached the stage of afternoon drinking which relaxes me so much I move effortlessly from socialable to snoozy and I was contemplated 40 winks on her couch, when my phone started bleeping. The woman who I had removed Kitty from had a problem – a cat under her bath in a small flat full of two fierce dogs. Could I help?
Knowing the reluctance of the inhabitants to involve anything remotely related to the authorities into their lives, I knew that unless I did help, someone would no doubt decide it was a good idea to use the dogs to flush the cat out, or some such idiocy. I reluctantly poured the remains of my wine into the bottle, asked for a big cold drink and sobered up whilst I appraised the Stalker of the situation.
We both rather grumpily left the lovely gathering to come home, collect a cat carrier and perambulate up the road to the flat in question.
Immediately surrounded by four people all trying to tell the story at once, with varying degrees of success and accuracy, probably because it was complete bullshit, I fended them off whilst the Stalker looked under the bath.
Indeed, verily one part of the story was fact, part of the bath panel was missing and there was a large, very aggressive black and white cat squeezed into the back corner of the plumbing.
Several words spring to mind, none of them clean or church-worthy.
Various attempts to obtain said cat resulted in a further great dealing of swearing in both English and Cat and it was eventually determined that the only way to get him out was to remove the bath panel. The residents have an odd arrangement in that they are sort of looked after so we had to obtain the landlord’s (who turned out to be her Dad’s) permission to remove the rest of the bath panel which appeared to be thick plywood, covered in tiles.
There were few tools available so the Stalker, by this time like me, covered in dust and various things found on floors which are less than desirable, went at it with a screwdriver and brute force. I winced, imagining the tiles flying off in various small sharp, irretrievable bits but all was well and with damage only to one corner, we put it as aside as we well as we could in a small bathroom already populated with two old lady shopping trolleys (standard tea leafing equipment), various cosmetics and two adults lying on the floor in cramped positions.
The cat was less than impressed by our efforts and graduated from growling and hissing to actively encouraging us to bugger off home by using his remarkably accurate and powerful paws and jaws.
Persistence and injury were our middle names as we managed to move the cat from one side of the bath, where he crouched, all of his five weapons at attention, to the other side where I could get hold of him but thanks to the plumbing, could not retrieve him. This oversight on my part led to several rounds of “oh fuckfuckfuckfuck that’s painful” and related terminology as he sunk his teeth into my fingers and stayed sunk.
He quickly worked out that if he sat in the middle, behind the plumbing, that neither of us could reach him but he could still inflict damage and like a seasoned guerilla fighter, he held the position until one of us was able to dislodge him using a broom handle at a very odd angle and when that failed, finally resorting to water.
Two hours later, when we were all stressed beyond endurance, I finally obtained the resident’s permission to call the RSPCA. However I knew it might take days for them to trouble themselves to come out so we gave it one last, extended shot, in which there were several near misses and the Stalker obtained numerous nasty bites and scratches.
We swapped places, me at the open end and the Stalker, who by now may have been considering just what the living fuck he was doing going out with me, at the end obstructed by plumbing.
By this time, we were both filthy and wet from the floor and what resided under the bath, and looked less than the smart people who had gone out several hours earlier; more like two homeless people who had just wandered in. It was entirely in keeping with the environment.
One last attempt to get hold of the cat resulted in the Stalker’s hand being clamped by two sets of exceptionally strong, sharp teeth and he used the opportunity, whilst
moaning softly yelling loudly, to pull the cat through the plumbing and up to where I had scrambled up, carrier open at the ready.
My last sight of the cat was as he dangled from his hand, back legs scrabbling to stay out of the carrier, front teeth determined to lever his way up the Stalker’s arm. Thankfully, gravity took hold just then and the cat slid into the box, still telling us at great length what he thought of both of us in particular and humans in general. I snapped the door shut just as the kerfuffle had attracted a small crowd outside the door, one of whom opened it.
I mopped up blood, spit, sweat and water, rinsed the Stalker’s and my wounds and after a short time conversing outside with the crowd, including answering a question as to where the cat was going now – I lied, I always lie when rescuing or rehoming from humans who don’t want the cat because in my experience it is easier to lie than to end up with a drunk human at your door, demanding their cat back a week later.
True to form, two days later a request came in from the same household. Their friend wanted a cat, could they have it? But of course! Of course I was going to hand over an unneutered, frightened, aggressive male cat to someone I had never met who was a friend of people I’d removed a cat from previously (to be fair, it’s interesting that she still talks to me).
Of course I bought their story of a timid cat who entered a flat with two dogs and took shelter under the bath.
I explained in words of one syllable that we needed to find where he had come from.
The request was repeated today and the same explanation put forth, along with the addition that if we couldn’t find his owner/s, we already had a home for him which is a complete lie.
Upon inspection, the cat is in good condition and unlikely to be feral for that reason alone.
I can only get near him if I squeeze myself under the bed in the spare room and squirm on my back near to him, and trick him into letting me touch him. So far, we have done initial touches and graduated to head, ear and chin scritches. Whilst he is not feral, the Stalker calls him Sharkey, after his prodigious set of jaws and I call him Errol (the Feral).
We both agree that he has responded enough times now to “Felix” for it to probably be his name. What association he has with that name however, remain to be seen. If I approach him with my palm, he flinches and runs, approach with the back of my hand however, he stays.
In my experience, that response is normally from a history of being hit. He’s not keen on humans at all, but is using the litter tray with no problems and eating and drinking well. That, along with a complete disinterest in toys of any kind, tends to paint a very clear picture of what his origins might be.
We will get him down to a vet and chip checked as soon as we can get him into another cat carrier without having to use armour but in truth this is just a tickbox exercise. A chip doesn’t automatically equate to a decent owner, as our experience with Tom proved last month.
In the meanwhile, he seems happy enough – it’s a big room, he can look out the window and watch the world go by, curl up or under the bed. He is warm, safe and gets plenty of food and fresh water.
There is currently no rescue space anywhere so I imagine he may be with us for a little while yet.
I have spent the last few days moving between mine, the Stalker’s and the three vets in which Kitty has been, alongside worrying how the hell I am going to pay an even more massive vet’s bill than I paid for the first 48 hours of her care and in all honesty, I’m so exhausted I can’t even drum up the energy to yell “spay your pets you fucking twat-tards” and “adopt don’t shop for pets you twunts” at people.
I have been amazed and thrilled and am deeply grateful for everyone who has contributed to the gofundme for Kitty. I was very hesitant to set it up and embarrassed about asking friends and strangers for money.
But I did it and Kitty is holding her own, starting to improve and she stands a good chance now of coming home. I only hope that by Saturday (her approximate home-coming date, if all goes well) I will have the money between the gofundme, people who have donated via paypal and what remains in my bank account to pay the specialist vet. I will worry about how we are going to eat next week then.