Man, it has been a rough seventy-two hours over here. I was barrelling through an hours-heavy workweek, worrying because the MFA Minivan appears to have a degenerative neurological condition of some sort (all of the dash instruments and now also the transmission have these kind of absence seizures where they just blip out for a second or a few minutes...but only every couple of days so far) and we are broke and I was starting to get one of my laryngitis/bronchitis combo platters and there is drama at work (of the usual hotel restaurant sort, so scandalous but not overly troubling to me).
Then the night before last I got a text from Hotter that Skeeter was MIA. At first I didn't panic, because I've gotten the "Skeeter is out" text before and it's generally followed by "Ha! Got him! What a slut for freezedried beef liver that cat is!" This, however, was different; nobody could recall seeing him that day. His last known whereabouts had been the night before when Hotter and I replaced one of his Soft Paws claw caps. And I? FREAKED THE FUCK OUT. I couldn't breathe, and told my boss I had to leave work. As I drove into our neighborhood I looked in the road, in the ditches, hoping and fearing I'd see Skeeter and be able to help him. In our driveway I jumped out of the minivan and started calling. Skeet always comes when I call him, and part of me thought I'd call, he'd come, I'd scoop him up, and I'd walk into the house and yell at everybody not to scare me like that.
Instead, I found nothing, said some hurtful things to Hotter, filed a missing pet report with the local Animal Shelter, kicked myself repeatedly for not having Skeeter microchipped (I worry that a chip will stick right out on top of his poor scrawny little shoulderblades...but no longer to the point that I am against chipping him) and did a lot of Ugly Crying down at Squatter Workshop.
I just...2014 had already killed off so many people, animals, and things I love that surely that was what this was, and I couldn't. I was not okay. It was...really bad. I kept thinking about Skeeter's soft little body and all of the terrible things that could happen to it, and how the two most likely scenarios, someone nabbing him and something making a meal of him, would leave us always wondering, and how I was never, ever loving anything with paws EVER AGAIN.
At 6:14 a.m. the day before yesterday Middly woke me up yelling. "MOMMY SKEETER IS HOME I FOUND YOUR CAT MOMMY LOOK!" A second later a very dirty, hungry, dehydrated and bedraggled hairless cat landed in bed between me and Hotter and began whirling like a tiny, filthy dervish, rubbing our faces in turn with his cheeks and leaving smudges. "OH BABY BUDDY," I exclaimed, and made an unashamed ass of myself (seriously, I have clearly started to go soft in my old age because YOU GUYS THIS CAT). Hotter and I gently bathed Skeet, and I cleaned the numerous scratches and punctures on his back, haunches, and hind legs with peroxide, and then we all took a nap until our vet's Saturday hours began (as soon as Skeeter finished eating and drinking he burrowed into my arms and fell into an exhausted sleep).
At the vet, Skeeter was charming and schmoozed the pet nurse and the vet, although he was not very happy with the exams he received at their hands. The vet said he was pleasantly surprised to find that Skeeter wasn't severely sunburned over most of his body (apparently that is the number one concern they have with runaway Sphynx cats and a very real danger), but concerned about the bite-wounds. "The good news is, he doesn't have a fever so I think these darkened spots are bruising, not abscesses. The bad news is, bite-wounds are nasty and a few of these go pretty deep, plus we don't know what bit him or whether it might have rabies." After counting the months since Skeeter's last rabies shot (seven), the vet said that he didn't think it was absolutely necessary to administer a booster shot, but he was willing if I was still concerned. "How much is the shot," I asked, and when he said twenty-three bucks I told him to go ahead and do it. He did absolutely recommend, and I agreed to, a long-acting, broad-spectrum antibiotic injection that should cover Skeeter for about ten days without us having to restrain him while he's sore and freaked out to administer daily oral meds. We also agreed that Skeet needed to go on immediate heartworm and general parasite prophylaxis (Revolution) and stay on it for at least three months, and when the vet said they recommend it year-round even for indoor cats I bought an eight-month supply (buy six, get two free) without batting an eyelash or even asking how much it cost. I questioned that decision a little at the front desk when I found that it would take all of my hoarded cash tips, plus the entire remaining available credit on our "break glass in case of emergency" card, plus everything we had in the bank to cover the bill, but only because I hadn't asked about the cost of the Revolution prior to going with the eight-month supply.
I've been sick as a dog and emotionally hung over since then; I actually called in sick yesterday, which I generally don't do even if I am miserably ill. I spent most of the day curled up in bed with my Skeet, and I think it was good for both of us. Today I am not really any better physically, but mentally it feels like I've got most of the pieces back together, I guess. We need the money more than ever, but the difference between "almost completely broke and my cat is gone" and "COMPLETELY-completely broke but there is a purring kitty in bed with me" makes things seem kind of alright.
How are all of YOU?