Riley aka Stryker began to act rather strangely this last week. Initially, other than hiding under the blanket all day and only coming out to eat at night (temptations and nothing else) he wasn’t showing any signs of aggression. Because of his declining weight and his picky appetite, we did a full work up on him: blood-work,x-rays, checked for infectious diseases, UTI all we could humanely do to track it down. Nothing remarkable reared its ugly head and I figured he was just in deep grief and missing his life.
I started going in to sleep with him which was successful for a few days. The minute my head hit the pillow, he would jump on me and nudge me, head bumps, purrs, almost knock me off the bed for goodness sake.Then he would settle down and sleep. It was peace at last (or so I thought). I was wrong.
After about three days of this sleeping arrangement, he would jump on the bed- nuzzle me, want to be petted but then he would withdraw. No coaxing would bring him close which was confusing, so I drifted off to sleep.
Because of so many past surgeries, I sleep with a pillow at my side. It just made things easier for me. I am also a light sleeper as I get up several times a night to check on Mike (who has sleep apnea and only sometimes uses his machine). So, I heard the noise before I felt the attack. It was a full attack by a pissed off cat. It was after midnight and when I heard him take off, he wasn’t growling- he was mewing, very softly- continuously and then he leaped right for my face. My instincts kicked in and I held up the pillow over my face which he latched on to and started rabbit kicking and now he was growling and tearing at the pillow with his teeth!
At this point, I was out of bed and had the light on. I had a blanket wrapped around me for protection- but right now- his foe seemed to be my pillow. He shredded that. I flew out of the room and sat in the living room trying to come to grips with what had just happened and why? Finally, I fell asleep in my chair with gentle Molly purring the way into sleeptime.
The next morning, I shared with Mike what happened and he said maybe something set him off- but what? No cat was in the room with him, I was sound asleep- no cat can even get to the door thanks to our screen doors we have up all over the house. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and figured it was just a bad night for him.
Well the next night, after I had again fallen asleep after the pet fest, Riley attacked again. The blanket saved me from most of the scratches. He was not biting but he was scratching the living daylights out of my arms
I called the vet the next morning and asked him to go over the results again to see if we missed anything. Nope, nothing, all it good, all is “normal.’ I told the vet what happened and he seemed to think that the cats caused Riley to react so aggressively. Again, no cat can get close to him. he does not like other cats which is probably why he had 9 bites on him when he was first rescued.
My vet said to find a special needs home for him, so I carefully worded an ad and put it up on the rescue sites. I got two calls from interested people, but when I shared about the attacks- they never called back to confirm the foster home. What a surprise.
I finally called my vet and asked him to please put this cat out of his misery. Long story short- he refused. he said because nothing healthwise is wrong with the cat- it was my obligation to find a home for him where the “people can just lock the cat away at night and let him out in the morning!” I was so stunned- was he serious? I might as well have adopted out a time bomb and told the people, by the way, the detonator may or may not go off! What if he escaped from the room when he was in night terrors? God forbid, my biggest fear was if he got out of our room at night and went for my cats or worse, for Mike- we would all be in a world of hurt.
I decided today, to call my old vet and ask him for help. I told him some of the story and just said that my vet wouldn’t put this cat down. My old vet told me to bring the cat in and we would talk. I told him what had happened once we were in the room and when I told him about the attacks (four total) and showed him my arms and that my vet wouldn’t let me take this cat out of his anguish, he was incredulous.
15 minutes later, Riley had reunited with his former owner and was out of pain. I also talked to my old vet and asked him if he would accept me as a client again. he said of course he would. He said he has the utmost respect for me and what I do for the stray and feral cats here and if he can help, he would be glad to. He is also the only vet who has ever been inside my enclosures and he was here for several hours observing me with some feral cats he had turned over to me. I left him only for one reason. When I had to sell my horses, it was to painful for me to see him even with just my cats because it made me remember all we went through with Racer and Trav over the 13 years they were here with us.He loved Racer as much as I did and because of the constant founder the three of us bonded.
He also didn’t charge me an arm and a leg to put Riley to sleep- but because so much money has been invested in this renovation- which is still going strong- I was $46.00 short of covering the check. I am going to check my donation boxes tomorrow and do some juggling and praying to cover the cost. I didn’t want to put this lovely boy down- I cried all the way home- but I have also decided to go back to the vet who listens to me and respects what I do, even though he is 20 minutes farther from my home. I am still so angry that my regular vet told me when I asked him to put Riley down, that I needed to “be nice to him and not ask him to put down this cat,” Even though this cat after midnight was in pure aggressive agony. I will never forget as long as I live, those plaintive meows Riley was quietly pasting the room with. I could hear the meaning clearly- “help me, please help me.”
Riley- you were broke and I couldn’t fix you. I did try though and I did love you even though your nighttime terror scared the living daylights out of me. I am sorry so many failed you-