She is furious. All night long we heard thrashing and crashing upstairs, the growls, hisses, moans and cries. I knew she was safe in her confinement. Not in a cage, but in the cat-room with an old sofa, and a beat-up coffee table marred with scratches from times past. There is an old rug that has comforted many wounded or sickly animal. She has food, water, a soft bed, boxes to hide in and a cupboard to take refuge inside, I knew that going upstairs would only further upset her, so I stayed away trying to ignore the distressing sounds.
My other cats were clearly worried. Several paced back and forth between a door we set up to block off access to the stairs, the door is easily removable, but it also is made out of the stoutest wire we can find to prevent being shredded by frantic claws. Her buddy, Muse even came in from outdoors, a rare occasion for him. He laid down for quite awhile at the foot of the stairs, calling to her every now and again as if reassuring her that all is well, and soon she will be released; once the infection is gone, the wound healed and the swelling vanishes.
It was with trepidation that I climbed the stairs this morning to greet her. As I opened up the bedroom door, it looked like it had snowed! The old couch that is as yellow as it’s age had been gutted. The stuffing was flung everywhere, I could see paw marks in the white fluff, as well as skid marks, as she decided that as long as it was down there, she might as well play in it!
I called to her quietly, and heard her low growling off to the side. Following the sounds, I peeked over the top of the couch and sitting crouched in the corner was this little once feral black kitty covered with white fuzz balls and threads. Scooting the couch away from the wall, I sat on the floor and talked to her quietly, trying to coax away those ominous growls with gentle persuasions. But, she was having none of that. Sometime earlier in the night, Cleo had rediscovered her wild ancestor’s traits and had turned into a ferocious predator- stalking the couch and the cushions, tearing up her adversary and releasing most, if not all of her anxieties and frustrations from her sickroom confinement.
This is the black cat that came to us over seven years ago with blood running from her nose, and a broken leg. She was rushed to the vet, where she underwent surgery and she spent five days fighting an infection that had settled in her lungs. When we got her home, she went on cage rest for a week, and then she was integrated into the rest of the gang and eventually released to join the feral colony on our land. She has spent the time happily running in and out of the shop, keeping the hay barn clear of mice and playing tag with the beetles and bugs, even fishing for minnows in our creek. She is captured once a year for shots, and out of all my cats, Cleo has been the healthiest until now.
I finally was able to bribe her out of hiding, and she came to me and slunk into my lap. I carefully stroked her, being sure to keep my hands away from her wound, but before we parted company I calmed her, then set to work cleaning up the room. She was feeling better because as I was sweeping up her cat-made snowdrifts, she was chasing the broom!
At the end of my visit, I left her curled up asleep inside the cupboard. She had been fed, loved and medicated. I would save the draining of the wound, until Pop came upstairs and could help me. Before I left, I did stop to apologize to Mr. Couch. After many years of faithful service, the only thing left for him was a trip to the landfill. Cleo’s angst had seen to that!