Sunday, April 26, 2009


Last Tuesday the guy who sits next to me at my temp job backed over his cat. Totally ran over it, so that it made his car lurch. The cat, a beloved pet of nine years, then ran down a storm drain and refused to come out so he could take it to the vet, and he assumed it would die in there. He was a wreck. On Wednesday I saw him with his head in his hands a lot, but I just assumed his eyes were bothering him, because I didn't know the whole story yet. On Thursday he was absent. On Friday he told me all about what happened and said the day before, he'd been too much of a weepy mess to come work. He said at one point he was standing in his kitchen crying, glanced out the door, and his cat was on the front stoop looking in at him. The vet told him the cat was going to be fine with a little medical care.

When he started telling me this story, the flashing yellow light and the obnoxious alarm went off in the original Star Trek bridge located in the emotional center of my brain. Kirk yelled at Scotty for maximum power to shields. I feared this confession was going to make me have to go home a weepy mess. About a year ago, I lost Lyle, my pet of 16 years, and I could relate a little too well. If I'd lost Lyle by backing over him with my own car, I'd probably need electroshock therapy. My relief when I heard the happy ending was akin to a hit of nitrous oxide.

As it turns out, last week was also a cat-based high-drama week around here. There's a lot of demolition going on in the unit upstairs, which sat empty with trash in it for several months last year. Now that new owners are tearing out walls and plaster, some mice have found themselves displaced and been scoping our unit as potential new real estate. Niall, our newest cat, snagged one of them while we were out Thursday evening. In the past we've been home when this happened, and Niall allowed us take the mice from him, put them in a jar, and take them to the park down the street for release. But since we were gone, he pulled a Lenny from Of Mice and Men on this one. When we got home I was taking my jacket off when I heard Wyatt yell "Baby, don't come back here" from the office. He disposed of the mouse carcass but I walked in before he finished cleaning up and saw Niall lapping at a small pool of blood left on the floor. I say small, but I tell you it's amazing how much blood is in a tiny little mouse. Later we were loving Niall up on the couch and I recoiled when I saw he still had traces of red on his white paws.

I thought: What if the mouse had been my beloved pet, and Niall had been an unwelcome intruder living in the walls? One who emerged in our absence to dine on a creature we consider a family member? Chills. I also wondered if mice experience grief when family/friends disappear on their way to the cat food bowl. What a downer of a perspective.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You need to change the color of your font. Right now it is dark blue against a dark brown background and pretty much unreadable unless you highlight it in white by dragging your mouse across it.

cool cat story though.