Last Sunday, Mr. Understanding and Thing 3 went pheasant hunting out in the country. Farmed-to-table pheasants, they cost a pretty penny to knock out of the sky. This is not my gig, so I abstained from the activity and enjoyed the silence of my house.
While hunting, Thing 3 heard the mewling of a cat. Being an animal lover, she mewled right back. They had a conversation for several minutes during which Thing 3 ascertained the location of the cat: A barn. She debated going into the barn but eventually decided yes. And there she found a tiny black fluffy kitten with its hind leg stuck between the slats of a metal chair. She called Mr. Understanding in for help and between the two of them they were able to free the kitten’s leg, already broken in several places. Thing 3 rode home with a bird or two in a bag and a cat on her lap.
A trip to the vet the next day, where Thing 3 works part-time, confirmed the kitten’s two options: euthanasia or amputation.
Now I am a practical person. Thing 2 has cat allergies (we did not figure this out until he was seventeen). Our outdoor/indoor cats are now just plain outdoor cats. So I knew there was no future for this kitten inside my house. The question is: Can a three legged cat be an outdoor cat? Yes.
There was also the price of amputation to consider. I told the vet I was not up for a $1,000 kitten. I should be on the Price is Right because that is the exact amount it costs to remove a kitten leg. (I threw that figure out because my MIL, Winnie, spent big bucks to pull her dog’s teeth.) The vet, a most lovely young woman who graciously mentors Thing 3, said she would do it for cost, $300, which also happened to be the exact figure I’d had in mind when Mr. Understanding told me to “use my judgment”. (Turns out he thinks I am cheap!)
Another issue is that we have three other animals in and out of our house. How would they get along? Mamie still needs to be queen. This animal would, in fact, be my empty nest responsibility. As readers will recall, I had previously nixed the puppy idea.
Finally, there was the issue that we needed some JOY in our house, even if it arrived unexpectedly and in need of healing. Mr. Understanding and Thing 3 had already bonded with the cat during the leg extraction and subsequent ride home. Mr. Understanding is a cat whisperer par excellence, I recalled, and Thing 3 needed to focus her attention on something other than Girl Drama. And I, well, a kitten is not the answer for me, but perhaps the answer for me is the answer for others.
While Thing 3 scrubbed in for the amputation, I dropped by my hairdresser Felicia’s to make an appointment and told her about the cat. Knowing about my puppy dilemma, she laughed and said to me, “Well, you did throw it out to the Universe, you know. Didn’t you say that animals were good healers?”
Does a three legged kitty serve me right? Apparently.
Finally, there was the issue of the name. We wanted to stick with the theme of naming our animals after former Presidents or First Wives. After determining it was a boy cat, the obvious choice was Barry O or just plain Obama, since he is a lame kitty (President Obama is a Leo). But since he still current, and not former, we decided against. Carson was another good option, due to the use of surgical separation skills involved, but since he’s not yet in office we had to nix that name too.
So our kitty’s name is Lincoln and he is now emancipated from his leg, hopping around delighting everyone but the other animals, who are totally ambivalent. Black lives do matter. (And so do spotted, orange, long or shorthaired ones.) He will be inside for the winter while he heals and gets his immunities up.
But the best part of it all is that Thing 1 is coming home to live in her proverbial parents’ basement, liberate herself from expectations, and be healed. Lincoln was the tipping point – the ol’ three legged cat trick! It will make for yet another crazy December, another December where I pack up an abode. Wah wah wah. The price tag is high but oh, so worth it, to have my big red Kitty home! Christmas came early in our house.